I'm using GIMP on Ubuntu 10.04. I'm trying to open a psd file with layers, but it gets rendered all wrong. Several colors and gradients show up as black in GIMP instead. If I open the psd in IrfanView with Wine, it will render correctly, but I won't have access to layers.

Is there something I can do to have the psd file with layers render properly in GIMP? If not, is there some other program I can try to view the layers of a psd file?

  • Well.... Photoshop 7, CS2, and CS5 work well with Wine. CS3 works as well but it's got a few glitches.
    – RobinJ
    Jul 7, 2011 at 21:32
  • 3
    They also cost hundreds of dollars...
    – Bob
    Jul 7, 2011 at 21:44

4 Answers 4


Since you don't seem to be a programmer, you can't really do anything.

GIMP can't render all PSD files properly simply because it doesn't have some feature. E.g. in Photoshop gradients are often applied as layer styles, and GIMP doesn't have them.

There is support for PSD coming to Krita, another image editing application, but I really couldn't say how much it will support.


Sounds like it might be either:

a. A bug in Gimp.

b. A video driver issue.

If it is a bug in gimp, you can try updating it. Maybe the Gimp-Painter fork won't have the issue. I copied the following code from David Revoys blog.

sudo apt-add-repository ppa:mizuno-as/ppa && sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install gimp gimp-plugin-registry

Or maybe... try this: run the windows version of Gimp on Wine and see if you get the correct layers and render. If you do, then there is probably something askew with the video drivers and how Gimp is using them. You can always try converting it to a different format, maybe it is something wrong with the file.

You can also try to re-install your video drivers (I recommend using synaptic, just mark them for re-installation). Maybe even re-install Gimp. Reboot and then try opening it again.

I hope one of these helps you. :)


Just an explanation why the file opens in IrfanView: when Photoshop saves a PSD file, it embeds a merged full-size "preview" image in it - this is what is displayed by viewers. Obviously, they don't have access to layers in the file. Gimp need to render the whole stack, which is much more difficult.

In principle, the merged preview generation can be turned off in Photoshop, which will make PSD smaller, but all viewers will see just black then.

In my experience, Gimp has no problems rendering "classic" Photoshop's... err... pixel-based layers. However, recent versions of Photoshop introduced "vector" or "procedural" (I don't remember the exact term used) layers - i.e. instead of actual pixel data, Photoshop stores definitions of geometric figures, gradients and stuff, which can be edited without loss of quality. Those layers are problematic for Gimp. I think they can be rasterized in Photoshop before saving which will make Gimp to open the file correctly.


There are quite a few good alternatives to Photoshop: http://alternativeto.net/software/adobe-photoshop/?exactmatch=true

I've used Pinta before and I think it rendered PSD files pretty well. Edit: My mistake, Pinta doesn't seem to be able to open PSD files at all.

  • None of the other ones are available on Ubuntu as well as support PSD. Jul 8, 2011 at 3:28

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