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Can layers be symlinked in gimp? Like if they were the same layer.

For example, I have one tree, and I want to create a forest. I want to draw a single tree, dup that layer into 20 layers. Then i will change scale and layers' order. I will also flip and slightly rotate some layers.

After that I think all trees should have an extra branch. But I want to change just a single layer. Is that possible?

If there are no symlinked layers, could that be done using a script and properly named layers by copying the drawing data without the transformation?
Like:
If we could have an interface to easily edit the name of the layer like a list of properties, it would be even better as we could add many more effects and filters to be easily applyed to each secondary layer. We coukd have also a 3rd layer based on a secondary, and a 4th from the 3rd and so on. I wonder if such layerNameAsPropertiesList plugin could be created? Because the script i think it can be done, i wonder if there is alredy such script or if we could contribute on github to create one.

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2 Answers 2

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No GIMP doesn't have this functionality.

You could perhaps script it in GIMP, but a simpler solution might be to use Inkscape, which is also free and open source. It can import linked image files, so no need to reinvent the wheel;)

Let's say you have a raster image of a tree you painted in GIMP, and you export it as a PNG.

  1. Import that image file into Inkscape, and choose to Link to the image file when the image import dialog appears

enter image description here

  1. Copy and paste the image in Inkscape to make a whole forest.

  2. Open the raster image in GIMP, edit it to add another branch. And export as PNG again to overwrite the original image file.

  3. Go back into Inkscape and all the images will update automatically.

An example. Watch carefully to see the switch to Inkscape, and you will see the trees update automatically

enter image description here

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  • Inkscape works well mostly. A bit difficult to sort duplicated objects (clicking on object does not always select the object on the sidepane list). But I managed to do most things I wanted, and it worked like you described. It is essentially a svg editor that let me export to jpg. Thx!
    – VeganEye
    Apr 21, 2023 at 3:55
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  1. No

  2. Yes, if you name each 'secondary' layer with the name of the original and a description of the transformation (scale/rotation/shift)

To draw a forest, you can also copy a tree image to the clipboard, use the Clipboard image brush, and draw with brush dynamics that add randomness to the size, angle, spacing and aspect ratio.

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  • This is interesting. If we could have an interface to easily edit the name of the layer like a list of properties, it woukd be even better as we could add many more effects and filters to be easily applyed to each secondary layer. We coukd have also a 3rd layer based on a secondary, and a 4th from the 3rd and so on. I wonder if such layerNameAsPropertiesList plugin could be created? Because the script i know it can be done, i wonder if there is alredy such script or if we could contribute on github to create one.
    – VeganEye
    Apr 21, 2023 at 14:36
  • If you are really want to go that route, then you can use a "parasite", which is arbitrary metadata that you can attach to about any object in Gimp (image, layer, channel, path...)
    – xenoid
    Apr 21, 2023 at 14:43

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