Home GIMP Tutorials How to Use Ellipse Select Tool in GIMP

How to Use Ellipse Select Tool in GIMP

Last updated: March 6, 2019

The Ellipse Select Tool in GIMP is designed to create circular and elliptical selections from an image. The main use of tool is pretty similar to Rectangle Select Tool. You can use it to protect the region outside the selection region from being impacted by a certain action.

For instance, you want to fill a certain region using Bucket Fill Tool. Using Ellipse Select Tool, only the active selection (inside the marching ants) will be filled.

Ellipse Select Tool offers four modes. The default mode will replace the ellipse shape you created earlier every time you create a new one, the second mode will add a new shape to the shapes you created earlier, the third mode will subtract the shapes you created earlier while the last mode will intersect the shapes you created earlier. The mode options lie right below the GIMP Toolbox, along with the options window. They will appear as you activate the Ellipse Select Tool.

You can use the Ellipse Select Tool right away after activating it. If you want, this tool also offers some options you can use. For instance, you might want to set a fixed aspect ratio to get a circle selection. Once again, the options window lies right below the Toolbox. Following are the available options in the Ellipse Select Tool.

  • Antialiasing: helps to prevent jagged edges.
  • Feather edges: softens the edge of the selection.
  • Expand from center: expands outwards from start point.
  • Fixed: Aspect ratio (default); Width, Height, Size.
  • Position: drop down menu of measurements.
  • Highlight: brighten selection area, dim remainder.
  • Shrink merged: all visible layers shrink with selection.

How to use Ellipse Select Tool

  • Open an image on GIMP or create a new one. Click the Ellipse Select Tool icon on the Toolbox to activate it. Or, you can also use the keyboard shortcut by pressing the E key on keyboard.

  • Click anywhere within your image and drag it to any direction to create an ellipse shape. See the screencast below.

Now, you can perform certain action to the active selection like applying a gradient, filling with Bucket Fill Tool and so on. Only what’s inside the marching ants will be affected by the action you take.

Additional tips

  • Click a certain spot on your image as a start point and hold down. Press the Ctrl key and hold down until you’ve finished creating your ellipse. This makes your start point to be used as the center of the selected ellipse.
  • Click a certain spot on your image and hold down. Press the Shift key until you’ve finished creating an ellipse. This forces the selection to be a circle.
  • Click a certain spot on your image as a start point and hold down. Press both Ctrl and Shift keys and hold down until you’ve finished creating your ellipse. This forces the selection to be a circle with your start point as the selected circle.

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