Friday 3 April 2015

Gimp 101: Favourite Fonts, Typography, & the Clone Tool

Hi guys! If you haven't seen my little guide on using & getting started with GIMP and how to edit your photos professionally, make sure you check it out before reading this, unless you're already familiar with the program and just want to learn a few new things!

I see so many Photoshop tutorials, and even blogs where they charge you for a basic comprehensive class on doing the simplest photo manipulation. That drives me crazy! Not only is Photoshop like $600 in the first place, but GIMP does everything it does, and it's free. Not only that, but learning should be free, too, so I hope I can help you out with that.

Now, I love Photoshop, and obviously if you've been on the internet for longer than a few minutes you know that there are ways you can get it without needing to pay *cough*, but Adobe is smarter than we are and getting away with that is a lot harder now than it used to be. I speak from experience. After doing it for years and having to change my method of obtaining it every time, I've just given up and started using GIMP. It's safer, you run no risks of getting malware on your computer by trying to torrent potentially suspicious files, and I'm not about to condone piracy on my blog (I say as I listen to my iTunes album full of questionably downloaded tracks-- hey, don't look at me like that! You shouldn't throw stones in glass houses!)

Anyway, I thought I would share some tips and some tricks to doing a few cool things using GIMP, and if you have a blog of your own, these ideas can really amp up some of your photos, so let's get started!

In this blog post, I'll be going over three things - 
Click the headers below to go to a specific tutorial

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- MY FAV. FONTS & DOWNLOADING THEM -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I have quite a few favourite fonts that I enjoy using, and having a nice collection of font types can really make your blog post headers stand out! If you're a Windows user, I also have an extension for Chrome that allows you to find out what Fontface is being used anywhere on the web so you can download it at your leisure. Lastly, I'm going to go through some of the options GIMP provides to letter spacing, paragraph height, etc. They can make a world of difference.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- TYPOGRAPHY TUTORIALS -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Typography is so beautiful, and amping up some of your aforementioned fonts is really easy, and looks a lot harder than it actually is. We'll be using a tool in this tutorial that I will explain much more in depth next...

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ THE CLONE TOOL & HOW TO USE IT ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
This tool is one of the best tools in existence, and it can be used in so many ways. I'm only going to go over a few of them for now, but the one I use most often is touching up photographs. If you've taken a photo and there's something in the background you didn't want, you can use the clone tool to kind of remove it. If there's a smudge on one of your makeup products, clone tool to get rid of it! It's a beautiful thing, and if marrying GIMP tools was legal... don't tell my boyfriend.


1. My favourite fonts & where to download

Weee! Favourite fonts! Alright well let's just jump right in. If you've ever seen a font on my blog and wondered what it was, you'll find it here. I hope you discover some awesome type faces that you never knew you never knew... *hums 'Colors of the Wind'*

Have you ever come across the Instagram page @chalkfulloflove? A woman named Sarah does a bunch of cute typography projects, and a majority of them use a font similar to this (she writes it herself, but we aren't all that talented). I managed to find a font as similar to the one she uses as I could, and I think it's pretty darn similar. If you're a fan of her page, her products, or just this font, you can download it here.

(Remember, download the zip file, unzip it, and drag it into your computer's 'Fonts' folder!)

Do any of you watch 'The Social'? I'm not much for talk shows (except for Ellen- what a queen), but my boyfriend's mom often has that show running in the background when we stay at his parents' house, and their logo for the show has this font. The first time I saw it, I was like 'I have to find that!' and of course, I did. I absolutely love it, and I think it's very modern and sleek. It's typography porn is what it is. You can download it here.
I really love this one because it's so flouncy (it's totally a word). It's very scripture-esque without being too much. It's your handwriting, but better. I'm very picky with my cursive-type fonts because it's hard to find one that's elegant without being too over the top. You want a font that looks like it could belong on a nice wedding invitation, but not a font that you would put on a card and mail to the Queen of England. It's a perfect balance, in my opinion. You can download it here.
This font you don't even need to download, GIMP already has it but I wanted to include it because it's one of those serif fonts that's just a little extra. It's a bit nicer than Times New Roman (my homie), and it's just very linear and elongated. Super pretty.
Well surprise surprise, another cursive-esque font. I just think they're pretty, okay? This one's a little more 'childish' looking than Quickier. It would be great for a signature, or something that you want to have a 'handwriting' look, but a bit more sophisticated. You can download it here.
This is another font that doesn't need to be downloaded, GIMP already has it, but I'm in love! If you want an 'Extra! Extra! Read all about it!' newspaper-type font, this one is great. It looks sleek, it's pleasing to the eye (I think it looks great in all caps), and it's definitely a favourite of mine for a very modern look.
Obsessed. I'm a talkative person and I honestly don't have anything to say about this font, I don't know how to describe it. I don't even need to, just look at it! Beautiful. You can download it here.


Chrome Extension: WhatFont
Alright, next up, I want to take a minute to mention a Chrome extension that I'm excited about. It's called 'WhatFont' and you can download it in the Chrome Web Store here. What is does is it helps you find out what fonts are being used on any given web page. Let's say you're you're just browsing the internet and you come across this amazing blog with a header font that you fall in love with. Click on the extension button, and bring your cursor over to the font you want to identify, and voilĂ !


Text Tool Extras
Lastly, I want to talk about some of the text options GIMP has to offer. When you select the Text Tool in the left-hand sidebar, you'll find two options near the bottom: One is line-height, and one is letter spacing. Sometimes fonts look a little nicer when the letters are more condensed, and sometimes fonts look good when you've got the letters spaced out more. Play around with it.


2. Typography Tutorials
Alright, so the first thing I'm going to show you how to do is what I've done in the image above. All you'll need to do is find an image you want to use to fill in the lettering; the one I picked is a vase of peonies. Step two is to find a font that has enough 'bulk' to it that your image will actually show up-- the one I picked is simply Times New Roman, bold.

Below are the two basic things you'll need to start with. Open up a new blank canvas in GIMP (File > New...) and then take your text tool, a font that's easy to read and somewhat thick, and add your text! I'm just using the word 'Typography' for the sake of this tutorial. 

Secondly, on the same canvas, paste the image you want to use. I'm just using this image of peonies because I like the colours, and when I mesh it all together it'll create an interesting effect. 

Your second step is to grab your clone tool (second row from the bottom, second tool from the right), select the size of the brush you want (I used the circular one just large enough to grab the flowers in the image), hold down CTRL, and click. This will clone the part of the image that your brush is surrounding. 

The next thing you need to do is go and select your Magic Wand tool (discussed in the GIMP basics tutorial I linked in the intro). It's the tool in the top row, third from the right. It looks like, well, a magic wand. Take that tool and click on each letter of your word until it is all selected (make sure to click the dots on your i's and j's as well). You'll need to hold down SHIFT after you've made your first selection, this will allow you to select more at the same time.

It should look like the image above. Now go back to your clone tool, (make sure your original image is still there--the one you cloned-- layer it underneath your text tool so you can properly select your text) and just click everywhere around your image. Because you selected only your letters, the cloned image will show up only within that selection.

You should have something like this! You can go to the top menu and click 'Select' and then click 'None' to make your moving selection lines go away.

Now, I added a drop shadow to my original image because parts of my text are a little light against the white background, and it's a bit hard to read. You want to make sure that your text is as easily understandable as possible, so we're going to add an optional drop shadow. Make sure your text layer is selected.

Under 'Filters > Light and Shadow...' we're going to select 'Drop Shadow'. A new GIMP window will pop up (sometimes it just shows up in your taskbar, so you have to click on it down there to see it). For your drop shadow, you'll be able to decide your offset for your Y-axis and your X-axis (how far away from your text the shadow falls-- Y-axis is vertical and X-axis is horizontal), your blur-radius (how sharp or blurred your shadow is), and the colour of your shadow.

The above image is what stats I used for my image. You can change the opacity of your drop shadow at any point after you make this choice, so don't worry about that for now. The colour of my shadow is Hex code #232323 (dark grey).

To save your image, go under File > Export as... and you can change your file format to .jpg, or .png. I recommend .png for your images. Always export your images in GIMP, this will create image files out of your canvases. If you go under 'Save as...' you'll only be able to save your images as .xcf, which is GIMP's file format. This is good for if you want to come back to your image later-- saving as a GIMP file will allow you to keep all your layers and enable editing at later dates. Exporting your image will just flatten it so you can implement it onto any image hosting format.

And there you have it! I hope you enjoyed this tutorial, have fun with it and remember that practice makes perfect. 


3. The Clone tool & how to use it

I put this one last because we used the clone tool in the previous tutorial, so now that you know a little bit about how it works and what it does, we can use it more for photo manipulation and touch up purposes!

Let's start off easy-- we're gonna take a look at the image I used for my header today.

It's pretty flawless, and I wouldn't change a thing normally, but let's zero in on a few "imperfections" for the sake of the tutorial. I'm going to remove that dark spot in the bottom left corner, and some of the 'wrinkles' in the jeans. Here's the after photo:

Do you see the difference? these changes are minor, and they should be. Using the clone to do something drastic will end up looking quite unrealistic and fake, whereas removing small "imperfections" from pictures is exactly what this tool is great for.

First of all, you want to mainly use softened brushes. The image above is a screencap from GIMP's main brush selection window. You've got very soft, somewhat soft, and hard. The reason you should use a brush type that's got softened edges is because it helps make your cloning blend in. If you cloned a part of your image to paste onto another with a hard-edged brush, you would see your clone. When using a soft brush to blend it into the original image, it looks as though you never cloned it at all.

Here is a close-up of the blanket at the bottom left where I removed that dark patch. As you can see on the right, it doesn't even look edited because I used a soft brush to clone the area around the dark patch, and then paint over top of it. Cloning copies a part of your image (whichever part you want-- typically one as close to your 'imperfection' as you can), and then pastes that cloned part wherever you want.

The trick to cloning, and cloning well, is getting your clone as close to your 'imperfection' as possible. Your image will vary in saturation, contrast, light, and darkness in even the smallest ways and you don't want to clone a part of your picture on the right side to cover up a part of the left side. the colouring will be totally different. You want to get as close as you possibly can to the part you want to cover up.

Now the jeans part was a lot trickier because there were a lot more tones, textures, and dimensions to this part of the picture. It still isn't perfect, I did it quickly for the tutorial, but to someone who hasn't seen the original (or isn't looking at the two side by side), they wouldn't know you took out the wrinkles/creases in the jeans.

To achieve this, I took my cloning tool, made it quite small, and cloned directly beside the crease, then pasted. I moved a little further up, cloned again, and pasted. Rinse, repeat. Changing the opacity on your brush can help too, it'll make your changes less harsh and just lessen the appearance of your imperfection the more you paste over it rather than harshly paste over it once and risk it looking a bit off.


That's it guys, that's all for my GIMP tutorials and tips today. I really hope some, or all, of these tips were helpful to you in some way, and if you used any of my advice, I'd love to hear about it. 

If you have any suggestions on what I could write about next, share them! If you let me know what you're having trouble with, I will absolutely do my best to help you with it. If you have any specific questions about what I've talked about in this post, just leave a comment and I'll help you out there. 

Notes: Thanks very much DeathtoStock for the header photo (which I went ahead and edited), and thanks to DaFont for creating the best online font database in the world. This wasn't in any way sponsored, I've just been using their website for years and it's incredible.

Until next time, sunshine!

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