Chamblee54

Adding Text With GIMP

Posted in GSU photo archive, Undogegorized by chamblee54 on May 12, 2014

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This tutorial is about using gimp to put borders around text. If you are making graphic images, this step allows you to use almost any image as a background. This tutorial is based on the embedded video. There are a few things different in the version in this post. The video has some jivvy music, which some of you will enjoy. Pictures today are from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”.
This process does not always make sense. It is not always logical. Just follow the instructions. If you make a mistake, and something does not work, just close out the window and start over. Keep these instructions handy the first few times you do this. After a while it will be easy.
This tutorial uses GIMP. If you use photoshop, you probably already know how to do this, or how to find someone to show you. If you need to download GIMP, use the link. PG learned how to do this on GIMP 2.6. The latest version is GIMP 2.8. There are a few differences between the two versions. This tutorial will provide instructions for both versions.
01 Open the picture you intend to use as a background. Make sure it is the correct size. On some versions of GIMP, you need to open the Toolbox, and the Tool Options. This is in the Windows menu. You also need to open the Layers dialog window (ctrl+L).
02 Compose the text in a word document. Copy the text.
03 Select Text (t). Draw a rectangle on the picture. Try to start the rectangle as close to the left edge as possible, and go all the way to the right edge. Make sure it is tall enough for the letters. Paste the text into the rectangle. Before pasting in the text, hit the space bar one time. When you make this image larger, it will need room to grow.
04 Choose a font. Choose foreground and background colors. See how big you can make the text before it starts another line. If you have a specific font size, enter that size in the tool options.
05 Before performing the next few steps, click on the status bar of the background picture. You want this to be the selected window. Click on this window before every step. This is important. If you choose a command, and apply it to the wrong window, it will mess things up.
06 Select text from path. In GIMP 2.6, there is a tab on the tool options window, “Path from Text.”. In GIMP 2.8, you choose “Text to Path” from the Layer menu. (alt+L, p).
07 Select “From Path” from Select menu. For GIMP 2.6 use (shift + v). For GIMP 2.8 use (alt + s, o). The two versions use most of the same shortcuts from now on. The text is now coated in flashing dash marks. This has something to do with being selected.
08 Select “Duplicate Layer” from Layer menu. (ctrl + shift + d)
09 Select “Grow” from Select menu. (alt + s, g) The “Grow Selection” window will appear. Type 3 in the highlighted field. If you want to have a bigger border, put a larger number in. Click OK.
10 Select “Fill with BG Color” from Edit menu. (ctrl + .) The Text Editor window should go away now. If the Text Editor window does not go away, something is wrong.
11 Select “None” from Select menu. (ctrl + shift + A) As we mentioned earlier, some of these steps don’t make sense. This is one of those steps.
12 Click anywhere on text. The “Confirm Text Editing” window will appear. Select “Create New Layer”. (alt + n) A layer will be created. It will be a duplicate of the original text. In GIMP 2.6, you will need to manually center the new layer of text. To do this, you will want to enlarge the text 400%. (alt + v, z, click on 400%) (On PG’s machine, the keyboard shortcut 3 will give you a 400% enlargement.) To center this layer of text, select “Move.” (m). Under Tool Toggle, you need to select “Move the active layer.” Choose the drawing option on the left, next to the word “Move.” This is the “Layer” option, as opposed to “Selection” or “Path.” If the Move tool does not work, make sure the right option is selected. This can be confusing.
12a In GIMP 2.8, the new layer of text is automatically centered on the enlarged layer of text.
13 Once the new layer of text is centered, you need to “Merge Down” the layer. Select “Merge Down” from the Layer menu. (d) You will need to do this twice. Where you once had four layers, you will now have two. With GIMP 2.8, you need to select the toolbox. before you hit d twice. (cntrl + b)
14 Move the finished text into place. If it goes at the bottom of the picture, move it to the bottom right hand corner. Place it a few pixels off the bottom. (Most of PG’s images are 720×447 pixels. The bottom of the text is resting on 431 pixels.) Enlarge the view to 400%. Position the right edge of the text flush against the right edge of the picture. Scroll to the left side of the text. Place the cursor over the left edge of the text, and see what the pixel counter says. The first number will be width, the second number is height. Note the position of the left edge of the text. See the location in pixels. Divide the first number in half. Move the edge of the text to this number. Scroll to the right side of the text, and confirm that the distance to the edge of the picture is the same on both sides.
15 Go back to 100% (1). Are you happy with the way this text works with this picture? If you are happy with this look, anchor the text by clicking d. For GIMP 2.6, “Save” the picture. (ctrl + shift + s, type new name) For GIMP 2.8, you will want to “Export” the picture. (cntrl + shift + e, type new name) Note the folder you are saving/exporting the picture to.
15a If you are not happy with the results, you can try another picture. Go to the Layers dialog box. Select Background. Click on the garbage can in the bottom right of the window. Find another picture. Drag the file into the picture. Go to the Layers dialog window. Highlight the layer with the text. Click on the arrow pointing up. If you are happy with this look, “Merge Down” the text (d) and “Save”/”Export” the picture. (ctrl + shift + s, type new name) (ctrl + shift + e, type new name.)

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2 Responses

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  1. Adding Text With GIMP 2.0 | Chamblee54 said, on November 3, 2014 at 12:57 pm

    […] The original version of this tutorial was written using an older version of GIMP. If you have an older copy of the […]

  2. Adding Text With GIMP | Chamblee54 said, on April 5, 2019 at 8:58 pm

    […] for single color text… just anchor the text in place when you are happy with it. UPDATE The original version of this tutorial was written using an older version of GIMP. If you have an older copy of the […]


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