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How To: Fast and Easy Filmstrip Effect in the Gimp

by Sara Froehlich


The Gimp comes loaded with special effects. In a few clicks, create a filmstrip effect from a series of photos.

The Gimp is an excellent image editor and creator. And if you want special effects fast, it comes equipped with some eye-popping effects that take only a few minutes to create. In this week’s How-To, we’ll look at one of them: the Film effect.

Open the Gimp and use File > Open to open an image you want to be part of the filmstrip. The Film filter combines the layers of an image into a filmstrip. For this to work, you need to choose several photos and open them as layers of the same image. From the image window menu, choose File > Open as Layer.

open as layer

Browse to the photos’ location and ctrl-click on several more photos to add to the filmstrip. Click Open to open the photos as a single layered image in the Gimp.


The photos will be combined into a single image, with each photo as a layer. The layers palette shows the chosen images from bottom to top; this is the order the images will appear in the filmstrip. Drag and drop the layers if you want to change the order.


In the image window menu, choose Filters > Combine > Film. Choose a height if you wish.

Open images will be listed in the left “Available Images” pane, and images that will go on the film will be listed in the “On Film” pane. Use the Add and Remove buttons at the bottom of the panes to change the images that are used if necessary.


Click OK to run the filter and the filmstrip will be generated from the layers of photos. The progress bar at the bottom of the image window will keep you informed of the filter’s progress.


When done, the filmstrip will open in the Gimp; go to File > Save to save it.


This is just one of many effects in the image window filters menu; give them all a try!


Article reprinted from

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©2005-2008 Sara Froehlich