Making grids by hand is a tedious job, even if you’ve got a great image editor like GIMP. You can make mistakes in the math or in the placement, and even if you get those right, it can still take a long time. It’s the kind of job that computers are perfect for, really – so why not let GIMP do it for you in just a few clicks?
The Quick Guide to Make a Grid in GIMP
In most of my GIMP tutorial posts, I start with a quick guide for advanced users who just need a refresher course on the topic and then follow it up with a more detailed guide for users who want more in-depth instructions.
In this case, it’s so simple that you’ll only need the quick guide! Here’s how to make a grid in GIMP:
Step 1: Create a new file or open your existing image in GIMP.
Step 2: Open the Filter menu, select the Render submenu, then select the Pattern submenu, then click Grid.
Step 3: GIMP will open the Grid filter dialog box, allowing you to completely customize the settings for your grid. All of the options are basic and quite self-explanatory, so you shouldn’t have any trouble creating your grid!
Step 4: Click the OK button, and GIMP will render the grid with your chosen settings onto your currently selected layer.
That’s all there is to it!
How to Make a Grid Overlay
If you just want a temporary visual aid for aligning your image elements, you don’t need to create an actual grid out of pixels using the Grid filter method above.
GIMP includes a full system of rulers, guides, and a customizable grid overlay for all your alignment needs, and you can quickly show and hide them while you’re working without breaking your flow.
If you need a consistent grid overlay, similar to what you find on graph paper, then the grid system is perfect. To get started, turn on the grid overlay by opening the View menu and clicking Show Grid.
GIMP will display the grid overlay with its default settings, but you can customize it to match your requirements. Open the Image menu, and select Configure Grid from the bottom of the menu.
GIMP will open the Configure Image Grid dialog box so that you can configure it exactly the way you want.
Most of the options are very simple and self-explanatory, so I won’t explain them in detail except for the Background color setting. As far as I can tell from my testing, this color is only used when using the Line style: Double dashed setting, and not for any other situation.
Click OK, and GIMP will update the grid overlay. To toggle the grid display on or off, just go back to the View menu and toggle the Show Grid entry.
If you want to create a totally custom grid overlay by hand, that’s easy too. Simply click one of the rulers at the top or the left of the main image window, drag it out over your image to your chosen spot, and release the mouse button.
GIMP will create a guide at the place you drop it, highlighted in a nice blue color, although you can change the guide color if necessary for improved contrast such as when working on an image containing a similar color.
To get extremely precise with your measurements, check out the info panel along the bottom of the main image window while dragging out your guides for the specific pixel offset.
To quickly show or hide guides, open the View menu and click Show Guides to toggle the setting on or off. You can use use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + Shift + T (use Command + Shift + T if you’re using GIMP on a Mac) to save time while you’re working on your alignments.
You can also set your image layers and text objects to ‘snap’ into place with guides and gridlines by toggling the Snap to Guides and Snap to Grid settings in the View menu. This is very helpful if you need to be precise and fast at the same time.
Whether you need an actual pixel grid or a quick grid overlay, that’s all there is to know about how to make a grid in GIMP.
Happy gridding!About Thomas Boldt