Learning Linux

Part 4 - More of the GIMP

Continuing our coverage of Gimp, we will go through creating oddly shaped images and modifying the edges of images. We will also add text to the image and modify the text to stand out.

Gimp 2.8

Since the last part of Learning Linux, our workstation has been upgraded to Linux Mint 14.1. This means that many of our tools have been updated. Specifically, we now have Gimp 2.8, which is quite different from 2.4 and 2.6. This will affect this part of the Learning Linux series, as we will be dealing with the new Gimp.

Changes to Gimp 2.8

Figure 1. Gimp 2.8 in Single Window Mode

Cropping and Feathering Photos

Suppose we have a rectangular image that we want to crop into an oval image, and also have feathered edges. we start with the rectangular image:

Figure 2. Starting Image

Since we will be cropping with an oval, we now click on the Ellipse Select Tool.

Figure 3. Clicking the Ellipse Select Tool

We need to change a couple of the options for this tool. Down in the Tool Options dialog, check the Feather edges option and change its radius to 15.0. Also check the Expand from center option, as we will be creating our oval selection by starting the select in the center of the area we want to clip.

Figure 4. Ellipse Select Tool options

Now that we have a region selected, we click on the Edit | Copy menu item to copy the region to the clipboard. We then click on Edit | Paste as | New Image.

Figure 5. The New Image

Note that the edges of the image are blurred (feathered).

The final thing we want to do to our image is to add some 3-D text to it. We are going to use the Color Picker tool to change the foreground color to the same color as the crack between clapboards on the barn.

Figure 6. Color Picker Tool

After selecting the tool, we click on one of the barn clapboard cracks. Now we can put some text on our image. Click on the Text Tool (the big 'A'). Then change the font size to 30 and Justify to Centered.

Figure 7. Text Tool options

Since the Justify option seems to be broken, we click on the image in to the left above the llama, then type 'North Idaho Fair' in that box.

Figure 8. Text Added to Image

The final step before saving this image in a file is to make the text 3-dimensional. Select the Filters | Light and Shadow | Xach-Effect menu option. When the dialog comes up, just click the Ok button. We now export this image to a PNG or JPG file. Here is the result:

Figure 9. The Final Image

Using Alpha to Logo Filters

Gimp has many built-in shortcuts to allow you to easily create special effects. The Alpha to Logo filters apply only to text and provide very good examples of this. We will run through a couple of these filters to show you how they work.

The first thing we will do is create a new image to play on. Click on File | New and then click Ok. This will create a 640 by 400 image, filled with a white background. Now click on the Text Tool ('A') and change the font size to 72. In the image, click on location 100, 60 (you can see your location in Gimp's status bar). When you see the text helper, click on the heavy looking 'a' and the italic 'a' to select bold/italic. Now type "Hello There".

Figure 10. Setup to Test Filters

Since the Alpha to Logo filters only work with text, you must make sure that the text layer is selected. It will be when you are finished entering text, but this is just a reminder.

Now let's try one of the filters. Click on the Filters | Alpha to Logo | 3D Outline menu item. Then click the Ok button. The Script-Fu script for 3D Outline will run, and you will then see this:

Figure 11. 3D Outline Filter

Very fancy, isn't it? there are lots more of these filters. To try another one, click on Edit | Undo 3D Outline, or simply type a Control-Z. Make sure the text layer is selected, then select Filters | Alpha to Logo | Glossy. Click on Ok and you will see this:

Figure 12. Glossy Filter

I urge you to try the other Alpha to Logo filters. You can make changes in each of their dialog boxes, but I would check out the defaults first.

<< Part 3: Introduction to the GIMP | >> Part 5: The Linux File System