Posts Tagged ‘GIMPtricks’

GIMPTRICKS – making cartoon text balloons

June 5, 2010

Moving and resizing in GIMP

June 4, 2010

Addendum at 3:59pm gmt -5

I just found this link to a tutorial which seems to be helping me:

Here is the passage which helps me to understand:

Some common rules for tools and selections

With the comand “ctrl + i” (or with the menu selection -> invert) you can invert a selection.
You can make a selection invisible while keeping it active, very practical because you won’t be distracted by the dotted line and you can concentrate on the retouch. Use the command “ctrl+t”
You can shrink a selection: hold down ctrl and define the section you want to remove with any of the drawing tools. The defined section will be removed from the original selection
Much in the same way, you can add to a selection by holding down the “shift”. (both of these work with the fuzzy selection tool)
You can “unselect” everyting with the command “ctrl + shift + a”.
You can move a selection with the “alt” key pressed, otherwise you cut the picture.
You can modify a selection, enlarge it, reduce it, soften it, refine it…

I just successfully posted the following to GIMPtricks tutorial on GIMP

Yesterday, Youtube would not allow me to post for some reason. I think it is necessary for me to view COMMENTS and then to post from there.

MY BIGGEST PROBLEM AT THIS VERY MOMENT IS UNDERSTANDING HOW TO TELL GIMP TO STOP doing whatever I had been doing with ellipse or lasso select and to simply revert to the way it is when I first open it (other than closing all abandoning changes and then reopening.)

I feel confident that if I persistently bang my head against this GIMP wall for enough hours, days, weeks, months, I shall eventually assemble the set of basic skills and understandings to begin to make some progress.

I viewed this yesterday in hopes of learning how to MOVE AND RESIZE a colored circle after I have created it. My chief difficulty is understanding how properly SELECT the circle. Yesterday youtube would not let me post comment. I see that I can move and rotate the LAYER itself and wonder if that is the answer to moving the image or should one seek to move image WITHIN the layer. But still I wonder if there is an easy way to RESIZE. Thanks!

Another problem I notice is that once I select a tool such as LASSO free select, I have no idea how to UNSELECT everything and stop the little line from following the cursor about (I have no idea how to UNSELECT DESELECT the tool other than to close all and discard changes and then reopen).


I cannot understand how to UNSELECT all tools once I have something selected. My only recourse is to close all , abandoning changes, and then reopen.

I start by loading the full-sized image into gimp. But I’ll need
to work with both the full sized version and a scaled-down copy,
so the first step is Image->Duplicate to make a second copy.
(Of course, I could also use cp in the shell, then open that
file in gimp.) Then I scale the copy much smaller, 550 pixels wide.

The next step is to go back to the original image and select the
kayakers. I’ll use the simplest selection tool for this: the
rectangular selection tool, the very first tool in the gimp toolbox.
(It’s probably already selected by default when you start gimp.)

Go to the large image, and select as though you were using the
Crop tool: start at the upper left of the area you want, mouse down,
and drag down to the lower right. Gimp will draw lines to show you
the box while you’re dragging out the selection, and when you release
the mouse button, the selection is shown by a black-and-white dashed
line where the blacks and whites continuously change. In gimp
parlance, this line is called the “marching ants”.

Gimp’s selection tools aren’t as smart as crop, so you can’t change
a selection’s size easily once you’ve made it. (You can move it;
I’ll talk about that later.) So if the selection you made isn’t quite
right, click somewhere outside the marching-ants box (this will cancel
the selection) then try again, until you get the selection where you
want it. (Be careful about clicking inside the selection: if you
click inside a selection then drag, gimp moves the contents of the
selection and leaves a white rectangle behind, which is almost never
what you want. If this happens accidentally, Undo will fix it.)

When you have a selection, lots of things act a little differently in
gimp. Most filters (for instance, the brightness tools discussed in
lesson 2) will only act on the selection, not the rest of the image;
and most drawing tools won’t draw outside the selection. We’ll use
that for some useful effects later.

For now, though, what I want to do is copy the selection from the
big image, then paste it into the small image. So I copy it:
Edit->Copy, or just ctrl-C.

Now I can go to the small image, and paste it: Edit->Paste, or ctrl-V.

GIMP Beginner Exercise in Layers

June 3, 2010

First, I watched this tutorial on how to find the LAYERS should they disappear:

Next: My 2nd venture into learning GIMP is an exercise in LAYERS provided by GIMPtricks of The Netherlands in Youtube.

My very first challenge is to create the first layer which she calls “Table Top.”

I could find the section (on the right side of the GIMP screen) labeled PATTERNS. I could not see the pattern which was used in the tutorial but I chose a similar pattern. I was quite mystified as to how I should proceed to make the selected pattern fill the entire layer.

I found one answer here:

Fill Type
GIMP provides three fill types: FG Color Fill, BG Color Fill and Pattern Fill.

FG Color Fill sets the fill color to the currently selected foreground color.

BG Color Fill sets the fill color to the currently selected background color.

Pattern Fill sets the fill color to the currently selected pattern.

I right clicked on the initial default layer “Background,” clicked upon PROPERTIES, and renamed it as “Table Top.” Of course, such names are arbitrary but one should understand HOW to rename things.

With “Table Top” as the active selected layer, I clicked upon PATTERNS and selected the wood pattern. I am certain that one may search and find other patterns to be uploaded into GIMP but that is an exercise for another day.

Next, at the left side of the screen, I click on the BUCKET FILL tool. Then, below, I select FILL WITH SELECTED PATTERN. And Voila, I now have my “Table Top” layer filled with that wood pattern.

Next, I must create four transparent layers and place different colored circles.

I have created a second transparent layer (named RED), selected ELIPSE, drawn a circle, changed the foreground color to RED and used bucket fill to fill the circle with red. Now I am totally mystified as to how to select just that circle and move it about.

SOMEHOW I seem to have gotten into quite a mess. In my efforts to learn how to create a first layer called TABLE TOP and fill it with a pattern, and then create a second layer called RED and place a circle and bucket fill it with red,….. I became lost as to how to SELECT that red object and move it about, AND NOW, I have permanently changed something with regard to HISTORY, such that even if I close GIMP and then relaunch it, I cannot get GIMP back to the way it originally looked at the RIGHT, with the layers etc. So here are two fundamental obstacles for a beginner. ONE is how to get GIMP back to the starting point should something become disturbed… and TWO, how to easily select and move some object in a layer such as a CIRCLE. These would seem to be very simple fundamental tasks. And the ANSWER is NOT to say “go out and buy Photoshop” because the funds are simply not available.

Well, somehow, I don’t know quite how, I have relaunched GIMP and started from scratch, getting the right window to look as it did before. I have created my first layer which by default is BACKGROUND and I right click, select properties and rename it to “Table Top”, select a “Pine” pattern, click the bucket fill tool, set to fill PATTERN, and fill that Table Top. Then I create 4 layers named Red, Green, Yellow and Blue. In each I use the Ellipse tool at the left to create a circle, and only at that creation stage do I have the option to CHANGE THE POSITION, so that the circles more or less overlap as in GIMPtricks tutorial. I change the FOREGROUND color to the appropriate color and use BUCKET FILL to fill each circle. Finally, I change the order of the layers to demonstrate how the circles appear.

So now my task is to learn HOW to select each circle in its layer, reposition it, and also change its size.

I use two different computers for this exercise. On the Dell XP I have my WordPress blog open, and add to it as I progress. I do the actual GIMP exercise on an Ubuntu machine running 9.10 Karmic Koala. On my Ubuntu Desktop is a folder called Gimp Exercises. Within that is a folder for each exercise: T0001 GIMPtricks for the first, T0002 Layers and Circles for THIS CURRENT exercise, and within those exercise folders I save each effort as GIMPtrickes01, GIMPtricks02, Circles001.xcf, Circles002.xcf, etc, so I may revert back to some previous effort.

I return to GIMPtricks’ channel to see if there is a tutorial to help me move and resize my circles. I intuitively feel that THIS tutorial has something of what I need, but after watching it, I have no clear understanding of how I would use these features to achieve my goal of moving and resizing my circles.

I do see that I can MOVE the entire layer which will effectively move the position of the circle but I have an instinctive desire to return to the drag ability which I experience when I FIRST create the circle. I do not understand why one cannot return to that ability after the circle is created and filled with color. I DO understand that one may simply DELETE a layer such as YELLOW and then recreate it but such an effort seems a very primitive way to control the position and size of the circle.

I am searching and searching for an answer. This link LOOKS AS IF it might be helpful but so far I cannot get any of the suggestions to function:

Resizing and Moving Selections

Resizing selections is one of Gimp’s few weak points. In many draw and paint programs you simply drag the selection. It’s not as simple in Gimp. In fact, it’s tough enough that you might want to try extra hard to get the selection exactly right the first time.
Moving a selection

To move a selection, without moving the content it encloses, press the Alt key and drag the selection.
Be aware that dragging a selection moves the actual content contained by the selection. That’s probably not what you want.

Because moving a selection is much easier than resizing one, and because resizing can be done only one side at a time, it’s best to move the selection so one of its corners is in the exact correct place. Then you’ll need to resize at the most 2 sides. If you didn’t move first, you might need to resize 3 or 4 sides. So always move the selection until one of its corners is in the right place. The easiest way to exactly position a corner is to move it close to the correct location at no magnification, then press the equal sign several times so each pixel of movement is obvious, and position it exactly.

To enlarge a selection

The only way to enlarge a selection is to move one side at a time. The side isn’t really moved. Instead, an additional selection is drawn such that the additional selection will be “added” to the edge of the first one. That implys that the second selection must be exactly the same width as the first, and it must be exactly aligned. Exactness implies great (like 8x) magnification. Because Gimp scrolls the screen to accommodate dragging, the magnification is practical.
So here’s the procedure for extending a rectangular selection farther down from the bottom:

Magnify the screen 6-8 times with the = key.
On the toolbox, click the rectangular selection tool ().
Locate the lower left corner of the existing selection.
Place the mouse pointer a few pixels straight up from the bottom left corner, meaning the pointer is on the line defining the left side of the existing selection.
Depress the shift key, and note that the mouse pointer now has a plus sign (+).
Drag several pixels down and to the right. Note that the new selection grows as a square, not as a rectangle.
While still holding the mouse button, release the shift key, and note that you can now drag down or right as you please.
Drag down to the the desired bottom of the grown selection.
Note the exact number that the left hand triangular ruler mark rests on. This is how you will make sure that when you drag right you don’t drag up or down.
Drag right until the right side of the new selection overlays the right side of the original selection.
Drag up or down until the left hand triangular ruler mark rests on the same number as it did when you dragged down the desired distance.
Release the mouse button, and note that you’ve grown the rectangle perfectly.
Reduce the magnification with the minus key (-)
A few comments on the preceding procedure. First, you could have used similar procedures to grow it right, left, or up. Second, in any type of dragging, the rulers on the top and left are your friend. The higher the magnification, the more likely those marks will be exact to the pixel.
To shrink a selection

The procedure to shrink is basically the same, except you use the Ctrl key, which gives the mouse pointer a minus sign, and also you start from the point you want to be the bottom:
Magnify the screen 6-8 times with the = key.
On the toolbox, click the rectangular selection tool ().
Locate the lower left corner of the existing selection.
Move up the left edge of the original selection to the point that should be the new bottom, and place the mouse pointer at that point on the left side of the original rectangle.
Depress the Ctrl key, and note that the mouse pointer now has a minus sign (-).
Drag several pixels down and to the right. Note that the new selection grows as a square, not as a rectangle.
While still holding the mouse button, release the shift key, and note that you can now drag down or right as you please.
Drag down to the the desired bottom of the grown selection.
Drag down until the bottom of the new selection overlays the bottom of the old selection.
Drag right until the right side of the new selection overlays the right side of the original selection.
Release the mouse button, and note that you’ve shrunk the rectangle perfectly.
Reduce the magnification with the minus key (-).

My first lesson in GIMP image editor

June 1, 2010

Posted to youtube: This tutorial is VERY helpful. One suggestion: Where you mention ALPHA TO SELECTION it sounds like you are saying some exotic French word like “marchinent.” It took me an hour in Google to find a GIMP glossary which explained that you are actually saying “MARCHING ANTS” … so if you put a little pop-up in the video, then that confusion will be removed. But I watched your FAQ so I know you are overwhelmed with things to do.

NOTE: I have one other question. In the middle of the tutorial, you hover over one of the layer icons at the right and IT SUDDENLY ENLARGES. How do you make it enlarge briefly so that it is more readible?

ANSWER: I found my answer to the above question. If I left click on one of the right-most LAYER icons and HOLD down on the mouse button it enlarges.

I have a Twitter account called ReadGreatBooks which I never follow. It is automatically fed by my PLURK posts.

But now I have started following:


Miss Tricks | The Netherlands

because she is the author of a wonderful beginners tutorial on GIMP.

I am blogging this to say “Thanks” and also to relate my amusing experience (below.) I will create a tiny url of this blog post and post it in her Twitter: GIMPtricks

GIMP is a free open source image editing program which can do everything that Photoshop (proprietary $800) can do.

Here is her tutorial in Youtube:

Her English is excellent but there was one mystifying phrase which sounded like “marchients.”

Here is what I posted in Facebook:

Cant make out what she is saying.. around 4 minutes 53 seconds into the video..”I am going to be making a SELECTION around the text … clicking ALPHA TO SELECTION” … “its called a MAR-TI-ENS [this M word is what I cannot quite make out].” So if anyone plays this tutorial and can recognize this mysterious word and write it out as a comment, I would be much obliged. I the course of futile searching I did discover that a search on “ALPHA TO SELECTION” yields a number of other GIMP tutorial pages.

I searched and searched in Google, mostly on “ALPHA TO SELECTION” (which by the way yields many other useful tutorials).

I decided to search for GIMP GLOSSARY in hopes of discovering this mystifying term.

Here is the Glossary which unlocked the secret of the “MARCHING ANTS” –

Marching Ants –
The name for the dotted line which delineates a selection.

P.S. to Giri Alam on Facebook:

As I remember you are a big Ubuntu (GNU/Linux) fan. In the USA the job ads ask for experience in proprietary software such as Photoshop, Adobe In Design, Illustrator, etc. But as I will never be able to afford the $800 I decided I should just plunge in with the open source GIMP (and Scribus publishing software). It sounds like GIMP remains several releases behind Photoshop, but that just means I am using the Photoshop of several years ago. Switzerland and other countries have standardized on Linux for their school systems. I imagine that countries like India and Indonesia as well as African nations will make the Open Source choice for various practical as well as aesthetic reasons. I have even found links on how to make GIMP look and feel like Photoshop (to WEAN people away!) The fact that Gimp can be automated and customized with 3rd party plugins and Perl scripts seems like a big plus.
5:22pm GMT-5

I have watched the tutorial about 20 times, and have redone the project 6 times in an effort to really understand and remember what must be done in the exercise.

Here are the cheat notes that I need to jog my memory:

text border
right click
alpha selection
grow (by 2 pixels)
click on text border layer
change foreground color to white
click on BUCKET FILL icon
click on text image GIMPTRICKS
select NONE (to see results)
to add drop shadow
Light & Shadow
Drop Shadow (untick resizing box)
create a new layer called BORDER
select all
select SHRINK (20 pixels)

I will continue to repeat this exercise until I do not have to look at any notes.


What is actually happening when I click on the TEXT layer and click ALPHA SELECT (and then click on the text border layer…) I suppose I am PASTING what has been selected into the text border layer, but I am not certain.