GIMP Layers. Creating a Blank Image

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1 GIMP Layers One of the most powerful features of modern imaging software is the ability to work with layers. If an image is made of layers, we can work on the part that is in one layer without affecting the others. This is best understood by creating an image made of more than one layer. Creating a Blank Image Make sure that the background color is white. If it is not, change it to white. Select File, New from the main menu. Create a 1024 x 768 image and save it with the name Composite.xcf Lesson 6 GIMP Layers 1

2 Creating a Composite Image Open Grief.jpg and save as Grief.xcf. You will now have two GIMP windows open, one containing Composite.xcf and one containing Grief.xcf. Our goal now is to combine the two images. In the Grief image, use the Selection tools and Eraser tool to delete out the section of the picture that is not occupied by the figure. The Fuzzy Select Tool A useful selection tool we did not cover in the preceding lesson is the Fuzzy Select Tool, which selects contiguous regions that are of the same color. Choose this tool. Set the Threshold for the tool to a low number, say 1.0. The size of the threshold determines how similar the colors are that will be selected by the tool. A threshold of 1.0 means that the tool will only select identical colors. Make sure Feather edges is checked Click on the white area of the picture with the selection tool. This will select all contiguous pixels that are white. You should see that the outer area you have deleted is selected. Lesson 6 GIMP Layers 2

3 Inverting a Selection We really want to select the figure herself, not the outer white area. To do this, choose Select, Invert from the main menu. This will reverse the selection so that the figure rather than its white surroundings are selected. Use Edit, Copy to copy the selected figure. Creating a New Layer Go back to the Composite.xcf picture and select Layer, New from the main menu. Then click on OK in the dialog box that appears. This creates a transparent floating layer on top of the original white image, a little like a sheet of glass. You can tell the layer is there on the Layers, etc information window. If you click on the Layers icon, you will see that the image now consists of a background (in this case white) and a new layer. In the Layers, etc. information window, select the New Layer. Lesson 6 GIMP Layers 3

4 Use Edit, Paste from the main menu to paste the copy of the figure in Composite.xcf. It will become a third layer for a moment, floating above the transparent layer you just created. Move the figure layer so that the figure is in the lower left corner of the image. When you click away from the figure, its layer will be incorporated with the transparent layer you created a moment ago. The image now has two layers: The white background The layer containing the figure. The checkerboard pattern in the New Layer indicates that this portion of the layer is transparent. Lesson 6 GIMP Layers 4

5 The Eraser Tool You might notice that the right edge of the cloak in the figure is vertical and looks unnatural. We need to correct this, Select the Eraser tool. Configure the Eraser tool as a Fuzzy Circle with a Scale of around Select the upper layer that contains the figure. Use the eraser took to remove a little of the cloak to give a smooth and irregular edge. NOTE: If the Eraser tool does not appear to work, you probably have the Background layer selected rather than Layer 1. Lesson 6 GIMP Layers 5

6 Creating a Layer with a Color Gradient Let s create another layer between the two layers we have. Select the Background layer and then create a New layer. You now should have three layers. Select the middle layer (the one you just created). Change the foreground color to a shade of blue. Choose the Gradient Tool in the Toolbox. Lesson 6 GIMP Layers 6

7 Click the mouse at the top of the picture and, holding the mouse button down, drag the cursor down to the lower part of the screen. You should see a line follow the cursor. When you release the mouse button, you will see a blue gradient painted on the middle layer, behind the figure. Viewing or Hiding Layers You can hide or show a layer by clicking on its eye icon in the layer palette. If the eye is not visible, then the layer will be hidden on the screen. If the eye is visible, then the layer will be shown on the screen. Try this with one or more of the layers and watch what you see on the screen. When you are through, make sure all the layers are visible. Lesson 6 GIMP Layers 7

8 Layer Opacity Select Layer 1, which contains the figure. In the upper right of the Layers palette, you will see an Opacity slider, which controls how much of underlying layers will show through a selected layer. Opacity = 100% means a layer is completely opaque so nothing in a lower layer will show. Opacity = 0% means a layer is completely transparent and no longer visible. Change the Opacity of Layer 1 to 50%, which means that it will be 50% transparent. The figure now is slightly obscured by the gradient layer, which is showing through from below. Lesson 6 GIMP Layers 8

9 Adding Text Layers to an Image Choose the Text tool with a Vivaldi Italic Condensed font. Select 80 px as the text size. The Anti-aliased button should be on. Anti-aliasing fills in the edge pixels on type to make the edges smoother. Set the Text Color to white. Click on the editing screen somewhere near the figure. You will see a GIMP Text Editor dialog box appear. Type Adams Memorial in the GIMP Text Editor As you type the words in the Text Editor, you will see them appear on the editing screen If the Layers. Etc. dock is not open, open it. Lesson 6 GIMP Layers 9

10 Select the text layer and move it approximately to the position shown in the picture at the right. Drop Shadows We can add drop shadows to the text to make it stand out from the background. Select the text layer. Choose Filters, Light and Shadow, Drop Shadow from the main menu. Specify the properties of the drop shadow and click on OK. Lesson 6 GIMP Layers 10

11 Arranging the Order of Layers You can change the order of layers from the Layers menu. Select New Layer #1, which contains the blue background Choose Layer, Stack, Raise Layer in the main menu. What happens to the image when you do this? Look at the Layers palette. Has the figure really disappeared? Why can t you see it? Undo the change. Deleting Layers You can delete a layer by selecting it an pressing the Delete on the keyboard. Try it with one of the layers. Undo the change. Merging Visible Layers Layers give GIMP a lot to remember and can lead to large file sizes. If you are absolutely sure you are finished with an image, you may want to merge the layers into one image. If you have any doubt about needing the layers later, it would be a good idea to save the image under another name after merging. Choose Image, Merge Visible Layers from the main menu. What does this do? Undo the change Lesson 6 GIMP Layers 11

12 You also may want to merge only some of the layers in a stack, rather than all of them. For example, you may want to merge the bottom three layers (background, blue color, figure) but leave the test floating on top. Click on the eye icon for the two layers you do not want to merge. You will see that the text and the drop shadow disappear from the image because they no longer are visible. Next choose Image, Merge Visible Layers from the main menu. This will merge the visible layers into one layer, but leave the invisible layers unaffected. Correcting Perspective Problems Open the file Chicago.jpg. If you take a picture of a building from ground level with a wide-angle lens, the buildings appear to lean toward the center. This is particularly apparent if you view the grid, as shown in the picture at the right. You may want to improve the look of the image by straightening the buildings. View the grid as we did when you rotated the image in the first lesson Lesson 6 GIMP Layers 12

13 Select Tools, Transform Tools, Perspective You will see small squares at the four corners of the image. Push the lower squares in and pull the upper squares out until the straight lines in the image line up with the vertical lines in the grid. Click on Transform in the Perspective dialog box. The image will be transformed to straighten the perspective in the image. This will leave some blank spaces at the bottom of the image, which will need to be cropped. You may need to sharpen the image a little with the Unsharp Mask following the transformation. Lesson 6 GIMP Layers 13

14 Practice Problems 1. Using Ben.jpg and Old_MainSpring.jpg, make this image shown here. 2. Open Street.jpg and make the following adjustments. Correct its perspective Sharpen the image Increase the saturation of the image slightly to give it more punch 3. Make adjustments to the scanned image, SantAntimo.jpg. Include the following adjustments. Correct its perspective Remove dust and people that are in the picture. Sharpen the image Lesson 6 GIMP Layers 14

15 4. Open Famille.jpg and make the following adjustments. Brighten the shadows without changing the properly exposed sky. This may not take much adjustment to look OK. Adjust the perspective Change the saturation if necessary. Sharpen the image Crop the image to remove the telephone pole at the right. Lesson 6 GIMP Layers 15

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