I made a selection with the Free Select tool in Gimp 2.10.32 in Windows 7 (which seems to be the latest version for my windows version) but I can't perfectly move the mouse to make smooth curves. Is it possible to smooth this selection out?

enter image description here

I tried Select > Feather which may work but when I cut out the image it cuts out feathery instead of sharply. If I try to Select > Sharpen it will increase the selection which you then have to shrink back down but it will then shrink the selection at the left and right as well which is not what I want.

enter image description here

  • You can use the Paths Tool instead to make a selection with smooth curves.
    – Billy Kerr
    Feb 19 at 10:41
  • oh. is it not possible with the selection tool? Feb 19 at 11:20
  • 1
    Not really, that's why the Paths Tool exists.
    – Billy Kerr
    Feb 19 at 11:23
  • 1
    i asked chat gpt how to do it. it failed to mention about paths tool XD thank you! Feb 19 at 11:26

2 Answers 2


It's probably best to use the Paths Tool in GIMP if you want to make a selection with smooth curves.

  1. To make a curve click and drag with the tool to extend the Bézier handles

  2. To close the path, hold down Ctrl as you click on the first node you made

  3. Once you have created a path, you can adjust the curves by moving the Beziér handles. Hold down Shift as you click and drag to keep the handles symmetrical

  4. When you have finished hit Enter to make a selection from the path. You can then fill this, or do what you want with the selection.

Here's an example

enter image description here

  • nice! thank you so much. i actually just learned about the path tool yesterday when i tried to make some curvy text but it was too complicated so i ended up making the text in blender where its much easier and straight forward. but for the selection it works perfectly! :) Feb 19 at 11:25
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    @HarryMcKenzie - the Paths tool is not really too complicated. This tool exists in lots of graphic design software, a very common kind of tool, however it does take a little practice to use it. Don't give up, practice makes perfect.
    – Billy Kerr
    Feb 19 at 11:30

While the paths tool is generally the better way to do this, there is a way to do what you're asking that's occasionally helpful. Instead of using feather and sharpen, use grow and shrink. Growing the selection smooths out wiggles that are smaller than the grow radius, and shrinking restores it to the original size. You may need to expand the canvas first, so that you don't run into the edges of the image when growing.

Another technique that I like to use to touch up an existing selection (without dropping into path mode) is to use the ellipse select tool in add (shift), subtract (ctrl), and intersect (ctrl+shift) modes. Making the center point of the ellipse closer or further away lets you change the angle and the radius of curvature at the point where the ellipse intersects your existing selection, and with a little practice you can make the change you want with just a few operations.

  • In addition to grow and shrink, you can also shrink and grow. Depending on the situation, you may want to shrink first, or grow first. Sometimes doing both can be helpful. Nov 7 at 10:54

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