Designing your own effects in GIMP 2.6Ahren Stevens-Taylor
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This article by Juan Manuel Ferreyra, author of GIMP 2.6 Cookbook, is about working with text. GIMP uses the fonts installed in the system. Many times, they are not enough for even the average user. There are many websites that let you download cheap fonts for a low price and also, fortunately, there are hundreds of websites with free, open-source fonts for download, a huge community of font-loving enthusiasts that have no problem with sharing their creations.
GIMP comes with a wide variety of filters and effects. Now, we are going to use some of them with just text layers, to give you a clear idea of how to create great looking text starting from a solid-color font. In this article, we will cover:
- Creating 3D text
- Creating glowing text effects
- Creating shining plastic text
- Creating gold text
- Creating icy cold and fiery text
- Creating paper cutout and rubber stamp text
Installing a font to use it with GIMP is a really quick and easy task. Just copy the font files to the .fonts folder or to your .gimp-[version]/fonts folder in your home directory. Then, restart GIMP.
Once you have your fonts set up, they will be available for you with which to work. GIMP comes with a wide variety of filters and effects. We saw a few of them in action in the previous article on Creating a Logo. Now, we are going to use some of them with just text layers, to give you a clear idea of how to create great looking text starting from a solid-color font.
Creating 3D text
This is a fairly simple recipe where we are going to create 3D text.
How to do it…
Follow these steps to create text with a 3D effect:
- In a new file, create your text. Pick a font, color, and size. Select the Perspective Tool, and drag the layer’s corners to simulate perspective until you are satisfied.
- Duplicate the text layer, and make the copy invisible.
- With the original text layer selected, go to Filters | Map | Bump Map and experiment with the settings. You can see mine in the following image:
Once you click OK, duplicate the layer five or six times. These layers are the basis of the 3D text effect.
- Now select one of the layers, click the Move Tool, and press the down key once:
Select another layer, click the Move Tool again and press the down key twice. Repeat this operation on each of the duplicated layers, for each layer press the down key one more time than the previous layer. When you are satisfied with the thickness of the text, merge all the duplicated layers and your image will be ready:
Creating glowing text effects
This is a simple recipe. We will create glowing text with a subtle outline. I’ll be using a gradient to fill it and make it a little more psychedelic, but you can pick a solid color if you want, or create your own gradient for it.
How to do it…
You can create glowing text by following these steps:
- Create the text, right-click on its name inside the Layers dialog, and select the Alpha to Selection option:
- Delete the text layer, and create a new one. Name it text. Don’t erase the selection. Now, you can choose to use a solid color or a gradient for the glow effect. I’ll pick a colorful gradient and apply it from left to right with the Blend Tool:
- You should still have the selection around the text, create a new layer (name it text2), and fill it with a solid white using the Bucket Fill Tool. Now, create another new layer (name it text3), and fill it with a solid black.
- Delete the selection by going to Select | None from the menu. Make these two layers invisible by clicking on the eye icon to the left of the layer’s name in the Layers dialog:
- Select the text layer, and go to Filters | Blur | Gaussian Blur. Set the horizontal and vertical value to around 10 or 15 pixels:
- Enable and select the text2 layer, and apply the same Gaussian Blur, but with a Blur Radius of around 5:
- Just to give the glow effect another twist, select the text3 layer and set it to Overlay mode. Be aware that this works best with a dark, colored background. If you have a bright or transparent background, the effect won’t be so noticeable:
Here’s what the final piece looks like: