Sunday, January 31, 2010

GIMP Tutorial: Making Your Own Coins

I found Sara's YouTube video on, unfortunately it was in Italian?(not sure, exactly) and very hard for me to follow along because her GIMP & menus are not in English, either. But that's ok, because I figured out a quick way to do this. Grab this coin image to start with (This photo was found on Kevin Dooley's Flickr site):

(Click on image to enlarge for copying)

It will also help to have a good lighting "face shot" of your subject for the coin. If you don't have one, maybe now would be a good time to find or take a digital picture.

Step 1: We need to clear out the content of the original coin to make room for our own image. To do this, we'll improvise just  a little bit: set up a selection on the inside of the coin, and then select Filters - Gaussian Blur at 90 px. Set it even higher or lower to suit yourself. Leave the selection for the next steps. If the high 90px  Gaussian blur fades any part of the coin, use the Clone tool to fill it back in.

Step 2:

Now we'll be adding two new transparent layers on top, to add some character to the blurred coin and bring it back to life. First, copy and paste the following patterns into your .gimp-2.6/patterns folder (refresh patterns dialog):

Add the first transparent layer, then (keeping the internal area of the coin selected) fill it with wobbles, change the layer mode to overlay, and lower the opacity to about 40.

Add the second transparent layer, (keeping it selected) fill it with granite1.jpg pattern, change the layer mode to overlay, and lower the opacity to about 25.

Step 3:

It's time to work on your face picture to add to the coin. I'm using one of myself, that you might recognize from previous posts.

Cut your face image out using the Ellipse tool, similar to what's shown above. Then copy and paste your image as a new layer on the coin image.

Step 4:

I need to remove the background area from my face image, so I'll be using the Lasso Select tool to create a selection. Invert your selection then press delete to remove the background from your face image. Once you create the selection, save it as a path for later.

Step 5:

Remove the selection from your face image layer.

Select the coin layer (bottom-most), run Filters - Map - Bump Map and input the following settings:

For the bump map, you are selecting the trimmed face image layer.

Once you run Bump Map, click off the face image layer, and you should now see something similar to the following:

If you managed to save a path of the face image selection, now would be a good time to run a 2px dark brown stroke on the coin layer.

Step 6:

Using the Path tool, create a circular path to fill outside the face image on a new transparent layer. Do not close the path.

Using text of your choice, and wording of your choice, select the Text tool to create wording for the circular path. You may have to use trial and error and CTRL + Z to undo Text Along A Path that doesn't fit properly. Once you get the text to fit the Path to your satisfaction, click off the Text Layer, reselect the last transparent layer we made just previously, fill the background with white.

Jump to the Paths dialog and select the new text path, use path to selection. On the layer dialog, fill the selected text with black. Remove the selection from the text layer.


Highlight the coin layer, go to Filters - Map - Bump Map, and select the text layer for the bump map. Use the same settings from the face image.

Step 7:

Time to add the 2¢, with a little help from charmap.exe (you can open the character map by going to your Windows start button and typing charmap in the run box - hit enter). Once you get charmap open, select the cent sign and then copy. When you use the Text tool and type 2, just CTRL + V the clipboard contents (¢) into the editor.

Make sure the text layer (with the circular path text on it) is visible, merge the new 2¢ layer down.

Use the Airbrush tool and color white, to cover over the previous "circular" text, to keep the upcoming bump map from darkening the circular text even more on the coin layer.

Once again with the coin layer highlighted, go to Filters - Map - Bump Map, reselect the text layer as the bump map, use the same settings as both times before.

Turn off the text layer after you run Bump Map. You're done! :)


  1. Very cool, I was thinking something about doing some kind of coin for my cover art.

  2. hey dude i cant get the coin thing to work right could i get you to make me a coin if i sent you my picture and text i would be willing to pay

  3. Did you even try the tutorial? If you're having problems just ask questions.

  4. Please make this tutorial on YouTube I am new to GIMP and I could not understand few steps.

  5. dear Mahvin pls help me with step 6 I am unable to make circle using path tool as shown in your Tutorial Image

  6. Use the Circle select tool to create a circle selection, and change to a Path via Select - To Path. Then, holding down CTRL add two nodes to the path in the same location as shown in Step 6, then hold down CTRL + SHIFT and click the line between the nodes to break the circle path (as shown).

  7. Why does everytime I've turned off the face layer the "filtered" face doesn't show too? pls help!

  8. If you selected the coin layer to run Bump Map, and used the face layer as the map to be used for the bump, when you run it, it processes the bump map image to the coin layer. The face layer is no longer needed and you can click it off (eye symbol).

  9. yeah its cool but i cant do it >.<

  10. yeah its cool but i cant do it >.<

  11. Can't do what? Can you be more specific?

  12. how to use the path tools ?? i cant make the circle.. >.<

  13. Use the Ellipse Select tool, then convert it to a path. (Select - To Path).

  14. I think that I've found my next GIMP project. - Thanks!



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. :)