Thursday, November 4, 2010

GIMP Tutorial: Make Your Own Dog Tags

Watch the videos of the steps below: 

(I do not narrate my videos, sorry, just my preference not to. You can print out the text version to follow along.)

Making the metal ball

The chain necklace

The dogtag

I initially started out using a stock image of a dog tag to try my hand at stamped text. After some thought, I decided to just create my own image.

Step 1:

First step is to create the chain. This will be done using a self-made brush and a path.

For the brush, open an 200 x 200 px image with white background, add a new transparent layer.

Using the Ellipse tool, create a circle selection 145 x 145 px in the center of the image. Apply Filters -  Render - Sphere Designer. Note the settings below:

You want the light centered at the top like shown in the menu above. The middle image "Position X, Y, and Z" sliders control the light source.

Step 2:
Leave the sphere selection to Save to Path, once you have the path, Select - None.

Run Colors - Curves on the sphere using the following settings (to get a deeper metallic sphere, you may need to add a small white circle and blur (20px) to the top center and then run Color - Curves a second time):

In your Paths Dialog, right click the circle path and select Stroke Path using a light grey (#bdbdbd) color at 2 px. Right click the circle path again, Stroke Path, use a dark grey color (#5c5c5c) and 1 px.

Delete the white background layer.

Scale the sphere to 100 x 100 px and crop accordingly.

Go to FIle - Save As (browse to your .gimp-2.6/brushes folder) and save the image as "chain.gih".  On the following menu prompt, note the following settings:

You should now have a transparent chain brush after refreshing your brushes in the Brushes dialog,

Step 3:

Open a new drawing, 640 x 640 px with a white background. Add a transparent layer.

Using the Path tool, make a chain path, like shown:

Select the Paint Brush tool, select your newly made chain brush, adjust the size to suit the necklace chain, which also includes adjusting the spacing size to 100 in the Brushes dialog.

Switch to the Paths dialog, right click the necklace path and Stroke Path ( choose Stroke with a paint tool - Paintbrush) DO NOT tick emulate brush dynamics.

Create a new transparent layer, move it under the necklace layer, and stroke the necklace path again (twice). First time, stroke the path the same dark grey at 5 px, the second time, stroke the path with the light grey at 2 px. Small sample of the result shown below:

Ok, the chain portion is done. time to move on to the dog tag, itself.

Step 4:

Create a new transparent layer, name it dogtag.

Use the Rectangle Select tool with rounded corners at radius of 40. Drag out a reasonable size dogtag. Use the Rotate tool with mode set to Selection, and rotate the dogtag to run parallel to the necklace, like shown:

Save the selection to Path. Turn off the selection, activate the Path tool, and activate the dogtag path.

Add two nodes, and making rounding adjustments to the path as shown:

Activate the dogtag path selection.

Select the Blend tool, with the metallic something gradient selected, shape set at Bi-linear, dithering checked, adaptive supersampling checked, with depth at 4, threshold at .40.

Drag from the top left corner of the dogtag (would be a good idea to zoom out of your image to permit dragging outside the image border) straight down and beyond the image.

Stroke the dogtag path a dark grey at 2 px.

Step 5:

Using the Ellipse tool, create a small circle toward the top center of the dogtag (on the dogtag layer). Save the circle to Path, then press Delete to remove the area inside the circle.

Stroke the small circle dark grey at 2 px.

Reduce the opacity of the dogtag layer so you can see the chain beneath it.

Merge the chain and necklace layers together (not the dogtag layer, leave it be). With the Color Select tool, select the outer transparent area of the merged necklace layer, then Select - Invert the selection.

Switch back to the dogtag layer. Using the Eraser tool, remove portions of the dogtag above the centered hole that block the chain behind it.

Step 6:

Grab the Text tool, I used Courier font, create your text layer(s), rotate and move the text in position over the dogtag. If you have more than one text layer, it's best to merge them into one layer before running the Chisel script (you can find Rob A's script here).

Run the Chisel script (Filters - Decor - Chisel) and use the following settings:

Add a Gaussian Blur to your chiseled layer, just enough to make it blend into the dogtag gradient. Which for me was around 8 px. Experiment to suit your own image.

Set the beveled layer to Grain Merge, then duplicate it. Merge the two layers together then reset merged layer to Grain Merge. If you find your text layer to be too dark, reduce the opacity. If the text is too light, duplicate the text layer and change the mode to Multiply.

The finished product: