Friday, April 15, 2011

GIMP Tutorial: Make Awesome Gold, Silver, Brass, or Copper Text

Using GIMP 2.6.11.

There is a similar tutorial, for creating gold objects, by Rob A, found here. This tutorial is the "Text" spin-off, from Rob's tutorial.

Environment Image used:

Step 1:

Open any size image with a white background. My image is  800 x 400 px.

Select the Text tool and use any font of your liking. I am using Apple Garamond Bold, using black and size at 250. Center the text on your image using the Alignment tool.

Reselect the Text tool, select the existing text and click "Path from Text".

Step 2:

Right click the text layer and choose "Layer to image size". Right click the text layer again and choose "Flatten image".

Duplicate the flattened layer.

On the new duplicate layer, go to Colors - Invert.

Add a Gaussian blur of 12 px to the duplicate layer.

Turn off the duplicate inverted layer (click eye).

Step 3:

Select the bottom layer. Right click, "New Layer". Select white.

You should now have a blank white layer between the top and bottom layers.

Open the Environment image in GIMP (the gold swirl image shown at the top of this tutorial). (You can also save this as a pattern in GIMP by saving it to your username/.gimp-2.6/patterns folder). When I say open, I mean, right click the image above and save it to your hard drive and then open it in GIMP. This image will not be a part of the existing group of layers we are currently working on, but GIMP will recognize it when we use it in the Environment tab, mentioned below. Just keep the image open, but revert back to the existing image with the text.

Now, select the white background layer between the inverted text at the top layer and the text with white background at the bottom layer.

Go to Filters - Light and Shadow - Lighting Effects.

Choose the Environment tab, check Enable Environment Mapping and select the image you just opened from the list.

On the Bump Mapping tab, check Enable Bump Mapping, select the inverted text layer (top most), Linear, and .02 for Maximum Height.

On the Options tab, check the Transparent Background and High Quality Preview, then select OK.
Step 4:

In the Path Dialog, activate the text path selection.

Go to Select - Invert. Press the "Delete" key to remove the excess.

Select the bottom layer with the black text. Apply a Gaussian blur of 10 px to it.

You can use the Move tool to move the blurred layer out a bit (I use the arrow keys after selecting the Move tool and selecting the layer.) If you move the blurred layer out and transparent areas show up around the image, simply add a new white layer to the very bottom of your Layer dialog.

Link the blurred layer and the middle text layer to keep the shadow with the text, should you decide to move the text layer around.

Step 5:

To change the metallic look of your text change your Environment image when running Filters - Light and Shadow - Lighting Effects.

Here are 3 additional Environment images you can use:




You don't have to start all over to change the metallic look. Just reselect the text layer and run Lighting Effects again, selecting the Environment image for the metal you want.

NOTE: You can use or create any pattern you wish, to use for an evironment map, other than the ones presented here in the tutorial.

You're done! Enjoy! :)


  1. Damn, that is brilliant! Thanks for the great guide :o)

  2. Mahvin ..

    Haven't seen you around GimpChat in a while, then again I've been MIA as well.

    This is perhaps one of the best metallic text tutorials there is.

    I was wondering .. could you one up this guy and explain to me how you could create a metal stroke (to call it that) around text. Some beveled/glossy text with a metal stroke would look sweet!

    Hope you have some ideas!

  3. Ofnuts has a python script that allows us to do something similar to what you are asking. Do you mean a stroke of varying width and touching/bordering the text, or just a few pixels outside the beveled text?

  4. I'm having a hard time with step 4. I can't seem to invert and delete the path and it's frustrating me to no end. Help please?

  5. Ashley, when you open the Paths dialog, you should have a path from the text you created in step 1. In step 4, you are simply activating that path (converting it to a selection) and inverting the selection. You aren't deleting a path, you are removing the outside excess of a selection (the text). If you didn't invert the selection, the inside of the selection would be deleted (that's the part we want to keep). In the Path dialog, there is a button for Path to Selection (a red square box) click that, then go to Select/Invert.

  6. Hey Mahvin-

    Just a note to let you know my server mas moved, and the new page is at:

    -Rob A>

  7. Thanks for the heads up, Rob! Link is changed to reflect the new site.

  8. Hello Mahvin:

    First, THANKS tremendously for this tutorial. . .it is wonderful and was just what I was looking for. However, I'd like to take things a step further so I can achieve the following: I'd like to now make my chrome-looking text look 3D, and not only that, I'd like to add the reflection of a sunny sky in it. As far as the 3D part, in your professional opinion, could I use the following to take care of that step: Looking forward to hearing back. Thanks for your time and I will credit you - I'm doing this for a title sequence in a wedding video I'm working on. Thanks again for your time.



  9. So glad I found this tutorial, it's doing EXACTLY what I've been puzzling over for awhile. Now to see if I can make it work...

  10. So, this is a great tutorial, but I do have an issue. When I complete step 4, I now have two windows. What am I supposed to do? Its not very clear in the tutorial what I am to do. I'm not even sure I'm supposed to have a second window, but even if I keep the "Crate new image" checkbox unchecked, it opens a new image.
    I feel really dumb at this point! But, even so, this tutorial still helped me better understand some things, so I thank you for that :)

    1. I made corrections to step 3 to help clarify what happened. The environment image (gold swirl) shouldn't be the image selected when completing the steps in part 3. The plain white background layer on the text image should be selected. The environment image is used to help the lighting effects. Hope this helps.

  11. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. Thanks for posting this. I was able to make an awesome effect using your technique. I used my own image as well as bumped up the Gaussian blur to 30. I also changed a few of the lighting effect settings slightly.

      Check it out:

  12. Everything was fine until this:
    "Step 4:

    In the Path Dialog, activate the text path selection."
    Where is the PD hidden?

  13. It's not hidden, you can find it here:


    1. Having trouble at removing the excess. When I click delete key on my keyboard, the entire image goes away.

      BTW, thanks for the instructions.

  14. You have to activate the marching ants (selection) for the path and then go to Select - Invert on the menu bar. The red square box in Path Dialog is "Path to Selection", invert that. Then press delete.

  15. Wonderful! Perfectly matching what I needed!

  16. Used your instructions and got some nice gold text for my Christmas cards.

    Thank you!

  17. Hello Mahvelous ! Thank you for these easy step by step guidelines to creating glitter text . I am new to photoshop and these guidelines are very helpful for me . Waiting to see such more creative ideas .TIA

  18. Can't select lighting effects in filters / lighting effects for step 3. It is grayed out. Any ideas why? I have the middle layer (white) selected.

    1. What OS and what GIMP version? I can't duplicate your problem.

    2. Do you have your environment image open in GIMP?

  19. Step 3
    I cannot select the Lighting in filters. It is grayed out. I have the white / middle layer selected as per the tutorial. Any idea why?

  20. Thanks, nice tutorial, but what does
    "In the Path Dialog, activate the text path selection.
    Go to Select - Invert. Press the "Delete" key to remove the excess." exactly mean? I am always removing everything.

    1. Let's say your wanting to remove the text and superimpose it over another image or layer, to single out the text, you would select the path dialog of the text path, activate text path selection and then invert the selection, which removes anything outside the text, although should leave the text itself, untouched. If not, you're missing a step in the process. Anytime you invert a selection, it turns the selection "inside out".


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. :)