Free Brushes

Posted in Uncategorized by Scott on November 28, 2009

I just discovered QBrushes a great resource for Photoshop brushes. All the ones I’ve looked at have been Creative Commons licensed with an Attribution license, which is awesome.

If you didn’t know, all GIMP versions greater than v2.4 can load Photoshop brushes. To do it, you need to figure out where the GIMP stores your brushes and just copy the .ABR files to that location. You can find out where by clicking Edit > Preferences. Expand the Folders list and select Brushes. There should be a path with the writable option selected. That is where you should save your brushes.


I will probably create a new page for this blog with resources like this that I use frequently. Once it’s created, I’ll post about it.

Edit: Check out the Resources page.

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Smokey Typography

Posted in Uncategorized by Scott on November 25, 2009

I’m going to do another typography tutorial today. This time it will be number 6 from the list. This is another one that is quite simple to do, yet produces a really neat effect. The original is called Create Smokey Typography in 12 Steps written by Tom over at


Okay so to start off, we’re going to need some images of smoke. I found the following on searching their Creative Commons by-nc-sa section, which is a fantastic resource.

I opened all these photo’s in the GIMP and desaturated them and inverted their colors as necessary so that the smoke is white and the background is black. Minimize those windows or otherwise set them aside for later.

Open a new document, black background 600×125 pixels.


Next add some text to your document. Any font will do. I chose a bold sans font.


Now, duplicate your text layer, select the original text layer and click Filters > Blur> Motion blur… In the motion blur dialog, select Linear for the type, make the length 20 and the angle 90.


Now, this will only blur in one direction, so it will have the effect of moving your blurred text upward. Select the move tool (M) and use your arrow keys to move the active layer down until it lines up the way you want. Also, lower the layer opacity to 60%.


Now, bring up one of your smoke images. You can either use your selection tools to select an area of the smoke or just select all and copy and paste the smoke into a new layer in your image. Once you’ve got the layer anchored, set its Mode to Difference.


Now, take a soft fuzzy eraser at low opacity and erase around the edges of the smoke until you can’t see the hard edges of your selection. You might even want to reduce the opacity of the layer a bit.


Now just keep repeating the previous technique with different smoke images until you have something that looks good.


Now, paste in one more smoke layer and set the layer mode to Multiply. Use your eraser to erase some of the layer so you can see the smoke and letters again.


Now, select the text layer that we did not blur earlier. It should be higher in the stack than the blurred layer. Right-click the layer and click “Layer to image size”. This will set the layer boundry to the same size as the rest of the image. Select the Smudge tool (S). Select the Circle Fuzzy (19) brush, Scale 1.00 and rate 50. Using small circular motions, smudge those letters until they look more smokey.


I chose not to do the last part where he did random brush strokes on the page. It seemed very out of place to me, and not everyone is going to have a drawing tablet and pen. However if you want to do that, you can get into the brush dynamics by selecting the paintbrush tool and clicking the plus sign next to Brush Dynamics.

That’s it. I hope you enjoyed the tutorial and maybe learned something new.


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Simple Typographic Design

Posted in Uncategorized by Scott on November 21, 2009

Update: Here’s the XCF file if you want it.

I’m adapting one of the tutorials mentioned in the previous post. It’s from PSDFan and it’s titled Create a Simple, Professional Typographical Design. As noted, this is a simple effect, but produces a very nice design which could be used for a wallpaper, logo, or maybe a business card.


Open a new document whatever size you like with a black background. I’m going with 1400 x 900.


In order to make the next part a little easier, I maximized my image window so I can see the gray area around the border. Now, select the text tool by pressing T, change the color to 323131, and drag a text box completely around the image. Type in whatever text you want using all caps, and copy/paste it over and over until it fills the screen.

Now, select the rotate tool by pressing Shift+R. In the rotate dialog box, enter -25 for the angle and click the Rotate button. Mine still ended up being a little small, so I selected the Scale tool by pressing Shift+T and stretched it a little until it covered the entire canvas.

Now, create a new layer and select the text tool again. Set the color to white and the size to 250, or whatever makes it the right size for your image. Input your text, then rotate the layer -25 degrees just like above. Use the Move tool (M) to position the text in the center of the page.


Set the text layer to Soft light, and duplicate it in order to make it stand out more. Adjust the opacity of the duplicated layer until you have something you like.


Now, select the Gradient tool (L). Set your foreground color to white and background color to black. Set the gradient tool mode to Normal and the shape to Radial. Create a new layer and set its mode to Soft light. Click and drag the gradient from the center of the page to the top edge of the layer boundary. Adjust the layer opacity until you have something you like. I lowered it to about 77%. You should now have something like this.


That’s it! I hope you enjoyed this simple tutorial.

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Fake Fill Flash

Posted in Uncategorized by Scott on May 19, 2008

Today I’m going to teach you a method I use to fake a fill flash. The objective is to lighten the dark areas without blowing out the highlights. Here’s the before and after:

Fake Fill Flash -- Before Fake Fill Flash -- After


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Manually Convert EPS to SVG

Posted in Uncategorized by Scott on October 23, 2007

Update: Several readers have suggested easier and more effective methods. Check the comments section!

EPS is the vector graphic file format Adobe Illustrator saves in. Supposedly you can import these files directly to Inkscape if you have skencil and pstoedit installed, but I couldn’t make it work. So I converted it manually using the GIMP and Inkscape. Here’s how I did it.

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Inset Text

Posted in Uncategorized by Scott on October 16, 2007

Veerle’s Blog is one of my favorite design blogs. She recently did a Photoshop tutorial on how to create inset text in the new Mac OS X Leopard style. This is a neat effect, and pretty simple to accomplish in The GIMP.

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Better Beveled Text

Posted in Uncategorized by Scott on August 8, 2007

In the Script-Fu menu, there is an option to add a bevel, but I’ve found it to be lacking, so I found a better way to create a bevel which I’m sharing with you here.

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Amazing Circles

Posted in Uncategorized by Scott on April 8, 2007

Flickr user Flatfeild has posted a great tutorial on how to make the popular Amazing Circles with gimp over at the GIMP Users flickr group. Head over and check it out, and if you’re a flickr user, please consider joining the group. Here’s an example of an Amazing Circle.

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Convert RGB to Black and White

Posted in Uncategorized by Scott on February 27, 2007

There is no one “right” way to convert color photographs from color to black and white. In fact there are tons of ways to do it, and they all have their advocates. If you want to see some other methods, I’d recommend taking a look at a tutorial at digital Photography School entitled How to Convert Color Digital Images into Black and White Ones, or at another one from entitled Converting Color Images to B&W using the GIMP. Both of these detail several different methods, all with their own merits.

I’ve been researching the subject quite a bit, and I think I’ve settled on a favorite method of my own, and I’m going to detail it for you now. We’ll be using lessons learned in the last couple of posts on luminosity masking, so if you haven’t read those yet, you might want to at least skim them to get the idea.

Anniversary Anniversary Redux


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Luminosity Masking: The Dark Side

Posted in Uncategorized by Scott on February 25, 2007

Okay, last time I showed you how to bring out detail in highlighted areas. Today, I’m going to show you the opposite, bringing detail out of darkened areas. I’m also going to show you a different way of creating this luminosity mask that I think is a little more versatile. If you’d like to see the Photoshop way of doing things, the tutorial I’m adapting is from and is called The Shadowy Face of the Luminosity Mask.

Pink Flower Pink Flower Redux


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