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Big GIMP Tutorial

In it, I'll be teaching you how to use a *fake* mask in GIMP, you'll learn about Hue/Saturation (I use this on nearly all my icons- it makes them look more vibrant) in the GIMP, you'll learn about icon text- when to use and when not to in the GIMP, and best of all, it's in the GIMP! (Did I say that already?) It should be translatable.

Since this tut is rather big, I need a Table of Contents:

1a. Introduction
1. Fake Masks
   a. When to use and when not to
   b. How to
2. Hue/Saturation
   a. When to use and when not to
   b. How to
3. Icon Text
   a. When to use and when not to
   b. How to
4. Ending

1a. Introduction

Hi! I've noticed no one writes tutorials for the GIMP anymore, so I'm going to write a big one. For these tutorials you'll need the GIMP, and some experience making layers, and changing the layer settings (overlay, multiply, etc) You'll need some nice fonts to use, so go to dafont.com and look around.

1. Fake Masks

In most big image programs, you can make a layer mask. You can make real layer masks in GIMP, but this tutorial is supposed to be translatable. (There's a comment below this post with a link in it if you want to learn to make real masks) It looks basically the same as a layer mask, but isn't the same. So here we go!

a. When to use and when not to

You should never use a layer mask when the whole icon is someones head. If you want only a little bit of the head o appear, then ok. It might not look so great, but what maters is you like it. You should use it if someone's head is only part of the picture. Usually around the middle of the icon.

b. How to use fake masks

Step 1. Pull out your icon. This icon should have no text, no brushes, anything on it. If you want to use a coloring technique on it, do it now. Once you did that, flatten the layers (Layers --> Merge Down) until you have one.

Step 2. Copy the mask.

Step 3. Paste the mask onto the image. (any mask will do, if you have to just make a layer and make a few brush strokes for the 'mask')

Step 4. Ok, this might be complicated. Look at the layers. If your image that you want masked is the 'Background' duplicate the layer, and delete the background layer. It should look the same. The reason you did this was the background layer isn't movable, we need to move it.

Step 5. Take the mask layer and move it under the image layer. Now the mask should be out of sight.

Step 6. For the layer on top of the mask layer, set that layer to 'Screen'. The layer menu should look like this: 



Step 7. Your icon is done! It might look like this (this a a real fast one I did in two seconds, it would look nicer):

Aha! I found a nice one I did:

2. Hue/Saturation

Hue/Saturation is a great tool, I use it often. Most stock icons I make have just the Saturation cranked up. It makes them look vibrant.

a. When to use and when not to

You should never use this majorly on white people. In my experience, it only makes them look sunburnt, or washed out. Then again, some icons with white people look ok with this. I've made various where the people look rather red, but it looks great anyway. The only thing I've ever cranked it up majorly on is stock. It makes candy look delicious. It makes pizza look delicious. Now- I never use the Hue, it changes the colors. But you can experiment/

b. How to

This is probably the easiest one to use. Have your image open, go to Tools --> Color Tools --> Hue/Saturation. Experimenting is the key with this.

3. Icon Text

Icon text can make you laugh till it hurts, or make you feel really sad. OR it can make an icon look crappy. No matter how sad or funny, icon text can sometimes clutter an icon.

a. When to use and when not to

You should never use icon text if it looks to cluttered. NEVER. You should use it if you have a space you could put it, or the icon looks great with it.

DO: 
This icon looks great. Simple text, great coloring, and some sparks. (Catherine Zeta-Jones in Intolerable Cruelty)

DO:
This icon is ok-looking. It's not cluttered, but it could use a more crafty font. (Corpse Bride)

DON'T:
This icon is funny, and it has Johnny Depp so it's cute, but the text is very bland and clutters the icon. (If you don't know what this icon is from go read a magazine)

DO:
Haha. I laugh everytime I see this icon. (It's from Psych, Shawn 'reading' Lassiter's mind) This icon is greatness in my book. (This is also an example of how saturation can look good in an icon)

b. How to

Friends, family. This is an easy one. Click the 'T' icon in the menu, click on your image, and type. Click on the icon with the arrows to move the text around. Simple. REMEMBER: If you don't like it, DO NOT go through with it. Chances are it doesn't look good. ALSO: MAKE SURE YOU CAN READ THE TEXT!!!!!!

4. Ending

With the techniques I've covered, you should be able to make some good icons. Remember, practice is the best tutorial. I've made all the icons in this tutorial, you are free to use them as long as you credit me. Screencaps for icons from secret-obsession.net and psych-online.org. Thanks, and please comment! I'd love to see your icons.

 

Comments

( 6 ideas — Have an idea? )
moriath
Aug. 29th, 2006 04:00 pm (UTC)
While you're right that there aren't enough GIMP tutorials around, you certainly *can* apply layer masks to icons. Right click on a layer and the select "Add Layer Mask" and you'll have the same masks that the other programs use. I wrote a tutorial ages ago that briefly explains layer masks here.

Thanks for writing up the tutorial, I just wanted to let you know (and anyone who might be hesitating to get GIMP!) that the program really can do essentially everything else the big ones can!
taffee_mandie
Aug. 29th, 2006 04:16 pm (UTC)
Ha, I read that part bck to myself. I didn't say it so clearly. I guess I kinda implied you couldn't do that in GIMP. I'll rewrite that bit. Thanks. The mask thing...I tried to write this tutorial so people in PSP and PS could learn a bit too, even though it's intended for GIMP. I don't know how to make real layer masks in other big programs, but I know that's how to make a fake one in PS7. So I was basically trying to make it more multi-program.
xdead_bloatedx
Aug. 29th, 2006 10:01 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much for this. I'd been having soooo many problems with the GIMP. Ah. I now love you for this!
taffee_mandie
Aug. 30th, 2006 01:22 am (UTC)
Thanks. =)
rosie_posie77
Jun. 7th, 2007 09:46 am (UTC)
very useful tut. put in my memories!
chocoholic47
Jan. 5th, 2008 07:52 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much for making this!
( 6 ideas — Have an idea? )

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