Creating Simple Perspective in GIMP

  • Episode 304
  • July 16, 2013

Learn to build an image from scratch that features text which looks like it is illuminated from behind, casting a nice subtle shadow on the floor in front. Creating perspective the easy way with free software.

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This episode is sponsored in part by: Eco Alkalines.

Topics Covered:

  • Robbie Ferguson and Abigail Page present from the Category5 studios in Barrie, Ontario.
  • Abigail Smith is now Abigail Page.
  • It's Birthday month at Category5 TV! Happy birthday to Robbie, Hillary and Bekah this week.
  • Welcome to our newly registered viewers.
  • {play 6:41}The Photo Booth from Episode 279 & Episode 286 worked out really well.
  • {play 8:46}Feature: Easy Perspective Lighting on Text using the Free GNU Image Manipulation Program (GIMP).
    • Obtain GIMP
      • Linux users can download GIMP from their favorite installer (eg., apt-get, yum, Synaptic Package Manager, Ubuntu Software Center) or directly from
      • Windows Binaries are available for download at
      • Mac OS users will have to use Macports from
    • Create a new canvas.
    • Create a horizon effect using a simple black and white gradient, a rectangular marquee and the "Levels" tool.
    • Adding some text to our graphic. We chose to use "Abigail".
    • Choosing your font face.
    • Positioning your text (or logo, or box shot, or whatever it is) within the horizon.
    • Duplicating your text layer and flipping one of them vertically to create the shadow.
    • Blurring your shadow layer with a Gaussian blur effect.
    • Decreasing the opacity of your shadow layer.
    • Generating a simple light source in your horizon using a radial gradient.
    • Locking the alpha channel of your text layer.
    • Coloring your text layer with a subtle gradient.
    • Adding a backlighting glow to your text.
    • Positioning your glow to create the effect that your text has light coming at it from behind.
    • Using a feathered layer mask to create a more realistic shadow on the floor.
    • Cropping / framing our completed image.
    • Casting a shadow under the word itself to complete the effect.
    • Download the GIMP XCF source file for this project: Abigail.xcf (2.5 MB).
    • Now that we've learned the steps, let's do the same thing using the Ubuntu logo.
    • The difference with this logo: using the Shear Tool to manipulate our reflection / shadow so it's not straight up-and-down.
    • Converting a colored layer to black to use it as a shadow by using the Lock Alpha Channel tool and Fill.
  • {play 29:46}Top Stories from the Category5.TV Newsroom
    • An app that allows synchronized playback of audio on all your devices is coming in August, and it’s all thanks to some university students.
    • Sony is dropping their appeal of a fine for exposing gamer data to hackers in an effort to not expose gamer data to the courts.
    • An apparent iPhone electrocution death is being investigated in China.
    • Kickstarter is coming to Canada.
    • A human-powered helicopter has claimed a 33-year-old prize.
  • {play 39:10}Viewer Question: I upload a video to YouTube, but it goes all choppy, and doesn't look good in fullscreen mode. What's the issue?
  • {play 44:26}Viewer Comment: Thanks for helping with the screen dimming debacle on last week's show! By the way, I was able to fix the audio by turning down the computer volume while leaving up the volume on the TV.
  • {play 45:02}Viewer Comment: I heard the comments last week about the word "kludge". When I was a kid "kludge" was a common word around certain parts of Long Island NY years ago. See website below for many graphic images (SAFE for work!) of "kludges". I was also a Linspire user for a while and it too helped me migrate my personal life to Linux! I've been a PCLinuxOS fan for the past 6 years.
  • {play 46:28}Viewer Question: I've been trying to save files from my crashed hard drive using an Ubuntu live CD, but the drive is ticking. Can you please help me? If the files have been lost, I will have serious trouble with my work.
  • {play 51:24}Viewer Question: Do you have some advice for companies moving to open source? Here in Bolivia, companies use unlicensed software, especially when it comes to Microsoft Windows and Office applications. What would you suggest?
  • {play 57:18}Viewer Question: Is it possible to watch all Category5 TV episodes in the XBMC interface?
  • {play 59:31}Category5.TV now supports animated web site backgrounds.
  • {play 60:39}Remember the ancient Compaq Armada 1750 laptop we looked at last week? The battery still holds a charge!

Links to Relevant Web Sites:

  • Host: Robbie Ferguson
  • Co-Host: Abigail Page


Season 14 starts soon!

Episode 664 will be live October 14! See you then.

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