How to make see-through text in GIMP 2.8

This is a tutorial on how you can create text with a photo or illustration as the background. It can also be used to empower the message of a photo with a message. I use GIMP 2.8.4 for Mac but it will work just as good with an older version of the software on Windows or Mac. The effect takes just a few minutes and the result can be used for many different results.

Image used can be found on my Flickr page.

We will use this image:bbq

To create this:bbq_final

Let’s get to it!

  1. Open image in GIMP which you want to use as background for your text.

    Open photo in GIMP
    Open photo in GIMP
  2. Create a new layer with fill image of the color you want as foreground color.

    Create a new layer
    Create a new layer
  3. Select text tool and create your text layer, I name this layer “bbq” for simplicity.

    Create text layer
    Create text layer
  4. Right click “bbq” layer and chose “Alpha to selection”
    1. If your text is spread out you can grow your selection by a few pixels to get better shapes using Select > grow
  5. Select the colored layer and chose Edit > Clear
  6. Remove the layer holding the text and your background image and we’re done!

    Clear away what is selected
    Clear away what is selected
  7. If your background image is of many colors you can add a border to the text to isolate the texture from the color. To do this, after step 6, with the selection of the text still active and the layer with the colored background chosen Select > Border

    Border can be added to selection
    Border can be added to selection
  8. With the selection of a border active, use your paint bucket to fill the border with a color of your choice. Don’t forget to check “Fill whole section” in the tool options.

    Fill whole section
    Fill whole section
  9. Done! And here is the end result

    Final result
    Final result

Published by

Martin Karlsson

I am a hobby photographer always trying to improve my technique!

2 thoughts on “How to make see-through text in GIMP 2.8”

  1. This really helped me. I was searching for some see-through tutorials but they’re giving me the one that uses opacity. Thank you

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