Are there technical drawing tools in Gimp, such as a straightedge and a compass, and a square?

For example, is it possible to construct a heptadecagon (a 17-sided, regular polygon) using basic tools like these in Gimp?

In particular, I want to make a 6-point perspective drawing using a stereographic projection, and to construct the perspective lines / arcs, I need a straightedge and a compass.

Edit: I discovered that Gimp's circle tool can act sort of like a compass if you hold down both control and shift. The only difference is that you can't draw just an arc but you always draw the complete circle, but if necessary, that can be circumvented by cutting up the circle and deleting the part that you don't want (which means that you may have to draw the circle in a separate layer, if you're not already doing that).

  • This question is similar to: divider or compass tool - or equivalent way - in Inkscape or Gimp?. If you believe it’s different, please edit the question, make it clear how it’s different and/or how the answers on that question are not helpful for your problem. Commented Jul 7 at 9:00
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    No. GIMP isn't the right kind of software for this. You would be better using CAD software for technical drawing. GIMP is basically a photo editor - a raster image editor. If you don't want to go down a full CAD route, other possbilities exist, such as vector image editors, like Inkscpe (also free and open source). Inkscape has a polygon tool, although it has no 3D capabilities.
    – Billy Kerr
    Commented Jul 7 at 15:45
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    Also note that technical drawing/CAD questions are better suited to Engineering Stack Exchange.
    – Billy Kerr
    Commented Jul 7 at 15:52
  • @PaoloGibellini That question seems to be basically what I'm wondering. Thanks! Commented Jul 7 at 18:20
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    Here's a very quick demo of using circles and snapping to object centres to create a design you could make with compasses.
    – Billy Kerr
    Commented Jul 9 at 19:28

1 Answer 1


There are several plugins/scripts to generate geometrical shapes. You won't create a 17-edges polygon with rule and compass, you will tell a script where the center and one vertex are and how many sides you want.

enter image description here

In general, perspective drawing is left to 3D programs, so support for tools that make it easier to do 3D perspective drawing by hand is rather lacking in the 2D apps.

  • Do you know if it's easy to write such a plugin yourself (given that you know how to program in C, which seems to be what the plugins are written in)? Also, do you know if Gimp has something similar to Krita's assistant tools, which let's you create guide lines for various purposes by placing control points? If so, maybe I can write my own such plugin specifically for a curvilinear perspective with stereographic projection (otherwise, I may use Krita instead, since Krita already has that possibility). Commented Jul 9 at 11:18
  • I don't know if I agree with you that perspective drawing generally is left to 3D programs, though. While 3D computer graphics excel in drawing things in perspective, there are many people who draw in perspective by hand, too. There are pros and cons with both choices, but mostly I think the people who draw in perspective by hand just like the look of hand-drawn images. That, or the fact that drawing something by hand goes much quicker than 3D modelling the same thing on a computer (at least for more organic subjects, I guess). Commented Jul 9 at 11:32
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    You can create guides in Gimp. You can also create paths, that can be shown but not rendered in the final drawing, and so can be used as guides when painting (then can even b used for "snapping"). Plugins can be written in C, but also in Python and Scheme.
    – xenoid
    Commented Jul 9 at 11:53
  • I don't like the notion that many of you are selling that you shouldn't do your own 3d construction. You absolutely should all know how to do this., Why? Well for starters once you have a construction it relatively easy for you to draw things that would take you lots and lots of time to 3d model. But you can do that in 3d? Well sure but that's the exact same argument of you shouldn't draw but let AI do it.
    – joojaa
    Commented Jul 9 at 20:52
  • @jooja I'm not saying that you shouldn't. I'm just saying that most people who want a perspective drawing these days are going to use Blender or equivalent, so the incentive to add such help in 2D apps is low. Krita could be the exception, but Krita is more about creating/painting than Gimp.
    – xenoid
    Commented Jul 9 at 21:42

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