Selecting your Photograph
In order to produce a good quality piece of clip art, you must always start with a good photograph. The old adage about not being able to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear holds very true in all matters graphic. You would be amazed at the amount of customers that give me ‘Black cat in coal cellar’ and want me to turn it into something akin to a David Bailey original! This is not possible.
A suitable image should have the subject that you are isolating in good focus and correctly exposed. It also needs to be of a suitable resolution. In order to avoid going into great depths about the subject of resolution (subject of a future posting), I would recommend that the area of the subject should be about 600 pixels high by 600 pixels wide.
If you have a use for your finished photo clip, for example, you want it to be superimposed on an existing photograph, please make certain that you consider the source of light. The light should shine on the same side of all objects in the finished image.
For the purpose of this tutorial I have uploaded a high resolution image for you to download and use.
To download, click on the image above and, once it has downloaded (may take some time), right click > save image as > and then save to your desktop.
Start GIMP, then select file > open > and then find the downloaded Daffodil12.jpg file on your desktop.
Using the Scissors tool
On the toolbox on the left side, select the scissors tool (5th symbol). Your screen should now look like this:-
Holding down CTRL and turning the mouse wheel, you should now be able to zoom in and out of the image. If this does not work, use View > Zoom > …. from the menu bar. Clicking and holding the mouse wheel should allow you to grab the image and move it around. Get used to these controls before going any further, or you could spend a lot of time selecting your area, only to lose it by making a wrong click of the mouse!!
Once you are happy with the zoom and position controls, with the scissors selected click on the perimeter of the area that you are wanting to cut out. This should leave a dark ‘blob’. Continue going round the perimeter by clicking and leaving ‘blobs’ around the area that you are trying to cut out. The cut line should ‘snap’ to the shape of the image as you go. Below is a screenshot after a few blobs are added.
Continue in this manner all around the flower, using the Zoom and Pan controls that we tried earlier. If, at any time, you want to add a ‘blob’ in an earlier section of the cut line, simply click on the line between two blobs and drag the line into position. It is important to remember that this is just a ‘rough cut’ version, so don’t worry too much about precision at this point, we will tidy up the selection later.
Once you have circumnavigated the flower, click on the starting point and then press <enter>. This should now change your cut line into a vibrating dotted line or ‘selection’ as seen below:-
We have now finished part 2 of the tutorial. so save your work as Daffodil.xcf on your desktop by clicking File > Save as >
I really would like feedback on this article if there is anything here that is not clear or does not ‘work’ as expected. I am running this program on Ubuntu Linux, so I am unaware of any foibles that exist in the windows or Mac versions, even though I have tried both.
This work by PomPrint Designs is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://www.pomprint.co.uk.