Gradient Web 2.0 Effects with GIMP

02/10/2008

In my last post, I mentioned that I installed GIMP to read a Photoshop .psd file. If you’re not familiar with GIMP, it is an extremely high quality free alternative to Photoshop. Using GIMP, I have been able to create several graphical effects with little effort. In this post, I will show you how I created the logos for Lumidant and Moon Rock Media using GIMP.

Moon Rock came to us and wanted a “clichĂ© web 2.0 design”. Basically that means they were asking for gradients, mirrored surfaces, reflections, and shiny or glossy images. To begin the logo, I created a gradient background. Select one color of gray as the foreground and another as the background. Then choose the gradient tool and drag it vertically from the top of the image to the bottom. Play around with this for a little to get a feel for the tool. Once that was completed, I used the text tool to write moon in blue and then rock in pink. I then chose the dodge/burn tool to alternately dodge and burn the pink letters:

Moonrock Logo - Text Only

Once I was certain the text was how I wanted, I stacked the two text layers to become a single layer, making them easier to work with. To mirror the text, you simply Duplicate Layer and then Flip Vertically. Position it below the original text. Now, under the transparency menu, Add Alpha Channel to the layer. This will allow us to make use of transparency. If the option was grayed out, then your layer already has an alpha channel, so you can just continue to the next step. The final step is to create another gradient effect. We want to use the gradient to hide the portion of the reflection we don’t want to see. I changed the foreground to black. Most importantly, you must click the picture of the gradient you’re creating in the gradient tool options and select “FG to Transparent”. Now drag the gradient tool up vertically over the text. This will hide most of the text with a black gradient:

Moonrock Logo with Black Gradient Hiding Reflection

Since we don’t want the black to show in the final logo, select Color to Alpha and choose black. Now the black will have disappeared leaving you with a finished reflection effect:

Moon Rock Media Logo

In the Lumidant logo on the Lumidant homepage, the lighthouse searchlight or spotlight was also created using gradient effects. To create a spotlight, first create a new layer. This is important because we will duplicate the layer later and only want the spotlight itself duplicated. Draw the outline of the light you’d like to create by using the paths tool. I created the light by drawing a long triangle. After you have drawn the third point and would like to connect back to the first, hold Ctrl and click on the first point. This will close the shape. Then hold Ctrl, click on the short side of the triangle, and drag it outwards. This will round the end of the light. Turn the shape into a selection by clicking “Selection from Path”:

Lumidant Logo with Searchlight Path Drawn

Now, we get to use the gradient tool again. Having created the spotlight-shaped selection, we can draw inside the selection and nothing outside of it will be affected. Select white and “FG to Transparent”. Drag the gradient tool from the point of the triangle to the end of the rounded section. Now Duplicate Layer. Add a 4px Gaussian Blur filter to one of the layers. In the “Layers, Channels, Paths, Undo” menu bar (referred to as a dialog by GIMP), select the layer that you blurred and move the opacity down to 80. Now choose the original spotlight layer and move the opacity down to 20. Hooray! You’ve just created an awesome looking spotlight.

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