Create Pop Art Typography With Gimp Part 1


Pop art typography (also known as pop art text, or pop art lettering) has become a popular design element that has lots of impact, so much so that many graphics platforms offer them for sale. For those that would rather create their own pop art typography using Gimp this tutorial will explain the simple techniques used, which can then easily be developed into unique, personal designs.

This tutorial is divided into two parts simply because whilst all the steps are easy to follow there are quite a few of them. For this reason dividing all the information into two sections will hopefully make everything easier to digest. The most complex of these steps involves generating text with dots in the centre, so part one will focus on that, and part two will focus on creating the 3d text, shadows and background.

Using A Colour Palette

In a recent series of tutorials we covered various aspects of how to generate colour palettes, including how to import a colour palette file into Gimp. In this tutorial we'll use a colour palette created specifically for the design created here. You can either download then import the colour palette into Gimp and use it whilst following the tutorial, or you can use your own - although we will be referring to our own colour palette quite often.


Creating The Outline Text Filled With Dots

In this section we're going to delete the centre of some text and replace it with dots. The font used here is called Jagger SF which is nice and chunky. Its also free with no license restrictions. 

Click on each image below to enlarge.

 1/ Open Gimp, and create two layers by hitting the icon to the lower right (highlighted in red). Make sure the correct colour palette is selected, top right. Click the grey from the palette so it becomes the active foreground colour. 
Use the Bucket Fill tool to fill the lower of the two new layers with the grey colour. This is so we can see the light coloured text when we create it.

2/ With the Text tool type a word of your choice. The size used here is 300px, and the spacing has been changed slightly using the Spacing Up/Down arrows (highlighted in green), so the letters are closer together.

3/ Duplicate the text layer three times using the icon highlighted in red, bottom right. 
Hide the grey filled layer by clicking on the eye icon next to it.
Move the transparent layer so its just below the top most text layer. This transparent layer should be the active layer.

With the Rectangle Select tool drag a shape so it fills a large part of the canvas window.

4/ Fill the rectangle selection with the grey from the palette. We're going to use this to create the dots that will fill the text.

5/ Select the top text layer and using the slider highlighted in red reduce its opacity so the grey layer is visible beneath it. This is so we will be able to see how the dots fill the text.

Now make the grey layer beneath the text the active layer.

6/ Select Filters > Distorts > Newsprint.

7/ This window will appear.

8/ In the Channels drop down menu (highlighted in red), select White on Black.


In the Pattern drop down menu (highlighted in green), select Circle.

The Period slider will adjust the spacing and size of the dots. Trying to balance the dots' size with their spacing can be a little limiting but this will be fixed this later.
In the Angle slider, 45 degrees has been selected to give the pattern an even appearance. Double click on the numbers here to type in a precise angle.
Whilst making adjustments to these settings, keep an eye on how the dots appear through the text, and use your judgement to make sure they look well distributed. When you're ready click OK.

9/ Hit Select > None, to deselect the rectangle. 

 10/ Select Color > Invert. The dots need to be black so we can make a selection from them. 

11/  Although a selection could be made using white dots, inverting the colour so the dots are black makes it easier to see what we're doing.
Also, we could have created black dots on a white background using the Newsprint effect, but the resulting dots would have been square, so we had to work around this.

Removing The Background Of The Dots


 1/ The dots need to be on a transparent background so the white needs to be removed. To do this select Colors > Color to Alpha.

 2/ This window will open. Hit OK.

3/ The background has now been removed. The white seen is here is from the default background layer. Hide this layer to see the trsnparency of the dots layer.

Enlarging The Dots

1/ Because the Newsprint effect makes it difficult to balance the size of the dots with the right spacing, the next step is to make a selection from the dots layer then increase their size.

To do this, right click on the dots layer and select Alpha to Selection.

 2/  Make the top text layer visible and add a transparent layer above it. Make sure this transparent layer is the active layer.

Now hit Select > Grow.

3/ In this example the selection has been increased by 1 pixel. When you're ready hit OK.

4/ The size of the dots in the selection will now be 1 pixel larger.

5/ Click the white colour from the palette to make it the active foreground colour. Making sure the topmost transparent layer is active, use the Paint tool to colour the dots that appear over the text.
6/  Hit Select > None.

7/ This has created the pattern of dots needed to fill the text.

Cropping The Dots To The Text

1/ With the top text layer active, right click on it in the Layers panel, and from the drop down menu select Alpha to Selection.

2/  Hide the text layer and make the white dots layer the active layer.

3/ Hit Select > Invert.

4/ Hit Delete on the keyboard, to remove all dots outside of the selection.

Creating An Outline From The Text

1/ Make the top text layer the active layer, then hit Select > Invert again, so the selection returns to the text, rather than everything outside of it.

2/ To create an outline of the text go to Select > Shrink.

3/  Here 8 pixels has been entered. Now hit OK.

4/ The selection has now shrunk by 8 pixels.
5/ Hit Delete on the keyboard again and only an outline of the text will remain.

6/ With the white dots layer active right click and from the drop down menu select Merge Down, so it becomes one layer with the text outline.

 7/ To make this layer easier to work with go to Layer > Crop to Content.

Adding Perspective To The Text Layer

To make the text look a little more dynamic we'll give it some perspective. It doesn't need to be especially accurate, just so long as it doesn't look completely wrong.

1/ Select the Unified Transform tool from the Tools panel to the left, (highlighted in red, above).


 2/ The text will now be boxed in a rectangle with diamond shaped handles on each boundary edge. There will also be a small window.



3/ Grab the right vertical handle and drag it upwards, until you're happy with the appearance of the text.

4/ Now grab the top horizontal handle and drag it to the right. When you're ready hit the Transform button in the small Unified Transform window.

5/ The text now has some perspective of sorts, and will look more natural when its given some 3d depth later in part 2.

Thats pretty much the trickiest part of creating this pop art typography design completed. In part 2 of this turorial we'll create the other text elements, give them some 3d depth, add some shadow and create a background. There's just a few techniques needed to do all these things.

Read More

Creating Colour Palettes with Gimp


In the first two parts in this series of colour palette tutorials we showed How To Generate Colour Palettes With Palettable, Colormind, And Coolors, then then how to Create Colour Palettes Using Cyotek Palette Editor. In both cases colour schemes were created by starting with one colour then generating others to form a harmonious palette. In the first tutorial the palettes were exported as images, whilst the second showed how to export a palette as a native Gimp palette file.

This final colour palette tutorial will follow on from the others by showing how images in Gimp can be used to create colour palettes. It will then show how to import the Gimp palette file created in Cyotek. We begin however by explaining how to create colour palettes from gradients.

The Palettes Dockable Dialogue

Before we can work with palettes in Gimp, we need to make sure their dockable dialogues (tabs) are visible. In the standard Gimp set up the tabs can be seen top right (highlighted in green). If they're not visible select Windows > Dockable Dialogs > Palettes and they will appear.

Creating Colour Palettes With Gradients


Gimp comes with many gradients already added, and its easy to create your own. Whatever gradients are available, they can all be used to create colour palettes.



1/ With the Palettes tab active, right click anywhere in the list of palettes then select Import Palette.



2/ The above window will appear. Select the Gradient radial button.




3/ From the drop down list, select a gradient to use.



4/ The colours for the palette will be displayed in the preview window. 



5/ The default number of colours for a palette is 256, but this can be edited with the Number of colors slider, (the total number of colours a palette can have in Gimp is around 10,000). The number of colours above has been changed to 35.

The default number of columns palettes are displayed in is 16, although this too can be edited, this time with the Columns slider.


When you're ready click Import



6/ The new palette will be visible, top right.




7/ The image above shows the palette with the Palette Editor tab active. In the space provided the name of the palette can be changed. Here its been changed to Gradient Palette Example.


Creating A Colour Palette From An Image Using The Colour Picker Tool

Probably the simplest way of creating a palette is to load an image in Gimp and use the Color Picker tool to select colours. 

1/ With an image loaded in Gimp, select the Palette tab, then right click anywhere in the list of palettes. From the drop down list select New Palette.




2/ A blank space will appear where the new palette will soon go.



3/ The palette can be given a name.



4/ Select the Color Picker tool from the Tools panel on the left. 


Because there are thousands of colours in this (and most) images the Sample Average option has been selected (highlighted in red). This will average out the colour within the radius of pixels selected. Here a radius of 9 has been used. This step is by no means essential, but it can be a good way of evening out colours and making them easier to select.


5/ Under the Color Picker tool options Use Info Window has also been selected. With the left mouse button held down, this window will show the colour under the cursor as it moves around the image.  Information about each colour will also be displayed, such as RGB colour percentages, the hex value and its X,Y coordinates.

6/  release the left mouse button and the selected colour will be added as the foreground colour, highlighted in red, above.


7/ Click the icon highlighted above to add the new foreground colour to the palette.



8/ Use the color Picker tool to select the next colour for the new palette. Add the colour to the palette by repeating step 7. Repeat this process until you have all the colours you need for the new palette.

Importing A Palette From An Image


1/ Although a standard image could be used for this method, the resulting palette would be made up of thousands of colours, so a work around is to change the image to a GIF which will limit the colours to 256.


The first step is to select  Image > precision > 8 bit integer, so the image exports correctly as a GIF.





2/ Export the image as a GIF.


3/ Load the GIF version of the image back into Gimp. With the Palette tab active right click anywhere in the list of palettes. From the drop down menu select Import Palette.



4/ The above window will open. Select the Image radial button and the preview area will show as many colours of the palette as will fit.


As you can see, the Number of colors slider is greyed out and can't be used. This is because a GIF image was used for the palette. If the inability to edit the number of colours is a problem the next method offers a better alternative.

When you're ready, hit the Import button.




5/ The palette can now be seen under the palettes tab.




6/ Under the Palette Editor tab the full range of colours in the palette can be seen, The palette can be renamed in the space provided.


Creating a Colour Palette From An Image



1/ As with the previous method of creating a palette from an image, the first step is selecting Image > Precision > 8 bit integer.



2/ Now select Image > Mode > Indexed.




3/ The above window will open. Select Generate optimum palette.



4/ As you could see in step 3 the maximum number of colours for this palette is 256. However, in this instance we don't need that many so this has been changed to 25. Here we can edit the number of colours for the palette, which we couldn't do when we turned the image into a GIF.


When you're ready hit the Convert button. 




6/ The new palette can now be seen under the Palettes tab.



7/ Although we can see the palette under the Palettes tab, if we were to close down Gimp the palette would be lost. To make sure the palette is saved click on it, then hit the duplicate icon, highlighted in green.



8/ Under the Palette Editor we can see the palette. 


When a palette is visible in the Palette Editor, it is the active palette, and if any palette color is clicked on, it will become the active foreground colour, seen to the left of Gimp. 

9/ The new palette can also be renamed in the space highlighted in red.


Importing a Palette File Into Gimp


As with many graphics software Gimp has its own native palettes file format. These palette files can be imported into, and exported out of Gimp.

In part two of this series on colour palettes we exported a palette file from Cyotek, and now we're going to import it into Gimp. If you'd like to see how this works for yourself, the colour palette file can be downloaded here. The file is stored on Google Drive so you can be sure its a safe download.


1/ With the Pallete tab active, right click anywhere within the list of palettes. From the drop down list select Import Palette.



2/ In the window that opens select the Palette file radial button. Click the icon highlighted in green.


3/ Using the window that opens, navigate to where the palette file is stored on your PC. Select it then hit the Open button.



4/  Now hit the Import button.



5/ The palette will now be added to the Palettes tab.



6/ The palette will also be visible in the Palette Editor tab, where it can be renamed etc, although its ready to use as it is.

Now that we've covered a lot of ground with calour palettes it should be much easier to generate a range of colours for a project. Colour seems an easy subject, until you start thinking about it, so hopefully this series of tutorials will take some of the guess work and stress out of using colour.

Read More