GimpShop Review – Part II

Yesterday we were talking about GimpShop and comparing it to Photoshop in a usability and functionality aspect. I showed you how to make a logo the “wrong” way and as promised I will now show you how to make it the “right” way.

To be honest, there are many different methods to accomplish the same end result in most photo editing programs. As I explained about drop shadows being the same item that was offset with a blur filter and a touch of transparency, these are two different methods (drop shadow script and manually editing) to accomplish the same thing. I’m sure some of the more experience Photoshop users out there will agree with this point.

Remember, this is supposed to be a review of GimpShop and comparison to Photoshop so I selected a method that will show Photoshop users just how much similar functionality exists between the two applications.

So lets step back a little and get mack to our basic canvas. You can go through the Edit – Undo function to step backwards or follow the first few steps from the original tutorial to get a basic 800×600 @ 72dpi in RGB with the original .png (with transparencies) in it as it’s own “logo” layer.

First we need to separate the components down to the humans and the text. Make sure you are selected on the logo layer in the Layers Palette and use the rectangle selection tool in the Tools Palette (upper left hand corner) to draw a selection box around the humans (the orange/yellow/red circle).

Selecting the Humans

Now right click on your selections and go to Edit – Cut on the pop-up menu. Next, click the “New Layer” button on the Layers Palette. This is on the lower left corner, it looks like a sheet of paper with a + sign on it. This will bring up the “New Layer” dialog box:

New Layer Dialog Box

Go with the defaults, give it a useful name like “humans.” Next, make sure you a re selected on the “humans” layer and right click, Edit – Paste to paste the humans on this layer. You will get something that looks like this:

Humans on their own layer

Right now GimpShop treats this as a floating selection. It will remain floating until you anchor it to the layer. If you move your mouse over the selection you will get two different pointers, one with the 4 way arrow that will allow you to move it, and another with an anchor allowing you to anchor it to the layer.

This is large difference between Photoshop and GimpShop. Photoshop will let you edit components of a layer by holding [Ctrl] and clicking on the layer icon in the Layers Palette. Gimpshop doesn’t give you this option (as far as I know). Once you anchor the item to the layer it’s stuck on that layer in that particular X Y coordinate. You can opt to make the layer itself smaller if you choose which gives you some of that control back.

So go ahead and move the the selection to about where it belongs by clicking (and holding) when you see the 4 way arrows. I’ll let you use your best judgement as to where it goes. Once you get it there hover your mouse over the humans selection until you see the anchor pointer. Click and it will anchor the selection to that location on the layer.

[If you are enjoying this article or are new to GIMP or GIMPShop be sure to check out the GIMP Tips Tricks and Tutorials on my T3 (Tips, Tricks and Tutorials) page.]

Looking at the canvas it appears as though we see the exact same logo, but in fact it is two separate layers each holding a portion of the image.

Now lets step back to yesterday’s example and create a drop shadow, by hand, of the humans part of the logo. Use the same steps as yesterday:

1. Create a copy of the humans layer named “humans shadow”

2. Move it a little to the right and a little down from the location of your original

3. Go to Filter – Blur – Gaussian Blur, use the defaults and click OK.

4. On the Layers Palette use the Opacity slider to change the opacity of the “humans shadow” layer to 60%

You should end up with something that resembles this…

So there you have it, the colorized “gel” style dropshadow for the humans portion of the logo. Again, sort of. This method is really an optical illusion, your eyes interpret the the offset blur on top of the solid color as a drop shadow, especially when referenced to the text drop shadow we do in the next step.

Would you like to know the real method? Again, enter the Photoshop equivelancy test, Layer Modes. To make this a real drop shadow the shadow layer needs to be under the original layer and the original layer needs to appear transparent.

We can accomplish this with the “Multiply” mode and a touch of transparency in the proper vertical instead of the “Default” mode for the top Humans layer and the wrong vertical order. This is accomplished quite easily in the Layers Palette by dragging the shadow layer down one level (click, hold and drag the shadow layer down to below the original layer), setting the original layer to Multiply and 90% opacity:


The end result looks much better. Below is the original method (left) compared to the Multiply method (right)…

withoutmultiply.png withmultiply.png

Here’s the deal on this. In the original method if your drop shadow is too far to the right the yellow shadow might overlay the red human “arms” when rendered. This would detract from the realism of the image and, under reasonable scrutiny, ruin the optical illusion. In reality the yellow would be too light to be seen under the red arms but would be visible anyway. The original method is still valid for certain effects though and could still be considered usable. It’s all about personal preference in the overall appearance.

The original method will be used for the rest of this tutorial because I promised to show how I made the logo presented in Part I of this review.

Next lets use the dropshadow feature built into GimpShop to make a dropshadow of the text layer. In the Layers Palette click on the original “logo” layer to select it, then in the main window go to the Filter menu and select Shadows – Drop-Shadow. You should get the dropshadow dialog:

Some options here –

X Axis adjusts the shadow right (positive numbers) and left (negative nubmers)

Y Axis adjusts the shadow up (positive numbers) and down (negative numbers)

Blur Radius is the same as the Gaussian Blur radius in the Gaussian Blur menu

Does this idea seem familiar? Again, lets stick with the defaults for now, click the OK button and watch what happens!

That’s right, GimpShop scripted the dropshadow effect to do the same thing we were doing manually… it created a new layer (maximized to the canvas size), copied the items from the original layer onto it, offset it a little, added some gaussian blur and a touch of opacity to smooth it out. Plus, since the layer it created is at full canvas size we didn’t get any of that shadow clipping when we did this manually yesterday.

Isn’t automation grand!?!

And what’s interesting about this? We can move this layer around separately from the original using the “Move” tool. We can adjust the blurriness more if need be with the blur filters, and we can adjust the opacity more with the layer opacity slider. For me this is far more useful than Photoshop as I can get a very specific look without having to go in and change global lighting and source lighting on a per layer basis. I don’t have to mess around with angles and radians to get my shadow in just the right place.

But this is only half the fun! Remember that logo I showed actually had a reflectivity effect in it also. Photoshop users rejoice! Transform is here and it works just as well!

I’ll save the Transform and Alpha Channel overview for the next installment…

[If you are enjoying this article or are new to GIMP or GIMPShop be sure to check out the GIMP Tips Tricks and Tutorials on my T3 (Tips, Tricks and Tutorials) page.]

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