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GIMP 3-D, 3 Ways - page 2

Drop-Shadows and Bump Maps

  • June 10, 2010
  • By Akkana Peck
Filters/Map/Bump Map... brings up the Bump Map dialog (Figure 3).

<em>Bump Map dialogue</em>
Bump Map dialogue

If you have a lot of layers in your image, you may need to specify the Bump map from the menu at the upper right. There are lots of other values you can tweak, but the default values are usually a good start.

Once you've clicked OK on Bump Map, you may wonder why you can't see any change. If your text layer is still visible, it'll hide the layer you just bump mapped. So go to the Layers dialog and click on the "eyeball" icon next to your text layer to make it invisible.

Lighting Effects

A third way to bring 3-D to your images is Filters/Light and Shadow/Lighting Effects... It's a bit more complicated, but it can create some pretty impressive effects.

Lighting Effects unfortunately only gives you a small preview window, so it's hard to see exactly what it will do. The small blue dot in the preview is the "light source", where the light will appear to be coming from. You can drag it around to make the light seem to come from anywhere. In the Light tab, setting Type to Directional can make the effect stronger.

You can make your photo look embossed by running Lighting Effects on a photo, choosing the Bump Map tab and setting Bumpmap image to be the same photo you've already made active (Figure 4).

<em>Lighting effects</em>
Lighting effects

You may need to try it several times, undoing and moving the light source to different places to see how the effect changes.

Lighting Effects also offers an Environment Map tab that allows for some excellent "metallic text" effects. Unfortunately I'm out of space ... but check out GIMP's Golden Text tutorial for a step-by-step example of how to use environment maps. If you get lost in that one (it's a bit complicated), try the OpenSuSE Golden Text tutorial for a similar but easier example. And have fun adding dimensions to your photos!

Akkana Peck is a freelance programmer and writer, an amateur photographer and the author of the book Beginning GIMP: From Novice to Professional

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