Sunday, June 8, 2014

Working with Textures in GIMP {Tutorial}

News for all of you who aren't using PS or PSE! GIMP is a free editing program that allows you to work with layers; in other words the logic is similar to PS & PSE.  I've created a beginners tutorial for using textures so you can learn here how to work with layers and masks in GIMP and how to apply textures to your photos. Textures are an easy way to give your photos a totally new twist and help turning your creations into gorgeous piece of art. Welcome to learn!

GIMP is an acronym for GNU Image Manipulation Program. It is a freely distributed program for such tasks as photo retouching, image composition and image authoring. Learn more about GIMP and download the program here

Once you have your program installed you are ready to give it a try. Note that you can easily change the language in preferences. My screenshots in this tutorial will be in English. 

First open the image you want to edit in your editing program. When getting to know your textures in the beginning, the easiest way might be trying textures to still life with light solid background. Then choose your texture and open it in GIMP as well. You are warmly welcome to shop in my Texture Shop or download here a free texture that I've created just for you to try! I call this one 'Muse'.

In your window you can now see both of your images. 

Once you have both images open, go to your texture image and copy it by right clicking to edit and copy. Switch to your original image and paste it above your original image layer by right clicking to edit and paste as new layer.  

Then you’ll need to re-size your texture image to match the size or your original image. You can do that by using the scale tool. Choose the tool from your Toolbox, drag from the corner of your texture to re-scale and finally hit the scale button. Use move tool to position your texture above your image. Your texture now covers your entire original image, but you can see from the layers panel that your original image lies underneath. If you are missing your layers panel, click on "Windows" on the top menu bar. Click "Dockable Dialogs" and choose layers. 

Now we move to the creative and most fun part of texturing! Let’s start to experiment different blending modes. Try at least multiply, overlay and soft light -modes. Here is the image with soft light at 100% opacity. My image already looks different! Play with your modes and opacity and see what you can come up with!

Above is my image with Multiply mode and 70% opacity.

Besides adjusting blending modes and opacity, you need to learn about layer masks! Textured image very often requires layer masking; in other words you will want to mask out some areas of the picture for the subject not be buried under the texture. Therefore you’ll need to add a layer mask. To do that make sure you have your texture image highlighted. Add a white (full opacity) mask. You can see now your white layer mask at your layers panel next to your texture.

Now after adding the layer mask, take a large black soft brush to mask out the areas you want to uncover. Try different size of brushes and adjust the opacity of the brush to meet your requirements. Play and try. If you mask out too much, simply change to white brush and recover! Simple. Fun! Your layers panel will show what you've masked. As you can see in picture below, I used black soft brush at 30% opacity and at size 218.

Since GIMP works identically to Photoshop you can go through PS & PSE texture tutorials and then learn to do the same in GIMP with only by finding the similar tools from your program! Sky is the limit.

When you are done with your art work you can save it to your folders. If you wish to have a jpeg. or png. image, choose File and Export as... 

I wish you happy moments with textures! 


  1. KIITOS - Mulla on GIMP mutta osaan vain skaalata kuvat ja cropata, tähän täytyy tutustua joku päivä paremmin!

  2. Wow, lovely image. thanks for sharing the tutorial.

  3. This is one of the most beautiful pictures I've ever seen.
    I love the color and the flower, even if they are dry.
    Stunning in its simplicity.

  4. Hi Mona!
    I have bought lately all your fantastic backgrounds and am checking it out on. Since I have a 2in1 Day launched I have allowed myself to your page to point. I hope that is in order! You might indeed get involved? That would be wonderful!
    All the best and see you soon ...
    Ulli from Germany

    1. Hi Ulli. Thank you so much! I'm definitely in! :)

  5. Mona, this is a beauty and a great tutorial too!

  6. Fabulous tutorial... and yes, I'll work on a how to shoot RAW tutorial for next week. With some tips :-) This one is going on the LTTL pinterest board :-)

  7. First off, amazing pic! I love your photography and I am so glad I found your site.
    Thank you for this great tutorial. It took me a few tries, but I ended up with a great image. I plan on doing a lot more with textures, since I am still very new to it.


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