One Four Challenge – October Week 3 (A GIMP* Tutorial)…

Apologies for not getting this out yesterday like I had hoped, the last few days caught up with me (getting up early and decluttering), I was in bed before 7 pm last night!  But I clearly needed the rest, and this morning at 5 am I felt refreshed and ready for the new day. 🙂

Ok, on with the tutorial for my week 3 edits…


Let’s see, I had two edits and I’ve gotten nice comments about both of them, so I guess I’ll do a two in one tutorial here.  First let’s look at my layers to figure this out… you just glanced at it, didn’t you?  And now you’re scared?  Please, don’t be.  Remember it’s two edits packed into one.  And I didn’t do much work by hand, most of it is filters.  Trust, it will be ok, I promise. 😀


  1. I had an idea, sparked by this post, about how to push the image to reveal the web more.  First, I made a duplicate of the base image [Layer->Duplicate Layer OR duplicate-layer].  Then, I Desaturated the duplicate layer [Colors->Desaturate] choosing Average, because I felt that one showed more of the web than the other selections, your result may vary.  Then I futzed around with the contrast [Colors->Brightness-Contrast].  desat
  2. Next, I ran this desaturated layer through G’MIC Freaky details filter [Filters->G’MIC-.Details->Freaky Details].  Make sure you set the input/output to the following, to make sure that the filter is working on the active layer and will give you a detailed label and a new layer when it is finished processing… gmic-input_outputI ran the Freaky Details filter 4 times, each time choosing the last layer created as the active layer… freaky-details
  3. The web is much more visible, but there is a lot of noise now.  So I ran the G’MIC denoise filter [Filters->G’MIC->Repair->Iain’s Noise Reduction]… It’s not spectacularly better, but it is better than the last freaky details layer…wk3-noisered
  4. When I compare the base image with the image from week 2 intermediate layer (the one where I played with curves and saturation) I like parts from each, but neither as itself.  I like the web more in the base image, and the spider in the week 2 image.  So I combined the two and created a mask with the layer I created in step 3.Duplicate the base layer [Layer->Duplicate Layer OR duplicate-layer], then move it to the top of the stack [either grab it with your mouse to move it or use the arrow buttons to move it one layer at a time (see diagram below)].


    Because I used an image from a different time, I needed to add it to the stack.  You can do this in a couple of ways:

    • If your image is a .jpg (or .png, etc.) image, you can open it as a layer [File->Open as Layers].
    • The image I wanted to use is actually one of the layers from the GIMP image from week 2, which is a tad more complicated.  I opened my week 2 GIMP file (.xcf) [File->Open], which gives the image its own tab.  I selected the layer I wanted, then copied it [Ctrl-C OR Edit->Copy].  Then I came back to the week 3 image’s tab, created a new transparent layer [Layer->New Layer OR new-layer], then pasted [Ctrl-V OR Edit->Paste].  You will get a floating layer floating-selection, you will need to anchor it by clicking on the Anchor icon (see diagram above, between the duplicate icon and the delete icon) OR you can go to Layer->Anchor Layer.  I put this layer just above the base layer.

    For the mask, I clicked on the duplicated layer and added a mask [Layer->Mask->Add Layer Mask] choose White (full opacity).  Now click on the layer created in step 3 and copy [Ctrl-C], click on the mask and paste [Ctrl-V], then click the Anchor icon.  Your mask should now look like the layer created in step 3.

    I clicked the visibility for the week 2 layer to ON, and then changed the blend mode of the masked layer to Grain Merge.  I duplicated the masked layer and then made this layer’s blend mode Screen.   Then I created a layer from all the visible layers [Layer->New from Visible] (click to enlarge)…

    I have to confess that I cannot reconstruct what I did to get the softer blue background in my ‘new from visible’ layer, a layer must have been accidentally deleted at some point.
  5. Ok, it’s looking pretty good, but I wanted to tweak it a bit more.  So I ran the wavelet decompose filter with the default of 5 layers [Filters->Generic->Wavelet Decompose].  The 5th and 4th wavelet layers had a haloing effect around the spider.  So I airbrushed 50% grey over the spider on those wavelet layers, because I really just wanted the massive sharpening on the web.wavelet-polyptychYou have to look really close to see the detail… so I created a hue blend layer (red on bottom) so that you could see the detail a bit better (this is only for the tutorial – it is not used to create the final image).   So the blob you see on 4 & 5 is where I airbrushed the spider so that it wouldn’t have an over-sharpened halo around it.wavelet-polyptych-hue Then I cropped it, this gives you the Photographic edit for Week 3.

    Attempts at keeping it Photographic

    Week 3 – Attempts at keeping it Photographic

  6. For the graphical image, that came about while I was experimenting the above steps.  Basically at one point I created a black layer [New transparent layer filled with black] so that I could see the effects of the mask created in Step 4.  Once the blend mode was set to Grain merge it looked like this…  graphical-step6When I made a duplicate copy of the grain merged layer, the blue became lighter and softer.  I cropped it, and that became the Graphical image for Week 3.

    Week 3 - Graphical

    Week 3 – Graphical

And that’s it… a bit of trial and error, but interesting outcomes.  🙂

Kind thoughts and comments are welcome!

In case you missed it… an Announcement from last week’s post…


As many of you who have been participating in the One Four Challenge know, Robyn, our illustrious host, is needing to take a break from hosting to take some down time for herself.  She has asked me to host the One Four Challenge for the month of November, and I happily accepted! 😀

Everything will stay the same, except instead of linking to her post you will link to mine for the month of November.  I will publish my weekly post at her usual time (6:30 am Aussie time on Mondays [UTC+11 AEDT]), so that everyone can start linking as usual.  Then throughout the week I will visit everyone’s posts and leave a comment (like Robyn does now).  It will be fun and a bit challenging, but I’m totally up for it.

In December, the challenge will be passed back to Robyn and I believe we will have our Review month.

It is an incredible honor to be chosen to help Robyn out, and I hope that you will all still participate in the challenge in November.

Until next time…

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.

* 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.

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