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Create a Cool Glass Text Effect with GIMP

Updated on February 5, 2015

Glass Text

One thing I need to say about this effect is, as you can see, it may not look so "cool" on a white background, but it works pretty well on others. Before we get started with this tutorial, there are a few things we'll be needing, which I have provided here below:

Open the image manipulation program GIMP. In GIMP's main menu, you'll want to select File > New. In the Create a New Image dialogue, select 5000 pixels for Width and 3000 pixels for Height and click OK.

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New project dialogue
New project dialogue
New project dialogue

Click to open the Layers, Channels, Paths, Undo - Brushes, Patterns, Gradients dialogue, which you can find by clicking Windows > Recently Closed Docks. With this dialogue opened, you'll be looking for a square icon that reads "Create a new layer... in its beginning text. It will be approximately midway down the Layers, Channels, Paths, Undo - Brushes, Patterns, Gradients dialogue along with a complete set of icons of various functions - it being the very first icon in the set.

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New layer
New layer
New layer

Go ahead and click this icon to open the Create a New Layer dialogue. You don't need to worry about any of the settings in this dialogue. Simply click OK. Next, you'll be looking for GIMP's text settings, which you will find in GIMP's Toolbox - which should be the opened dialogue on the left side of the program.

Towards the top of this dialogue, there will be an icon in the shape of an A that reads Text Tool when you hover it. Click this icon and you will notice a new dialogue has opened in the section of GIMP's Toolbox under the section titled Tool Options.

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Text tool options
Text tool options
Text tool options

In this section, under Font, choose Times New Roman, Italic, under Size select 2717 and, under Justify, select Centered.

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Centered selected
Centered selected
Centered selected

Now, to type out your text. To do that, left click and hold your mouse and then drag it across GIMP's canvas from one side to the other.

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GIMP's canvas
GIMP's canvas
GIMP's canvas

I typed out the letter G for my text. By the way, we'll be doing only one word at a time for this tutorial. But worry not, for there is a method to my madness here. With your first letter typed out, you'll want to highlight it by dragging your mouse over the letter. Afterwards, click the Bold letter An icon. We want bold text.

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Text highlighted
Text highlighted
Text highlighted

Once you have the first letter of your text typed out, go back to the Layers, Channels, Paths, Undo - Brushes, Patterns, Gradients dialogue and, towards the top of the dialogue, you should be seeing a row of eyes each with Background, Layer and your letter box (a box with the letter T inside) next to each one. These are your layers.

Right click the top layer and select Discard Text Information. Right click it again and select Merge Down. Right click it one more time and select Alpha to Selection.

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Alpha to selection
Alpha to selection
Alpha to selection

Now, in GIMP's menu, click Select > Shrink. In the Shrink Selection dialogue, choose 1 pixel and click OK. Go back to the same menu and click Invert. This time, go to Filters > Blur > Gaussian Blur. In GIMP's Gaussian Blur dialogue, select 1.5 pixels (Note that you may have to type in 5 rather than using the up & down arrows provided in the dialogue) for both Horizontal and Vertical Blur Radius and click OK.

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Gaussian Blur
Gaussian Blur
Gaussian Blur

Go to Select again, but click None instead this time.

Glass Effect

Now, for the "icing on the cake". Go back to the Layers, Channels, Paths, Undo - Brushes, Patterns, Gradients dialogue, right click the layer that says Layer and select Alpha to Selection. Next, go to Filters > Alpha to Logo > Glass Effect Alpha. In the Script-Fu: Glass Effect Alpha dialogue, under Glass Color, enter the color 0000b8. Under Glass Depth, select 10 and, under Shadow color, enter 00005a and click OK.

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Glass effect
Glass effect
Glass effect

Turn off visibility for the Background layer by going to the Layers, Channels, Paths, Undo - Brushes, Patterns, Gradients dialogue and click the eye icon next to that layer. Save your first letter. Repeat the above steps for each letter you'd like to create for your text.

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Visibility off
Visibility off
Visibility off

Alinement of Letters

Once you have all your letters created, be sure you have visibility turned on for all layers except the Background layer. Right click your top layer, select Merge Visible Layers and click Merge. Right click that layer and select Delete Layer. Create another layer. Turn on visibility for the Background layer.

To align our letters, we are going to create a guide. To do that, select Image > Guides > New Guide. In the Script-Fu: New Guide dialogue, choose Horizontal for Direction and 2500 for Position and click OK.

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Guide created
Guide created
Guide created

Now, open the first letter of your text that you saved by selecting File > Open in GIMP's menu. The letter will open up in a new window. The first thing we want to do is re-size it by clicking Image > Scale Image in the new window that opened up. In the Scale Image dialogue, choose a size that will allow the placement of all the letters you created. In my particular case, I chose 2500 pixels for Width.

No need to bother with the Height. Just click the Scale button. Paste your first letter onto GIMP's canvas by selecting Edit > Copy from the first letter's menu and then go to the main menu and select Edit > Paste. With the letter pasted, you can move it into position by clicking on the Move Tool in GIMP's Toolbox.

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Move tool
Move tool
Move tool

Use the guide we placed as a reference. Perform the same task with all your letters until you have all them positioned. The last thing you'll need to do before your finished is: go to the Layers, Channels, Paths, Undo - Brushes, Patterns, Gradients dialogue and click the anchor icon to anchor the final letter.

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Anchor letter
Anchor letter
Anchor letter

The Finishing Touches

Now, to give our text a cool effect and to increase its quality. click Select > None. right click your text layer and click Alpha to Selection. Now, go back to Select > Shrink and shrink by 1 pixel. Head back to Select and choose Invert. At this point, select Filters > Blur > Gaussian Blur and blur by 1.5 pixels. Click Select > None. Then right click the text layer again and select Alpha to Selection. Go to GIMP's Toolbox and select the Blend Tool.

With the Blend Tool selected, you should see a new section under Tool Options. For Gradient, select FG to Transparent and be sure you have the color white selected in Foreground & background color box.

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Foreground and background color box
Foreground and background color box
Foreground and background color box

Now, hover your mouse inside a letter and, starting from the top of the letter, left click and hold and then drag your mouse down letting go about halfway down the letter.

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Applying blend
Applying blend
Applying blend

My GIMP Poll

Which of my Hubs regarding GIMP did you find most helpful?

See results
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Blend tool
Blend tool
Blend tool

Your Comments welcomed

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    • Danielspages2013 profile image
      Author

      Daniel Baker 2 years ago from João Pessoa, Paraíba, Brazil

      Not a problem

    • Jacobb9205 profile image

      Jacob Barnard 2 years ago from Gloucestershire

      Wow, great tutorial, thank you!