Using GIMP to overlay small images on to a larger image.

Updated: 16 March 2016

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Using GIMP to overlay small images on to a larger image.

I've often needed to overlay some small images over a larger one, but couldn't see how to do it, resorting to scissors and glue cut-and-paste instead.

I could do it with an BASH script using ImageMagick commands, but for an ad-hoc job it would be a tedious exercise.

Finally I found a webpage that suggested how it might be done with The GIMP.

Here are some images

With a bit of trial and error, I got good results. Here is how step by step.

1. Open the base image in GIMP

Using File > Open

2. Open the first overlay image

This time I used the File > Open As Layers menu option


which gives us

3. Select the MOVE tool

Activate the MOVE tool

Left-click on the overlay image and drag it to the location you want.

Repeat for any further overlay images.

Note 1: if you are using PNG format overlay images, remember that these allow for transparency in the image. Be sure to click on a non-transparent part of the image, or you will not be able to move it. JPEG images are no problem as they do not support transparency. However, images with transparent backgrounds will often look better as overlays.

Note 2: if the GIMP "toolbox", containing the MOVE tool, is not visible, you can get it back using Tool > New Toolbox (you may need to resize and move the toolbox window.)

4. Save the composite image

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