Frozen Text

Ed's Frozen Text Tutorial

Hi, welcome to my easy 12-step program for giving your graphics the deep freeze with the GIMP. As you may have guessed, the sparkle plug-in is needed for this one. As with all tutorials, this document describes detailed steps to just one particular effect. A lot of similar but different effects are available by playing around and doing some steps differently. Use your imagination! :)

Twelve steps to the big chill

U1. Create a new Greyscale image, and put some text in it. This is Untitled-1, or U1. Keep it around, it will be used several times during this little operation.


U2. Duplicate U1, then run Gaussian blur 5.00. Do the "contrast autostretch" on it, to bring it to full brightness/darkness. Then, invert the image so it is white on black. (Sometimes, I add it to itself at this point, which makes even more sparkles later on. But I didn't do that this time, and if I add it in now, all my "U" numbers will get out of sync with the tutorial :)


U3. Create a new RGB color image. Use "fill" to color it all black, then run "add noise" at its default setting of 20. Run "contrast autostretch" on it to brighten it up.


U4. Multiply U2 and U3. Run the sparkle effect. (Typically I use Threshold 0.6061, Flare Intensity 0.303, Spike length 30, Spike Points 6, and Angle 15 degrees. But in this tiny image I had to bump Threshold to 0.8 and Intensity to 0.4. Your mileage may vary on this; my machine at home produces a weird red aura with sparkle, but my machine at work does not. I don't know what is different). Anyway! Then run BCG (Brightness- Contrast- Gamma), and alter the red/green/blue gamma values to your taste. The "snow" effect here is red 1.0, green 3.0, and blue 4.0. Hang onto this image, it will be used again near the end.


U5. Invert U1, so it is white text on black background. Then add U1 to U4. Don't worry if it comes out unreadable; in fact, readability at this stage might mean you're not using enough sparkle.


U6. Convert U5 to Greyscale. Run Map/Threshold on it with value 0. Then invert it. This should make a nice mask for the sparkle.


U7. Run "Offset" a few pixels over and down, typically I use X 7 and Y 4 as my offsets. Then run Gaussian Blur 4.00. We're making a dropshadow here. (In this tiny example, I used offset X5, Y2, with blur 3.0).


U8. Multiply U7 by U6. Now we have the background with dropshadow. If you like you can multiply this by a texture, for a textured background, but for this tutorial the background is white.


U9. Offset U1 by the same values you used in U7 above (X7, Y4), then Gaussian Blur by the same value you used un U7's blur (4.00). We're preparing to do the punched-out text trick here. By the way, U1 (and thus U9) is still white on black, thanks to inverting it in step U5.


U10. Multiply U9 by U1. We now have punched-out text. If you like you can multiply this by a texture, to add texture to the inside of the letters. (Of course, you don't have to use punched-out text at all. You can have any sort of text you like, if it fits inside the sparkles nicely).


U11. Composite U4 with U10, using U1 as mask. (If you're wondering, U1 has a black background [since step 5] which will reproduce the sparkles in Composite's "First Image" U4. U1 also has white text, which will reproduce the punched-out text in Composite's "Second Image" U10). Thus you should get punched-out text with sparkles around it.


U12. Finally, add U11 to U8.


Check it out. Awesome.

Last modified 6/20/96 by Ed Mackey. You can send me email or go back to my GIMP page.