All posts by mykgimp

How to Create a Cinematic Black & White Portrait Effect in Photoshop

Note:  This is written for Photoshop but I was able to work around it in GIMP and produce a very close replica.


Despite all the wonderful real-world advantages of digital photography, once in a while the typical grainy film look just feels so enchanting. So much so that we actually seek out ways to post-process and convert some of our perfectly good color images to give them a nostalgic black and white look. In this video, Andrei Oprinca shares […]

Source: How to Create a Cinematic Black & White Portrait Effect in Photoshop


Script-Fu and Code Samples

Recently, I began to examine Script-Fu code within GIMP because I wanted to reduce repeated, manual steps in my workflow process.  I am aware that I do way too many steps manually, and doing so up to this point has helped me understand the mechanics of what I wanted to accomplish.  However, the time I can save moving forward exponentially increases when scripting can handle a majority of the tasks I OVER-perform manually.

I am a .Net programmer by trade, so the hardest part for me was to try to understand *how to understand* the syntax of Script-Fu, which is written in TinyScheme.  In addition, not having an interactive debugger at my disposal really made it hard to get started.  Thankfully there are a few decent tutorials at YouTube that gave me a great understanding of how to get started with scripting in GIMP.   The most helpful is a 4-part series that begins here.

Most web searches you make will end up pointing you to the registry for GIMP plug-ins, which is a great resource for both scripts (TinyScheme and Python) and plug-ins.  The problem is with the registry is that some code is documented great, while other code is just posted with a “It worked for me – – you figure it out if you want” mentality.  There are some great, regular contributors you can use to piece together your own scripts.  Coming from a coder, please respect other authors’ wishes in scripts by following their usage guidelines for the code that they post in the headings of their scripts.  I don’t have any experience interacting on the forums, so I can’t be of any help there.

To use scripts in GIMP, please refer to the many sites that give you detailed instructions.  There’s no need for me to re-post what many others have already taken time and effort to do.

Keep an eye out on this site for well-documented and simple scripts that illustrate focused functions.  My biggest frustration as a coder is not being able to find small, focused script samples that show me how to do something useful right out of the box with TinyScheme and GIMP.  Once you understand how to write small, functional code, you can build on it to write more compound code that performs more steps, integrates looping and/or decision-making and can automate a large grouping of commands into a useful process.

If you know of any decent TinyScheme/GIMP scripting resources, please comment below.

Links for Low-Key Digital Photography

Here are some links I have used to learn more about low-key digital photography techniques.  Being new to the DSLR camera game, I am on  a limited equipment budget and still learning how to perform these methods of capturing photos.

Create a Transparent and Embossed Watermark in GIMP

This tutorial will show you how to put an embossed, transparent watermark on your photos using GIMP.  By placing a watermark, you can place a copyright or other information that becomes part of the entire photo.  Many photographers use these to sign their work and to prevent others from using their work without proper permissions.  I like to use them to identify my photos and also include a date.

I adapted a YouTube video by Pat David for these steps.  Many thanks to Mr. David for showing me how to accomplish this task.

For this tutorial, I assume that you have GIMP installed and that you will download the sample image and be able to load it into GIMP.

The sample image was found on, but has been copied to this server for availability purposes.  Download the sample image to your own machine before starting the tutorial.


1.  Create a new layer with a white background.  By default, it will be the same size as your image that is already loaded in GIMP.
2.  Click your foreground color in the toolbox to show the Change Foreground Color dialog window.  Set your “H” value to 50 and click OK.


3.  On the white layer, name it “Text”.  Use the text tool in the toolbox and type what you want your watermark to say.  Here, many may want to use a copyright symbol and their name to identify that the image is protected.  You can make the copyright symbol, at least in MS Windows, by pressing the left ALT key and typing 0169 on the number pad.  You may need to search to learn how to produce the copyright character on your device and operating system.  I will make a watermark that reads “© John Doe 2014”.  I used a 96 point font, I copied in the copyright character and typed the rest.
4.  Notice that your text shows as a floating layer in your layer windows, which is normal.
5.  Hide your white background layer
6.  Duplicate the floating text layer
7.  Select your middle layer, the original floating text layer.  Click Colors, and move the output level all the way to the right to make it white.  If you hide the topmost layer, your will see that the current layer is text in pure white.

8.  Apply a Gaussian Blur to the white text layer by clicking Filters, Blur, Gaussian Blur.
9.  Click the Move tool in your toolbox and gently move the text layer up and to the left a bit.  The letters show with more perspective and look a little thicker than just being flat text.


10.  Duplicate the white text layer again.  Repeat the color output process on the newly duplicated layer and make its ouput pure black.
11.  Move the newly created layer with the Move tool in the OPPOSITE direction that you moved the white layer.  Note that you should see black and white in your image and the letters will appear to have a 3-D appearance.


12.  Right click the topmost layer and choose “New from Visible”
13.  Use your rectangle selection tool and select your image and click Image, Crop to Selection
14.  Open your image that you’d like to apply the watermark.
15.  Copy the layer with your cropped watermark from your GIMP project and paste it over your image in its GIMP window as a new layer (Edit, Paste As, New Layer)
16.  Use the Move tool to postion the watermark.  You may need to click Layer, Scale Layer to size your watermark.
17.  Change the watermark’s layer to Overlay.  In overlay, greys are interpreted as transparent, so that is why your watermark was made in grey colors.
18.  Your watermark will appear semi-transparent on your image.  If you want it to appear a little darker, duplicate its layer.


19.  Use the File, Export As… feature to save your image to include the watermarked overlay.
20.  Procedure complete.

Blur Background to Enhance Subject

Here’s a short method to allow you to highlight a subject in an image while blurring out the remainder of the photo.  You can experiment and control how blurry you’d like to make the background/non-focused area.  There are a few different ways to get this effect, so keep that in mind and use what works best for you.

For these methods, I will assume that you have GIMP installed and that you are capable of finding and opening your image before attempting the changes.

To see larger versions of the images, click them so they can load in a new tab.

Free online stock sample image, from, used in this post.  Save it to your local computer before beginning the  tutorial.

Feel free to comment with your experiences in making a blurred background image in GIMP.

1.  Open your image in Gimp
2.  Duplicate your image layer into a new layer and hide your original image layer.  We will save it in the event we need it.  If you want, name your new layer as “Blurred”.
3.  Select the “Blurred” layer and click Filters on the menu bar.  Click Blur, Gaussian Blur.  Set the radius values to 25 and click OK.  Change the value based on how your photo appears in the Preview window.  Each photo is different and may need some experimentation to find something that works well.

4.  Duplicate your original image again into a new layer, and name this layer “Working”.  Move it above the blurred layer.  At this point, the “Working” and “Blurred” layers should both be visible.
5.  Add a new layer mask to the “Working” layer.  Right-click the layers and choose “Add Layer Mask”.  On the dialog window for the mask, choose “Black (full transparency)” and click Add.

6.  Click the new layer mask black box to make it active.  When active, you will see a white border around the small black box.  Change your foreground color to white in the toolbox.

7.  We’re going to show the large penny in full detail, but keep everything else blurry.  Choose the paint brush in the toolbox and paint the area that you want to be in focus.  The remainder will remain blurred.  Watch your edges and zoom in as needed to paint carefully on the penny to make it visible.  If you make a mistake painting, choose black as the paint color and re-paint the problem area to return it to being blurry.


8.  After you finish painting the focus area to show through the blur, you can choose File, Export As to save it as an image.




Convert a Color Photo to Black and White in GIMP

Believe it or not, there is more than one “right” way to change a color photo to monochrome (Black and White).  This post discusses three ways to remove color from a photograph and some reasons why you would want to choose a specific method.  Remember that there is always more than one way to accomplish an effect in GIMP and experimenting will help you find the result you’re looking for.

For these methods, I will assume that you have GIMP installed and that you are capable of finding and opening your image before attempting the changes.

To see larger versions of the images, click them so they can load in a new tab.

Link to free online stock sample image used in this post:

Feel free to comment with your experiences in making a monochrome image in GIMP.   I look forward to learning how you make your monochrome images.

Method #1 – Desaturate Feature

1.  Open your color image in GIMP


2.  On the Menu bar, click the Colors menu item, then click Desaturate.

3.  You will receive a dialog window asking how GIMP should handle shading the greys.  Choose Luminosity and click OK.


4.  Your color image will now appear in black and white.


5. To save the file, click the File menu, then click Export and declare the file name, location and format.  Note:  If you choose Save or Save As, that saves the entire project, not just the image file.  In this example, we are saving the file and do not wish to save the project.

Tutorial001_046.  Finally, on the Export Image dialog, choose your quality and click Export.  Your file will be in the path you specified in step 5.

Tutorial001_057.  Procedure complete.

Method #2 -Set the Image Mode to Grayscale

1.  Click the Image Menu.

2.  Click Mode, then click Grayscale.

3.  Your image will now show as a monotone image.

4.  Export your file, if you want.
5.  Procedure complete.

Method #3 – The Channel Mixer

This method is the most advanced and allows for the most control.  By adjusting the red, blue and green values, you can really take control of the monochrome output of your image.  You can really experiment with your image to find the best way to present it in monochrome.

1.  Click the  Colors Menu, click Components, click Channel Mixer
2.  On the dialog window, click the Monochrome and Luminosity checkboxes to enable them
3.  Adjust the R,G,B values.  They must total to 100 when combined.
4. For starters, set Red at 30, Green at 59 and Blue at 11 to see what greyscale would most likely render as a starting point.  These values are different based on your source image.
5.  Experiment with each color channel to see how the color change affects the preview display image.
6.  Click OK when finished to apply your changes.
7.  Export your file, if you want.
8.  Procedure complete.
Helpful links for reference:
GIMP 2.8.14

Where Do I Find GIMP?

So you need to download GIMP?  Let’s start at the beginning then!

GIMP is completely free to download and use.  You do not need to pay any money if you don’t want to.  Of course you can donate on the GIMP homepage, and I’d wager that the folks who create and maintain this software sure could use some financial support if you’d like to donate.

GIMP runs on many platforms, including Windows, Linux and Mac.  The developers do a great job of including users from different operating systems and deliver an excellent product regardless of the operating system you choose (or not!) to use.

GIMP can be downloaded from the main site’s download page.  Be sure to download the user manual while you are there as well so you can install it locally.  It may come in helpful for you in a time of uncertainty and it won’t require an internet connection.

Happy downloading!