Wednesday, June 30, 2010

GIMP Tutorial: Super Quick Neon Lettering *BEGINNERS*

Before we get started, a few tips for GIMP beginners:

  1. If you have a wheel on your mouse and its listed as active on your GIMP input controllers preferences, you can use the wheel to select through fonts, font sizes, etc much quicker than you can scroll through the lists. Watch this video to see what I mean. The advantage of using the mouse wheel is particularly handy when wanting to check font types on the fly.

  2. When starting out with this tutorial for neon lettering, it's best to use a white background first, to allow you to see the text. Once the text is how you want it, then create a darker background for the text.

Let's get started:

Step 1:

Open a new image with a white background layer, any size to your liking. (I'm using 640 x 640 px @ 300 dpi).

Select the Text tool and start out using Cooper Black, font color black, 100 px.

In the Text Toolbox, select Path from Text.

Step 2:

Click the eye   on the text layer to turn it off.

Add a new transparent layer. Make sure its selected (highlighted).

In the Path Dialog, stroke the text path using the foreground color black and at 6 px. (Thickness of stroke is dependent on you using the settings suggested in Step 1. If you use your own settings, try not to stroke the text path too thick.)

Add a Gaussian blur of 3.

Step 3:

Select Colors - Curves and input similar settings, as shown below: (note the channel is Alpha)

Your text should be similar to the following:

Select Colors - Colorize and input the following settings:

Now you can change the white background layer to black, either add a new black layer above the white layer or just use the Bucket fill tool, using the Fill Whole Selection option while the white background layer is selected.

You should end up with something similar to this:

The green is still a tad too dark, but we can easily fix that by duplicating the stroked text layer a couple of times.

If it's too bright, you can always lower the opacity of the top duplicated layer.

All it's lacking now is a glow behind it.

Step 4:

Create a new transparent layer and name it "Glow". Move the Glow layer beneath the topmost duplicate text layer.

With the Glow layer selected, open the Paths Dialog, using Path to Selection. 

Go to Select - Grow, at 5 px.

Select - To Path, to save it as a path.

Stroke the new text path using (48ff00) for a foreground color, and the stroke size at 6 px.

Add a Gaussian blur of 25 px. You can lower the opacity of the glow layer to suit.

You're done!

The final result:

My layers for comparison:

I recommend trying different font colors and font types to see how the effects turn out.

Here's an example using "Neon" font, following the tutorial above:

Thanks for stopping by! :)

Friday, June 11, 2010

GIMP Tutorial: Mimicking 3D Shapes *BEGINNERS*

Step 1:

First, we need to create the brush that will be used to help us create 3D like images.

Open a new drawing with white background, add a transparent layer, name it "top". I made my drawing 640 x 640px @ 300 DPI.

On the transparent layer, using the Ellipse tool, draw out an ellipse like shown:
Fill with a metallic gradient using the Blend tool (I used a gradient I created, called blue camo, you can grab that gradient here) Hold the CTRL key down for a perfect horizontal gradient, while dragging out the Blend tool across your ellipse selection:
Step 2:

Do not turn the ellipse selection off.

Create a new transparent layer and drag it under the current transparent layer, name it "band".

On the new layer, increase the size of the selection (Select - Grow) by 3 px.

Select the Move tool, set the move to selection:

Move the ellipse selection like shown:

Using the Blend tool again, reverse the direction of the gradient (remember to use the CTRL key for a perfect horizontal gradient):
Now let's trim the sides on that same layer, using the Rectangle select tool:

Once this is done, merge the top layer down (right click "top" layer in Layers dialog, select Merge down).

Now the fun begins.  You can opt to save the new image as a brush shape - or - just use a copy of the shape by selecting Edit - Copy. To minimize the selection area of the new shape, I use the Rectangle select tool to enclose a larger portion of the shape, before copying it:

Step 3:

Open a new drawing with a white background. Add a new transparent layer, name it "base".

If you have decided to just copy the shape from the first drawing, and not save it as a brush, save that drawing as shape.xcf and leave it open to be re-used for copying when needed.

Select the Airbrush tool and make sure your tool option settings are like the following:

With the Airbrush scale at 1.00, click toward the center of your image to set the initial brush image:
Once you Airbrush the initial brush shape image, press and hold the SHIFT key to get the rubber band, then press and hold the CTRL key to line the brush image vertically before filling in the final Airbrush stroke. You end up with this:
Step 4:

Create a new transparent layer, name it "donut hole".

Using the Ellipse tool, center an ellipse and then run a reverse gradient with the Blend tool, like shown:

Create a new transparent layer and name it "grooves front".

Reduce the brush shape size to about 25 and then create 3 grooves, like shown:
Trim the outside grooves up on its own layer, using the Rectangle select tool for the sides (trim by selecting excess and then pressing Delete), like shown:

Use the Ellipse select tool to trim the bottom of the grooves by creating a selection that matches the bottom of the base, then Invert the selection (Select - Invert) and press DELETE.
Select - None.

Now we're going to use the shape brush as an eraser, be sure to set the Eraser scale to 25, same size as the grooves. You will need to erase the bottom portion on two layers (Grooves front and Base) the same exact way. See below:

First the grooves front layer, then repeat on the base layer:

Step 5:

To complete the gear solid, select the Base layer.

Now select the Eraser tool again, with the brush shape as the selection. Reduce the scale to 20 (we need to make the back grooves slightly smaller to account for depth). Trim any grooves that don't line up correctly using the Rectangle select tool (note the front left groove's outer edge):

Create a new transparent layer and name it "grooves back". Move this new transparent layer beneath the base layer.

Using the Rectangle select tool, line up selections for the back grooves and fill them with gradient using the Blend tool, like shown:

Finish the remaining grooves:

You're done!

Have fun decorating or adding to your gear wheel and THANK YOU for stopping by! :)