Adobe has special effects in Photoshop, the so-called layer styles or layer effects. This collection includes effects like Drop Shadow, Bevel and Emboss, Outer and Inner Glow, and so on.
Jon Stipe developed an equivalent script-fu for GIMP called layerfx.scm. You can download it from http://registry.gimp.org/node/186. You can also find it on the DVD in the folder GIMPScript-Fus. Installing script-fus and filters is described in section 1.5.2. After the installation in GIMP, you must select Filter > Script Fu > Refresh Scripts. A new entry, Script-Fu, then appears in the menu bar. Under Layer Effects, you can find a dozen different layer styles with a multitude of settings. Unfortunately there isn't a preview function. You will have to experiment with the various settings and choices. But it is worthwhile.
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