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In Gimp 2.10, I have initiated a bank canvas. I press R to use my rectangle tool to draw a rectangle. I then press G to apply a gradient over my selection.

Scenario 1

From this point, if I select none, the gradient no longer sits in my rectangle selection, but is applied to the entire image.

Scenario 2

From this point, if I select Add Layer Mask, and then select none, the gradient effect that I used over my shape renames on my layer.

So my question is this...do I have to add a layer mask, whenever I want a gradient effect to take shape of my selection and stay on that layer? If not, what step was I missing?

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From this point, if I select none, the gradient no longer sits in my rectangle selection, but is applied to the entire image.

In the Gimp 2.10 UI, the Blend tool and many others remain active because you can edit your settings while applying the tool (in the Blend tool, you can move the endpoints, and even adjust the gradient). So you changed the selection while the Blend tool was still active and it adjusted to that.

You have to make sure you exited the tool before changing the selection:

  • Switch to another tool, or
  • Make sure the focus is on the image (and not on the Blend tool dialog), and strike Enter or double-click.

From this point, if I select Add Layer Mask, and then select none, the gradient effect that I used over my shape renames on my layer.

Layer masks are used to edit the transparency of the layer, probably completely unrelated.

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do I have to add a layer mask, whenever I want a gradient effect to take shape of my selection and stay on that layer?

No. As klewis has said, what you do need to do is to change tools before leaving the object you are editing.

This can be a useful feature, though it is also an annoyance if you are editing many gradients on different objects. Being able to start the gradient, then change your mind over the object(s) the gradient applies to once you see the effect has its uses.

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