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Working with Layers part 1
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Working With Layers (part 1)

This Tutorial will cover the basics of how to use layers. I will provide examples where neccesarry, and have included the images i used for you to use as a starting point, except the “heritage layout” as i down own the images, but they can be found at DSP: http://www.digitalscrapbookplace.com/ Though you can use what images you want to if you would prefer it.

Ok...When the term layers is used in regards to using gimp, it simply means one image on top of another. This might sound confusing as you are probably wondering that if you put one image on top of another you wont be able to see the bottom image. Well in a way you are right...unless the top layer(s) use transparency in one way or another you wont be able to see the bottom image. To explain this better allow me to show you some examples.

Example 1

Below is an image with 2 layers, however only the top one is showing.


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Now underneath here is the bottom layer. Notice you cant see the black in the above picture.

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Now this is what it looks like when the top layer uses transparency.


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To explain how i did this i will show you step by step.

First you start off with your BASE image (in this case the black background). Next, in your “layers, channels, Paths” menu, you click new layer. (see below ).and you should get a screen like the one shown underneath that.



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Nex you click “transparency” to make it transparent, then rename your layer to whatever you want (i have used “top layer” on mine). Once you have done this click on ok, Now your “layers, channels, paths” dialogue box should look like this.


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However you wont notice a change in your image yet. It will still look like your base image (a black box in this case).

The next step is to add the new image on top of the base image (the clover with the hat in this case).

To do this we open our “top image” (keeping in mind we dont need to close the other image down as gimp can handle multiple images being open at once). Now we go to “edit > copy (or ctrl+c) to copy the image.

Next we click into the image we want to copy it too (ie the one with the base layer (black square) and transparent layer) and go to edit > paste into. Then click on the anchor (in “layers, channels, paths”) and your box should look like the one below , and your image should look like the one below that.


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By now you are probably thinking “hold on a minute...i cant see the black”. You are right but we arent finished yet. We need to move onto the next step.

The next step is to make sure you have the “top layer” selected in your “layers, channels, paths” box. Next select the magic wand tool ( ) and select the area you wish to become transparent (in this case the white surrounding the clover with hat). Also keep in mind you can select more than one area by holding down the shift key while selecting.

Your image should now look like this:


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The last step is to go to edit > cut. This removes the white so you can see the black through it leaving you with the image you were after. Now read “working with layers (part 2)” for something a little more difficult.


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