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Gimp Tutorial - Metallic Text

Date/Time Permalink: 07/13/07 03:31:24 am
Category: Graphics Tutorials

I figured the old chrome-text tutorial over at the Gimp User Group site could use both an update and an enhancement of technique. Mine is done on Gimp version 2.2.13.

EDIT Please note the date of this post. It was from 2007. A lot has changed in the Gimp interface in four years and counting. I've now tried updating the instructions for Gimp 2.6, so this might follow better while getting fewer people lost. I hear you all and I feel your pain and I'm trying to do something about it.

I'm assuming you already know the basic usage of Gimp. If not, here's the manual in English (other languages available).

How to make metallic text:

1. Make some white text on a black background. Use a sans serif font and make it big.

step 1

2. Apply a heavy Guassian blur. About 16.0 The purpose of this is to give the text some rounded corners and smooth edges.

step 2

3. Colors-> Levels... squeeze the outer arrows together. This is just like in the rounded corners tutorial at the GUG.

step 3

4. Lighter Gaussian Blur. About 7.0 This time we are forming the beveled edges of the metal.

step 4

5. Color-select the black area, invert the selection.

step 5

6. Get that Layers dialog open (Ctrl-L). Make a new Layer #2 and set it transparent. Switch off Layer #1 and focus Layer #2 (by clicking it in the dialog), so you have a floating selection on transparency.

step 6

7. Fill the transparency with a dark-gray to light-gray gradient. De-select the layer.

step 7

8. Bump map Layer #2 using Layer #1 for the map. Gimp's bump map dialog wants to use the active layer for the map by default, so make sure that the drop-down menu in the upper right of the bump map dialog is set to use your #1, non-transparent layer.

step 8

9. Now get ready for a surprising effect. From the menu choose Colors-> Curves to get the color curves dialog. Make the line for all-channels wavy. That's the first graph line to show up, so just grab and drag it all up and down. Watch the image change. Stop when it looks like metal. Notice my example line.

step 9

Throw away layer #1 if you want, or use it for masking or other effects. Add background and shadow to taste.

Finished metal text

Example #2 was done by selecting the Golden gradient and applying it to Layer #2 via Colors-> Map-> Gradient map.

gold text

Example #3 was made by duplicating Layer #2 at step 8 and doing the original layer the same way, but doing the duplicate with separate color channels in the Color Curves dialog and blending the two layers with "overlay".

colorful metal text

You can apply this to any wacky two-color design you want, not just text.

whatever this thing is

Hope this was helpful. Comments, corrections, and suggestions are welcome!

PS Oh, ah, ahem, and I've started this new category "graphics tutorials", for all my doodling HOWTOs.

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