Friday, 28 June 2013

Metallic Logo (done with BumpMapping)

Had a look at one of my old record sleeves from the nineties and there was this metallic logo, which was obviously made with bumpmapping.

Gave it a try and didnt think it was that good but Akros from Gimpchat demanded a tutorial, so here you go:

01. start with a square canvas – i use 800x800 white
02. create guides at 50% horizontal and vertical
03. go to the Ellipse Tool and set it to 'Fixed' and 'Expand from centre'
04. create a new transparent layer and fill a circular selection of 700px with a 50ies grey (#808080)
before you deselect, save the selection to a channel

05. make another circular selection form centre, this time 540px and save it to a channel
06. finally create a third circular selection somewhat in the middle between the two (620px) and save it as a path (we will need this path to put the text on an arc in a bit)

07. blur both channels by 5
08. now comes the bumpmapping: activate the grey base layer, call up the BumpMap (Filters → Map) and use the blurred channel as the map
For the big circle use a Depth of 10 and an Ambient of 140 or whatever you feel looks good
09. BumpMap the grey base again, this time with the smaller saved selection and invert the bumpmap

10. for the circular text: type something in a fontsize that will fit on the border we just created, then rightclick the text and choose text along path
if it doesnt fit, scale it with the Scale Tool set to path (or do it again with another circular path)

then rotate the text-path with the 'Rotate Tool' set to path and use a guide to help align the text

11. create a new transparent layer, alpha select the text-path and fill with white, then rotate by 180° and fill again
12. blur your layer a tiny bit (5 is too much, i used 2) and bumpmap the text into the baselayer
i used the default values and a Depth of 3

pay attention to the correct direction of light !

13. bumpmap some other stuff into your baselayer until you're happy with your result
[you can use channels or white on transparent layers as bumpmaps, its all the same]

14. when you are ready, turn of the background and apply a 'New from visible'

15. apply a wavy chrome curve on the new layer
there is no fixed shape for the chrome curve, you can use more than the two peaks i used, or less

try to move the peaks to the left, right, up and down to see how that changes the overall look of light and dark
you can also narrow and widen the curve-parts between the anchorpoints to tweak the effect

here is a variation of the same logo with a different curve;

16. next apply 'Lighting Effects' on your image
i used a single light, slightly outside the logo boundaries

maybe lighten the image with the 'Brightness/Contrast Tool' afterwards if it got too dark

17. finally for a texture, create a new layer in the 50ies grey
a) apply RGB Noise at default values but uncheck 'Independent RGB`' for monochromatic noise
b) on that Noise layer apply Motion Blur

18. alpha select the base layer and apply a layermask from selection to the noise layer to get rid of everything outside the circular boundary, then set the mode of the texture to 'Soft Light' or 'Grain Merge' or any other mode you like best and you're finished !

There is now also a part 2 for effects with bumpmapping, here:

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Bubble Filled Text

This tutorial is very much based on EK22's air bubbles technique.

My initial idea was to create text made of bubbles, but that would not have been possible without Rononour's fantastic 'Pack sprites' G'MIC filter.

So a big thank you to both of you !

Lets begin:

create your canvas, i used 800x600px white

type and align your text, a rounded bold font works probably best
i used Valken 300px

alpha select your text and save to a channel for future use, then delete the text layer

with the selection still on, activate the background layer and press delete – this will be our mask

next fill the mask with a few big bubbles
use a round brush in a medium 50 grey (#808080)
make sure the dots dont overlap the mask and position them in a way, so smaller bubbles will have enough space around the big dots

create a new transparent layer on top of your mask and fill it with one smaller dot, i used a 25 brush size

go to G'MIC → Pattern → Pack Sprites
i used all the default values, except for 'Masking', that has to be set to 'Mask as bottom layer'
set 'Input layers...' to 'All' and 'Output' to 'New Layer'

we now want to get rid of the white mask, so with the new layer active, call up the basetext selection from the channel, Shrink by 1, Invert, then hit Delete

also add a (blue) background

alpha select your packed bubbles and save the selection to a channel
(deselect) then activate the channel and blur by 5

(if you dont like bumpmapping with a channel for some reason: duplicate the packed bubbles layer, lock the alpha channel, drag white over it, unlock the alpha channel and blur by 5 – that gives you the same bumpmap)

Bump-map your grey bubbles layer with the blurred channel as the bumpmap
i set the Azimuth to 90°, because im going to make underwater bubbles, so the sun/light is above the water
set the Elevation to a value that gives a strong highlight (i used 20)
a Depth of 4 was enough for my taste but the shadow was bit strong so, i changed the 'Ambient' to 65 (btw, this is all stuff i learned from ChrisF's Cookie tutorial)

as a backup, alpha select the bubbles, save to a channel, then apply a 'Colour to Alpha' with the medium 50 grey to your bubbles layer – we want the shadows and highlights isolated

now we work on the 3D effect

duplicate the packed bubbles layer
we want one layer with the shadows only, and the other layer with the highlights only
so we apply a 'Colour to Alpha' with white on one layer and another one with black to the other

duplicate the highlight layer, blur by 3 and tighten it with an alpha curve, for a nice crisp light

set the shadow layer Mode to 'Grain Merge', then duplicate and invert the colour of the upper layer
reduce the opacity of the dark shadow to 70% and the light to 83%, or whatever you think looks good
depending of what effect you are going for, you can change to Mode of the original (non tightened) highlight, to 'Soft Light', 'Grain merge' or leave it at 'Normal'
In 'Normal' Mode you get a very strong white. In 'Soft Light' Mode it looks all very soft and picks up the background colour. In 'Grain Merge' Mode you get a stronger white, but still with the blue being integrated.

I liked the 'Soft Light' best, but duplicated the tightened highlight to make it stronger

depending on what you want, you can also add a dropshadow, that is knocked out by the layer
so add a new transparent layer on top of the BG
activate the saved bubbles selection and fill it with a dark colour (#072666)
deselect, then blur (i used 5)
maybe offset 1px down, then apply an inverted layermask from the bubbles channel
i set the mode to 'Burn' and reduced the Opacity to 15%

thats it for the 3D shaping

now comes the decorating part

add a gradient black (or very dark blue) to transparent, from the bottom of the canvas to the bottom of the text
repeat until happy or manipulate with an alpha-curve

duplicate the BG and put it on top of the dark gradient layer
go to G'MIC → Light & Shadow → Light patch
i used default values except for the 'Density' → 10

set the Mode to 'Soft Light' reduce Opacity to 40% and apply a white layermask
paint a gradient from black to white on that mask, to make the Light Patch fade out into the darkness

for some lightrays i duplicated the white shadow layer, put it on top of all layers, then applied G'MIC → Light & Shadows → Light Rays
set the mode to 'Screen' (with Opacity at 20%), then dragged the center of the rays to the top of the canvas and smudged the visible border with the Smudge Tool

you can add Solid Noise on top of the layers at default values, then apply G'MIC → Deformations → Rain Drops and set the Mode to 'Soft Light' for some water texture

14. or you can add some different bubbles
ChrisF has posted a video on how to create liquid and bubbles here, but its in german....

....basically you paint bubbles with the sparks brush, then desaturate (luminosity) and apply an alpha-curve
change Mode to 'Grain Merge' and reduce Opacity to 30%

Thats the basic underwater effect.

As you can see, you can do a lot more with that basic effect:
filling the bubbles with plasma and then applying the G'MIC Water filter can give you soapy bubbles.

Filling the bubbles with a colour changes them to shiny pearls.

Here i tried to go for a daylight version with iridescent highlights made with a rainbow gradient on repeat.


If you want to study what i did, here is the XCF

Saturday, 8 June 2013

Radiant Lighting

Another way to get even more cool effects from the glow layering technique is to apply Lighting Effects.

01. Just layer Glows and Inner Shadows as shown in the Illuminations tutorial.

02. Then turn off the background (and Outer Glows, if you have any) and create a 'New from Visible' layer.

03. Turn everything on again, duplicate your saved channel and blur it (something between 5-10 for example).

04. Activate the 'New from Visible' layer and go to 'Lighting Effects' (thats under Filters -> Light and Shadow) and create two directed lights, one from above and from beneath (or try anything else that looks good to you).
Use the blurred channel as a bumpmap, then hit apply.

05. If you are not completely happy with the smoothness, alpha select the basetext and blur the Lighting Effect layer by 2.

05.a) If you are still not happy, go to
'G'MIC -> Enhancement -> Anisotropic Smoothing'.

Choose 'Amplitude' 100 and 'Anisotropy' to the max.
'Iterations' 2.

[These values are based on monsoonami's Chrome youtube tutorial and work quite well for me.]

Sometimes its good to lower the 'Sharpness' value.

06. After that you can apply a small gaussian curve on the piece for better contrast or even a wavy chrome curve as i did with the smolder piece.

07. The circuit-esque shapes in the Beam text were done with Satin:

Btw, this all started with three gras green Glow-layers and an ochre-brownish Inner Shadow.
I dont always have a clear vision of what i want to create.
I just start with something and later play with the 'Hue/Brightness/Saturation Tool' and possibly changing Modes, until i get something going, that looks good to me.

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Radiant Children

This is what happens when you put the Relief Light layer on top of your basetext, with the Mode set to 'Hard Light' at 90%.

Same Radiance text as in the tutorial but with slightly different colours.

Wednesday, 5 June 2013


01. Start with a dark grey canvas 800x300px

02. Type your text in a rounded font – i used 'Alba' 186px, black and align it.
Alpha select your basetext and save it to a channel for future use.

03. Now we make some glows.
I start with a very sunny yellow #ffea18
Fill the inverted selection with that colour.

For the second glow i used a somewhat dark green #5a5513.

For the third glow i picked a colour that is inbetween: a juicy green: #83c213

04. With all the colours set, we need to apply the Gaussian Blur
I used 10 for the yellow, 40 for the dark green and 20 for the juicy green inbetween.
You can always turn on the saved channel and turn up the opacity to 100% so that it acts like a mask to see what it will look like.

I wanted the yellow at the edges stronger, so i duplicated the layer and reduced the opacity of the duplicate to 60%.

The dark and juicy green layers will be Inner Shadows, so we need to apply the offset:
-7/-7 for the juicy green and -7/-3 for the dark green (in the Offset dialog (Strg + Shift + O)).
I also reduced the Opacity of the dark green to 60%, but that will all depend on your individual colours and taste.

When you are ready, apply to all Glow and Inner Shadow layers, layermask from channel.

05. Next we will add an Outer Glow to mask jaggy edges.
Create a new layer under your basetext and fill the basetext-selection with a whitish colour.
I used #f3ffde.
Then blur it – i used 4px because bigger values will make the whole text appear fuzzy, but that might what you want.
I reduced the Opacity to 60% and the Mode to 'Screen' because i wanted something very subtle that you can barely see.

06. Of course the glow effect works best with a dark BG, you could change it to simple black or use a pattern/texture of your choice. 
I used the subtle pattern 'inflicted' and darkened it with a black layer on top with the Mode set to 'Soft Light' at 72%.

You can find the subtle patterns website here:
and the Gimp pat-files here:

This would be our basic glow text-effect – simple but effective.

But we can do more than that !

07. Turn off all the background layers, plus the Outer Glow.

Now rightclick on your top layer and select 'New from Visible', then turn all the layers on again.

Next go to G'MIC → Lights & Shadow → Relief Light.

Begin with the slider at the bottom: 'Image Smoothness' and tweak it, until you get a wet shiny look.
I used the value 0.3.

Turn up 'Specular Size' to the max, then play with the other sliders, until you get a nice shiny, wet looking text with good contrast.

Set Output Mode to 'New layer', then hit apply.

Apply a layermask from channel to your Relief Light layer and turn off the 'New from Visible' layer (or delete it).

Set the mode to 'Value' and maybe reduce the Opacity to 80% and you will get this illuminated jelly effect.

 You can tweak that result with a curve to get better contrast, like this.

And this concludes this tutorial, hope you find it useful.