GIMP 2.10.6 Released With Vertical Text Support, Other Improvements

GIMP 2.10.6

GIMP 2.10.6 was released yesterday, just one and a half months after the previous release. Even though this stable branch is mostly for bug fixes, quite a few new features and improvements were added with this release, like support for vertical text, two new filters or vertical straightening.

GIMP 2.10.6 includes support for vertical text, especially useful for several East-Asian writing systems that use this type of writing, but also for easily inserting vertical text:

GIMP vertical text

This includes 4 variants: left-to-right and right-to-left lines, and forcing all characters to be upright or following Unicode's vertical orientation property.

Another change is the addition of two new filters:

  • Little Planet: create "little planets" from 360×180° panorama images.
  • Long Shadow: simplifies creating long shadows in multiple visual styles.

Also, many GIMP users liked the simple horizon straightening tool added in GIMP 2.10.4 and wanted to use it for vertical straightening too. The GIMP developers made this possible with the latest GIMP 2.10.6:

GIMP measure tool straightening horizontal vertical

The Measure tool is now set to "auto" by default, in which Straighten snaps to the smaller angle to decide if it should do vertical or horizontal straightening, but you can manually specify either vertical or horizontal straightening.

Other changes in GIMP 2.10.6 include:

  • Most drawable previews now render asynchronously, which improves performance with complex projects with many layers. Layer groups are not rendered asynchronously but until this is implemented in GIMP, you can turn off layer group previews to speed up GIMP with complex projects, by going to Preferences > Interface and unchecking the box next to Enable layer group previews.
  • The GIMP Dashboard now displays the number of async operations running (in the "misc" group).
  • The file view filter and file format list were merged in the GIMP File dialog.

The GIMP 2.10.6 release announcement mentions that there is work in progress to add extensions support to GIMP:

Image from the GIMP 2.10.6 release announcement

The idea is to include everything that can extend GIMP, from patterns, brushes and gradients, to plugins, and upload them to public repositories, so that anyone can easily search and install them with a click. This feature should land in GIMP in the current 2.10.x stable branch at some point.

The work for this is done by the ZeMarmot project, which has a crowdfunding campaign for adding extension management in GIMP, as well as other improvements.

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On Linux, GIMP is available as a flatpak on FlatHub (for how to add enable flatpak support and add the Flathub repository see this page). On the Snap Store, the newest GIMP version right now is 2.10.2 in the edge channel, with version 2.10.0 available in the stable channel.

A third-party GIMP PPA is also available if you use Ubuntu or Linux Mint, but it has not been updated to GIMP 2.10.6 just yet (currently has GIMP 2.10.4 for Ubuntu 18.04 and 18.10 only).

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