Gimp Resynthesizer Explained - Texture Transfer and Input and Output

As was mentioned in a comment on this post, Resynthesizer no longer does what this blog suggests; if you want the functions shown in this blog, please use Filters > Enhance > Heal selection Click here for the tutorial.

In a previous post I talked a bit about the Gimp plugin Resynthesizer. Someone posted a comment asking for a bit more explanation; more specifically, what the elements of the plugin mean. This actually is not easy to find out. The Resynthesizer website shows what the program can do, but does not really say how. It took me a while to figure it out, but I finally did and will be showing all of the ins and outs of the Resynthesizer plugin.

This is going to be a bit less of a tutorial and more of a guide for Resynthesizer. If you want to see something specific, let me know and I can do a tutorial on it.

First thing you should do is download and install the Resynthesizer plugin from its website. If you are not sure how to do that, visit this tutorial.

Here is a picture of me jumping in Valdez, Alaska. I want to remove me from the picture. Resynthesizer seems to work flawlessly when the background is sky.

Select the part you want removed.

Open the plugin (Filters>Map>Resynthesize...)

Leave the settings as they are and press OK.


Now I will explain a bit more about the other features of Resynthesizer.

You will notice that there are checkboxes for "Make horizontally tileable" and "Make Vertically tileable." These options determines where Resynthesizer looks to get the pixels it will use to fill in the selection. For the above image, I have the bridge selected because I have it gone. Because it is the bottom of the screen, and because I want to keep my horizon looking consistent, I am going to Uncheck "Make Vertically tileable." Now it is not going to look above and beneath, just to the right or the left.


There is another checkbox for "Fit output to bordering pixes." With this checked, pixes are matched at the edge of the selection. This makes for a smooth transition so that it is difficult to tell what you had selected.

To better illustrate this, I am going to select everything but the sky, and un-check the "Fit output to bordering pixes" option.

You can see that there is a definite distinction of where the selection was. Resynthesizer basically copied the top and moved it to the bottom.

This is good though. Now if we select the weird transition area and check the option to fit output to bordering pixels, it will fix our sky.

Now when we run it. we have a pretty good looking sky retaining the gradient.

Texture Transfer

Texture transfer was something a bit more difficult to figure out. Still seems buggy at times but I think I can help explain it a bit now.

For this, I am going to crop the picture so only my head shows.
Create a new (larger) image to transfer the texture to.

For the Input we want to make sure that the Texture source is selecting the texture (in this case, my head). Check the "Use texture transfer" check box. Move the "Map Importance" slider all the way to the left.

Map importance determines how much of the original picture will be used. The lowest it is (furthest to left) means it will use as much of the image as possible. The higher the number (to the right) means it will focus more on getting similar colors and texture.

This texture was run with the slider to the left. Kind of creepy and not useful (I have an example below that IS useful)

Now if we move the slider to the right a bit more...

We get a cool looking texture that we could use as a graphic background.

This is something you should play around and experiment with.

Here is a picture of a field of flowers that I used to create a texture:

Woot! Impressive.

  • The input map and output map are pretty important. Make sure these are correct or it will not work.
  • When doing a texture transfer, make sure you select Filters>Map>Resynthesizer on the OUTPUT. That is, make sure you are exiting the new (blank) image, and not the original image with the texture you are trying to recreate. It will not work unless you do this correct.
  • If one of your images has an alpha channel and the other does not, it will not work. Make sure the images are the same (example: grayscale=grayscale, rgb=rgb, alpha=alpha, etc...)
  • There is another tab for "Tweaks." I won't bother explaining this because it is explained pretty well in the plugin. In most instances you will not need to use any tweaks.

About McKay Christensen

After having lived in Oregon, Alaska, and China for the past 10 years doing landscape design and English teaching, I have returned to my home state of Utah and currently work for a growing tech company.

In my free time I enjoy working on my website where I post tutorials and reviews (and anything else I think is geeky) and I also like to write songs for my Super English Kid Youtube channel.

My favorite things to do include anything with my wife and son. Hiking, camping, and photography (or anything else outdoors). Playing Ultimate Frisbee or Ping Pong. Listening to 60s, 70s, or 80s, music. 

Feel free to contact me using my contact page. I would love to hear from any of you!


  1. Thanks, that was very helpful!
    I have one question: what is the difference between the Texture source and the Input map? What happens if they are not set to the same image?

  2. I think Input map is only if you are trying to do a texture transfer. Not 100% sure though.

  3. thankyou for explaining the terms etc-- was becoming very frustrated 'playing' and getting nowhere-- was trying to use the texture transfer--

  4. where do download this filter and how?? i really dont understand zip files o.O

  5. You can download the plugin here.

    Here are some instructions for installing the plugin.

  6. I downloaded the plugin just wouldn't work as smoothly as shown in the tutorial (eg. it won't blend into the background smoothly)! I'm getting really frustrated over this...any help?

  7. If you can send a link to the picture and explain what you are trying to do, I can try to help out.

  8. Thanks ! this is very informative article. Also I got to know the difference between the Texture source and the Input map..Many thanks !!

  9. Great tutorial, I used it for my recent catalogs, thank you very much!!

  10. Hey this great way of explaining. I am impressed. You explained everything very briefly. Thanks a lot. I just downloaded the plugin and tried for my self. It works wonderfully :))

  11. Thanks for such informative blog, i hope this blog is helpful for my filters business.

  12. It is a very nice tutorial blog and it really useful for my Air cleaner business. It provide good Air Cleaner equipments make Air Purify.

  13. Your explanation of "Make horizontally tileable" is not quite correct. It means that what you synthesized can subsequently be tiled (fitted together like a checkerboard) and the seams will blend nicely. For example, the patch of trees you synthesized for the train can be tiled horizontally (in a row of the same patch) and they will blend together without noticeable junctions. It just *seems* as though the resynthesizer only searched to the sides, (Are you sure that choosing "Make horizontally tileable" made a difference?)

    Also, the maps are for additional comparison when searching for good matches. Additional as in additive: two patches are good matches if the patches match in the target (the selection) and the source (everything else) AND if the corresponding patches in the maps (one for the target and one for the source) match. Useful for "style transfer" between way different images.

  14. Thank you for such a great explanation about Gymp Resyntesizer..i hope it will also help me in my business..

  15. Thank you for explaining about Gymp Resynthesizer.. i hope it will prove helpful in my business.. HVAC Baltimore

  16. There’s no way I would’ve thought about creative designs we can make with gimp. It had great tutorials at the same time opportunity for us to ask questions. Each type of design requires different type of skills and efforts so a person must know that what he wants to use. Well thanks so much for your thoughts and efforts that you put in your post for making it easier to understand for everyone.

  17. It is not working for me as it is for you. Same picture, same workflow, different results. Worse :( Any idea?

  18. Not sure why it would not be working. Are you using Linux? Windows? Which version of Gimp?

  19. It's not working for me either - Gimp 2.8.3 on OS X.

    If I try it using your first picture, it copies a lot of pixels from inside the area that we're trying to erase, moving them around within that area (it replaces one corner of your head with some blue but then moves a section of your shoulder around and makes several copies of your legs, for example).

    I think something's regressed in the plugin.

  20. Ah - a comment in the plugin registry explained the situation.

    Filters > Map > Resynthesize now does something very different to what it used to do, even though the UI looks just the same.

    The functionality we want is now implemented in Filters > Enhance > Heal selection, and has a different dialog box. But it works!

  21. Thanks for noticing Will! I have not used Gimp for a while and when I finally did, I ran into the same problem as you do. I will update my blog accordingly! Thanks for your solution.

  22. Will, I love you! Thanks!!

  23. hey man the plug in is not working properly, instead of making something disappear it just makes it look weirder.


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