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How to Create a Puzzle Out of Any Picture Using GIMP

Updated on November 29, 2014

GIMP

Puzzle effect
Puzzle effect

Open GIMP and select File > New. In the Create a New Image dialogue, you'll want to select the Width and Height of the image that you would like to use to create the puzzle. In my case, I am using this image with the dimensions of 1024 by 768. When you have finished entering the Width & Height, select OK.

Open the picture you'd like to use in GIMP. Once you open the image, you'll notice that there are now two separate windows open in GIMP (window with your preferred image for use in this tutorial). Go to the second one. In that second window, in its menu, select Edit > Copy.

At this point, you may close the second window. In GIMP's menu, select Layer > New Layer. In the New Layer dialogue, just click OK. Go back to GIMP's menu, and select Edit > Paste. Your image should paste nicely on the canvas so that all the white background disappears.

Now, we want to go to Filters > Render > Patterns > Jigsaw. In the Jigsaw dialogue, select 3 for both Horizontal and Vertical and, under Bevel Edges, set the width to 5 and click OK.

Puzzle effect added
Puzzle effect added

Create a new layer. Select the Paths Tool in GIMP's Toolbox. You'll want to zoom into your canvas. The quickest way to do this is press and hold the Ctrl key on your keyboard and then use the scroll function on your mouse to zoom in or out. Zoom in to, at least, 300%. In case you might be new with GIMP, you can check your scroll progress by looking at GIMP's canvas dialogue towards the very bottom - in the status bar.

Zoomed 300 percent
Zoomed 300 percent

What we're going to do is follow a path around every border of our puzzle effect one square at a time.

Path started
Path started

Each time you click your mouse on an area of GIMP's canvas, along the path of the borders, you add an "anchor". Don't be so worried about getting the paths too close to each other. And, where the borders run straight, you should only need to add an anchor at the start and end.

When you get to the last anchor, connect to the first one by clicking and holding Ctrl on your keyboard and clicking on the first anchor.

Connect last anchor
Connect last anchor

Once you have connected the anchors, click the Selection from Path button in GIMP's Toolbox.

Path selected
Path selected

Select the Foreground and background colors box in GIMP's Toolbox, and select the hex color of 9f9f9f and then select the Bucket Fill Tool. After that, click inside this selection we just created to fill it with that color. Now, divide the image up into sections and do the same thing with all the borders - creating puzzle sections. But be sure you create a new layer for every puzzle piece.

Selection painted
Selection painted

At this point, I have all my selections filled with the color 9f9f9f.

Entire puzzle filled
Entire puzzle filled

Now, I'm going to show you how to turn this puzzle into the effect of being put together - turn it into a video. Go to GIMP's menu and select Windows > Recently Closed Docks > Layers, Channels, Paths, Undo. In the Layers dialogue, starting with layer #1, turn off visibility by clicking on its eye icon. Once you have visibility turned off for that layer, close the Layers, Channels, Paths, Undo dialogue and create a screenshot (or print screen) for that layer.

With the screenshot created, use your favorite image manipulation program to create the image for each of these layers. I used the Windows program Paint - by opening the program and choosing Paste.

Do this with every layer until you have a screen shot for every layer created. Once completed, use your favorite program - such as Windows Live Movie Maker and piece the puzzle sections together to create a video. In my case, I used this program I have called PowerDirector to create my video.

Final Video

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