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G.I.M.P. Photo Editing Guide
People keep asking me how I do assorted effects, and goodness knows there's a dearth of this sort of thing on the 'pages.
About this creation
This guide assumes you can follow fairly basic instructions, and put two and two together. There's a lot of things you can do with GIMP to improve your pictures, but I don't actually know more than a handful of them.

Anyway: gimp.org is where you'll find it. It's like Photoshop, except that it's free and open source.

Semi-important news: there's an addendum to this, which adds a few other techniques: http://mocpages.com/moc.php/270345



First you need pictures to edit.
Here's the ones I used:
http://www.brickshelf.com/gallery/azazaza/Misc/Imageditingguide/background.jpg
http://www.brickshelf.com/gallery/azazaza/Misc/Imageditingguide/mecha.jpg
http://www.brickshelf.com/gallery/azazaza/Misc/Imageditingguide/car.jpg



Circled here are the Paths tool and the setting you want it on.

The strange looking text reads "this avoids any possibility of getting bits of background in your new pictures".



Once you're done with your just-inside-the-borders outline, you click the circled button.



The image changes to this.



"Ctrl-X" or, if you prefer, holding down the Control button and pressing X, is the standard Windows key combination for a "Cut" action, which is like a cross between Copy and Delete. Really, you should already know that. Some people don't, though.



I neglected to mention in this image: after pasting it in, you'll want to click somewhere outside the dashed box. That'll attach the copied image to the new picture. Just fiddle about with cut and paste for a bit and you'll see how it works.





I was going to have something about preparing the background, but forgot what I was doing. That's why it says "Well, no, we aren't.". Fragments of instruction relating to an image I clipped out because it was counterproductive.



You can also change the size of it with the button at the far left of the row just below the circled button.



What you're doing here is putting the car on the top layer, the mecha and background on the bottom one, and doing the image editing in the middle. This way, if you mess up the editing, you don't need to start from scratch.

G.I.M.P. also saves ALL "undo" things, so if you REALLY REALLY frak up, you can just hold down Ctrl-Z to go back to the start.





".XCF" is the G.I.M.P. image format; when you save an image with it, all the layers and undo history and so forth relating to it are kept intact. It's basically a "quick-save" feature, so if the program crashes (which it does, from time to time) you can just open up an image and continue where you last saved.



Actually, try drawing a pretty nice muzzle flash. This orange bit is the outline, and you'll want to get it pretty much right on the first go.

(Handy note: if you feel up to it, you can try doing fire with a similar method to this flash/explosion method. Just leave out most of the white and have a more fiery outline, and it should come out fairly well. No promises though, since I haven't actually tried this yet.)







If you want, you can do green explosions, or blue ones, or whatever you want.
The only thing that matters is that the image in the middle be a bit brighter than the underlayer.
And the outline may need to be more "exotic" looking.





Let this be a lesson: draw something on the bottom layer to make certain you're actually working in the middle layer. If it goes UNDER what you're working on, you're fine. If it goes OVER, you want to undo it all and try again, since that means you can't fix any mistakes without a heap of work.



Not one of my best explosions, but it'll do. The best explosions have bits of copy-pasted lego wreckage in them (at least when dealing with exploding mechae).



This is the method I use for the Clonetard City and MOCIA lazors. Notice I don't say "laser"; this is because a laser doesn't have a visible beam (or shouldn't, anyway), doesn't have a muzzle flash, doesn't make a flash when it hits the target, and definitely doesn't go "fzam".

Just a note; with this method, adjusting the opacity of the white can make the beam more or less intense.











"Merge Down" takes the current layer and overlays it with over the one directly below it. In this case, it's merging the car with the explosion underneath it.

When you're done, you'll want to merge all the layers, top to bottom; this is because the PNG format (which MOCpages uses in concert with the, frankly, execrable JPEG) doesn't support layers.





Aand done. Now you'll probably want to pick up G.I.M.P., download the base images I used (or take some of your own; all three of them are my own, by the way), and have a go for yourself just to get the hang of it. Once you get used to it, it's pretty easy to do.

Oh, and important thing: PRACTICE, and EXPERIMENT. Just because I do it doesn't mean it's the only way, or even the best way. I know better than to think that just because I came up with some nice looking effects by myself, they're the absolute best.


Off you go, and see if you can't come up with some methods of your own once you've got in the swing of things.


(Man, this took all day to do. Probably only because I'm lazy and kept going off to read gun blogs, though.)



Comments

 I like it 
  April 4, 2014
Nice. Very well explained. Lots of detailed instructions. I usually use the lasso tool, but I may have to try this to see if I like it better.
 I like it 
  March 8, 2014
Very helpful!! I'm trying to do tail lights for a car, and these cam in real handy!
 I like it 
  February 8, 2012
This helped a lot! Thanks
 I like it 
  October 29, 2011
Hey, thanks a lot for posting this, I used it to create a light effect, check it out sometime.
 I made it 
  October 15, 2011
Quoting Dragonax lord of all things black and creepy You take these pictures yourself? Thats some great photography! And I don't know what a "sunset color tint" is but it sounds like the right thing. thanks for answering my question!
Try http://mocpages.com/moc.php/270345. If it's not there, fiddling with the Colour Balance tool should do the trick.
 I like it 
  October 15, 2011
You take these pictures yourself? Thats some great photography! And I don't know what a "sunset color tint" is but it sounds like the right thing. thanks for answering my question!
 I made it 
  October 14, 2011
Quoting Dragonax lord of all things black and creepy I'm glad you posted this guide, programs like this always confuse me. I wanted to ask you something though: how do you get your photos to look like they're painted like you do in some of you MOCIA episodes? And also, where do you get backgrounds like this?
Painted? Do you mean the sunset colour tints? The background image I took myself. I have a habit of taking photos when I think rain is coming down heavily enough for a good photo to result. It never does, but I end up with a lot of photos like that one.
 I like it 
  October 13, 2011
I'm glad you posted this guide, programs like this always confuse me. I wanted to ask you something though: how do you get your photos to look like they're painted like you do in some of you MOCIA episodes? And also, where do you get backgrounds like this?
 I like it 
  May 22, 2011
This is a seriously useful and helpful guide to a program I knew nothing about.. thanks!
 I like it 
  May 22, 2011
I've used G.I.M.P. for Photography Class in school, it's a pretty neat program and useful.
 I like it 
  May 22, 2011
it goes to show i don t have monopoly of GENEROSITY on the moc...good for you areetsa!!! and thanks a lot for this brilliant demo!!! i ll visit often, and i ll FULLY CREDIT all work related to you!!!...and i owe you one...
 I made it 
  May 21, 2011
Quoting Legofreak2444 ~ I click 'Open' and I look everywhere but my folder with my LEGO pictures isn't anywhere to be found. Any ideas?
Replied to this one in the TFOL group.
Quoting Matthew Novosad :D great job! It's very nice! I bookmarked it, for future reference. Also, found an upstart Christian group that is unstable, to say the least. I joined to voice a few opinions, but the Admin was like "I don't want debates!". Yep. He asked for it. You want a link?
Yeah, sure.
 I like it 
  May 21, 2011
Thanks for sharing those points.
 I like it 
  May 21, 2011
Very nice! Although I use Photoshop there is a lot of stuff I could use in this.
 I like it 
  May 21, 2011
Helpful! Woah, weird, right now there is an ad to download Gimp 2 on the side. :O I think Google ads use cookies or something to track what sites you have just looked at and show you ads related to those sites.
 I like it 
  May 21, 2011
Very helpful! Personally, I use Picnick, but I should definetly check Gimp out! I really think this should be posted in the official Help section of MOCpages; it's that good!
 I like it 
  May 21, 2011
:D great job! It's very nice! I bookmarked it, for future reference. Also, found an upstart Christian group that is unstable, to say the least. I joined to voice a few opinions, but the Admin was like "I don't want debates!". Yep. He asked for it. You want a link?
  May 21, 2011
Free? Thanks for the tip!
 I like it 
  May 21, 2011
Wow! I have this program, thanks for the help. But I can't find the right file with all the pictures in it. I click 'Open' and I look everywhere but my folder with my LEGO pictures isn't anywhere to be found. Any ideas?
 I like it 
  May 21, 2011
Wow, this is seriously helpful! Thanks, I will defiently be using these!
 I like it 
  May 21, 2011
Thanks, very helpful!
 I like it 
  May 21, 2011
Thanks for sharing.
  May 21, 2011
dont you just love GIMP? lol
 I made it 
  May 21, 2011
Quoting El Barto ! This is excellent, and totally different from what I do with Gimp! I've invited you to the Rocket Surgery Group, devoted to photo editing. I would appreciate it if you'd post this, and add some of your creations that demonstrate what you've done here. Awesome!
Well, there's lots of different ways of doing things. Personally, (especially when it comes to lighting) I just make it up as I go along (and promptly forget the moment I finish) which can produce nice results, but is kind of a pain when you're trying to reproduce them in future. Which is why the Clonetar* City project has so much fluctuation in the photo quality; the distance from the camera to the scene, the zoom setting, whether there's light coming through the window or not, whether the incandescent room light is on or just the flourescent desk lamp I use, how close the lamp is to the scene, how far the lamp's leaning over the scene, the angle of the lamp.. umpteen different factors even before the photos are taken. But anyway; invite accepted, and now I have to do some of that "sleep" things that you (I mean, we) carbon based life-forms have to engage in from time to time.
 I like it 
  May 21, 2011
This is excellent, and totally different from what I do with Gimp! I've invited you to the Rocket Surgery Group, devoted to photo editing. I would appreciate it if you'd post this, and add some of your creations that demonstrate what you've done here. Awesome!
 I like it 
  May 21, 2011
Nice tutorial, thank you Areetsa C! I'm kinda experimenting with lightsaber effects (yesterday I finnaly realised how to make it right), but I'm using Fireworks and I must admit, I have completely different way of making laser beams. I should try explosions soon, it seems cool, although I have no idea where could I use it. Anyway, this tutorial was helpfull, I hope I'll become better at photo-editing. You sure are good at this.
 I like it 
  May 21, 2011
Wow....I currently use GIMP for my photos (great example is my Metagross post: http://mocpages.com/moc.php/267886), but this is even awesomer! Another thing you may want to check out is Picnik. It's an online photo-editing software that is mostly good for visual effects and text. I ususally put my Photos through both GIMP, for the major stuff like EPIC LAZAHS, and then through Picnik to change the colors and/or add text.
 I like it 
  May 21, 2011
So totally bookmarking this for future use! I'm sure I speak for everyone on MOCpages when I say, thanks a billion for posting this, it'll be so helpful :)
 
By Areetsa C
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