One Four Challenge – February Week 1 – (A GIMP Tutorial)…

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Do you remember when I made some serious corrections to a pink flower with water drops, and I said I didn’t know if the fix for that would be useful for any other image? Well I’m happy to report that I used that same technique to *move* the hot air balloon! In both instances I had an area where it was similar enough that I could get away with doing what I did… obviously this won’t work for every image.

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But I’m getting ahead of myself… First we have to fix that sky, bring out the colors in the rest of the photo, and then we can *move* items within the photo.

Promise me that you won’t get overwhelmed at the site of all the layers I used to create this ‘fix’.  You should know by now that I like to have lots of layers, I treat them as snapshots so that I can redo parts, if needed.  And some of the layers are optional, my image required doubling up on some of the techniques to get the look I was going for.

Stick with me, there is no need to worry.

You will need:

  • A photo editor, I used GIMP*
  • Your imagination

tools-you-will-use3

Hot Air Balloon Tutorial – Quick Glance:

layer-list

  1. Create a new layer, use gradient tool, change blend mode to Overlay.
  2. Create a new layer, use gradient tool, change blend mode to Overlaythis is optional, it will depend upon your image.
  3. Using the free select tool, make a rough outline of the bottom portion of your image, add a layer mask, paint in more detail the selection.
  4. Create a New from Visible Layer… Layer->New from Visible.
  5. Duplicate Visible layer, use the Hue-Saturation tool to add oomph to your image.
  6. Duplicate Hue-Saturation layer, use the Hue-Saturation tool to add more detailed saturation… this is optional, it will depend upon your image.
  7. Create a New from Visible Layer… Layer->New from Visible.
  8. Duplicate Visible layer, move the new layer up and to the left, then select the balloon using the ellipse selection tool, create a mask from selection, then paint in more detail to the mask to clean up the edges.
  9. Duplicate Visible layer, use the ellipse tool to select the ‘old’ balloon, then click on the move tool and move the active layer to the right, add a mask from selection.
  10. Create a New from Visible Layer… Layer->New from Visible.  (Yes, I realize this layer is misspelled… balloon.)

*** The order of the layers does matter, keep this in mind as you create the new layers. ***

GIMP-helpful-shortcuts3

Detailed Notes:

1. Create a new layer, use gradient tool, change blend mode to Overlay.

First we need to make the sky have more detail, one way to do that is with the gradient tool.  Create a new transparent layer by either clicking on the icon, or Layer->New Layer, or Shift-Ctrl-N, and then choosing transparency.

new-layer

Now click on the gradient tool icon, make sure the foreground is black and the background is white.  If not, here’s how you set it back to the default…

color-block

I chose FG to BG as my gradient, and the shape as Linear, repeat set to none, opacity set to 100%…

gradient-tool-details

Set your blend mode to Overlay… this will allow you to see if the gradient is working like you want.

overlay

Then pull the tool from the top of your image to the bottom of your image, press Ctrl key while you do this to keep it straight.  You may have to do this several times to get the look you want, try longer strokes and shorter strokes… somewhere will be the gradient that makes your image work…

gradient-tool-in-use

After a few tries, this is what my image looked liked after the gradient was made…

step1

Better, but I wanted it a bit darker, so I repeated these steps to create a darker more detailed sky… see step 2.

2. Create a new layer, use gradient tool, change blend mode to Overlay... this is optional, it will depend upon your image.

Don’t worry that the lower part of the image looks like crap, we’ll fix that in step 3.  For this step, our main concern is the sky…

step2

3. Duplicate the base layer, using the free select tool, make a rough outline of the bottom portion of your image, add a layer mask, paint in more detail the selection.

Click on the base layer, then click on the duplicate layer icon, or Layer->Duplicate Layer, or Shift-Ctrl-D.  Then click on the duplicated layer and drag it on top of your last gradient layer.

duplicate-layer2

There are several select tools to chose from, I choose to do a rough outline with the free select tool…

free-select-tool-in-use

Once the selection is made, make a mask layer… Layer->Mask->Add Layer Mask. Choose selection…

add-mask-options

after-free-select-tool

Shift-Ctrl-A to remove the marching-ants.

Then with the paint brush tool paint in more detail changing the opacity as needed… my mask looks like this…

selection-mask

Which yielded this…

step3

4. Create a New from Visible Layer... Layer->New from Visible.

This will allow us to make global changes on the whole image as if you had flattened it, but instead it is a new layer created from all the visible layers so that you get to keep your work.

visible-after-gradient

5. Duplicate Visible layer, use the Hue-Saturation tool to add oomph to your image.

Duplicate that layer we just created, and then go to Colors->Hue-Saturation… Click on the Master button, set overlap to 100, then start to adjust saturation and lightness to your liking…

hue-saturation

You can also click on each color’s radio button and adjust each color individually.

step5

6. Duplicate Hue-Saturation layer, use the Hue-Saturation tool to add more detailed saturation... this is optional, it will depend upon your image.

I wanted to really get that yellow and blue on the balloon to pop, so I duplicated the Hue-Saturation layer and just adjusted the yellow and the blue.  Then I created a black mask and then painted back in the balloon with a white paint brush…

hue-mask

Which yielded this…

step6

7. Create a New from Visible Layer... Layer->New from Visible.

Again, this will allow us to make global changes on the whole image as if you had flattened it, but instead it is a new layer created from all the visible layers so that you get to keep your work.

visible-after-hue

8. Duplicate Visible layer, move the new layer up and to the left, then select the balloon using the ellipse selection tool, create a mask from selection, then paint in more detail to the mask to clean up the edges.

Duplicate the layer we just created using the duplicate icon.  Next, click on the move tool and make sure that you click on the move the active layer radio button, and make sure that the layer you intend is the one selected.
move-tool-optionsmove-tool-in-useThen using the ellipse select tool select the balloon…

select-balloon

Once the selection is made, make a mask layer… Layer->Mask->Add Layer Mask. Choose selection.

after-balloon-selection-add-mask

Shift-Ctrl-A will remove the marching-ants.  Now with the paint tool clean up around the edges painting on the mask…

cleaned-up-new-balloon

9. Duplicate Visible layer, use the ellipse tool to select the 'old' balloon, then click on the move tool and move the active layer to the right, add a mask from selection.

For simplicity, turn off the eye icon for the layer with the new balloon.  Duplicate the ‘visible’ layer again, this time use the ellipse tool and select the ‘old’ balloon, then move the image to the right…

removing-old-balloon

Then add a mask from selection…

remove-balloon-after

Shift-Ctrl-A to remove the marching-ants.

Then turn the eye icon back on for the ‘new’ balloon layer…

step9

10. Create a New from Visible Layer... Layer->New from Visible.

Creating a new layer from visible is a good way to make sure you don’t move anything around by accident… it is basically everything you’ve done up to this point.  So it makes a really neat little before/after with the top layer and the bottom layer.

I then Save As .xcf, which saves all my layers.  Then I Export As .jpg which is a flattened version of my image (no layers).

I opened my .jpg file and then played around with various crops until I liked the composition…

I know this was a really long post/tutorial… but I wanted to show as best as I could what I was talking about.  I hope you learned something and will try out some of these techniques.  I’d love it if you tried something out and then told me how it went. 😀

Until next time…
~nic


* GIMP is Open Source software that is available for all platforms (Linux, Mac, and Windows), it is a photo editor that does many (if not all) of the things you can do in Photoshop. You can download it for free here. The GIMP online manual can be found here.

wilber

Like Wilber? You can get him here.



I have joined a month-long photo post-processing challenge called One Four Challenge, hosted by Robyn at Captivate Me. “This challenge is about processing 1 image in 4 different ways over 4 weeks.” Every Monday Robyn posts a new version of her photo and challenges us to do the same each week.


11 thoughts on “One Four Challenge – February Week 1 – (A GIMP Tutorial)…

    • Ben, I’m not sure what you mean by ‘mess’… perhaps you don’t like the floating docks? You can put all the docks into one window, and I put that on my ‘GIMP helpful shortcuts’. 😀

      I know how to do this in photoshop too, in fact the pink flower I refer to was done in photoshop. My desire to show that it can be done as well in GIMP is my current project. If you have photoshop, and want to learn more, I also hope that one could take my GIMP tutorial and ‘translate’ it to photoshop. If you don’t have photoshop, I am trying to show that there is a way to do this in a program that is available to all, both in platform (Linux, Mac, and Windows) as well as economically (it’s a free download with no strings attached). 😀

      • I have been using photoshop since PS7, when I was first asked to use gimp a few years ago I just couldn’t get used to it, thats what I mean as a mess. I know a lot of things can and cannot be translated between the two. I don’t have to use gimp often unless I want to use a plugin which PSCC wont run anymore.
        I was more commenting it is good to know that this can be done in Gimp simialr to photoshop. Not sure that came across.

        • Oh good! Then thank you! 😀 I’ve only been using Photoshop since CS5. I used gGIMP prior to that, but I didn’t really know what I was doing then, so now I’ve gone back to see what I can do in GIMP that I know how to do in Photoshop, and hopefully learn even more ‘tricks’.

          I started this project when I was informed that I couldn’t sell my images that were processed with the student license of PS… then after I had already started learning GIMP someone else showed me links to Adobe that said that I could sell my images with the student license. I haven’t decided yet what I’m going to do, but the journey to learn GIMP and show others what is possible is one I am enjoying and so I will stay on that path for awhile. And I think selling my images, for now, will wait.

          • Ben, it is not unheard of for software companies to put a limit on student editions, it is the ‘price’ you pay for getting a discount. Luckily, it is not true for Adobe starting with PS CS5. 😀

            Thanks, I hope you will give GIMP another try. 😀

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