How To Cut Out Part of an Image in Gimp Editor

GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) is a free, open-source image editor that provides powerful tools for photo editing, similar to Adobe Photoshop. One common editing task is cutting out part of an image – selecting an object or area you want to keep and removing the background or surrounding areas. Here is a step-by-step guide to cutting out images in GIMP.

Select the Image Area to Cut Out

The first step is to make a selection around the part of the image you want to cut out. GIMP provides several selection tools to outline the desired area:

  • Rectangle Select – Select a rectangular region by clicking and dragging
  • Ellipse Select – Select an elliptical region
  • Free Select (Lasso) – Manually outline an irregular shape
  • Fuzzy Select (Magic Wand) – Select pixels similar in color with a click
  • Scissors Select – Click points along the edges to make a selection

The Paths Tool can also be used to make complex selections by manually tracing object outlines.

Carefully select the area you want to keep using one of these tools. The selection will have animated marching ants around it when active.

Refine the Selection

It’s unlikely you’ll get a perfect selection on the first try. Use additional tools to clean up and refine the selection edges:

  • Quick Mask – Paint to add/subtract from selection
  • Feather – Blur edges to blend the selection
  • Shrink/Grow – Contract or expand the selection border

Use these to end up with the most accurate selection possible around your desired object or area.

Cut Out the Selection

With an active selection border in place, you can now cut or copy the selected pixels:

  • Cut – Remove selected pixels (Ctrl/Cmd + X)
  • Copy – Duplicate selected pixels (Ctrl/Cmd + C)

The cut/copied selection will be placed in GIMP’s clipboard.

Paste Selection as New Layer or Image

After cutting or copying the selected pixels, you can paste them back in:

  • As new layer – Pastes selection as transparent layer
  • As new image – Pastes selection as new standalone image
  • Into another image – Pastes into another GIMP image

This removes the surrounding areas and isolates the selection.

Additional Tips

Here are some additional tips for cutting out images in GIMP:

  • Work on a duplicate layer to keep original image intact
  • Use Layer Masks for non-destructive editing
  • Adjust colors/lighting of pasted selection if needed
  • Add transparency if pasting selection on new layer
  • Use Defringe to remove leftover pixels on edges

With practice, you’ll be able to accurately and efficiently cut out parts of images in GIMP.

Common Uses of Cutting Out Images

Cutting images is useful for many photo editing and design tasks, including:

  • Removing photo backgrounds
  • Isolating objects or people
  • Creating composites and collages
  • Making textures, shapes, and brushes
  • Designing graphics, logos, icons
  • Prototyping designs or ideas

The ability to accurately cut out and isolate elements gives endless possibilities!


Learning how to cut out images is an essential GIMP editing skill. Follow this guide to select, cut, and paste parts of images as new layers or images with transparent backgrounds. With precision and the proper tools, you can isolate objects, create composites, and remove backgrounds with ease.

The key is taking the time to make an accurate selection, refining the edges, checking for fringe pixels, and pasting your cutout properly. Master this technique and a whole new world of photo manipulation possibilities opens up!