GIMP for Beginners 8: GIMP Tips, Tricks and Techniques | Brian Jackson | Skillshare

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GIMP for Beginners 8: GIMP Tips, Tricks and Techniques

teacher avatar Brian Jackson, Author/Publisher/Educator

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

7 Lessons (29m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Circular Text

    • 3. Text Along a Path

    • 4. Layer Groups

    • 5. Reflection and Water Effects

    • 6. Clone Tool

    • 7. GIMP for Beginners to Intermediate Final Thoughts

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About This Class

In this GIMP for beginners class, I attempt to bridge the gap between GIMP for Beginners and Intermediate level GIMP by discussing some of the most useful advanced features you need to know.  In this class we'll address the following topics:

  • Circular Text
  • Text Along a Path
  • Layer Groups
  • Reflection and Water Effects
  • Clone Tool

So, if you're ready to take your GIMP'ing to the next level then this is the class for you.


Meet Your Teacher

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Brian Jackson



Born in Los Angeles in the middle of the last century, I have always wanted to be a writer. After twenty-five some odd years spent working in the computer industry in the heart of the Silicon Valley, first for Lockheed as a Systems Programmer and later for Cisco Systems as a test tool developer, I managed to retire early and begin my next career as a self-published author.

Along with writing and publishing my own novels I also publish the works of my wife, Melanie Jackson. During the past four years I've published well over 100 books in paperback and eBook formats. Oddly enough this includes eBooks on how to self-publish books and how to create professional looking book covers using the GIMP. I've also recorded and distributed a pair of audiobooks available for purchase on Amazon... See full profile

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1. Introduction: Hello, everyone. And welcome to my latest course that attempts to bridge the gap between beginners and intermediate. When it comes to the gimp. Here we have some more advanced tips and techniques that you can use to make incredible image effects like this reflection of the moon and water to the right. That's one of the projects will be working on. Let's take a look into detail at the projects that will be working on in the scores. First, we'll be looking at creating circular text will be pulling a circular selection. It could be a rectangular selection, and then we're gonna make tax to go along it to follow along in the same vein because you're using a path to great circular text. We're gonna look at making text, follow an arbitrary path, a path that you draw that isn't a circle or a box. Next, we're gonna look at a layer groups. This is a handy way to group layers together. You can then treat them as a single unit or individually, for instance. You can have a box and it's drop shadow. Be a group and move them together or deal with them individually. Next we're gonna look at a need effect, which is reflections. I use this a lot to reflect things off floors. We're also gonna look at applying a water effect to a reflection to create that image that you see in the class image. And finally, we're gonna look at the clone tool. You can use this to remove blemishes or other things that you don't want in your photos, even also use it to replicate things that you'd like to have more than once in your photos . So if you're ready, let's get working and we'll see you in the first lesson. 2. Circular Text: Hi. In this lesson, we're going to continue our investigation into paths. If you remember in a previous class, we used paths to outline text. In this case, we're going to use paths to have text follow a path and that path is gonna be circular. So this is the lesson on circular text. So to begin, we're going to make I knew something or other and let's make it 1000 by 1000. There we go in its 7200 peopie I That should be just fine. I'm going to pull this in a little so that we can get it into this area and then I'm going to go to view zoom fit, image window, and there's are 1000 by 1000 pallet. Now, the first thing that you need to do is you need to have a selection to turn into a path and we want a circle. So I'm gonna go up and do the elliptical circle. Now, here's something that I just discrete discovered recently, which is handy of your pulling circles. You can come down here and click on the fixed aspect ratio and what it will do is it will pull left and right or up and down left and right the same way, and it will keep it. Ah, circle. So you could see both these dimensions, width and height are matching each other as I pull this out. So that's a way to pull a perfect circle. You don't have to go and modify the numbers to get it perfect. So there's a circle. Let's move it out just a little bit more. There we go. Now it turns out that you can't right text along a selection, but you can write text along a path. So the first thing that we're gonna do with this selection here is we're gonna go to select and we're gonna say select to path. Now that selection is a path you didn't really see anything change on the screen. But if you go appear to your layers window and remember the layers tabs on the left. And this one is the path tab or pass tab. We can see we have a new path, and that is our selection. Now the next thing will need is will need to write some text to go along this path. So let's go ahead and will input that I'd like it to be engravers. Black is fine. And let's make it about 30. There we go. So will come up here and all right, all right. The camp in the gimp is fund. Now, to get this to wrap all the way around the circle, you could see it's gonna have to be much bigger text. So let's take this and bump it up to something more like 60. There we go. I'm happier with that. Now. What we'll do is we have a path and we can now make this text go along the path. And this is the way that you do this. I go to the text and then a right click, and I say text along path. Now, which path is it going to use? It's going to use the path that you currently have selected in your paths in the past. Stab of the layers window. So you've only got one selection. That's the one it's going to use. So I click right click here and I say text along path and it puts the text along the path. Now you could see this text isn't big enough for long enough to completely go around the circle. So what we'll do is we will edit. Undo This could take several shots to get this right. We're gonna take this text and first we're gonna make it a little bit bigger. Let's bring it up to 80. There we go. That's more like it. Now let's try wrapping that once again. I'll go to the text, right click and I'll say, text, Ah, long path. And now we're getting pretty close to being together. Okay, The last trick that I'm going to use here we will edit, undo, and I'll go to my text and I want to put spaces between the words. So I go down here to the inner word spacing and let's click it up to something like five. Well, maybe 10. Now let's wrap that around once again. I right click and I say, text a long path, and they're now you concede that we're getting pretty close. We have too much in there, were running into the other word. So let's do this edit. Undo one more time. We will take two out of that 10 and that should be about perfect. Let's go right click and say Text, Long path. And there you go. We've got it now so that we can see it. We don't need this text anymore, So let's get completely rid of that layer. There we go. So I like the gimp. The campus fund is wrapped around here. However, we can't actually do anything with this text. That is a path we needed to be a selection. Wouldn't you know it? So when goto our paths window here now notice we have two paths. We have original selection and we have our words. Go to the words right, click on it and say path to selection. Now we finally have a selection and we know we can do for the selection. We can go ahead and pick the foreground color. Let's pick something like this. Dark blue. We'll go to our layers, create a new transparent layer to put our tax nine and go up to edit and say, fill with foreground color. And there it fills the selection with the foreground color. Now we no longer need the selection. So let's say select a nun got rid of the marching ants, but what's this red stuff? That's the path so go over to the path and wink it out so that you don't see it. And here is our text in a circle. Now the final problem that we have is that this gap here is kind of randomly placed. Wouldn't it be nice if it was right down at the bottom? So what we need to do is rotate this text, and that's easy enough to Dio. We go up and we pull a circle that fits around the text. We go get it pretty centered in the same way. And then we say, Edit, cut, edit paste that turns this layer into a floating layer, which means we could move it, which means that I can go to it and use the rotate tool and pull it around until the I and the exclamation point are at the bottom. That's pretty close. Let's pull it just a little bit further to this side, and I think it would be about perfect. That looks good. We go ahead and we anchor the layer, and that is text in a circle. I'll see you in the next lesson 3. Text Along a Path: Hi. In this lesson, I thought we would take the concept of past little further. Now, in the last lesson, we drew text around a circular path. You should also recognize that I could have pulled a rectangular path and did the same thing. It would've worked very similarly. Just been rectangular instead of circular. What about it? Arbitrary path. Though this is the way you do that, I'm gonna wink out the layer that has our gim pus fun on it. And I'm going to create a new layer for us to put some new words on it. And then what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna go over here and notice this path tool or paths tool. This allows you to draw a line so I can come here and Aiken lay down points for where I'd like my line to go. And I kind of keep it smooth, but it won't be perfect. Let's go. Something like that. And the way that you could make it smooth. Did you drag these points in between and notice it starts. It starts rapping and and becoming smoother and so on. I can pull the middle up in this directions these lines will help smooth out the line. And so anywhere where I have ah rial gap, I can go and I congrats the line in between and start playing with these little squares that are kind of like smoothing, um, directional lines. I don't know how to explain it, but it turns it into a spline rather than points along the jagged line. Once we have it pretty close to a smooth line, this is our path. We don't need to go from selection to path like we did the last time. We're drawing the path directly and it's an arbitrary path. I could go anywhere I want. Now if I come here to the past, I can see my new path. Okay, All I need is some text then to put on the path. Let's go ahead and go to the text tool and go to layers and I will type Gives us a lot of fun. Actually, gimp is fun. Alone is is long enough. Let's see if we can change this fund just a little darker in the green areas that it shows up a little better. There we go. Now I can place this text along the path. I remember we have multiple pasts. We might want to come here and make sure the one we want is selected. And then we go to the text, right click and say Text along path and notice. We get this fun floating text along are arbitrary path. I can then go over to the layers and wink out my text and I now got a path that is my text following the path. So it's a new path here we can see it with the text, and once again I can't do anything with the path. So I right, click on the path and the path window and I say path to selection this I can Then go here and get the darker green and say edit. Okay, go back to our layers and remember, we need a new, transparent layer and here I go at it, fill with color and I could see the marching ants. Let's just select none. And then I go over here to the paths window and I wink out the path. And here is a green gimp is fun along an arbitrary path. So just use the past tool here to draw your arbitrary path and all the rest of the steps of the same little complicated. But once you get the hang of it and do it a few times, you'll remember it, so I'll see you in the next lesson. 4. Layer Groups: in this lecture, I'd like to show you a handy little layer organization tool that I find really useful. This is really for more expert type of use when you get really complex images you're working on. But I like it a lot, so I'm going to show it to you. So let's begin by going over to our layers and I'm gonna wink out what we've got showing so far and create a new layer. Now, on this layer, this is a transparently I'm going to create a box. Okay, so I'm gonna make a box quickly here by drawing out something that looks about box size. And then I'll go ahead and I'll dump some green color into here. So we have a green box. Now, let's create a drop shadow for this. And remember, the way to do that is to just take the layer that we want the drop shadow on. To duplicate it, go to the bottom layer, select black as our color and go ahead and use the bucket fill tool to dump that into the background. Now you won't see it, so we use the move tool. Make sure we're moving active layer and we're on the bottom. We go ahead and we pull that shadow out just a little bit. It's very harsh. So let's go up to filters. Blur Gaussian Blur. Hit it with about a 20 pixel blur. There we go. That's a fairly nice blur. In fact, let's hit it again with that blur. Just a blurred a little bit more. There we go. That might be a little better. Now what we're going to do is go to that shadow layer and let's make it about a 60 opacity . That's a little light. Let's try 70. Here we go. Seventies a little Isar. So there I have a box with a drop shadow. Now, one of things that I'd like to dio is I'd like to move both of these things at the same time of I want to put them somewhere. The way that you typically do that is you go to the layer on top that you'd like to move its a group and you say merge down Now The problem is, once you merged layer down Let me do that So you can see now the drop shadow and the green box air the same layer. I'm on the movement tool. I could move them around together because I've merged them together. But the problem is, is let's say I want to change the color of the green box. I gotta go. Deuce Color Select. I can't just do this. What if I want to move the shadow out a little bit more? I can't do that because I emerged the layers together. So let's go ahead here and we'll edit undo the merge down. So we have to separate layers the green box in the drop shadow and check this out. This is really need. We go to the top layer and I say New layer group now Layer Group is just like a folder for layers. So if I want these two layers, to be part of that layer group is to drag them and drop them inside. And now you can see by the fact that these air indented and they've got the line here that these two layers air actually in this layer group up here, and I can minimize it, not show those layers or I can maximize it and show the layers that air in the layer group now Here's the cool part that I can actually manipulate things as a layer group or as the individual layers in the layered grip. Let me show you what I'm talking about. If I want to move these two layers together, all I do is select the Layer group and act on that. And here I've got the movement tool, and as I move things around, I end up moving both layers. If I want to move the layers individually, let's say I want the black layer to be moved out a little bit. I pick that layer within the layer Group. Now I'm working on that individual layer, and you could see that I can pull it out. So here, with layer groups, I have the best of both worlds. Aiken treat two layers as, ah single layer, or I can address the layers individually. Now you can have layer groups within layer groups. You have multiple layers, so you use thes primarily once your image gets really complex. But imagine grouping image components of a whole image into groups and being able to address them as a group and then being able to break them down and still address them individually. This is a very powerful and useful tool 5. Reflection and Water Effects: Hi. In this lecture, we're going to do reflections and more specifically, a reflection on water. I'm going to do kind of two halves of this and give you two effects. You decide that when you like. So the first thing we're gonna do is wink out this layer group I love with layer groups. And we're going to, ah, use an image to create a reflection on water that I thought was really need. Let me bring up this image that I found. So the idea is that will have the moon in the sky reflecting on a water pattern. To begin with, we're gonna make sure that this image is the right width. So we're gonna come down to scale image, and we want the with to be 1000. It was pretty close, and we don't need that high of a resolution. I don't think it matters since I'm copying this anyway. But we'll take it down and go ahead like that. Now I'm going to select the entire image because it's too tall for our area. Doesn't matter, will be able to drag it around, and then it will crop the image to the right size so we'll copy that. And then I'm done with this image. I'm gonna go back over here to my work area where I'm going to create a new, transparent layer. Remember, before doing anything, you create a new layer and we created it inside the layer group. That's interesting, because we had that selected. So if I move this up and now I'm gonna move that up to the top so we have our layer to do our effect on and here I'm going to edit paste our night sky and it's pasting it pretty close. It's actually it's centered. I think we want more of the sky. Now, remember, we're gonna have a reflection it around the halfway point. So we've got about 500 here to play with. Let's make sure left and right that we're in here. I like it about there. And whenever I lined things up on the edge, what I like to do is zoom into something big, like 4 to 1, and then go to the edge and see just how close I am. I'm right on it. So I'm going to go ahead, see? We're on the other one now. We're in from that one. So we move this over about two pixels. There we go now. I'm lined on the right, unaligned on the left, so let's go ahead and anchor that floating layer. And then I go to view zoom, fit, image and window. And here's what we've got now to make a reflection. Okay. Now, to make this image more interesting, I thought I would put the word moon in here and have that reflect as well. So let's go ahead. And I'm gonna use white for the word and I'll pick the text tool. And there's Ah, copper plate Gothic Bold that I like to use that as the fund will try about 80 and let's see what it looks like. The word moon a century big. So let's take that text and we we will bring that up to 200. That's more like it. Now you'll notice that the moon is kind of blending into the background quite a bit. We want it more like up in this area, so we're gonna outline it in black. To do that, we flip black toe our front color. We go to the text tool over to the moon right click, say path from text. Go to the path Select Moon is the path, say stroke the path and probably, let's say two pixels is enough for the with of the black line that we're going to stroke around the path. And there we go. That makes Moon really pop, and I like where it is. So let's start working on the reflection. First of all, I need to be able to treat these together now. I would do this via a layer group, typically, but I'm going to try the method since I'm not going to mess with them separately of just emerging this down. Okay, now we've got the moon, and the background together we're going to do is I'm going to go select 50% of this air right up the 500 line. Make sure down here by the numbers that I hit it pretty good, and I I did do pretty well. This has to be 1000. That has to be 500. There we go, and that's exactly half. Let's go ahead and we will and it copy, and then we'll create a new layer to put this on. We'll go to that layer and we'll say Edit paste. Now a reflection is flipped vertically, so we'll go to the flip tool and we'll pick Vertical and will flip this moon vertically. And then we'll move this down to the lower part of the screen and will anchor it there. Now the two reflection effects this already looks really need. The two reflection effects that I wanted to show you is that you can have this kind of going away or disappearing, fading out like it's on a white background by taking it and creating, taking this bottom part that make that the current layer right click, Add a layer mask of white so it shows through and then do a Grady int from black to white. Now, if Black doesn't let it through and white does than we want, that's due from white to black notice that you can reverse thes. So now it's white to black, and I'm gonna get it right. The making sure I'm on the right layer, okay? And that I'm on the layer mask side. Okay, very a lot of things you have to keep track of. I'm going to go to about 500 in the middle and I will pull the Grady int from around 500 down to the end. And that's gonna go from white to black. So it's gonna show through and then not. And here you get that effect. Now what we've got to we've got to remove the bottom half of the original image here. So let's do a selection on this bottom half so we don't. So the white shows through. We'll select from here through about here, and then we're on that bottom layer and we will cut, had it cut. There we go. And now, if I select none, you can see that this reflection is kind of going away like it's on a white floor. So that's one way to do it. Reflection. The way that we're going to do is a water effect. So let's go ahead and we'll get rid of this layer mask. Notice. If I right click here, I can say delete layer mask and that we don't have that effect anymore. Let me show you the water effect. We're gonna go to here and we need filters, distorts waves, come down to the bottom here, and what it's doing is is showing you the waves that it's gonna create right now, and you have control over the amplitude phase and wavelength. Good luck. Play with them and see what they dio. I don't okay, that makes mawr waves. There's no waves by slowly adding the waves. And here come the waves in looks like maybe around four or five. And then let's up the phase, see what that does? It's interesting, it seems, to shift it. Okay, we'll keep it down here and then the wavelength. Let's bring that up. Oh, I see that makes the waves further apart so we can get more of Ah, that's an interesting effect. Let's go ahead and apply that and you see that we get a rippling effect now now, because we deleted that background. We're also getting some white through, So this is the way to do a wave effect you have control over the waves is the way to do a reflection. In fact, I showed you two waves or two ways, and that's it for this class. So good luck and do the project. I'll see in the next class 6. Clone Tool: it looks like we have time for one more lesson on what I've chosen to show you is the clone tool. This is an important tool that we skipped over here. And it's the way that you modify photos and images to improve them, to take things out or actually to add things. Anyway, let me show you what I'm talking about with an image that I selected from my library. Now imagine we have this image, which is very pretty, and we decide that there are too many daffodils in it. Well, what we can do is we can use the clone tool to remove this daffodil by taking sky and painting it over it. Let me show you how this works. I go to the clone tool and I come over to the layer that I want to clone. Now I hold down the control key and click in an area that I'd like to clone. So I want a clone sky. I click the sky. There it is. That's what I'm gonna clone. And here's what I'm gonna clone over. So I just go ahead and hold the mouse down and I end up painting over. I'm holding the left mouse key down and I'm painting over this flower. I'm getting rid of it. It looks like the color isn't quite the same is down here lower, but that's OK. We're getting close and then you gotta pull it in close along the edge to get these colors out of there, and we just keep pulling it. Every once in a while you release the mouse button and the clone tool removed to where you're cloning from. Oh, actually, what I would do if I was really doing this purposely and I was going to use the results is I would get down at I woulda zoom this in so that it's much easier to clone. But, um, you know, I think I've gone far enough here that you get the point. So that's cloning to remove something. If you have too many people on the beach, just clone sand over them. If you have a zit on somebody's face that you're taking a picture of, just clone other parts of their face onto it. Now you can also replicate things. For instance, let's say we like this cloud up here. Let's go ahead and position over it. Hold control and click. Now we're cloning that cloud and let's say we want to put it over here. So we dio is we go and we paint around where the cloud is and you could see it's taking shape. We clone it up here. We're getting a little blue. The cloud comes down this way goes over in this direction and there we go. We're pretty much getting the shape of the cloud. So there you go. We've replicated this cloud over here in this space. Not a very good shot, actually. But that's the clone tool clone from one place on an image to another. 7. GIMP for Beginners to Intermediate Final Thoughts: thanks for taking the class. I hope that you have plans to do the project. The project. This involves creating the end of reflection similar to this moon here and then uploading it to the class project. Anyway, I hope you enjoy the class and that you got something out of it. I'll see you in the next class soon.