In my last GIMP article ("Create a 3D logo with The GIMP") you learned how to make 3D logos that can easily be used for web projects and more. In the process of making those logos I mentioned deleting a layer which sort of jumped ahead of the game. So I thought I would jump back in time a bit and retroactively illustrate how to deal with layers in The GIMP.
What are layers you ask? Image layers are like stacking transparent sheets on top of one another. You can create images on each layer and still see the layers underneath. Let me give you a simple example.
Figure 1 shows the tool which allows you to work with layers. If you need help getting used to The GIMPs interface, check out my "Getting to know The GIMP Interface" article. When you create a new image in The GIMP you automatically create the Background layer. If your image is flat (no layers) the only layer you will have is the Background layer. You can, effectively, work on this layer alone, but you won't have nearly the flexibility you would with layers.
When using layers the background layer, as you might think, is the base layer for your image. As stated earlier this this will be the default layer when you create a new image. Figure 1 shows this layer listed in the layer window.
Figure 2 shows our background layer. This layer was created with a nifty GIMP filter called Flame. This filter can be found in the Filters menu under Render and then Nature.
In the layers window (Figure 1) you can see there is a tiny thumbnail of this layer shown. Now that we have our background layer done we will add something on top of that. Working with what we did in the previous article, let's add a logo on top of this.
The first thing you need to do is add a new layer to what you already have. Click the New Layer button to open up a small window. This window will ask require you to configure a few options. These options are:
With everything configured, click OK. Back in the main image window you won't notice any difference. In the layers window you will see a new layer added.To work with this new layer you will click on the new layer. Whatever you do in the new layer will not directly effect the background layer.
Working with your new layer
Just like you were shown in the previous article, create a logo. Once you have created your logo take a look at the logo Layers window. You should see multiple layers in this window. What we are going to do is copy and paste our logo into our new transparent layer of our new image. To do this properly though we have to delete the background layer of the logo. If the background layer of the logo is not removed it will cover up the background layer of our new image. Figure 3 shows our logo with the background image removed. Now you will need to flatten the logo so it can be copied and pasted. Flattening the image merges all of the layers together. To flatten your logo you will need to click Ctrl-m and then click Merge. Now you can copy and paste the logo into the background.
Here are the steps to copy paste the logo into the new image layer.
After you have anchored your new layer you can alter the opacity of the new layer by selecting the new layer and dragging the Opacity drag bar to the left or right. This comes in handy if you want to see more of the background image through the new image.
When the new layer is to your liking you can finish up your work on the image. For my example I am going to crop some of the image, flatten the image, and then save the image.
Figure 4 shows the final image.
Although this was a very simplified example of using layers, you should now see how useful layers are. You should also have a working knowledge of how to work with layers. You can add as many layers as you like and get as creative as you need. The GIMP makes this easy.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.