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Blender-GIMP Autorefresh


This commercial add-on syncs editing in Blender and the Gimp. Supported versions are Blender 2.63 and GIMP 2.8.

Orest B writes:

Ever try creating a 3D object in Blender, and painting a texture for it in GIMP? This addon lets you paint in GIMP while the texture updates automatically in Blender, or switch to painting in Blender and see the texture update in GIMP. It also automatically imports the UV layout from Blender into GIMP, and adds shortcuts to GIMP to save and reload the texture without affecting certain layers. [here]is a video demo, and the manual has more info on how to use it. Right now we're trying to make some cash :) and are selling the addon for $5, we plan to make it free eventually.


About the Author

Bart Veldhuizen

I have a LONG history with Blender - I wrote some of the earliest Blender tutorials, worked for Not a Number and helped run the crowdfunding campaign that open sourced Blender (the first one on the internet!). I founded BlenderNation in 2006 and have been editing it every single day since then ;-) I also run the Blender Artists forum and I'm Head of Community at Sketchfab.


  1. For 5$ it's really cheap and seems useful, but what about support ? we know that Blender is evolving everydays, if we buy this addon will it be compatible in 6 month, 1 year ?

        • opening is the least, if your file contains more than just the default cube chances are it's not going to import with all the original data. I've learned blender the hard way, every tutorial I was following with files to download were not functional anymore. Some websites are still selling tutorials with files that the 2.62/2.63 will open but they won't be functioning as advertised so...

          • You are right. Gimp is able to open all Gimp file I've ever made and all 2er versions are API compatible, but Blender isn't even able to open old files...

      • My two cents: I've made a character's
        hair setup with physical simulation in Blender 2.61. It's really long
        hair, but with quite much effort I managed to get it to behave nice
        and realistic. However in any newer version of Blender, the setup
        gets all broken and useless! Can't fix it in any conceivable way,
        looks like I'll have to remake it from scratch if I want to use the
        character in newest versions (for now, I can bake the hair dynamics
        in 2.61 and then load the file cache into 2.63 or 2.64 beta, but who knows how
        long this will work too?). So much for the inter-version
        compatibility. :p

  2. This makes me remember the good old time, when I just hase to ctrl+S in Photoshop and hit refresh in Blender.... Now I have to save as PNG again and again and again... Anyway, this plug-in is great :)

  3. Seems like a interesting concept, but there are some things that bothers me.
    As far as i know, a extension like this existed in the past, but hasn't been updated in ages.
    The concept seems nice, but really slow.
    It seems like there is quite the amount of overhead, specially when you see that they are using a default cube and a small 1024x1024 map at the moment, so no complex geometry or big textures.

    If the whole concept would be quite the amount faster and would take less overhead, i would be buying a couple of copy's of this extension, but for now, it seems like a good proof of concept, but needs work.

    • You mean Verse? Jiri thought it wasn't a great concept and eventually stopped working on it.

      The real solution would be to use GEGL buffers in both Blender and GIMP. Those buffers can be shared, it's part of GEGL's design.

      • Yea, we need GEGL buffers in Blender, Inkscape, MyPaint and Gimp. That would be really cool. (The only problem I see is how we can get Krita in thin plan.)

          • It should be possible to get Krita on board. GEGL has an extension API for tile backends, which will allow GeglBuffers to be backed by the tile store that Krita uses. This is the API that allowed GIMP core to transition nicely to GEGL. For the GIMP plugins which run out-of-process wrt to the GIMP instance, it even handles network transparency!

            In MyPaint we're doing it the other way around: libmypaint has a (new) tile storage extension API, which can wrap a GeglBuffer. In the future I hope that will replace the current tile storage.

  4. Lukáš Jirkovský on

    So it's basically the same thing like Verse five years ago. It wasn't perfect, mainly because it never got much attention neither from users neither from developers. IIRC it also supported other apps, such as Maya, too.

    I made a short demo recording at that time (beware, the hosting is usually very slow):

    • So what? All Gimp 2.x should be API compatible and if the gimp-painter developer didn't make something very stupid it should just work.

  5. This is beautiful , I use gimp and blender . Yes, I do jump back and forward ,save, on and on and on ... This looks very promising add on . I would buy it . Does anyone know will blender 2.64 , cycles be able to see packed in textures ?

  6. I absolutely love how the community is able to profit commercially through extending open source software. This looks like a great concept, and I'd be willing to try it out. I'd really suggest working on a plugin that does the same for photoshop (I'm not sure if that would work or not based on how ps works internally). Open up your audience to more pros who like ps! ;)

  7. Reynante Martinez on


    The constant and frequent exporting is sending shivers down my spine though, I do hope my laptop can handle the load of exporting (say, with minimum of 2k images), let alone two applications (Blender and GIMP) running at the same time.

    It's a powerful in its own right, however.

    Thanks for sharing! ^_^


  8. Kirill Poltavets on

    Sounds like a cool stuff! ^_____^
    Can you do the same for MyPaint?
    I'll make a PayPal accepted card then and ready to pay 10$ for such bridge.

    • You can make the refreshing go much faster for PNG images, just tell your paint program not to compress the PNG too much when saving it. The PNG file becomes bigger when saved by your paint program, but you can just save it again from Blender to make it highly compressed again.


  9. Hey guys, thanks a lot for the support and interest in the add-on!
    Couple of quick things; we are in the process of updating it and very soon will be looking into making one for Photoshop.
    Your input is greatly appreciated,

  10. It just saves and opens the PNG... Five bucks! I'd expect something more elegant. Use local netwok communication, maybe? But I like the basic idea, anyway. And it seems to display the UV layout nicely.

    • The point of the addon is to automate what people usually do when texture painting in an external program like GIMP - they save/import UV's as a layer, then they keep switching between GIMP and Blender to saving/reloading the image while hiding/showing the UV layer. The autorefresh simply automates that process, it saves/reloads the image (in a coordinated way between Blender and GIMP) for you at regular time intervals that you set, and takes care of the UV's and other similar layers, so you can concentrate on the painting.

      Also in the future, if you can, please direct your comments/suggestions on Blender-GIMP Autorefresh to my thread:

      I am much more active in that forum and will be able to answer questions much more efficiently.
      Take care,

  11. The addon is designed to be compatible with different version of Blender, and we're again going to check it with the new version of Blender when it comes out. Eventually the addon will become open source, so in the long run it can be compatible with anything since people can freely modify and update it.


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