Creating Three Dimensional Text and a Drop Shadow

If you want to create three-dimensional text with a coining effect, or rounded corners, you can apply the Add Bevel filter (Filters > Decor > Add Bevel). Essentially, the filter works with any selected layer on an extracted image object. However, the effect is rather slight on large surfaced objects because the rounding has a comparatively small radius. The coning effect on those image objects will hardly be visible. You will meet the filter in section 3.8.1 again where you will round the borders of a picture frame three-dimensionally. The effect works rather well with text. You should choose a wider, bold font if you want to create three-dimensional text. The filter can then be applied to a greater breadth and the effect is more apparent. And, of course, you may use the filter more than once, with different radiuses, to produce distinct three-dimensional edges.

Figure 3.49

The window of the Add Bevel script-fu and the three-dimensional text in the image window

Figure 3.49

The window of the Add Bevel script-fu and the three-dimensional text in the image window

In the Add Bevel script-fu, you can select the radius of the edge. For the font size I had chosen, I selected a radius of 15 pixels for the first run, and 7 pixels for the second. You can also choose to work on a copy of your original so the original isn't changed. If you don't want to apply this option, be sure to at least duplicate the text layer in the Layers dialog. When the filter is applied, text layers are altered into pure pixel layers and are not editable afterward.

A drop shadow adds dimension and depth to image elements and text. The following sections describe how you can use selections and fills to create shadow layers for any image object, including text.

The simplest way to produce a shadow effect is by choosing Filters > Light and Shadow > Drop Shadow to open a dialog in which you can set the attributes for the shadow.

Figure 3.50

The window of the Drop Shadow script-fu and the automatically generated Drop Shadow layer in the Layers dialog

Figure 3.50

The window of the Drop Shadow script-fu and the automatically generated Drop Shadow layer in the Layers dialog

U SI NG MASKS AN D LAYERS—PAI N TI NG, FI LLI N G, AND COLOR TOOLS

The Offset values will determine the direction of the shadow in relation to the image object. Positive values for Offset X will place the shadow at the right, while negative values will place it at the left. Positive values for Offset Y will place the shadow below the selected object or character, while negative ones will place the shadow above it. The program defaults are set to mirror morning light, which comes from the top-left corner. The drop shadow is automatically created on a new layer, and it can be positioned afterward at will.

To make the shadow appear more natural, you can apply a soft edge to the borders and set the blur radius (edge sharpness) since shadows normally don't have hard edges.

The default color for the shadow is black, but you can select any color you wish to attain the desired effect. For example, if you select a white shadow on a dark background, the image object would appear to glow.

Real shadows are rarely pitch black and opaque. For a realistic look, you can move the Opacity slider to give the shadow some transparency.

A drop shadow is larger than the object casting it. For this reason, leave the box next to Allow resizing checked. The shadow will then grow proportionally larger than the object casting it.

When you are satisfied with your changes, click OK. The drop shadow will be automatically generated and inserted as a new, separate layer into the image.

GIMP is a true filter workshop. In this book, you'll be introduced to only a few of the filters available, so don't be afraid to explore the effects of the filters on your own. The next section provides descriptions of certain filters along with tips on how to use them.

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