How to Make a Simple Banner in GIMP

Browsing the Stories section, there are thousands of banners to be seen, as each author lets his or her inner artist out in the form of a story. Daunted by these graphical geniuses? Unsure about how to proceed? With the help of this tutorial and some patience (no one gets it right on the first try!) you'll be on your way to awesome banners in no time.

(I recommend checking out the hyperlinks [these] if you see them. They're helpful and keep this article free of cluttered screenshots.)

1. Download GIMP

The official download site for GIMP is GIMP stands for "GNU Image Manipulation Program" and is free of cost and advertisements to anyone who wants it. It was built for a Linux system, but runs on all platforms. When you've downloaded the file, run the installer and let it do its thing. (You shouldn't have to change anything immediately.)

2. Create a new image

This is done by pressing Ctrl+N and defining regions. I'll recommend a height of 150 and width of 700 for this particular tutorial. [1]

3. Open a background

This can be any image larger than or equal to the dimensions of your canvas. Open it with Ctrl+Alt+O and resize it with Shift+T until it fits the canvas. (Be sure to click the little chain next to the dimensions boxes, or your image will warp!) [2][3][4]

4. Edit your background

This step is optional. If you want any changes made to your base image, make them now.

5. Add a text layer

Press T and click the image to add a text layer. Simply type your text - a title, a quote, whatever you please - onto the image, highlight it all, and type the font name in the box above. (The fonts I'm using are called A Glitch In Time and Courier New.) [5][6]

Navigate to the Tools window and select the grab tool. Move the text about as you wish, add more, resize, until it's formatted how you want it. [7]

6. Gradients

Select the gradient tool and set the mode to Screen.[8] Then choose a gradient from the drop-up menu and, with the mouse, drag a gradient from one corner of the text box to the other.[9] This creates a gradiated overlay on the text layers.

7. Flatten the image

Right-click the Layers window and select Flatten. This will compress all layers into one, suitable now for export as a PNG (ping) file and further edits.

8. Final edits and touch-ups

You may want to add other textures or images atop your banner, or change the saturation or overall hue. In this example, I'll be adding a grid overlay[10] and a colour touch-up[11]. This is just a matter of adding another image with Ctrl+Alt+O, setting the mode to Overlay, and flattening again; and right-clicking to the Colour window and changing the hue to aqua.

9. Display your banner!

Upload to a filehosting site such as Photobucket, imgur or flickr and use the direct link to put your banner into your story layout. I'm looking forward to seeing plenty of great new banners around!

Thanks for reading! Good luck to all of you in your GIMPing quest!

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