March 16, 2009

Splattered Vector and Photography Mash-Up in Gimp

 I've always liked mixing cartoons and vectors with photography. It is a great way to make a fun and colorful style of art. Many projects use this form from gig posters and CD artwork to high-end advertising imagery.

Today, we will create a splattered vector and photography mash up based on a Photoshop tutorial by James Davies at PSDTuts. We will be using mainly the path tool, along with the dodge and burn tools. Let's get started!

This tutorial was written exclusively for the website and can be viewed there.


February 21, 2009

How to Design a Dramatic Winged Dragon with Gimp

Let's create a fantasy image with the Gimp. In this tutorial, we will be taking a picture of a baby iguana and another picture of a bat and we will combine them to be a full-fledged dragon. This tutorial is based off of a Photoshop tutorial from PSDTuts by Alvaro Guzman. I've made another tutorial before like this one, but for some odd reason it disappeared off the face of the earth and I haven't been able to find it. Anyway, let's get started!

Here is what we will be making. You can click it to view it full size.

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This tutorial was made exclusively for the website and can be completed there. Enjoy! 

 Note, I realize that the PDF file is a whopping 93 megs, but don't worry. I will reupload it compressed pretty soon. My other PDFs will be compressed as well. 

December 7, 2008

How to Make Mini Cars

I remember a while back I stumbled upon some mini car photoshops that were pretty neat. Basically they were  cars such as the Lamborghini, Porsche, Ferrari, etc, even a Smart Car, that were shrunken.Yeah I know Smart Cars aren't expensive, I just love 'em) Anyway, here's how to do that in Gimp. We are going to try and make something like this:

Step 1
First, we need to think about what car we want to shrink. If you're not sure, just browse the web for something and you will find it. As for me, I'm going to shrink an Audi R8. Create a new canvas in Gimp and open up your car image on a new layer.
Step 2
Duplicate the layer. Rename this layer as "mini car." Now use the scale tool and shrink this layer like I have done:

Step 3
Hide the mini car layer. Now on the original layer, get out the Rectangular Select tool and select the rear wheel, starting from the edge of the tail light, working your way down until the entire rear wheel is selected. Copy/paste the wheel onto a new layer and name it "rear wheel." Hide the original car layer and unhide the mini car layer.

Lower the rear wheel's opacity to about 70%. Position the rear wheel carefully so that wheel fits in the space between the black paint on the door and the rear grill pretty seemlessly. Some parts will overlap, but that's ok, we'll fix it.

Step 4
Bring the opacity back to 100%. Right click on the wheel's layer and select "Add Layer Mask." Choose the first option and click ok. Use black as the foreground color and select a soft paint brush. Start removing the areas that are not required by painting black on the layer mask. We want to keep the wheel's arch panel, so don't remove that. Use a smaller brush for areas that are harder to get to.

Step 5
Now after doing this, I noticed how blurry the car was compared to the rear wheel. I did something about this by selecting the mini car layer, and using the Blur Tool on it, making it a little blurry. I also did the same to the rear wheel layer. We will fix the bluriness later.

Step 6
Now repeate the wheel process for the front wheel. Blur the wheel a little too like we did in step 5.

Step 7
Looks good eh? Ok now we need to fix the air intake on the bottom of the car. Hide all of the layers except the original car. Use the lasso tool and select the air intake. Copy/paste onto a new layer. Hide the original layer and show the mini car and its wheels. Use the same process we did before when we put the wheels on to add the intake. Blur it as we did with the wheels.

Step 8
We're almost done. Now we need to sharpen the image a little. Merge all of the layers except the original car, which can be deleted. Name the merged layers "mini car." Resize the canvas to the size of the layer. Go to Filters > Enhance > Unsharp Mask. You'll have to play around with the settings a bit to get a desired result.

Aww isn't it cute? Well there you have it, an easy method to shrink cars. Have fun with it!

December 4, 2008

Create a Holiday e-Card in Gimp

Hey I'm back. I haven't forgotten about the blog, I've just been busy lately. Anyway, today I'm going to teach you how to create a holiday e-card in Gimp that you can email, print off, etc for your friends, family, whoever you want to say "Happy Holidays!" to. We'll be making something like this:

Step 1
Create a new, rather large document. I made mine 800x600 pixels. If you plan on printing your card, make the X and Y resolutions at 300dpi. Give it a white background.

Step 2
On the background layer, we'll apply a gradient. Make your foreground color either a dark red or a dark green and make your background color black. Apply a radial gradient to the background.

Step 3
Create a new layer and name it "tree reference." Get out the pencil tool. Choose the Circle (01) brush and make the color white. Drag a ruler to the center of the image. With the pencil tool, click once where you want the top of the tree to be, using the ruler as a reference. Now, hold Shift and you should see a line follow the mouse pointer from the point at the top of the tree. Click where you want the base of one side of the tree to be. Do the same for the other side. This will be our reference for our Christmas tree.

Step 4
Now we need an image of our Santa Claus. Go find one somewhere on the net, or you can use this one. Place him in the center of the tree. You can use the ruler to be sure he is center. Create a new layer and name it "tree." Get out the Paths Tool. Starting at the top of the tree, create a diagonal path down towards Santa's star. 


Step 5
Still using the paths tool, go to the paths dialog and switch from design to edit. Click a path and manuever the little squares to curve the lines, like I have below.

Step 6
Download these brushes. Because they are a .tar.gz file, you will need a program such as 7zip to extract them unless you are running a Linux platform. Copy them into your Gimp brushes folder.Click the brush tool (don't worry if your path disappeared, we'll make it come back up later) and in the brush dialog, click the little refresh button. Your brushes should appear.

Select the star brush I have selected above. In the other brush dialog, apply these settings:

Go ahead and change the brush's size to 0.10 pixels instead of what it is now. Click the Paths tab next to the Layers tab. Double click on the white space on the only path listed. Our path should show up on the document. Click the "Stoke Path" button. Select the "Stroke With a Paint Tool" option and select the paint brush. Enable brush dynamics and click ok. You should have something like this:

Step 7
Before we go any further, we need to install a couple of filters. Download these filters from the Gimp plugin registry and install them. To do that, simply save the SCM file avaliable for download and paste it into the Scripts folder, in the same archive as the Brush folder. To activate the script, go up to Filters >Script-Fu > Refresh Scripts. A menu should pop up next to the Filters Menu named "Script-Fu.
Open your ecard back up. Select your tree layer. Go to Script-Fu > Layer Effects > Color Overlay. Select a hue similar to either the dark green or dark red you chose at the beginning of the tutorial. Choose the setting Overlay and keep the opacity at 100%. Click ok.

Now go to Script-Fu > Layer Effects > Outer Glow. Keep the default settings, except lower the opacity to 14% and change the blending mode to Screen. Click ok. (Note I have hidden the tree reference layer below.)

Step 8
Now let's add a star at the top of the tree. Create a new layer and name it "star." Paint a white star at the top of the tree. Also paint a smaller star at the top of the star above Santa's head. Apply outer glows and color overlays like we did in the last step.

Step 9
Now we'll add in some text. Type in "Christmas," or whatever word you would like. Place it behind the Santa layer. I used size 80 font Arial Bold. The color is the opposite color of my background. (IE red if your background is green, and vice versa). I made the star above Santa's head in the center of the text. Let's give the text some style.

Go to Script-Fu > Layer Effects > Inner Shadow. Keep everything default and make the size 4. Click ok. Go to Filters > Light and Shadow > Drop Shadow. Make the offsets 0, the blur radius 8, and don't allow resizing. Click ok.

Now go to Script-Fu > Layer Effects > Bevel and Emboss. Change the type to Inner Bevel and raise soften to 4. Click ok.

Step 10
We aren't done with the text yet. Select the text layer again, and go to Script-Fu > Layer Effects> Color Overlay. If your text is red, use #ff0000. If your text is green, use #1fae1c. Set the blending mode to Overlay, and click ok. In the layers dialog, drag the color overlay layer that was just created to above the rest of the layers that make up the text. Lower the opacity to about 63%.

Step 11
Let's add a reflection to the text. Hide all of the layers that do not make up the text. Edit > Copy Visible. Edit > Paste As > New Layer. You should now have the text all on one layer without any distortion. Go through and delete all of the separate pieces that made up the text to begin with, except for the one we just made. Your picture won't look any different- we just put all of the pieces that make up the text on one layer.

Now duplicated the text layer. Go to Layer > Transform > Flip Vertically. Place it underneath the original text, as if it were a reflection.Right click the reflected layer, and select Add Layer Mask.... Select the first option (full opacity) and click ok. Reset your colors to black and white. Apply the gradient from bottom to top, making a reflection.

Step 12
Now add some "Merry" text and some more icons like in previous steps. For the "Merry" font, I downloaded this font. All I did with the text was give it a drop shadow like before and stroked the edges with light green. As far as the icons go, just search for Christmas or holiday icons on Google and you are bound to find some.

Step 13
Now we'll add some snow. Create a new layer and go to Filters > Render > Clouds > Solid Noise. Raise the X and Y size to 5 and raise the detail to 5. Click ok. Go to Colors > Hue/Saturation. Take the Lightness all the way down and click ok. We still need some more dark spots, so get out the burn tool and burn it in a couple places.

Filters > Blur > Gaussian Blur. Blur by 30. Now go to Filters > Noise > Hurl. Use 10, 41, and 1. Click ok. Go to Colors > Threshold. Drag the arrow to about the third line. Click ok. Go to Filters > Blur > Motion Blur. Use linear type, length 3, and angle 212. Click ok. Set the layer mode to Overlay and lower the opacity to about 42%.

I forgot to add the reflections for the Santa, tree, ornament, and gift, so I went ahead and did that as well, the same way the text was done.

Wasn't that easy? Now you can use it as a wallpaper, or email it to your friends and family, even your co-workers, or boss. It's a nice and easy way to get every one into the holiday spirit! Merry Christmas everyone!

October 24, 2008

Design a Halloween Pumpkin Wallpaper in Gimp

Alright I know I promised you guys a 3d abstract wallpaper tutorial, but I decided I liked the pumpkin idea better (Halloween is in a why not?). Anway, today I'm going to teach you guys how to create a Halloween pumpkin wallper in Gimp based on a Photoshop tutorial by Alvaro Guzman at PSDTuts. Here's what we are going to make:

Want to download the XCF for this tutorial? Get it here!

Step 1
Create a new document that is the size of your desktop screen. Mine is 1280x800. Select the blend tool and give the background a brown (#d7aa82) to black radial gradient. Use these settings:

Apply the gradient from the center of your document to close to the outside, holding down CTRL/CMD as you do so.

Step 2
Now we need an image of a pumpkin. I am going to use this one, but you can use whatever you like. File > Open as Layers. Select your pumpkin. It will open on a new layer in your document.

Render your pumpkin. You can do this using a variety of methods, so do it however you like. I am going to render mine using the path tool. In my image, the pumpkin is a bit flat. I am going to use the scale tool to make it a bit taller.

Step 3
Now we will recolor our pumpkin so it's the color of traditional carved pumpkins. Select the entire pumpkin except for the stem. The easiest way to do this is to use either the lasso tool or the paths tool and select the stem, then invert the selection. Go to Select > Feather. Feather it by one. After you have done that, go to Colors > Colorize. Apply these settings to get an orange hue, or you can play around with the sliders until you get something you like.

With your selection still active, invert it by going to Select >Invert, or CTRL/CMD-I. Now you should have only the stem selected. Go to Colors > Colorize.

Step 4
Let's increase the darkness in the pumpkin by going to Colors > Levels. Adjust mainly the middle and right sliders to darken the pumpkin, but don't darken it too much.

Step 5
Create a new layer above the pumpkin and name it "sketch." Using the brush tool, draw a quick, rough sketch of your jack-o-lantern's face. You can even use the pen tool and then stroke the path you created.

Step 6
Create a new layer above the sketch layer and name it "fill." Now using the Magic Wand Tool, select inside the sketch. Hold down the shift key as you select so you can select more than one area at a time, eg. the eyes, nose, and mouth. Now grab the Bucket Fill Tool and and fill the selection with black on the "Fill" layer we created earlier. Deselect and hide the "sketch" layer.

Step 7
Now we'll create an inner lighting effect. Create a new layer and name it "radial gradient overlay." Apply a radial gradient to it that goes from an orange (#ff5a00) to a dark brown (#572b04) with the selection of your fill. (If your fill isn't selected, right click it's layer, and click Alpha to Selection.) Set the layer mode to Multiply. Create another new layer and name it "pattern overlay." Download this pattern and place it inside your fill's selection. Set the layer mode to Multiply.

Bring the pumpkin layer above all of the layers. Alpha to Selection on the Gradient Overlay layer. Go back to the pumpkin layer and press delete. Everything should be deleted where the eyes, mouth, and nose are, letting the textures show through.

Step 8
Now we'll add in some light sources. Download this photo of a candle and open it as a new layer named "candle." Make a quick selection around it with the Lasso Tool and go to Select > Feather. Feather it by about 30 pixels. Copy/paste onto a new layer. Delete the previous candle layer.

Now we will add the candle by changing the layer mode to Screen. Put the candle layer below the pumpkin layer, but above everything else. Your candle should be inside the pumpkin. Duplicate the candle a few times if you want to.

Step 9
Bring back the "sketch" layer and drag it above the rest of the layers. Unhide it. Draw some more lines on it to give it depth.

Select the new areas with the Magic Wand Tool and create a new layer below the pumpkin layer called "depth." Fill the selection with black. Hide the sketch again. I actually had to do some fixing with the eraser and brush tools to get it to come out exactly like it did, and you may need to do the same as well.

Step 10
Now we will add a pattern and gradient overlay like before. This will give it more depth and texture. Again, right click, alpha to selection on the depth layer. Create a new layer named "gradient overlay depth." Click the gradient tool and apply a gradient like before. Lower the opacity just a bit.

Create another new layer named pattern overlay depth. Open up that texture we downloaded earlier and place it in the selection. Set the layer mode to Multiply.

Step 11
Now we'll add some light details around our pumpkin. Create a new layer and name it "light details." Get a small, soft brush and paint a few lines close to the carving borders and then use the smudge tool to make the lines softer.

Step 12
Create another new layer and name it "depth adjust." Using a soft, dark brush, paint over some of the depth areas in the carvings so you have inner shadows for each hole. I also went in and added another candle inside the pumpkin.

Step 13
Now we'll add a nice background. Create a new layer and place it underneath all of the other layers except the background layer. Name it "clouds." Go to Filters > Render > Clouds > Solid Noise. Raise the detail to about 10 and click ok. Set the blending mode to Dodge. Create a new layer above it and name it "fractal." Go to Filters > Render > Nature > Flame. Get something about like I have below. Duplicate it, rotate it, and place it in a few different spots on the canvas. Merge all of the fractal layers down to one layer, and be sure the layer mode is set to Dodge.

Afterward, select your pumpkin layer and go to Filters > Light and Shadow > Drop Shadow. Set both offsets to zero, the blur radius to 8, and don't allow resizing.

Step 14
Select the fractal layer and go to Filters > Blur > Gaussian Blur. Leave the values at 5 and press ok. Merge the fractals with the cloud layer and set the layer mode to Dodge. Rename the layer as "Bg1."

Get out the Lasso Tool and and select a good size area in the Bg1 layer. Go to Select > Feather. Feather by 20. Copy and paste it just above the first background layer. Name this new layer "Bg2." Go to Colors > Colorize and give it a red hue. Change Bg2's blending mode to Overlay. Place it like mine below.

Do this again, but instead using a green hue.

Step 15
Notice that our pumpkin has a dark shadow on the left side. We are gonna try and keep that same lighting effect in our final outcome. Create a new layer above all of our background layers. Make an elliptical selection like mine below:

Go to Select > Feather. Feather by about 150. Fill the selection with black. Get out the scale tool and flatten the black area a bit. Lower the opacity to about 70%. Place the black area under the pumpkin, but to the left a bit.

Step 16

Now we will add a surface for the pumpkin to sit on. Create a new layer named "floor" just above the background layers. Fill it with black. Right click the layer and select "Add Layer Mask." Select the first option and click ok. Get out the rectangular selection tool and select an area on the bottom that will serve as the floor. CTRL-I to invert it. Fill it with black. Your pumpkin should now be on a black floor.

Step 17
Create a new layer called "ground shadow" and place it above all of the other layers. Get out the elliptical selection tool and make a selection underneath the pumpkin. Feather it by 100 pixels and fill it with black.

Step 18
Now on the same layer, get out the Lasso Tool and draw an irregular shape following the pumpkin's shape. Feather it by 20 pixels, then press delete.

Step 19

We're almost done. Let's add some more details, shall we? Duplicate one of the candles and name it "front candle." Bring it to the top of all the layers in the layers palette. Place it like I have in front of the pumpkin. Go ahead and duplicate it, while making it smaller to add another candle.

Get out the Burn Tool and the Blur Tool. Use them on the candles to improve them.

Step 20
I also decided to add another candle on the other side of the pumpkin.
Now we'll add a reflection to the entire thing. First, select the three candles in the front. Duplicate all three layers and merge the duplicates together. Set the layer mode to Screen. Go to Layer > Transform > Flip vertical. Move the layer underneath the original three candles as if it is a reflection. Right click the layer and select "Add Layer Mask." Use a white and black gradient to make it fade out.
Do the same reflection technique for the pumpkin and the other candles.
Save it and you're done!
Happy Halloween!