This is the second part of our series on creating designs with GIMP. It does assume you have watched the first part or already know the information it contains.
I this part we look at making shapes, how to use layers and importing other images to use in your design. The second part, using layers, can seem a little complicated at first but it is a very useful technique. Allowing you to have multiple elements which you can resize, rotate etc. independently of one another. The last section, importing images, is important as many people often incorporate elements of existing designs in their own rather than just starting from scratch.
Creating Designs with GIMP. Part 2.
Section 1. Making Shapes.
This is a pretty simple section. You can use the selection tools on the top right (mostly the square/rectangle tool or the circle/ellipse tool) to make a shape. Then you can use “edit / Stroke Selection….” to change the selection into a drawn shape. (Don’t forget to choose your colour in the top colour box BEFORE you use “Edit / Stroke Selection….” If you want to make a square or a circle (rather than a rectangle or ellipse) then make sure you have checked the “Fixed Aspect Ratio” box and that it is set to “1:1”.
Section 2. Using Layers.
Using layers can get slightly tricky so I highly recommend watching the relevant section of the video. In a nutshell you can create new layers by using the layers pallet on the bottom right of GIMP. At the bottom of this pallet you will find a little button with a “+” sign. This will let you create a new layer. We suggest you stick with the basic options, just ensure it is “transparent” and rename it if you want something more memorable.
Create as many layers as you wish. Anything you draw on each layer (or any images you import on to each layer) can be altered independently of the other layers. Therefore you can resize what is on a layer, move it, rotate it, re-colour it or take multiple other actions. This can be very useful if you are using mutiple elements in your design but aren’t sure where each will go. Please don’t forget, if you import and image onto a layer which has a solid background, then you will be blocked from seeing what is underneath. You are probably going to need to delete the background in order to make working on the design easier.
Section 3. Importing images.
This is really useful as we often base our designs partly on other images. I work in the following way (mostly) but you may want to work out your own method of doing it.
- Background: I keep the original layer as the background. This is normally white as it helps me to see anything above more clearly.
- Layers 1 (+more is necessary): On the next layer or layers, I build my frame, both inside and out. If this is particularly complicated then I will spread elements of it over several layers.
- Top layers: Here I will import other elements of my design or use layers to draw them from scratch. Again I use a layer per element so I am free to move or resize it etc.
It is really best to have a play with layers, maybe during some free time when you aren’t under any pressure to produce a finished design!
Creating Designs with GIMP. Summery.
I really can’t stress enough how beneficial it can be just to have a play around with this program incorporating some of the above as you do. Unlike pep and paper, you won’t be wasting anything (except for a bit of time which is hardly a waste if you are learning). You will develop your own way of doing things in GIMP. If you get suck then there is a whole wealth of information, tutorials and videos on the internet regarding GIMP which can be found via a quick search.