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Thread: Setting Gimp on the throne

  1. #1
    Guild Adept icosahedron's Avatar
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    Post Setting Gimp on the throne

    Not sure if this is in the right section, but I'd like some very, very simple advice please, this is my first day with Gimp and I have no prior drawing experience to speak of.

    I thought since I'm playing with the Gimp to see what it does, I might as well practise with something I want, so I had a go at the throne I put in the requests section (I'm still looking for offers btw, I doubt if this will turn out to be any good.)


    Since there is no alabaster in the patterns area and I have no idea how to import a texture even if I could find one, I went with default marble.

    I started by opening the throne image I'd created in Word Draw. There's no way I could draw a complex assembly of geometric shapes like that in the Gimp yet awhile, then I figured out how to use the lasso select and selected each of the shapes in turn. The fill tool works like MSPaint, so that was no problem, and I got each face of the throne filled with marble texture.

    Whilst I had each area selected (cos there's no way I'd be able to accurately re-select it once I'd let go) I put a drop shadow on some of the parts. I know that's probably the wrong technique and I did see something called perspective shadow, but I couldn't make Gimp see what the shape was supposed to be to lay the correct shadow down. The drop shadow seemed to do it sort of nearly right anyway.

    Then finally I lassoed the whole shape and put a drop shadow round all of it.

    General comments and helpful suggestions for simple improvements please (and how to carry them out) particularly:

    Is is possible accurately to re-select something once you've let go of it? How?

    How do I darken/lighten selections (eg to make two sides of the plinth shadowy)?

    How do I put shadowing on the top of the backrest to make it look like there are points at the two ends and in the middle?

    How could I take some text (say in a runic font) and make it appear like it's carved into the arms of the chair? I'll worry about perspective carvings in the backrest later, that's probably a whole lot more difficult.

    How do I make it look older?

    If these techniques are beyond the novice, just give me a general pointer in the right direction and I'll try to pick it up later.

    Thanks.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Setting Gimp on the throne-throne3.png  
    Last edited by icosahedron; 03-17-2009 at 12:55 PM.
    Mapping a Traveller ATU.

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  2. #2
      RobA is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by icosahedron View Post
    Is is possible accurately to re-select something once you've let go of it? How?
    Yes. Use the Select > Save to Channel. This saves the selection as an "alpha mask" in the channels dialog. If you don't have that showing, you can with Windows > Dockable Dialogs >Channels (but I think it is in the default dock. It is the tab that looks like this:
    Setting Gimp on the throne-2009-03-17_132346.jpg

    The arrow points to the button that lets you load up a saved selection.

    If you intend to save many selections, I would suggest renaming them (double click on the "Selection Mask copy" text and give it a new name, like "Seat Selection"


    Quote Originally Posted by icosahedron View Post

    How do I darken/lighten selections (eg to make two sides of the plinth shadowy)?
    When you have a selection, thee are a number of ways to lighten and darken it. I would suggest starting with Colors > Brightness/Contrast.


    No time for the others right now, sorry...

    -Rob A>

  3. #3
    Guild Adept icosahedron's Avatar
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    Thanks for that Rob.

    I have another problem with the Gimp.

    I've tried to save my throne as a png with a drop shadow around it. I can save the throne with a transparent background, but as soon as I try to put a drop shadow around it and save, I get this popup:

    Your image should be exported before it can be saved as PNG for the following reasons:
    PNG plug in can't handle layers

    * Flatten image

    * Merge visible layers
    If I choose to flatten, the background becomes white instead of clear, and if I choose to merge, Viewingdale's PNG to VMI converter has a "runtime error" whatever one of those is, when I try later to convert the PNG.

    I don't know why I get the popup at all, because I've previously saved images with a drop shadow and it just saved ok.

    Any idea what's happening?

    Cheers.
    Mapping a Traveller ATU.

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  4. #4
      Redrobes is offline
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    Can you post me any file that consistently causes a runtime error. I was aware a long time ago that 16bit PNG's caused it to go bad but that was supposed to be fixed ages ago where it stripped off the bottom byte and made it 8bit instead. No image should cause it to crash. Anything that causes any of my apps to crash I wanna know about pronto !

    If you can mail something can you just check the version number of the converter app and see if its V1.06 ? Maybe I screwed up the patcher and its not dishing out the latest one.

    PNG is a file format with a number of styles but the main one is a colour set of red green and blue and the transparency amount called the Alpha so its known as RGBA. These come in 8 bits per pixel or very rarely 16 bits per pixel. But thats it. There are no layers saved with PNGs. If you merge the layers in Gimp and save out then it loses the layers in the file.

    I wouldn't have expected Gimp to merge and save the file as a 16bit PNG but you never know...

    Edit -- Tried many options all similar to that described and I cant get a crash. Could do with that specific file there.
    Last edited by Redrobes; 03-17-2009 at 08:09 PM.

  5. #5
      jfrazierjr is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by icosahedron View Post
    Thanks for that Rob.

    I have another problem with the Gimp.

    I've tried to save my throne as a png with a drop shadow around it. I can save the throne with a transparent background, but as soon as I try to put a drop shadow around it and save, I get this popup:



    If I choose to flatten, the background becomes white instead of clear, and if I choose to merge, Viewingdale's PNG to VMI converter has a "runtime error" whatever one of those is, when I try later to convert the PNG.

    I don't know why I get the popup at all, because I've previously saved images with a drop shadow and it just saved ok.

    Any idea what's happening?

    Cheers.
    Make sure you have a layer selected and NOT one of your channels. I accidentally do this once in while and you just have to go back to the Layers tab and select a layer. NOW... first... don't save it as a png cause then you can't easily edit the layers which eliminates the entire power of GIMP. Save the file before ANY CHANGES as a native gimp file (.xcf). Then as you make changes with new layers (if needed, depending on what you are trying to do), you using the Save a Copy menu setting to "transform" a copy of the native gimp file to another format such as png or jpeg.

    If you still have problems, if you would save it as a xcf file, zip, and attach to your post I can take a look at it based on your steps.
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  6. #6
      RobA is offline
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    I doodled this up in Inkscape -

    It might have a better shape on the chair back for your needs.

    Setting Gimp on the throne-throne_rma.png

    -Rob A>

  7. #7
    Guild Adept icosahedron's Avatar
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    Thanks for the support guys, all useful info there. Bit of a bind that I need to store two copies of the drawings, one for Gimp and one for all other apps, especially as I'm just starting to realise how much space graphics storage can eat, but I can see the value of it.
    I suppose I could just store in xcf and print pngs on demand...

    I eventually managed to get the file to a suitable PNG by just poking about with it. Still not sure what I was doing, but it worked. Wish I'd got your replies about saving in native format before I closed down for the night, JF, but hey, it's just an experiment. Once I get used to the software, I could probably reproduce in a few minutes what it's just taken me several hours to create by trial and error. And I know for next time.

    Redrobes, it wasn't what I'd call a crash, nothing locked up or trashed my work, it was more of a refusal to comply with a request. I'll PM you, but I think I've overwritten that file.

    Right now, I don't even know the difference between a channel and a layer. I'll get there eventually. Surprisingly, Gimp hasn't scared me off yet, in fact I might be able to do most of the simple stuff I always wanted to do without too much learning. After that, it's all bonus.

    I'll be happier when I get a windows copy of the help file. I'll email Gimp today and see where they've hidden it. It's a PITA to have to look things up online, on another computer, that might not even be powered up at the time.

    Here's the current version, background is now properly transparent and I've cleaned up some of the ugly black lines with a bit of pixel-clicking. I might try rounding off a few corners next, though that's gonna make area selection almost impossible.

    That seat-back looks great, Rob. See, no matter how good the software is, it's no substitute for talent - unfortunately for me.
    Hmm. It shows up the fact that my seat back is too wide, it shouldn't overhang the plinth. Can't fix that without starting again from scratch, though.

    Looks a bit tombstoneish at pres...

    C&C anyone??
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Setting Gimp on the throne-throne3b.png  
    Last edited by icosahedron; 03-18-2009 at 06:48 AM.
    Mapping a Traveller ATU.

    See my (fantasy-based) apprenticeship blog at:

    http://www.viewing.ltd.uk/cgi-bin/vi...forums&sx=1024

    Look for Chit Chat, Sandmann's blog. Enjoy.

  8. #8
      jfrazierjr is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by icosahedron View Post
    Right now, I don't even know the difference between a channel and a layer. I'll get there eventually. Surprisingly, Gimp hasn't scared me off yet, in fact I might be able to do most of the simple stuff I always wanted to do without too much learning. After that, it's all bonus.
    Lets do the simple one first. A channel is a special layer that is b/w only. Typically, it's used to make masks(come back to this one later by viewing my tutorial in my sig on layer masks.)

    A layer is just what it sounds like. You draw stuff and as you draw stuff on higher layers, they overlap. This is exactly the type of thing used in animation (except images are not animated of course). So.. in your example below, I would probably break your chair up into component parts. The base would be the lowest layer, followed by the seat, then the arms and finally, the back as the highest layer. Generally, you would put drop-shadows on the lowest available layer of an image after you have created the whole thing. If you have ever seen any type of animation cells the old way, they will have several layers of clear plastic type stuff and draw different things on each of those plasticy layers and then put them together into a single "frame" to form one cell of an image. Layers in GIMP are pretty much the same.


    Quote Originally Posted by icosahedron View Post
    I'll be happier when I get a windows copy of the help file. I'll email Gimp today and see where they've hidden it. It's a PITA to have to look things up online, on another computer, that might not even be powered up at the time.
    Do you have the latest version or an older version of GIMP?

    http://gimp-win.sourceforge.net/old.html There is a link to several language specific helpfiles for an older "dot" release(only a few months old and no feature changes, just bug fixes, so should be up to to date)



    Quote Originally Posted by icosahedron View Post
    Here's the current version, background is now properly transparent and I've cleaned up some of the ugly black lines with a bit of pixel-clicking.
    C&C anyone??
    Overall, I think you did a really good job!


    I might try rounding off a few corners next, though that's gonna make area selection almost impossible.
    This is where building in layers makes a WORLD of difference in ease of editing later...
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    How to create ISO Mountains in GIMP/PS using the Smudge tool
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  9. #9
      RobA is offline
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    Nice Work!

    I picked up a few tips at the Dundjinni user art forum while making this type of object.

    Here is a rework of your throne:
    Setting Gimp on the throne-throne3b_rma.png

    The only difference is in the shadows. I reduced the overall outer shadow.

    Keep it a bit closer to the object then you had. I lightened it at the back of the throne, cause higher objects tend to cast a less distinct shadow.

    I added shadows across the seat font and arms to give more illusion of height above the base.

    I shaded the left and right of the base slightly to define the corners to the front.

    All of this was done with new layers (the extra shadows/shading) or layer masks (reducing the existing shadows) to make it effectively "non-destructive" on the original image.

    And layers is what lets you do (more non-destructive) things like adding a solid dark violet layer in "grain extract" mode to get a variant like this:

    Setting Gimp on the throne-throne3b_rma_v.png

    and my changing that colour layer you can create a whole plethora of different coloured thrones as needed.

    Keep working at it! See, Gimp isn't that hard!

    -Rob A>

  10. #10
      Redrobes is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by icosahedron View Post
    Redrobes, it wasn't what I'd call a crash, nothing locked up or trashed my work, it was more of a refusal to comply with a request. I'll PM you, but I think I've overwritten that file.
    That was a crash. If you had been running a program like Gimp or Photoshop and had many hours of work painted and it did that then you would lose it unless it had some kind of autosave facility. Crashing apps are a pain. I got your image now so ill look into whats going on. I have used the converter extensively and have not seen it before so glad it happened at a non critical moment.

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