"Open the layers dialog (Windows/Layers, Channels, Paths, Undo)
Then right click on the layer with the original image, and select "layer to
After that you should be able to flatten the image.
Or you could just select File/Save As
then supply a new image name and you will be prompted to export the image,
which will flatten it since jpg images have to contain only one layer."
Sorta worked and sorta didn't. Still wouldn't let me merge down or flatten.
But it did let me save it as default GIMP format, and more importantly as a
TIF that I can transform into the JPG I want. I'll have to figure out what
the bug was later.
One thing I've learned in my years in IT: only a beginner will break
software in ways the developer never could have imagined!
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