INTAC - Internet Access Linux Gifts for Microsoft Windows Users MozillaQuest MQ Logo
MozillaQuest the on-line computer magazine
January 25, 2004

TotalShells.com

EPIX Internet Services
MozillaQuest Magazine Front Page button

Internet & Web browsers button

custom Netscape & Mozilla themes & skins button

IRC - Internet Relay Chat - Chat button

Linux buttonLinux for Windows Users

Mozilla button

Netscape button
network articles

tutorial - help - how to button

Windows button

Mike Angelo's Digital Darkroom

How to Use GIMP for Photo and Image Editing #2: Introduction to Layers

Use GIMP rather than Photoshop and save money

Mike Angelo -- 25 January 2004 (C) -- Page 3

Article Index

  • Add a pattern layer

The water in the geese shot is very reflective, thus the bottom of the pond is obscured. So, lets add some rocks under the water. That will give the illusion of crystal clear water. It also will add some graphic interest to the background. (Actually, this is just one big excuse to show you how to add layers to images and to demonstrate some of the neat tricks you can do with layers.)

    • Alpha Channel

To lay the groundwork for this task, first add an alpha channel to the background (layer). To do that, toggle the combo dialog box to the Layers Dialog if you already have not done so. Then, please click on the Background-layer entry to make it the active layer.

Next, alternate-click (right-click if you are using a right-handed mouse) on the Background-layer entry in the Layers Dialog. Then in the context menu that pops up, please click on Add Alpha Channel.

The reason for adding an alpha channel is so that the initial (Background) layer will have a transparency attribute. This is necessary in order to bring that layer up from the bottom of the layers stack.

Stack is the key word here. The layers are stacked one on top of the other. An upper layer or an object on an upper layer will block out whatever is below it. If the opacity of a layer is set to 100 per-cent, then nothing below will show through. As the opacity is reduced, more of whatever is under the layer or object will show through. More about that further on.

Any layer has a foreground and a background. If the background is opaque, then an upper layer will block a lower layer as discussed above. However, if the background is transparent, then only foreground objects of the layer will block out lower layers.

For example, the text layer has a transparent background. Thus, only the content of the geese photo that is below the text layer that is directly under the text in the text layer is blocked.

Conceptually, the list of layer entries in the Layer Dialog essentially is a side view of your canvas and the layers that make up the canvas. Conceptually, the canvas view is a top-view of the layers that make up the canvas. Thus, when you look at the canvass, conceptually you are looking down at and through the stack of layers.

    • Create a new layer

To create a new layer, please click on the New Layer icon in the Layers Dialog. The New Layer icon is the left-most icon at the bottom of the Layers Dialog. (Figure 4, on page 2.)

That pops-up the New Layer Dialog. (Figure 5, below.)

You can name the new layer whatever you like. In this example it gets named Pattern. The new Layer Width and Height should be the same as the photo dimensions. In this example, that's 345 x 142 pixels. Pick Transparent for the Layer Fill Type. Then, Click OK.

Now, the Layers Dialog should show three layer entries, the original Background layer, the text layer, and the new Pattern layer. Please see Figure 6, below.

Figure 5. The GIMP New Layer Dialog. (Screen shot of GIMP version 1.3 running on SUSE Linux 9.0 and the KDE desktop for Linux. Please see text for an explanation.)


    • Add the rocks

Here you can toggle the combo dialog box to the Pattern Grid Dialog (the paint bucket icon).

However in Figure 6, two separate Pattern Grid Dialogs were opened to help explain this step of the tutorial. (To do that, use Dialogs > Create New Dock > Brushes, Patterns, & Gradients ... and then click on the Pattern Grid icon on the Icon Bar at the top of that new combo Brushes, Patterns, & Gradients dialog.)

The Patterns Dialog at the lower-right of Figure 6 shows the default size of the pattern samples. The Patterns Dialog at the upper-left of Figure 6 shows the pattern samples in Extra Large size.

To change the pattern sample sizes, alternate-click on the Pattern Grid icon on the Icon Bar at the top of the combo Brushes, Patterns, & Gradients dialog. Then on the context menu that pops up click Preview Size and then click on your size choice.

Now let's add the rocks to the Pattern Layer of the photo. First, select the rocks pattern. That's the sample that is second in from the left in the top row of pattern samples in the upper-left dialog of Figure 6. Click on the Rock Pattern Sample to select it.

You are all set to add the rocks to the photo. In order to make sure the rocks get onto the Pattern Layer, please go to the Layers Dialog (bottom-left in Figure 6) and click on the Pattern-Layer entry to highlight it.

Next, click on Edit > Fill with Pattern. (Please see Figure 7, below.)

Bang! The rocks now are in your photo/image. (Please see Figure 8, on page 4.)

Whoa, what happened to the photo of the geese? It's a picture of rocks in Figure 8, not geese.

Have no fear. The GIMP's powerful Layer Tools are here.

Figure 6. Screen shot showing the addition of a new layer (arbitrarily named the Pattern layer) where a pattern will be added to the photograph. Please see text for an explanation. (GIMP version 1.3 running on SUSE Linux 9.0 and the KDE desktop for Linux. Geese photo by Mike Angelo)


    • GIMP layer magic does the trick

Please notice in the Layers Dialog in Figure 8, on page 4, that the Pattern-Layer entry is highlighted -- and also that it is in between the text-layer entry at the top and the Background-layer entry at the bottom. Thus, the rocks cover the geese in the Background layer but the text covers the rocks -- as shown in the Figure 8 canvas window in the upper right.

Now is the time for two neat GIMP layer-magic tricks. The first is to move the rocks under the geese. The second is to decrease the opacity of the geese photo so that the rocks can be seen under the water of the geese photo -- but not so much of a decrease as to let the rocks show through the more dense geese.

Here is how to do these GIMP layer-magic tricks.

First, make sure the Pattern-Layer entry in the Layers Dialog is highlighted. Then click on the down-arrow at the bottom of the Layers Dialog to move the Pattern-Layer entry under the Background-Layer entry (the geese). (Please see Figure 8, on page 4.)

Next, highlight the Background-Layer entry in the Layers Dialog and then set the opacity to .64. You can use the opacity slider for that. (Please see Figure 9, on page 4.)

Now in our example, the geese appear to be on top of the rocks. (Please see Figure 9.) However, at that .64 opacity setting the water is almost invisible.

So, let's slide the opacity up to .84. Also, you can play around with the opacity slider to find the opacity that you like best. Figure 10, on page 4, shows the geese photo with the .84 opacity setting for the geese (Background layer).

Figure 7. The GIMP Fill with Pattern choice selected in the Edit Menu. (Screen shot of GIMP version 1.3 running on SUSE Linux 9.0 and the KDE desktop for Linux. Please see text for an explanation.)

Related Articles


Article Index
Overview of The GIMP - a free photograph and digital-image editing program

How to Use GIMP for Photo and Image Editing


OpenOffice 1.1 -- A Complete Office/Productivity Software Suite for GNU-Linux, FreeBSD, MAC, MS-Windows, Unix, and more

Creating a Simple Newsletter with OpenOffice/StarOffice Writer - a free word processor

Creating a Simple Contact or Personal Information Manager with OpenOffice/StarOffice Calc - a free spreadsheet

Creating a Personal or Company Budget with OpenOffice/StarOffice Calc - Part 1: Basics


SUSE Linux Has New Educational Discount Program - 9.0 Professional Only $50 for Students, Teachers, Schools

Crossover Office 2.1 Runs MS Windows Software on GNU-Linux Systems -- Jeremy White, and Mike Angelo Discuss Crossover Office, Wine, and MS Windows APIs for Linux

MandrakeSoft's 8 Golden Rules


Young People Are The Future of Linux -- Gaël Duval, Joe Eckert, Randy Plessor, Jeremy White, and Mike Angelo Discuss Linux and Open-Source Software in Schools and Colleges

SuSE Linux Desktop Available

A KDE Tool to Manage and Read E-Mail: KShowmail Shows Potential -- But It Can Delete the Wrong Messages


Using LinNeighborhood to Create a Network Neighborhood for Linux

Linux Networking for Windows and Desktop People -- Mandrake 9.1 and LinNeighborhood


Mozilla 1.3b Browser-Suite Released


Copyright 2000-2004 -- MozillaQuest -- Brodheadsville, Pa..USA -- All Rights Reserved
Recent Articles

LinuxWorld in New York City -- 20-23 January 2004

Does Dell Support Linux?

How to Use GIMP for Photo and Image Editing

Overview of The GIMP - a free photograph and digital-image editing program

Creating a Personal or Company Budget with OpenOffice / StarOffice Calc -- Part 1: Basics

MandrakeSoft's 8 Golden Rules

A KDE Tool to Manage and Read Email: KShowmail Shows Potential - But Can Delete the Wrong Messages

OpenOffice 1.1 -- A Complete Office/Productivity Software Suite for GNU-Linux, FreeBSD, MAC, MS-Windows, Unix, and more

SUSE Linux Has New Educational Discount Program - 9.0 Professional Only $50 for Students, Teachers, Schools

Crossover Office 2.1 Runs MS Windows Software on GNU-Linux Systems -- Jeremy White, and Mike Angelo Discuss Crossover Office, Wine, and MS Windows APIs for Linux

Mandrake Linux 9.2 Available

Young People Are The Future of Linux - Linux and Open-Source Software in Schools and Colleges

CNN SUCKS!

Gaël Duval Tells Why Mandrake Linux Is Better Than MS Windows

Gaël Duval and Mike Angelo Discuss The HP-Mandrake Computer

HP to Ship Desktops with Mandrake 9.1 Linux Pre-Installed - Good News for Mandrake Linux and Fans

Mozilla 1.4 Browser-Suite -- AKA Netscape 7.1

Gaël Duval and Mike Angelo Discuss Mandrake Business Products and Finances

SuSE Linux Desktop Available

About the Hey SCO, sue me Petition

Linux for Windows Users -- Linux Networking for Windows and Desktop People -- Mandrake 9.1 and LinNeighborhood

Gaël Duval and Mike Angelo Discuss the New AMD64 OS --

Mandrake Linux Corporate Server 2.1 for AMD Opteron

SuSE Linux Enterprise Server 8 for AMD64 Released

Major Morphing in Mozilla Project Organization and Objectives Proposed

Red Hat Linux 9 Distribution Released

SCO-Caldera v IBM:

  • Are SCO's Rebuilt IBM Lawsuit and Unix License Revocation Winners -- Or More SCO FUD?

Mandrake Linux Corporate Server 2.1 Released

SCO-Caldera & the GNU/Linux Community: The SCOsource IP Matter

Mozilla 1.0 updated!

Don't Forget the Books

Linux Makes a Great Gift

Christmas Season Holidays & Computer Suggestions 2002

Mozilla 1.2.1 Browser-Suite Released

Buggy Mozilla 1.2 Recalled

Mandrake Linux 9.0, Desktop Magic You Can Use: A First Look

Using LinNeighborhood to Create a Network Neighborhood for Linux

Zero Tolerance for Privacy and Security Bugs

Mozilla and Netscape JavaScript Bugs Compromise Privacy and Security

SCO's Darl McBride and MozillaQuest Magazine's Mike Angelo Discuss Caldera Linux and LSB

UnitedLinux: A Standard or a Distribution?

UnitedLinux, a Divisive Weapon for Caldera's Darl McBride -- Part II

Holger Dyroff, Gaël Duval, Mark de Visser and Mike Angelo Discuss LSB, UnitedLinux, and the Linux Market

UnitedLinux, a Divisive Weapon for Caldera's Darl McBride -- Part I

Netscape Communicator 4.8

Scott McNeil Discusses LSB

New Mozilla Roadmap Kills Mozilla 1.0.x

Mozilla 1.0 Browser-Suite's E-Mail & News Quick Look

Mozilla 1.0 Browser Quick Look

Mozilla 1.0 Browser-Suite Performance -- Speed, Stability, and Memory Hogging

Mozilla 1.0 is Officially Out!

Some Mozilla 1.0 Browser-Suite Annoyances, Bugs, And Issues

Mozilla 1.0 Not Ready for Prime Time -- Close but No Cigar and No Brass Ring!

Turmoil in MozillaLand:

Mozilla 1.0 Browser Sneak Release

AbiWord 1.0.1 Quick Look - MS Word Clone for Linux, MS Windows, & More

MozillaQuest Magazine 2001 Editor's Choice Hardware Picks

Getting Started with Wireless Network Technology

Part III: Adding Wireless to a Linux-Based Laptop or Notebook

Is Mozilla Actually AOL-Netscape's Mozilla?

Bugzilla 2.16 - 2.14.1

Year 2001 in Review -- Mozilla and Netscape Browsers

Free Software for Your New Computer -- Or Any Computer

Linux Gifts for Christmas, Holiday, and All Occasions