This is the 3rd and final part of our short course on creating a design with GIMP. In this lesson we look at working with paths, more you can do with layers and a couple of free add ons you can get for GIMP.
If you watch all 3 lessons you should have enough knowledge to start creating your own designs or to edit existing ones. The is however a lot more to GIMP than this. If you want to learn more there is a lot of more specialised information on the internet. A great place to start is the official GIMP website where they have a special tutorials section:
Creating a Design with GIMP. Part 3.
Working With Paths.
At first working with paths can seem a little complicated but a little bit of practice, as usual, will make it seem less so. It is a very powerful tool and enabled you to make complicated designs and patterns containing a limitless number of lines and curves. You must remember that the “Path” doesn’t actually exist, it is basically a guide line. However you can “stroke” the path which will turn it into a proper shape. (You can also turn the path into a selection which you may like to play with if you intend to learn more about GIMPs capabilities).
Below is a list of commands which you will find useful when working with Paths. (Sorry to say I cribbed this from a forum. Unfortunately I have lost the reference. My apologies to the original creator).
- Create a new Path:
Design: Click, Click, Click, Click, …
- Close a Path:
Design: Ctrl-Click on first node.
- Move a Node:
Design: Drag Node
- Add a new node:
Edit: Click on a segment
- Delete a node:
Edit: Select node, then Shift-Click on the node (or Shift-Ctrl-Click on the node)
- Delete a segment:
Edit: Select segment, Shift-Click on the segment
- Join two nodes with a segment (close a path):
Edit: Click on one node, Click on the next node.
- Open (Extract) a handle:
Edit: Drag square
- Open (Extract) handles while creating a path:
Instead of just clckng, Click-Drag.
- Close (Delete) a handle:
Edit: Shift-Click on the handle
- Make handles symmetrical:
Design or Edit: Press Shift while dragging a handle
- Bend a segment:
Design: Click on the segment and drag
- Start a new section in the same path
Duplicating, resizing, flipping and mirroring layers can save a lot of time. Especially when working with symmetrical designs. These techniques can be combined with those we showed in the earlier videos, and with paths (as shown in the video accompanying this lesson) to create all sorts of designs. It is worth spending 5 mins before you dive into creating your design to see if any parts will be used more than once. If so duplicating layers will save you time.
Most of the layer command (duplicate, merge down etc.) can be found by right clicking on the relevant layer in the layers tab. Actions you can perform on a layer can be found under the “Layer” option in the top menu.
There are 100s od add ons available for GIMP. Unfortunately the place where they were listed and in some cases stored is currently down. It will be coming back in a new format but not just yet. Now add ons can be downloaded from various places on the Internet but you should be VERY careful where you do this.
The two I have listed (as I find them useful) can be downloaded safely via the links I have given. Both are highly reputable sites.
A great add-on which is actually a whole menu full of add-ons in one. Some of the stuff it adds won’t be of much interest to designs but other stuff (extra shapes etc.) will be. You could even end up using all of it if you chose to explore the photo editing capabilities of GIMP.
GIMP Paint Studio.
Now this is useful if you want to colour in your design. It adds more gradients, colour pallets and paint brushes. Away from designing this is also a great add-on if you want to do any painting/drawing with GIMP.
Creating a Design with GIMP. Summery.
We really hope you have enjoyed our short course on Creating a Design with GIMP. If you get stuck you can always ask a question below. Even if we can’t answer it we should be able to point you in the right direction to get an answer!