Adding a New Background to an Image with the GIMP

FAIL (the browser should render some flash content, not this).


Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

GIMPis really a great

Samuel Jones's picture

GIMPis really a great application assuming you're not using it on a 2 inch by 2 inch screen (just kidding). But seriously, I love it and use it almost daily. And just as a food for thought: just having a Mac doesn't mean you automatically get good image editing. Unless you were willing to spend more money on Photoshop or the like, you'd just end up using Gimp on the Mac (as many cases I listened about found by search on mp3 proved).
Of course, it would be nice if PS was ported to Linux. Gimp isn't great on any platform. There's little to stop a PS port except that it's not worth the effort with such a small Linux user base. But, the point here was that platforms and applications are separate products.

How about transparency?

livedatesearch's picture

Here is how you can add transparent image to the background:
1) Add alpha channel (transparent layer) by CLICKING menu > LAYER > TRANSPARENCY > ADD ALPHA CHANNEL
2) select the fuzzy selector - and with it, click & select the area you want to remove
3) click & select the area you want to remove
4) now let's clear the area, by CLICKING menu EDIT > CLEAR (CTRL + K)
5) now your image has transparent background and is possible to save in a transparent capable format, like GIF or PNG

Here is an example of my dating site logo that I did this way:


microsoft paint

logotipos's picture

You can't do much with Paint but PaintNET was developed by some guy who worked or is working for M$ and apparently the program is pretty good, it's much better than the regular paint with a lot of more options. As is Gimp, it's just that when you're used to Photoshop, you'll find yourself spending some time looking for the tools you want. Unless you use Gimpshop which has as similar a layout as possible to Photoshop.


Chris.toh's picture

Thanks. Was exactly what I was looking for. A simple job I needed done fast.

Gimp is a pain... at least when coming from photo shop. I'll take all the help I can get. BTW, your video was simple, and worked perfectly for me.

Some tips

saulgoode's picture

Thanks for providing an OGV version of the tutorial.

There is nothing wrong with your approach, but I thought I'd offer a couple of tips which aren't readily apparent to GIMP neophytes.

When using the Select By Color tool, instead of merely clicking on a color (to select all similar colors), you can hold down the mouse button and drag the pointer down the screen to increase the color threshold (i.e., make the selection larger); or you can drag the pointer towards the top of the screen to decrease the color threshold. This can be quite handy if the background has variations in shading.

Instead of copy-n-pasting a layer from one image to another, you can drag-n-drop the thumbnail preview of the source layer (the Linux Journal layer) in the Layers Dialog to the image window of the target image (the wood paneling background). (Once dropped, you will need to use the Move Tool to position the layer, but you don't need to create a transparent layer or anchor a floated layer.)



Mitch Frazier's picture

Thanks for those. Neophyte certainly describes me when it comes to the gimp.

Mitch Frazier is an Associate Editor for Linux Journal.

The next time you need to do

Invariant's picture

The next time you need to do this, you can boil it down to a handful of steps:

1. Paste the logo onto its new background, creating a floating selection.
2. Turn the floating selection into a real layer.
3. Clear the logo layer's background.

Pasting the image first saves the trouble of creating an alpha channel in the source image and creating an empty layer in the destination image.

In more detail:

1. Open the logo.
2. Copy it to the clipboard (CTRL+C or Edit->Copy).
3. Open your new backdrop.
4. Paste (CTRL+V or Edit->Paste).
5. Turn the floating selection into a layer (CTRL+SHIFT+N, Layer->New Layer, or right-click the selection in the Layers window and choose "New Layer").
6. Use the Select by Color tool (SHIFT+O, Select->By Color, or the toolbox icon) to select the logo's background. You may want to increase the tool's color threshold to reduce fringing.
7. Clear the selection area to get rid of the logo's background (Delete key or Edit->Clear).
8. Save.

(I'm on a mac right now, so the GIMP keyboard shortcuts I've noted above may have been changed from the Linux version.)

I like that

Mitch Frazier's picture

I didn't realize you could turn that floating layer into a new layer. The floating layer thingy always confused me, I never knew exactly what I was supposed to do with it.

Thanks for the tip.

Mitch Frazier is an Associate Editor for Linux Journal.

No offence, but: Wow, you

Cycron's picture

No offence, but: Wow, you really made a simple copy and paste look hard. You could have done that with M$ paint. Are you out of ideas or something?

None taken

Mitch Frazier's picture

And none intended when I ask: did you actually bother to watch the video or is your comment just based on the title?

Mitch Frazier is an Associate Editor for Linux Journal.

Yes, I did watch the video,

Cycron's picture

Yes, I did watch the video, but I thought it was kind of simple for Linux Journal.


Mitch Frazier's picture

Maybe simple for people who manipulate images all day, but cutting out a complex shape from one image and putting it into another certainly didn't strike me as all that simple the first time I tried to do it with the gimp. Granted this was the simple instance of the problem, since the image had a single color background.

And I'm no M$ Paint power user either, but the last time I used paint you couldn't do anything like that with it.

Mitch Frazier is an Associate Editor for Linux Journal.

You can't quite do anything

Cycron's picture

You can't quite do anything like that with it. Its OK... you might try something from next time... I guess it's really none of my business though... I started using Gimp in December. Yup.. none of my business... sorry for criticizing you for making a simple tutorial...

I Will Look At It

Mitch Frazier's picture

I'll take a look at gimp-tutorials, god knows I need help using gimp. No apology necessary, thanks for commenting.

Mitch Frazier is an Associate Editor for Linux Journal.