Tuesday, August 11, 2009

GIMP Tutorial: Making Simple Waffle Textures and Patterns

If you're not using GIMP 2.6.11. you might want to consider downloading it to follow along with this tutorial. Otherwise, check under Filters – Render – Pattern – Grid under your GIMP menu bar, to verify if you have the Gridplugin. If not, you'll need to download 2.6.11. to follow along with this tutorial. After searching for a "waffle" pattern or texture via the internet using Google images , and finding none that I was interested in, I went to Filter Forge's website to check, and found this texture. Notice down at the bottom of this "Oh Waffle" texture page, where it shows 3 images: diffuse, bump, and normal. Click and open the bump image and save it to your own computer for later use. Grab and save the original "Oh Waffle" image of this texture, as well, we'll convert it into a GIMP pattern later. Now, although I liked the "Oh Waffle" images, it wasn't what I was actually looking for. My goal was to make an actual rectangular waffle pattern. I started out by painting lines and squares, but that was way too complicated, and it didn't result in the look I was after for a bump pattern. Which brings me to the Grid plugin mentioned in the first paragraph. Realizing grids have very sharp 90 degree intersections, I found this tutorialthat showed me how to use a simple method to round corners. This made for the perfect waffle texture and pattern tutorial. Open any size drawing you wish (I used 640 x 480). Drawing size doesn't really matter since we will be cropping out our grid. Create a new layer with a white background. With the new layer highlighted, select Filters – Render – Pattern – Grid from the menu bar. Check these settings:

Remember the rounded corners tutorial I mentioned in paragraph 3 above? Follow the same instructions as given, using this for the grid layer, only on step 2, raise the Gaussian blur to 20 instead of 15. Your grid should now look similar to this:

Highlight the bottom background layer and using the Bucket fill tool, fill it with a medium gray color.
Keeping the background layer highlighted, go to Filters – Map – Bump Map and follow these settings shown:

Bump map images tend to play tricks (optical illusions) on our eyes, if you try looking at the new bump map image with one eye closed, and then switch eyes, you'll notice in one instance the squares are inverted down, and then with a different eye they'll be raised. I've heard this has something to do with which eye is the most dominant communicating with the brain. Whether that is true or not, I have no idea.
Anyway, if you ran the bump map options and still don't see the result, have you clicked the eye icon eyeicon on the bump map layer to turn it off?. Once you run the bump map and you're happy with the results, you can delete the bump map layer and save the image. You should have something that looks like this:

That's all you need to do to for bump map textures, but if you want to save it as a pattern, simply save it as a *.pat file and store it in your C:\User\<yourusername>\.gimp-2.6\patterns folder.
You can save the original Oh Waffle image as a pattern the same way, and use the Filter Forge bump map image as a top layer, just as this tutorial just explained.
There is one nifty script for scaling patterns in GIMP that can be found here. I use it quite a bit to help me resize pattern images to better fit my drawing size. After saving the script to the appropriate folder (C:\User\<yourusername>\.gimp-2.6\scripts), it works by right clicking on a pattern thumbnail in the Pattern dialog, and selecting "Scale Pattern". The slider bar indicates decreases the image to 20% and increases to 500%. For those who might not understand the way the scale slider works, the bar on 100% would represent your image, as is, it's original size. Anything under 100% will decrease the scale, anything over 100% will increase the scale. Hope that helps.

Thanks for stopping by. :)

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