In GIMP, I want to save a custom brush that has different levels of opacity like this:

enter image description here

So when I use the brush I want those two lower layers to still be slightly transparent. Does gimp allow this?

  • Yes. In standard GIMP brushes (which are greyscale images), areas that are grey will be semi transparent when used as a brush.
    – Billy Kerr
    Commented Nov 29, 2023 at 19:07

1 Answer 1


Either you make a fully opaque greyscale brush (as in Image > Mode > Grayscale) and the brush acts as a "mask": when used it assumes the foreground color, and the blackness says how opaque it is (so black is fully opaque, white is transparent):

enter image description here

Or you make a RGB brush (as in Image > Mode > RGB) with opaque and transparent parts, and the brush is applied directly:

enter image description here

However... remember that "painting" is, for Gimp, hammering the brush at regular intervals. If the brush spacing is less than 100%, there will be overlaps, and where two semi-transparent bits overlap, the result is less transparent. So using a semi-transparent brush to draw lines is fraught with peril.

If you need a quick brush, you can use the image directly by copying to the clipboard, and selecting the "clipboard mask" or "clipboard image" brushes (the first two in the brushes list), that will each behave as described above. This is great for temporary brushes or even to work out a brush without having to export/refresh between two tests.

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