Sunday, 13 March 2016


A new tutorial was long overdue.

Today i want to show y'all how to make a goldfoil effect.

I have seen this everywhere on the web.
You can even buy images of goldfoiltexture. Some are scans of real goldfoil and some are made in Photoshop.

Did a lot of experimentation with different techniques, two of them involving a custom gradient.
But since Gimp's gradient editor isnt exactly easy fun, i decided to use a different approach.

Lets begin:

1. We'll start with a canvas of 600x600px.
I used the color #141414.

2. Next we need a texture in gold colors. You can google yourself an image of a gold bullion and use the colorpicker to get a highlight and a shadow color. My advice is not to use too yellow-y colors.

I used #feec94 for the highlight,
and #ab9954 for the shadow.

The texture itself is created with Filters → Render → Clouds → Solid Noise, x and y-size: 10px.
Tilable is optional.

2.a. Now, we could use Colors → Map → Gradient Map, to colorize the cloudtexture. Even finetune the colormapping by tweaking the gradient to our liking, BUT, you need a gradient for this. So here is just a short example.

 This, btw, i would say is too yellow.

2.b. A second option is to install the Plasma2 plug-in (google it) and get plasma in the colours you want.

2.c. I think this final method is the easiest and most flexible:

  • copy your Solid Noise layer to the clipboard and deactivate the layer
  • add a layermask to the Gold Shadow layer
  • with this layermask selected, paste and anchor

We want more lights than dark, so we adjust the layermask with Levels.

When the texture is to our liking, we make a workcopy with 'New From Visible'.

3. Now its time to bring our target in. For this tutorial im using a laurel i made in Inkscape opened as a new layer.
In case you dont want to use my laurel or make one yourself, you can install this font by Woodcutter for a bunch of different versions or get free vectors from OCAL (import in your paths-tab).

Open in new tab for full size version.

4. Alpha select the laurel (or even better: if you have a path, call up a selection from the path), turn the layer off and with the Goldtexture selected, apply a layermask from selection. Then deselect.

5. Now comes the killerfeature: apply 'G'MIC - Deformations - Textured Glass' on the goldtexture.
Vary the Noise Scale for different looks.

6. This still looks a bit dull, thats why we need to sharpen the texture. I used 'Wavelet Sharpen' when i was in experimentation mode but thats an extra plug-in you need to install, so instead we'll use 'G'MIC - Details - Unsharp Mask' which is even better because we can influence the dark and the light areas in one go.

Update 10.04.2016: 
i just found out that using 'G'MIC → Details → Mighty Details' is also a great option for this step.

And this is the basic effect.

You can do all kinds of variations. For example Desaturate for a silver effect, and Colorize.

Or 'G'MIC - Wind' plus a bevel and a color-curve.

If you want something more dramatic, you can overlay the goldfoil with a gradient, like this for example:

A very early experiment:

Thats the effect for small web-based images.

When i began writing this tutorial, i also experimented with a bigger canvas that was set up for printing (1754x2480px at 300dpi). I noticed that the 'Textured Glass' filter is way too fine at that level.
Also the 'Solid Noise' doesnt produce enough variation even at max levels.
So maybe what is needed is making a tile (say 500x500px) with the 'Solid Noise' and fill the larger area with a pattern from the clipboard (Bucket Fill Tool).

Instead of the 'Textured Glass' you could try the 'G'MIC - Water' filter for the texture effect.

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