How to replicate an adjustment layer in Gimp

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As we all know, Gimp doesn’t have an adjustment layer, but that doesn’t mean you can’t archive those effects non-destructively in Gimp and you can even replicate 40–50% of Photoshop’s adjustment layer.

You can replicate adjustment layers by using blending modes. As you know, Gimp has lots of blending modes, I mean more than Photoshop.

Before we begin with the article, let me be clear on one thing: this method does not create a full copy of Photoshop’s adjustment layer, but only several important ones.

In this article, I duplicated the effects of about half of the adjustment layers in Gimp, which will help you with image manipulation, image correction, and other work.

Darken (Levels, Curves, Exposure)

To darken an image you might use levels, curves, or exposure adjustment layers, but to recreate this exact darkening effect you can use plenty of darkening blending to do that, but my recommendation is to multiply.

To replicate this adjustment layer.

Step 1. Create a new layer

Step 2. Fill it with black

Step 3. Change blending mode to multiply

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Step 4. Reduce the opacity to adjust the darkening effect.

Brighten (Exposure , Curves and Levels)

Step 1. Create a new layer

Step 2. Fill it with white

Step 3. Change blending mode to overlay

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Step 4. Reduce the Opacity to Adjust the Effect

Contrast (Levels, curves, and brightness and contrast)

Step 1. Duplicate the layer

Step 2. Change the blending mode to Overlay

Step 3. Reduce the opacity to adjust the effect.

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Color Match (Color Balance, Curves)

Step 1. Create a New Layer

Step 2. Use a color picker tool with a high average sample rate (pick the area where the image is not too bright and not too dark).

Step 3. Fill the sampled color on the new layer

Step 4. Change the blending mode to Lch Color

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Step 5. Reduce the opacity to adjust the effect

Invert

 Step 1. Create a new layer

Step 2. Fill it with white

Step 3. Change Blending mode to Difference

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Black and White

Step 1. Create a new layer

Step 2. Fill it with black 

Step 4. Change blending mode to LCH Color (If you reduce the opacity, then you can also use this method to desaturate your images).

Replicate Clipping mask

In Photoshop, when you create an adjustment layer, you often need that adjustment layer to only affect certain layers. You often use a clipping mask for that.

Gimp doesn’t have any features named “clipping mask,” but Gimp does have similar features. And that is the layer group. Layer group with blending modes works very similarly to the clipping mask, and that is good because every effect in the article is achieved using blending modes.

To achieve the similar effect 

Step 1. Create a layer group 

Step 2. Put The layer and the effect layer to the layer group

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