The GIMP : Fancy Text

This is a basic tutorial which teaches you how to achieve some simple but attractive text effects in The GIMP.  If you have any comments, questions, suggestions, please contact me.

The Motion Blur Effect

The Motion Blur tool can be used to spice up text in a variety of ways. Here I will show you four common motion blur types and the settings that you should use to achieve a certain look.


To achieve the look:

First create a black text layer. Now duplicate the text layer once, create a new transparent layer, and merge down so that you have once black text layer that has been merged and one that hasn’t. Now duplicate the merged text layer (so that you now have three text layers in total).

You will want to Radial motion blur the two merged layers with a blur length of around 30 or so. For the first example you would use a blur angle of 0 on the first layer and 180 on the second layer. For the second you would use 90 and 270 respectively , for the third 45 & 225, and for the last 135 & 315.

Once you’ve blurred the two bottom layers you might want to move them below the original unblurred layer and fade them a little so that the unblurred text stands out a bit more. I faded the blurred layers to an opacity of 70 % in the example image.

3D Text/Gilded Text

This is a cool technique that I discovered completely by accident a couple of years ago when I was experimenting with the Gaussian Blur tool. I think I was originally trying to give the text a shadow, and I ended up with this instead.


To achieve the look:

Quick note: These instructions will help you make all four samples. I suggest that you try making them all once so that you know what the different blur radius settings will do to change the appearance of the text.

Create a new file with a dark blue background (#374b55). Now create a new text layer, font: Garamond (or something similar), font size: 80. The font color should be a bright shade of yellow, I used #ffba16 in the example. Now duplicate the text layer once and set the font color on the top layer to black. Now create a new transparent layer above the black text layer and merge down. Once you’ve done that duplicate the black text layer three times until you have four black text layers.

Gaussian blur the first layer with a radius of 2, the second with a radius of 5, the third with a radius of 7, and the fourth with a radius of 10. Once you’ve done that duplicate the yellow text layer until you have four yellow text layers. Now you need to match up the blurred black text layers with the yellow text layers so that you have four pairs, the blurred black layer on top and the yellow layer below. Merge down so that the black upper layer merges with the yellow bottom layer. Now move the layers apart so that you can see the different effects. You should end up with a variety of text effects that look like the sample picture above.