Tuesday, December 8, 2009

GIMP Tutorial: Make Your Own Snowmen Using Animated Brushes *LONG*

Before we get started, just a reminder that we will be making 2 animated brushes (.gih) and 1 regular brush using the .gih extension. Logically, the 3rd brush is an animated pipe brush, but not really to be used for that purpose. You will not need any special scripts or plug-ins to follow along in this tutorial. I am currently using GIMP 2.6.7.

Getting started:

Step 1:

First we need to make two animated brushes. Both brushes will be made using the exact same technique, just using different colors for each. Once you follow the steps for the first brush, turn around and duplicate the same process for the second brush, only switching colors. (I will give you the colors I used in these steps so you can follow, exactly)

Step 2:

Open a new drawing 200 x 200 at 300 dpi with a transparent background.

Step 3:

Using the Ellipse Select tool make a circle centered in the drawing. You want to keep plenty of transparent area around the circle selection to keep the snowball looking crisp. All my images are cropped smaller, falsely giving the impression its the entire image being shown. Your circle selection should be about 1/2 the area of the drawing, centered. (HINT: If your animated brush selection isn't a complete circle - it means your circle area was too large and background too small. Either enlarge (resize the canvas) the background area or make your circle selection smaller)

Using these settings:

Fill the circle with white using the Bucket Fill tool.

Step 4:

Create a new transparent layer, name it "Light Shade". Do not de-select the circle selection.

Step 5:

Using the bucket fill tool, selecting the color "88ddec" for foreground, fill the circle in the new layer.

Step 6:

Using the Ellipse Select tool again, make a circle on the top layer, like so:

Hit the DELETE button to remove the blue area from the layer.

De-select the circle (Selection/None or Shift+Ctrl+A)

Step 7:

Select Filters/Blur/Gaussian Blur using 15 px vertically and horizontally, blur method RLE. Your image should now look like this:

Step 8:

Create a new transparent layer, name it "Dark Shade". We're going to add a little bit of a darker blue (0796b0) to the far right edge of the circle. Using the Ellipse Select tool, create a new circle selection the same size as the current circle, like so:

Fill the circle with the darker blue (0796b0). De-select the circle (Selection/None or Shift+Ctrl+A).

Step 9:

Using the Ellipse Select tool, once again (same step as Step 6, only this time leaving a smaller sliver of dark blue), note the image below:

Hit the DELETE button to remove the dark blue area from the layer. You end up with the following:

Step 10:

Select Filters/Blur/Gaussian Blur using 15 px vertically and horizontally, blur method RLE. Your image should now look like this:

Merge the layers with the following settings:

Your "Snowball" is done, but now you need to save it as an animate pipe brush.

Step 11:

Save the file as snowball.gih and point it to your Users/.gimp-2.6/brushes folder (make sure you save this to your brushes folder or it will not show up when you refresh). You will be prompted with this menu, (follow these settings for BOTH animated pipe brushes, with the exception of its "Description". Do make a note of how you name the description because it does determine where the brush displays on your dialog list. I put "." (periods) in front of my description names to move them to the top of the list.):

Your snowball is done. Click save then refresh your brushes dialog. It should now be toward the top of your brush list.

Animate Pipe Brush #2:

Duplicate the EXACT same Steps 1 through 11 for the second pipe brush, with the only differences being the colors used.

For the color white, substitute: light brown "614d28".

For the light shade, substitute: "4c3710".

For the dark shade, substitute: "362604".

You should end up with something similar to this:

Save the file as twig.gih to your brushes folder. For the description on the pipe brush prompt, name it ".Twig" using the same settings you see in Step 11. Don't forget to refresh the brush dialog list.

Now you have your snowball and twig brushes that should serve you well in making multiple snowmen, etc. You can go on by opting to make a "coal eye w/glint" brush to save you duplication steps using similar steps, if you feel you need to. However, my attention is on making my snowmen complete by making a  "Carrot Nose" brush.

Carrot Nose Brush:

Step 1:

Open a new drawing 150 x 150 px, transparent, at 300 dpi.

Step 2:

Selecting the Paths tool, make a shape like the following (I've stroked the path so you could see it, a stroke is NOT needed for this brush):

Align the nodes to better represent the grooves in the carrot. My version above was a little bit sloppy.

Step 3:

I filled my background with black so that you could see the nodes, if you decide to do the same, make sure you create a new layer and place it at the bottom of the layer dialog. You can turn it off the black background layer (click eye) when you are done.

Your finished path should look similar to this:

Step 4:

In the Paths Toolbox dialog, select Selection from Path.

Step 5:

Fill the selection using the Bucket Fill tool, with a nice orange carrot color (fb5e0a). You should have something that looks like this:

Step 6:

Add a new transparent layer, name it Carrot shade.

Step 7:

Using the Airbrush Tool, paint two curved stripes, using a darker orange-brown color (793009), using the following settings:

You should end up with something like this:

Step 8:

Filters-Blur-Gaussian Blur, set at 15px both vertically and horizontally. RLE method.

Step 9:

Merge the Carrot Shade layer down once. Delete the black background layer.

Step 10:

With the two layers merged and a transparent background showing, go to Filters/Blur/Gaussian Blur 5px, vertical and horizontal, RLE method. You should end up with something like this:

Step 11:

Add a drop shadow, Filters/Light and Shadow/Drop Shadow using the following settings:

Step 12:

You're done, it's time to save it as a brush (users/.gimp-2.6/brushes folder). Name it carrot.gih. We're not necessarily trying to make it an animated brush, but will be using that process to preserve the transparency/colors of the brush. Don't forget about using "periods" (.) in your descriptions to move the brush toward the top of the list.

Refresh your brushes dialog and then we are ready to make a snowman, woohoo!

Making the snowman image

I started with a new drawing 640 x 480 at 3oo dpi, adding a new transparent layer naming it "snow mounds". Move the snow mounds layer to the bottom and keep it highlighted.

Fill the snow mounds layer with a light blue color.

Select your snowball brush using the Airbrush tool, make it large, around 1.75 scale size and start drawing some snow mounds and draft piles, like shown below (please feel free to experiment):

Lower the size of your snowball scale, to about 1.55.  Add a new transparent layer named "snowman body". Make the bottom portion of your snowman. Reset the snowball scale to 1, and make the head portion. You should have something similar to this:

You can enlarge the snowball again to make the snow drift up to the bottom of the snowman, if you want.

Add a new transparent layer named "eyes and mouth". Now its time to add the coal mouth and eyes. Using Circle Fuzzy (19), set at 60 scale, foreground set to black, make the mouth. For the eyes, use 75 scale,  like so:

Change the foreground color to white, set the circle fuzzy brush to 25 scale, to make the glint for the coal, like shown:

New transparent layer named "nose".

It's time for the carrot nose brush, set at about  50 - 60 scale.

Now it's time for the hat, add a new transparent layer named "hat".  Using the Ellipse selection tool, feathering ticked and set at 5, create a oval shaped area over the head area, fill it with black, like shown:

Create another Ellipse selection (feathering at 5) placed and filled with black (or you can use a gradient of your choice), like shown:

Using the path tool, we will fill in the in-between area of the hat brim and top, then convert the path to a selection and fill with a black/gray gradient:

Add a hat band, using the path tool once again, and fill with a Purples gradient:

Time for the scarf. Add a new transparent layer named "scarf". Select the airbrush tool and the snowball brush at 20 scale, only this time choose "Use color from gradient", set the length to 10. Select any gradient you wish, there is no particular style. For the tutorial I will leave mine at Purples. First we need to make the bulk of the scarf, like so:

Using the same brush, same settings, only lower the scale to 10, and then highlight the scarf like shown:

Use the Smudge tool, using circle (7) set at 20 scale, and smudge out the edges to make it look like frayed yarn. See image below:

Time for the twig arms. Add a new transparent layer, name it Twigs Right Side. Select the Airbrush tool, select the twig brush, and set the scale to about 14. You'll need to make adjustments to the scale size as you draw out the arms, just try to make it look as close to an actual branch as possible. Feel free to experiment and CTRL+Z if you don't like the results. See image below:

For the left side, make a new transparent layer and name it Twigs Left Side. Draw out a twig arm for the left about where it would go, when we are satisfied with its location, we'll move the layer under the snowman body layer.

The left side twig layer has been moved under the snowman body, in this image above.

Now its time for the mittens. Add a new transparent layer at the top! Name it "mittens". Going back to using the snowball brush and selecting "Use color from a gradient" and making the length 10, set the scale of the brush to about 7, and draw a lines like shown:

Raise the scale of the brush to about 40, and make the bulk of the mittens for both sides, set the scale to 15 for the thumbs. See the image below:

Use the smudge tool like you did with the scarf, using the same settings: 20 scale.

And the end result! Add text / font style to suit!

The tutorial was longer than I wanted it to be, but the steps are fairly straightforward and easy to do. But like everything else, it needs to be checked for errors and mistakes. If you get confused at a step in the process, don't be concerned about commenting and asking for help. Once you get the animated brushes made, its all downhill, and loads of fun experimenting with.

1 comment:

  1. I, absolutely, positively, without a doubt, love the dickens out of this snowman tutorial. Just looking at him brings a smile to my face and thoughts of hot cocoa to my brain and taste buds. From his festive top hat to his dangling purple mittens, he is perfection! Love him, love him, love him! Good job Mahvelous!!!!


If you intend to comment to complain about being unable to perform certain steps with tutorials, please explain where you are in the step process and what step you are unable to get to work correctly, instead of saying something like, "I can't do this!". Your comments will help get tutorial corrections made and help give clarification to future viewers who may have trouble in the same locations. Thank you. :)