8.9. Brightness-Contrast

The Brightness-Contrast tool adjusts the brightness and contrast levels for the active layer or selection. This tool is easy to use, but relatively unsophisticated. The Levels and Curve tools allow you to make the same types of adjustments, but also give you the ability to treat bright colors differently from darker colors. Generally speaking, the BC tool is great for doing a "quick and dirty" adjustment in a few seconds, but if the image is important and you want it to look as good as possible, you will use one of the other tools.

In GIMP 2.4, a new way of operating this tool has been added: by clicking the mouse inside the image, and dragging while keeping the left mouse button down. Moving the mouse vertically changes the brightness; moving horizontally changes the contrast. When you are satisfied with the result, you can either press the OK button on the dialog, or hit the Return key on your keyboard.

[Opmerking] Opmerking

Before GIMP-2.10, Brightness-Contrast did not work on indexed layers. This is possible now.

8.9.1. Activating the Tool

You can get to this tool in two ways:

  • In the image menu through ColorsBrightness-Contrast….

  • By clicking on the tool icon in the toolbox if this tool has been installed there. For this, please refer to Paragraaf 1.11, “Toolbox”.

8.9.2. Options

Afbeelding 16.155. Brightness-Contrast options dialog

Brightness-Contrast options dialog


Presets are a common feature for several Colors command. You can find its description in Paragraaf 8.1, “Introduction to the Colors Menu”.


This slider sets a negative (to darken) or positive (to brighten) value for the brightness, decreasing or increasing bright tones.


This slider sets a negative (to decrease) or positive (to increase) value for the contrast.

Edit these settings as Levels

To make your work easier, this button lets you turn to the Levels tool with the same settings.

Preview and Split view

These are common features described in Paragraaf 8.1, “Introduction to the Colors Menu”.