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Create a glossy heart in GIMP using Paths Tool tutorial

Updated on August 23, 2013
Glossy heart created with GIMP
Glossy heart created with GIMP

In previous tutorial I showed how to create a heart brush using Paths Tool in GIMP. In this tutorial I want to go further and show how you can make a nice glossy heart which seems to be very trendy now. All you need is to have a heart brush, or you can make a heart shape Path as shown in my previous tutorial.

Open GIMP, make a new file going to File / New. Make it 1000 x 1000 px.

Now we need to create two guides: horizontal and vertical. Go to Image / Guides / New guide. Guides should go exactly through the middle of our image therefore we choose:

First guide: Position – Horizontal 500

Second guides: Position – Vertical 500

Now we can see two lines showing us the middle of the image.

Make a New Transparent layer by doing right click and choosing New Layer / Transparency. Call it Base.

Using Paint Brush Tool, choose your heart brush, set size 800, choose for your foreground colour “d80000”. Make a heart in the middle of the image like shown in Fig 1.

Fig. 1
Fig. 1

Take Fuzzy Select Tool and click somewhere on the red heart (make sure Base layer is selected). This will create selection, now go to Paths dialogue and click Selection to Path icon (third on the right). A new path will be created; we will be using this path in this tutorial a lot.

Make a New Transparent layer, call it Dark. Take Round brush Hardness 075, size 70, activate Smooth Stroke with Quality 100, Weight 50.

Go to Paths dialog and click Paint along the Path icon (second on the right). Select Stroke with a Paint Tool / Stroke.

Go to Filters / Blur / Gaussian Blur / 100 x 100.

In Paths dialog, choose Path to selection icon (forth on the right), next invert selection Select / Invert and press Delete.

Select / None. You should have now three layers (including Background one) and your heart should look like in Fig 2.

Fig. 2
Fig. 2

Put your Dark layer to Overlay and make a New Transparent layer, call it Outline.

Now we are going to repeat steps for the Dark layer, but with different settings. Select the same Brush Tool, only change size to 15.

Go to Paths dialogue and click Paint along the path icon (second on the right). Select Stroke with a Paint Tool / Stroke.

Go to Filters / Blur / Gaussian Blur / 20 x 20.

In Paths dialog, choose Path to selection icon (forth on the right), next invert selection Select / Invert and press Delete.

Select / None.

Fig. 3
Fig. 3

Put your Outline layer to Overlay and make a New Transparent layer, call it Red.

For the foreground colour choose “fd1a1a”, in the Paths dialogue click Path to Selection.

Using Bucket Fill Tool fill your selection with foreground colour. Select / None.

Take Scale tool, click on the red heart, connect chain of Weight and Width and choose 80%. Press Scale.

With Move Tool (make sure Move the active layer selected), move this layer and place it in the middle of the large heart as shown in Fig 3.

Filter / Blur / Gaussian blur / 150 x 150.

In Paths dialogue, choose Path to selection icon (forth on the right), next invert selection Select / Invert and press Delete.

Select / None.

Make a New Transparent layer, call it Glow.

Fig. 4
Fig. 4

Set your foreground colour to White (ffffff), take Blend tool, choose Foreground to Transparency option, shape to Radial. Pull from the middle of the heart to the end of the heart. You should have now a soft white circle in the middle of your heart see Fig 4.

Fig. 5
Fig. 5

Put layer Glow to Overlay and make a New Transparent layer, call it Top white.

Using Paths tool, set points as shown in Fig 5, going like this: middle, left, bottom, right, middle. When you get to the last point (second middle), don’t put it on the top of the first middle point, it won’t work. You need to put it just a bit further to the right and then while it’s still activated pull it to place it on the top of the first middle point.

Fig. 6
Fig. 6

Start creating a shape as shown in Fig 6. Your final shape should look like in Fig 7.

When your path is ready, click Path to selection.

Using Blend Tool, choose Foreground to Transparency and shape Linear. Pull gradient from the point where the selection starts, to the end of the selection. Select / None.

Fig. 7
Fig. 7

Make a New Transparent layer, call it Bottom white.

Take Paths tool and put three points: left, middle, right like shown in Fig 8. Then make a shape like in Fig 9. When it’s ready, click Path to selection.

Fig.8 and Fig. 9
Fig.8 and Fig. 9

Use Blend tool with settings from the previous step and pull gradient from the bottom of selection to its end.

Make a New Transparent layer, call it Reflection.

Take Paths tool and put four points: left top, bottom, right bottom, top right like shown in Fig 11. Then make a shape like in Fig 12. When it’s ready, click Path to selection.

Fig. 11 and Fig. 12
Fig. 11 and Fig. 12

Use Blend tool with settings from the previous step and pull gradient from the top of selection across to where heart meets horizontal guide see Fig 13.

Fig. 13
Fig. 13
Glossy heart final result
Glossy heart final result

Duplicate layer Reflection and flip it horizontally going to Layer / Transform / Flip horizontally.

Final step Image / Flatten.

This is it, our glossy heart is done.

To save your image go to File / Export (note, I’m using GIMP 2.8).

P.S. To get different colours of the heart like in my example, go to Colours / Hue - Saturation and move the Hue slider left or right, choose the colour and press OK.

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