Friday, 17 May 2013

Purple - The Tutorial

The original purple text was just an accident, when i tried to make more gold from "innards" and put a purple outer glow underneath it.
Well it landed on top and to my surprise it looked good.
Btw, i experience that a lot, that after stripping a texteffect of most stuff, and just leaving the bare bones, you get something very different, that often looks equally good.

Original version posted on Gimpchat
Folks seemed to like the effect, so i had to write a tutorial

Enjoy !

01. i used a 800x400px canvas with the font 'Syndrome BRK' at 300px – colour: #7a14f8.

02. these are the values for the layerfx bevel:
(pay extra attention to use the same modes as i did to get a similar result !)

I used #fff7d2 for the highlight colour and #010001 for the shadows.

(A small sidenote: some people on Gimpchat had problems applying the alpha-curves.
Their alpha channel was greyed out in the curves dialog and that was because they used a different layer effects script.
I use the Jonathan Stipe python script.
Other versions of layer-effects will give you a coloured layer with a layermask. Apparently you can affect that layermask to shape your bevel with the channel set to 'Value' - that should give you the same results)

03. next we shape the bevel – for the highlight i used a slightly tweaked cone-curve, like this:

if you cant get it into a ring-like shape, apply a small blur (5) to the highlight and then try again.
there is always a spot that you can tweak to make subtle changes where you want them, but sometimes you must try a bit to find the right spot:

04. the shadow is made of two layers because i wanted it a bit darker – just duplicate your shadowlayer and apply a curve like this:

05. and this curve on the duplicate (which is on top) then reduce the opacity of the layer to approx. 70%

06. for the Inner Glow from center, i used the „Innards“ texture, made from the 'Lava' and 'Relief light' filter – you can download my picture.....

....or use colour instead with added highlights painted with a fuzzy brush.

The actual Inner Glow is made from a shrinked selection (-24) of the basetext and a Gaussian Blur of 20, set to 'Screen', colour #c04e16.

EDIT: you might want to go higher with the blurvalue or apply a curve afterwards to expand the glow some more.

The highlights inside the Glow are an orange #f09021 50-Hardness brush, Size 24 and then blurred 0/12 (unlink the chain), Opacity reduced to 70%, mode 'Screen' und put under the Inner Glow.

07. For the background, create a new white layer and apply:
G'MIC → Pattern → Seamless Turbulence

at default values and then 
G'MIC → Lights & Shadows → Relief light

The essential component to achieve the main effect with this filter is at the bottom:
its the 'Image Smoothness'.
'Specular Lightness' seems to crate a spotlight, which is not needed for our purposes.

...maybe play with the contrast afterwards.

Then put a black layer on top, at 'Hard Light' 93% to darken the background.

08. My original purple text had a purple border, you can get that by saving the basetext selection as a path and stroking it by 2, colour #3f0a81 on a layer on top of all layers. Maybe reducing the opacity to 77%.

And this is your final result:

If you want to study the text i made for this tutorial, download the xcf-file here:

Wednesday, 15 May 2013


Some glassy text i made last week and forgot about.
Looks good enough to post i think.

Its based on Erisian`s Glass Text tutorial on Gimpchat. There is also a pdf attached to the thread.

Basically its just bumpmapping text into a grey layer and then applying chrome curves. After that get rid of the grey with colour to alpha.

This texteffect is based on Oregonian`s Shiny Text tutorial. 
Its very similar to the Glass Text effect.


I made some gold text by mutating Erisian's innards technique and wanted to write a tutorial about it, but cant exactly replicate what i did yesterday. 
Instead i got amber today....

The basic technique uses the G'MIC 'Lava' filter and then 'Relief light' on top of it. The important step is to play with the value of 'Image Smoothness' to get the shiny, plastic like appearance, that look like innards.

I made the bevel by creating a frame for a Displacement and used different ways to modify it even further.
For the gold text, i added some real bevel highlights and shadows, shaped with curves, and for the amber an inner shadow and a tiny stroke bumpmapped, to give the inner part, where the bevel stops, some depth.
Both versions have an inner glow from center made from a duplicate of the texture.


Sunday, 12 May 2013

Unknown Territory - Full Cycle

When i followed Elicabe's 'PS-Tutorial' last month, i was fascinated how he uses photos to achieve a chrome effect.

Yesterday i stumbled over the youtube video for 'Xenon 2 Megablaster' and there was this style again in a different form, done with oldschool looking pixelated gradients (dont know what its called...8Bit perhaps ?) and the music for this game is by 'Bomb The Bass'.
Never knew Tim Simenon's music was licensed for video-games....

'Unknown Territory' is my favorite Bomb The Bass album, so i gave it another listen and looked it up on 

Thats when i came across a scan of the booklet with the texteffect you can see at the bottom:

I've probably looked a hundred times at that image, but never really liked it that much..... seemed so much different from the cyberpunk-y circuits and nodes that i loved, which fitted the theme of the music (or what it meant to me)......
and what has it all to do with rainforest indians, dolphins and a clock anyway ??

This double page picture looked a lot more like those 80's fantasy metal covers, with maybe a bit of a graffiti influence,  
BUT, there it was again:

the text is filled with a desert landscape, which seems to give the text a shiny chrome-like effect.

So i instantly fired up Gimp and made two gradients:
one for the "sky" and one for the "mountains".

Combined them on the same layer and then run the displacement filter.

And here is the result - i think the white comes out a bit too dull, but the rest looks good to me.
I still dont know where this desertlandscape-inside-a-text-looks-like-chrome comes from, but you cant deny: it looks good ! ;)

If you want to try your own desertlandscape-chrome effect, here are the gradients i made:

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Tutorial: 3D Text Videogame-Style

EDIT: 16.07.2014
I noticed some interest in this thread, so i made a few small corrections in the text description to make things easier or clarify where i felt it was hard to understand.

How to do a video games-esque 3D text with Gimp and Inkscape.

Open Inkscape (i used version 0.48).
If you have already set up a project in Gimp, use the same pixelvalues for your document properties in Inkscape
(thats under File → Document Properties).

01. Type your text and center to the page with the Aligment Dialog.
I used the font 'Batman forever'.

Then convert the text into a path:
a) Object To Path (CTRL + Shift + C)
b) Ungroup (CTRL + Shift + G)
c) Combine (CTRL + K)

EDIT 2016: instead of using the three above steps, a simple 'Union' will do the same.

02. With that done, we want to apply perspective to our text.
Put guides around your text to make the job easier.

03. To apply the perspective, we need a frame.
Drag the text out of the way, call up the Bezier Tool and make a rectangle inside the guides, starting (!) from the lower left corner.

Then use the Node Tool to modify the rectangle into a perspective shape.

If you select both upper nodes with the Node Tool and then hit the < Key (thats next to Shift on my keyboard) several times, both nodes will move in union towards each other.

04. Select your text, then include the perspective rectangle, you just made, into the selection by clicking again with the Shift key pressed, and go to:
'Extensions → Modify Path → Perspective'

Inkscape needs a few seconds to calculate and then you'll get something like this:

Select the perspective path and drag it out of the canvas or delete it, because we dont need it anymore.

If you need a second lesson for giving text perspective, i recommend this excellent video by PhotoAdvanced2:

05. For the extrusion:
duplicate the text and give it a lighter color, then drag it up a bit with the Ctrl key pressed, so it only goes up in a straight line.

Then select the lower black text and shrink it a bit while you hold down Ctrl + Shift, so it shrinks from the center with the same aspect ratio.
In my case, i stretched the text a little and drag it some more down afterwards to make it look good.

06. Next select the lower text first, and then, while holding the Shift key, select the upper text as well and go to:
'Extensions → Generate from Path → Interpolate'.

For Steps i used 8 and Check 'Interpolate Style' because otherwise you dont get the gradient effect and your extrusion will be all the same color.

You will also want to check 'Duplicate endpaths' because that will come in handy later, when we edit our piece in Gimp.

Of course you can use colours other than grayscale for a coloured effect.

07. Next export your interpolation and the upper text as individual png's (whole page) for editing in Gimp.
Make sure they are centered and aligned the same way so they will sit perfectly on top of each other when on seperate layers..

08. Fire up Gimp and open the Extrusion png.
Then on top of that, open the Upper Text as another layer.

09. Alpha select the Upper Text and apply a gradient, in the colors you like. Make sure to check 'Adaptive Supersampling' for the best result.

10. Deselect and apply 'Posterize'. I used twelve levels.

11. Then you can start decorating:

I applied a bevel which was difficult to get right, because i got a lot of jagged edges at the sides with this specific font.

Tweaked only the highlight with a curve and made the gradient a bit lighter with another curve.

Added a Dropshadow with a Blur of 10 and Spread of 5. Mode: 'Grain Merge' 40%.

An Outer Glow with a Blur of 200 horizontically and 30 vertically, 'Grain Merge' at 70%.
Offset: Y: -5.

And a gradient for the background:
a90016 - 280040

Finally i made an Inner Glow from center, Shrink: 13, Blur 8 with an angular curve on 'Lighten Only' Mode at 46%.

I uploaded the xcf-file for people who want to have a closer look at what i did.

Here is another version in blue:

I desaturated the gradient background and applied the Video filter (thats under Distorts).

A birthday card i made in 2013 for a friend.