Brief tips for the GIMP

This is a text-only list of neat tips and tricks, taken from the GIMP mailing list.

I will update this page with any tips posted to the list. If you have a brief tip suitable for this page, you can also mail me directly.

Last updated: Fri Jun 21 19:23

From: Spencer Kimball <spencer@XCF.Berkeley.EDU>
Subject: cool effect

Start with a 512x200 RGB image. Run a plasma with default turbulence. Make a 512x200 grayscale image. Using the text tool, make a large piece of text in the gray image. Add noise to the image (value 80). Gamma the image at 0.4 twice to darken things up. Now, from the plasma image, run "bumpmap" with the grayscale text as the mask and a depth of 4. It should kick ass.

This can be extended by using the original text as a mask for compositing another texture into the final image.

I uploaded a bunch of the resulting images...

From: Jesse Vincent <>
Subject: Re: Neon sign lettering effect

> Can anyone give me some tips on how to create letters that look like
> a neon sign? A good pink neon color that I use is (255,0,150), and
> drawing the letters with the spray paint tool comes close to the effect
> I am looking for -- but I can't really draw letters well with the mouse.
> What I would like to be able to do is convert some text generated from a
> font so it will look like neon lettering ... pink letters againsts a
> black background would have a slight pink glow to them, etc.

Pick a nice font (utopia sorta works) Make the text bold..and rather, trace the blur it.
You'll have to fiddle with the effects a bit to get it right. For a really funky effect, make a second copy and overlay it with black.

For an example, check out the title graphic on

From: Mike Phillips <>
Subject: Nifty halo effect

I'm just starting to get to the point where I can actually *accomplish* stuff in the GIMP (thanks for making all the tutorials/tips/etc available!), but I wanted to have a 'cloud' (kind of an electric, disturbed cloud thing) as a halo instead of the glow in the tutorial on Zach's Tips & Tricks page.

So, I duplicated the logo I was playing with, rippled it (amplitude of 5 or 6 or something), spread it (aroudn 4 or 5), gaussian blurred it, and messed with the gamma 'till I got the shade I wanted. A simple multiplication, and an eerie effect.

[Mena Quintero Federico <> comments:]

That's a very nice effect... I played with it and found out that it can look even nicer if you do the ripples in both the horizontal and vertical directions (to do the vertical ripples, first rotate the image 90 degrees).

From: Mena Quintero Federico <>
Subject: Mosaic enhancement

A nice way to make a Mosaic look more 3d-ish is the following:

Take a mosaic, convert it to grayscale, threshold it till the tiles are white and the grouts are black... blur the whole mess, and use that as a bump map for Lighting Effects. Looks neat.

From: Mike Phillips <>
Subject: Raised text

Another CHOP trick -- offset -x -y instead of +x +y for the punched text effect (on Zach's Tips & Tricks page), and multiply by some texture, then composite it onto something else using the original text as a mask. Nice rounded, raised, textured effect. Works well when combined with an offset +x +y, gaussian blurred, to make raised, floating, shadowed text.

[This is now available as a tutorial at this location.

From: Federico Mena Quintero <>
Subject: Neat effect

Just a neat effect which may be totally useless, but here it goes :)

Create a new RGB image. Plasma Clouds it with turbulence set to about 1.5. Whirl. Oil Paint. Enhance. Whirl a bit more... looks somewhat Van Gogh-ish...