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It’s been a while since I wanted to do some tutorials for Gimp, because there are some things related to Sl photography editing that are not similar to Photoshop. Of course, Photoshop is more user-friendly and has more features, but if you can’t afford it or are a Windows hater (both cases apply for me), Gimp is the best alternative choice.

There are plenty of tutorials for Photoshop made by SL photographers, bloggers and creators, but rather few of them for Gimp. And I hear there’s a need for them (yes, Plurk knows it all!), so I’m going to make a series of tutorials for Gimp. If there’s something you want to know, please say it in the comments.

Also, please note that I’m not an expert in photo editing – or Gimp – and that everything I know is self taught or found in non-SL tutorials. So many of you may know even more than I do about Gimp, and I’d be happy to learn more!

Today we start with the basics, such as removing the nasty grid lines, cropping, pasting and sharpening. These steps are quite different in Gimp and I use them in (almost) every photo, so I think they may be useful to most Gimp users.

Here’s the two looks that I want to show you today. After the cut you will find the steps I took to get this photo:

1. Grid lines

The first thing I do when working on a photo is get rid of the much-hated grid lines. I tried to apply Berry’s tutorial for lines, but what seems to work in the SL viewer does not really work on my computer using Firestorm (truth is, I didn’t have much time to play with the settings, so it could be better next time). The result was getting TWO lines instead of one, but hey, that’s why we all love SL, don’t we? 😀

The base for grid-line killing is this amazing tutorial by Elysium Elide. It was very helpful for me when using Photoshop and it gave me some idea to find a way to work around it in Gimp.

I could not find a “single marquee” tool for rows or columns, so I had to invent it. I click the Rectangle Select Tool, and in the properties tab I check the Fixed box and select size. Because I work with high res photos, I make my selection 6000 pixels wide and 1 pixel height (for horizontal lines) and 1 pixel wide and 6000 pixels height (for vertical lines).

Make your selection right above or below the line, copy it (Ctrl C) and paste it (ctrl V) on the grid line. After that, anchor the floating layer (click the anchor icon in the layer tab on the right or simply click somewhere in the photo). Repeat this operation for all the horizontal and vertical lines. Even if the pasted lines look visible now, you won’t really notice them when you resize the photo.

2. Liquify

After all the grid lines are removed, we move on to liquify the hard edges and those parts of the avatar body that are annoyingly ugly in SL (wrist, ankles, nose lines etc).

If there is one thing that I DO NOT LIKE (in capitals) about Gimp is the lack of a decent Liquify feature. The equivalent can be found here: Filters/ Distorts/ Iwarp. The bad thing about Iwarp is that I won’t let you increase the selection size more than 100% of the picture size, so it is important to work on high-res photos and not resize them until after you’re done with liquifing.

There is one way to trick that: select exactly the area that you want to liquify and the increase the window (drag the corners as much as you can) until it reaches 100% of the picture size. Then play with the deform radius and amount until you get the right distortion for the area you are working on. I will not insist on Iwarp, because there’s already one tutorial about it, made by Sileny Noel.

3. Two in one

After you did that, it’s time to blend my two snapshots together, to make them one photo. I took the same steps for the second snapshot and now I’m just going to paste it on the first snapshot. It’s easy, just copy and paste (ctrl C + ctrl V).

First of all, I resized both photos, to make it easier on my PC and to to some basic editing – a bit of blurring and smudging – but I won’t go into that because those features are similar to Photoshop.

After I pasted the second snapshot on the first one, I changed the floating layer visibility to 50%, so i can see what’s beneath, then I simply erased the white background on the second snapshot enough to make the avatar in the fist snapshot visible. While doing this,  I made sure NOT to anchor the floating layer.

After I’m done with the erasing part, it’s time to anchor the floating layer. It’s similar to the lines thing, click on the image or on the anchor icon in the Layer tab.

4. Cropping

This is the easiest part of all! There is one reason why I have this simple feature in the tutorial: I work with fixed size photos. For some reason, I like them square. So when I select the cropping tool, I check the Fixed box in the properties tab and select aspect-ratio, then I write on the size tab 800:800. That’s how I get my square photo.

5. High Pass filter

We’re almost done here. I like a High Pass filter to sharpen my SL photos a bit. Unfortunately, Gimp does not have a built-in High Pass filter and with my crazy way to changing my Linux distribution whenever I get bored of the current one, downloading and installing filters and plug-ins every time I do that seems too much of a PITA. So I found an easy way to make my High Pass sharpening.

Actually, it’s easy. Just duplicate the layer two times (click on the duplicate layer icon on the Layer tab), then blur the layer above (Filters/ Blur/ Gaussian Blur). The more you blur it, the stronger your sharpening filter will be. After you blurred the layer, set it to Grain Extract in the layer Mode tab. Next step: merge down the layer (right-click on it and select Merge Down). Set the resulting step to Soft Light in the layer Mode tab and that’s it, you got your High Pass filter. If you think it’s too strong, reduce the layer visibility. If it’s not strong enough, just duplicate the layer and play with the above layer visibility until you’re happy with the result.

That’s it, I got my photo! I know this is a looooooooooong post, but it took me a lot more explaining how I do it than actually doing it. You’ll see, it’s quite easy!

My next tutorial will be about how to remove the white background from a photo and how to paste your avatar in a pretty background. If there’s more you would like to know, please ask. if I know it, I’ll post it!

And now, here’s the really hard part: the credits!


Look 1 (left)

Skin: *CUPCAKES – Bianca – Peach (group gift)

Lipstick: *Cupcakes – Emma – Nutmeg – Beauty Lips – Red

Hair:  Amacci Hair Maddie ~ Dark Brown

Dress: coldLogic dress – palmer.red

Tights: [[LD]] Major: Vacay Tights Smog

Shoes: [[LD]] Major: CINQUE Baroque Pumps (gift for Avenue group members)

Scarf: ISON – tribal print scarf (black)

Earrings: Fleshtone: :: Narsha Vanity Earrings [Onyx]

Look 2:

Skin: {.essences.} Moira – Rose

Hair: ::Exile:: Collide:Stefani for FaMESHed

Top: Ingenue :: Ever After Cardigan ::

Dress: coldLogic dress – harper.blues

Leggings: .: Somnia :. Bow Tied Leggings {Teal}

Boots: DECO – Madison boots (chocolate)

Jewelry: Addiction Daisies Set – Womenstuff Hunt 2012 Gift

Bag: MONS [MESH] Cute Hand Bag -brown-

Poses: Frooti