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.

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Using the heal brush in GIMP 2.8

A few days ago I wrote a short tutorial on how to use the “Heal” tool in Adobe Lightroom. The “Heal” tool is however not unique in Lightroom so if you don’t have Lightroom you can instead use GIMP (The GNU Image Manipulation Program) which is a free photo editing application.

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HDR effect using GIMP

The HDR effect has been heavily overused lately but that should not keep it out of your photos. There are a number of photos which can really be strengthen of this effect and one of these are portraits of faces full of details. For this guide I will use a photo of an elderly man I found at Flickr where we will aim to lift the straws of beard but also the texture of his skin to make this photo really pop out.

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Colorize a black and white photo in GIMP

This is a quick tutorial on how to use GIMP for colorizing a black and white photograph. The technique is described in general instead of in detail since each photograph will be unique in its own composition. The photograph I used is of Albert Einstein (and I borrowed the photo from this site) and this is one of my favorite photo of him since there is something beautiful over the playfulness in his smile.

The same technique can be used for Adobe Photoshop or other software as well and the method we are using are similar to what we did earlier when we exchanged a selected color in an image.

Let us begin!

  1. Start off with a black and white photo. The wider spectrum of grey tones and the more dynamic the photo is, the better the end result will be.
    Black and white photo loaded in GIMP
  2. Create a new layer
    New layer
  3. Select the brush tool and with the new layer selected, paint with a warm orange color over all parts of the portrait where you want skin.

    Advanced:You can start of by a large brush and go into more details using the eraser afterwards.

    A mask is created for where the skin in the portrait is

  4. When you have painted parts of the photo where there is visible skin, with the selected layer in the Layers toolbox, change the blending type to multiply. Using the transparency of the slider you can adjust the strength of the color.
    Colored layer is set to Blending type 'Multiply'
  5. Do the same for the other parts of the image you want colorized, adding a new layer for each new color. Set each layer to blending type, Multiply when finished.
    Repeat the proces
  6. When all parts have been colorized, right click on any of the layers in the Layers toolbox and select Flatten image.

    Advanced:Using Color adjust, you can set the overall color to meet your goal or to tweak the full color range. It can also be used to ting the part of the photo which was not colored into a warmer or colder tone.

  7. Done.

Lomo tutorial using GIMP

Lomo photography has gained grounds and is today a much used effect also on regular photos. The effect is all about mimic the photos which the old cameras from LOMO generated. Since it also is a very simple effect to mimic with the use of an image manipulation application I will show you how to do this using GIMP. GIMP is a free alternative to Adobe’s Photoshop which can be a bit hard to learn since the interface is very unique. But once learned, you can do very much with it.

The features which distinguish a lomo photo is the colors which are a bit unbalanced with a blue tint and also quite heavy vignetting.

We will use the following photo:

http://www.flickr.com/xenovoyance/

And this is what the image will look like when we have applied the lomo effect.

Let’s begin! Boot up GIMP and follow the work flow below.

  1. Open image
  2. From the menu in GIMP choose Color > Curves and create an ‘S’ shape for the curve to modify the colored tint.

    Alternative: To get even a more complete lomo effect, use an ‘S’ curve for all colors except blue. But as a start, go for the ‘S’ curve on all colors!

    Alternative: Before going for the curves you can also increase contrast and brightness a tiny bit to bring even more colors to the photo. You can find both contrast and hue in the top menu,  Colors > Brightness-Contrast.

  3. Time to give the image a strong vignette. This is done by adding a radial gradient to the image. First select the entire photo by selecting Select > All (CTRL + A)
  4. Shrink the selection a bit, Select > Shrink
  5. Feather the selection to get a soft selection and not get sharp corners, Select > Feather
  6. No invert your selection to select the outer part of the selection instead of the inner part, Select > Invert
  7. Create a new layer
  8. Choose the Gradient tool, set shape to ‘Radial’, colors white to black. Starting from the center of the image, create a gradient down to the bottom of the image and you should end up with something like this
  9. Now with the new layer selected choose Overlay as layer style for the layer to make it darken the edges instead of overflowing them.
  10. End by flatten all layers of the image and you are done!

Lomo photo effect using GIMP, quick and easy!