5.2. Path Properties

Paths, like layers and channels, are components of an image. When an image is saved in GIMP's native XCF file format, any paths it has are saved with it. The list of paths in an image can be viewed and operated on using the Paths dialog. You can move a path from one image to another by copying and pasting using the pop-up menu in the Paths dialog, or by dragging an icon from the Paths dialog into the destination image window.

GIMP paths belong to a mathematical type called Bezier paths. What this means in practical terms is that they are defined by anchors and handles. Anchors are points the path goes through. Handles define the direction of a path when it enters or leaves an anchor point: each anchor point has two handles attached to it.

Paths can be very complex. If you create them by hand using the Paths tool, they probably won't contain more than a few dozen anchor points and usually a less than that. However, if you create them by transforming a selection into a path, or by transforming text into a path, the result can easily contain hundreds or even thousands of anchor points.

Kontūre gali būti keli komponentai. Komponentas – tai kontūro, kurio visi prieraišų taškai sujungti vienas su kitu kontūro segmentais, dalis. Galimybė kontūruose turėti kelis komponentus leidžia konvertuoti juos į pažymėjimus, kuriuose yra kelios atskiros dalys.

Visi kontūro komponentai gali būti arba atverti, arba užverti: užvertas reiškia, kad paskutinis prieraišo taškas yra sujungtas su pirmu prieraišo tašku. Jei transformuojate kontūrą į pažymėjimą, bet kurie atvertii komponentai automatiškai konvertuojami į užvertus komponentus, tiesia linija sujungiant paskutinį prieraišo tašką su pirmu prieraišo tašku.

Path segments can be either straight or curved. A path is called polygonal if all of its segments are straight. A new path segment is always created straight; the handles for the anchor points are directly on top of the anchor points, yielding handles of zero length, which produces straight-line segments. Drag a handle away from an anchor point to cause a segment to curve.

One nice thing about paths is that they use very few resources, especially in comparison with images. Representing a path in RAM requires storing only the coordinates of its anchors and handles. Therefore, it is possible to have literally hundreds of paths in an image without causing any significant stress to your system. Even a path with thousands of segments consumes minimal resources in comparison to a typical layer or channel.

Paths can be created and manipulated using the Paths tool.