Mini-lessons on:


GIMP#23 Shadow and Shadow Play
This demo has two parts. The first is a minute and a half demonstrate how to easily add a shadow for a cutout figure added to a scene. It is very flexible. The second part is a demonstration of how to make an animated shadow that seems to move on its own while the figure stays still. Gimp 2.8 is used for both parts.

The basic approach for making a shadow is to start with the cutout on a separate layer, then copy that layer and move it under (behind) the figure. Rendering the copy as difference clouds and then darkening it makes for an effective shadow which you will blend in with Grain Merge. The copy, now a shadow, can be moved independently of the figure to allow the light casting the shadow to come from different directions. The opacity of the shadow can be used to get the right level of dark for your purposes.

The animated shadow is somewhat more complex. It is easiest if you have a second (or more) shot of the original cutout figure to use as a target shadow. This could be the person raising a knife or something else, or could be the person sitting down. Whatever you want the shadow to do. Once you have that separate cutout, you can make a second shadow. From there, it is only a question of how many intermediate steps you want between the original shadow and the final shadow. You copy either the original shadow or the final, and shift and edit it to make it closer to the other so that you get a series of steps moving from one shadow to the next. I find the most effective is to make copies of the intermediate steps to reverse the process, so that when the shadow repeats, it is back where it started smoothly.

Finally, you make a series of layers by copying the background layer as many times as there are shadows and merging one shadow with each background. Then, you make copies of the cutout figure layer for each, and merge those as well. You should end up with a series of layers that are all the same except for the intermediate changes to the shadow. You can the use Animation - Optimize for GIF to make it into animated. Slow down the steps however you like to make the animation look like you want, then save as GIF, making sure to check the box saying it will be animated.

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GIMP#22 Quick Mask: Fun, easy ways to use Quick Mask
The purpose of this demo is to introduce the Quick Mask tool in Gimp 2.8, and show a couple of easy ways to use it.

Gimp 2.8 has regular layer masks which are very useful, and which I use all the time, but it has an almost hidden feature called the Quick Mask which beginners often miss. This is a form of layer mask that shows a light red overlay anywhere in the image that is not selected. If you select a rectangular area and click on the Quick Mask in the lower left corner, everything outside the selected rectangle will be filled with the semi-transparent red layer. You can then paint it away or in with white and black, just as with a layer mask, but the painted out parts (unselected) are covered in the semi-transparent red.

In this demo, I show how to use the paint in/paint out feature, but also show how it is different than the ordinary layer mask because the end result is a selection rather than a transparency, and you can use the selection any way you like.

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GIMP#21 Clone Away: Copy background elements more naturally with Perspective Clone tool
The goal in this demo is to isolate a figure not on a clean background or color, but on a background that looks naturally like the rest of the background.

Gimp 2.8 has both a Clone tool and a Perspective Clone tool. While the Clone tool copies from the selected part of the image (which may be this or another image, as I showed in my earlier Clone Tool tutorial)., the Perspective Clone copies with a shift in perspective size. This is useful for cloning an object at a different size, but also for cloning background elements that look correct at a different distance, or simply look different enough that it is not obvious you have cloned part of the image. It is this latter use that I demonstrate here.

While I mention in passing the importance of copying the layer first and working on the top layer, I want to be sure to emphasize that step. Cloning is a naturally destructive step in that it overwrites whatever is under it. This means that if I slip and clone over something I wanted, my only choice is to Undo and try again. If I have kept my mouse down the entire time, that means losing all of what I have carefully done.

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GIMP#6 More Selective: Advanced use of selection tools
Notes: Gimp 2.8 has seven explicit selection tools: Rectangle Select, Ellipse Select, Lasso (Free Select), Select Contiguous by Color, Select by Color, Intelligent Scissors and Foreground Select, plus it is possible to select using the Paths tool.

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GIMP#20 Dem Eyes!: Selective Color with Gimp
Sometimes you will see an image that is either B&W or monochrome, but some small detail is in color, such as a B&W image of a girl with a yellow flower. It can be very striking, so this lesson shows how easy it is to make such an image, and also some ways you can play with the concept a little more.

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GIMP#19 Hold Still, Kate!: Turn an animated GIF into a Cinemgraph
Cinemagraphs are very popular these days. Still photographs with just a tiny bit of movement may show a lovely young woman with her hair or dress blowing gently in the breeze, or a still in a bar where just the bourbon pours into the glass. There are various techniques to make these, most of which depend on a fixed camera and a simple image, but with a little work, we can take many animated GIFs and make cinemagraphs. Stay tuned for more mini-lessons on how to make these eye-catching images. In the meantime, open your mind to the possibilities of freezing part of an image and letting another part move. Staying with the royal theme for a moment, the following two cinemagraphs come from the same animated GIF, but give very different impressions of what is happening. I made these using the same techniques as in this mini-lesson, although the camera was fixed so that made it easier.

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GIMP#18 Make-A-Meme: Edit an animated GIF in Gimp 2.8
Animated GIFs with text are very popular now. I recently made one for my daughter for her birthday, and decided I should do a tutorial on the techniques I learned. Gimp 2.8 makes it easy to scale the image, crop it to different dimensions and add text or graphics to the GIF. This is a simple, brief introduction to how you can edit an animated GIF to make a meme, or for any other similar purpose.

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GIMP#17 Splattered with Gimp
Splattered or shattered images are quite popular, and this uses an easy technique for creating them in Gimp 2.8. Once you get the hang of it, you can try out a variety of brushes and approaches to get the exact look you want.

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GIMP#16 Splashy Text in 60 seconds: using the Blend tool
There are many ways to create frames and borders in Gimp 2.8, but this shows a quick and easy approach to creating transparent frames with zing, even if your border is irregular and not a rectangle. The key points to remember are:

1) Create a transparent layer the same size as your original image (which it will be by default when you use New layer).

2) Switch to Overlay for the transparent layer...

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GIMP#15 Fading Frames: Transparent frames using the Blend tool
There are many ways to create frames and borders in Gimp 2.8, but this shows a quick and easy approach to creating transparent frames with zing, even if your border is irregular and not a rectangle. The key points to remember are:

1) Create a transparent layer the same size as your original image (which it will be by default when you use New layer).

2) Switch to Overlay for the transparent layer...

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GIMP#14 Channel Art Specs: Youtube One Channel
Youtube is moving everybody toward their new One Channel design, and one requirement for anybody who cares about their brand is proper channel art backgrounds that work on various size devices. I have created a specs file based on their official specs, but with pre-made layers for each size device, as well as mask layers.

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GIMP#13 Mug Shot: Making someone look BAD
The core take away from this lesson is that it is possible to use the Enhance filters to exaggerate facials features such as 5-o'clock shadow. In particular, we use the Unsharp Mask, which is more commonly used to retrieve details out of a blurry or out-of-focus shot. We use the Wavelet Decompose plugin, available for download from the Wavelet Decompose plugin page. This is a very useful plugin for photo re-touching.

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GIMP#12 Add-A-Ghost
Two interesting things to take away from this lesson are the isolation of the image and the use of the Difference Clouds from the Filters - Render - Clouds - Difference Clouds.

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GIMP#11 Out Damn'd Spot: Simple photo touch up with Heal and Blur


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GIMP#9 Cut Out Bridesmaid
Technique for cutting an image out of a complex background.

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GIMP#8 Healer: Doing more with the Heal tool
This lesson shows how the Heal tool works when used as intended, but also how to use this single spot clone to copy objects.

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GIMP#7 Writing Inside The Lines
Adding text to images of lined paper can be a challenge due to the mismatch between the font and the lines. This mini-lesson show how you can use the font size first, then shift the lines further using fine-control line spacing, and finally how you can add small increments of space to adjust for slight offsets in the spacing.

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GIMP#5 Kicking the Tires with G'MIC filters
G'MIC (pronounced Gee Mick) stands for Grey's Magic for Image Computing. G'MIC is "an open and full-featured framework for image processing, providing several different user interfaces to convert/manipulate/filter/visualize generic image datasets" according to their website, but our focus is on the G'MIC plugin for Gimp, which can be downloaded and installed in the Gimp directories to provide many G'MIC filters inside Gimp 2.8.

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GIMP#3 Perspective Clone Demo - More complex example

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GIMP#2 Perspective Clone Tutorial

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