GIMP Text Effects Tutorial {Image in Text}

Play Video

Watch and learn how to add an image to your text, in GIMP, via the video above.



In this GIMP tutorial, I’ll show you how to place an image inside your text and create an inner shadow!

You’ll find all six steps below. If you prefer, check out the Youtube tutorial above to see how it’s done.

Note: the video tutorial was created with beginners in mind. The following step-by-step instructions are for more experienced users.

Table of Contents

Step 1: Create a New Document

create a new document

Here are the dimensions I’m using; 1920 x 1080 @ 300 ppi. For the background color, set it to white.

Pro Tip:

Make sure the resolution is set to 300 ppi. The reason why is GIMP, unlike Photoshop, is 100% raster-based software.

The text, in GIMP, will have sharper details at a higher resolution.

Even if I’m working on a document or project that will be mostly for online use, I will still use a resolution of 300.

And then, when I’m ready to post it online, I will resize the canvas to a resolution of 72 ppi.

Step 2: Add an Image To Your Canvas​

Either download this image or use any image of your choice. Locate the image file in your operating system folder and drag it over your interface. It will then be added as a new layer once you release your mouse button.

If your image layer is larger than your canvas, you’ll need to resize it fit within. Grab your Scale tool and click on the image. Either grab a corner or side and drag in.

add your image

Pro Tip:  To resize from the center…

Mac – Alt + Command
PC – Option + Control

You can also type in the dimensions of the image to match your canvas. In this case, type in 1920 for the width in the Scale box window. Also, make sure you have the width and height icon turned on. This way, it will auto-size the height and keep it in proportion to the original aspect ratio.

Once you’re happy with the new size, click the Scale button.

The last step for your photo layer is to move it below the background layer. Click on the image layer and drag below the background layer. Or click on the down arrow at the bottom of the Layers panel.

Step 3: Add Your Text & Align To Center​

add your text

For this design project, I’m using the “Impact Condensed” font. For the font size, I’m going to set it to 500. As for the color, it doesn’t matter. In an upcoming step, the content will be cut out of the background layer, which is white.

Type out anything you’d like. For this graphic design project, I’m using “WAVE.”

Next, you’re going to center your content directly in the middle of the canvas. We’re going to use the Alignment tool for this task. Either grab the Alignment tool from the toolbar or use the keyboard shortcut: “Q.”

To activate the Alignment tool, click inside the layer boundary. You know the tool is activated when you see a light-colored square in each corner of the layer boundary.

To align, navigate to the tool options, and set “Relative to” to the “First Item.” Finally, select the following two labeled icons (when you hover

When you hover over the icons, they’ll tell you how your layer will be re-aligned. Choose the following two;

Step 4: Make a Selection of Your Text​​

select the text

Before you can cut out the text, you first need to select each individual letter. To do this, navigate to the Layers panel and right-click on the text layer.

A new menu of options will appear. Select “Alpha to selection.” This instantly selects all your text! How cool is that? I love it!

You no longer need this layer visible. To hide it, click on the eye icon to the left of the layer. Clicking there again will make the layer visible.

You could delete the layer. However, it’s not something I recommend. If deleted, you’ll have to redo that step.

Step 5: Cut-Out the Text​​​

Cut out the text

To cut out the letters from the background layer, you’ll need to select the background layer first.

Right-click on it and select “Add alpha channel.” This will set the layer to transparency vs. a solid color.

Next, hit your delete key or backspace key to cut out the content from the background. Presto! Your photo is now inside of the text. Pretty cool if you ask me.

Before moving onto the next step, let’s deselect the text…

Select > None.

If you prefer using keyboard shortcuts…

Step 6: Create An Inner Shadow​​​​

create an inner shadow

The last thing you need to do is, add an inner shadow to add some depth. This is easy to do with the filters in GIMP (f.y.i.; I’m using GIMP 2.10)…

Filters > Light and Shadow > Long Shadow

First, let’s change the “Style” from “Finite” to “Fading.” This option switches the shadow from a hard edge to a softer edge.

Play around with the Angle and Midpoint to find the settings that work for your creative vision.

For the color, I went with a dark grey color. Here is the hexadecimal for that color: #333333

Action Is Power

Now it’s your turn to complete this graphic design project, and I want to see your final design.

Head on over to our community and post your text effects project. I’ll answer any of your questions. Also, if you want feedback, add #CC.

Before you go, check out my GIMP text effects playlist with over 20 more GIMP tutorials.

Using GIMP can be challenging when you’re new to the software. If you’d like to master GIMP with less frustration, check out my GIMP Made Easy tutorials.

You can also click here to find all my free articles on GIMP.

Would you like to see how to process this design in Photoshop? If so, check out the Photoshop videos tutorial and article.

Like this article? If so, please share!

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