GIMP Text Tutorial {How To Create a Long Shadow}

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Creating long shadows in GIMP is super-duper easy. Even easier than Photoshop since it doesn’t have this feature!

Instead of only showing you how to create a long shadow, we’re also going to style our text effect with this GIMP tutorial.

You’ll learn how to create a gradient stroke for your text, how to make double shadows, how to create a gradient background, and more.

If you’re ready to master this text effect, let’s do it!

Table of Contents

Note: the video tutorial was created with beginners in mind.

The following step-by-step instructions are for more experienced users.

Step 1: Create a New Document

One of the things I do for all my design projects in GIMP is to set the resolution to 300ppi. See the pro tips below to find out why.

Go ahead and create a new document (File > New) with these dimensions; 1920 x 1080 @ 300 ppi. And set the foreground color to; #ba4d88.

creating a new document

Pro Tip:

As you may or may not know, the resolution is dependant on the output of your finished project. 72ppi is recommended for online use and 300ppi for print.

But, when I’m using GIMP for a design project, I always set it to 300ppi, regardless of the destination. Here’s why…

GIMP is 100% raster-based software or pixel-based. Compare that to Photoshop, which utilizes vector-based text. Vectors are always sharper vs. pixels.

Therefore, I recommend your design projects be created at 300ppi when GIMP is your choice of software. Once you’ve completed the design, you can then convert it to 72ppi if its intended purpose is for online use.

Step 2: Add Text & Align

Let’s grab our Text tool (T) to add your content. For the font, let’s use a free font from Google called Fugaz One. I love this font so much; it’s the main one used on this site! Anyway, for the size, I’m using 300, and the color is; #35969f.

Next, with the Move tool (M), place the text slightly above the horizontal center. 

Let’s use our Algin tool (Q) to align perfectly in the middle of our canvas. With GIMP, it’s not enough to have a layer selected. You must also activate the layer with the alignment tool.

Click anywhere on the inside of the layer boundary (yellow dashed line) to activate for alignment. Once you see a light-colored square in each corner of the boundary, you know it’s been activated.

In Tool Options, click on “Align center of target,” and it will automatically be aligned. Also, make sure “Relative to” is set to “First item.”

Step 3: Create a Gradient Stroke

Although we have a stroke tool in GIMP, it doesn’t provide an option for a gradient color. Instead, we have a few extra steps for this text effect. Here’s what you have to do…

First, let’s increase the Layer Boundary size, so our effects are not constrained within it.

Layer > Layer to Image Size

Next, right-click on the text layer and choose “Alpha to Selection.” This auto selects each individual letter. The key to this type of stroke is growing the selection…

Selection > Grow @ 4px

Grab your Gradient tool (Shift + B) to add your colors. Set your foreground to #35969f and the background color to #134f5d. In the gradients panel, select the preset called “Cold Steel.” Then, in the tool options, make sure the Shape is set to Linear.

Finally, you’ll need to create a new layer for the gradient and name it “Stroke.” Now, you can fill in the selection with your gradient! Also, make sure your original text layer is above this one.

Step 4: Create a Long Shadow

Now the magic begins! It’s time to add your long shadow…

Before we do that, let’s duplicate our text layer and name it “Drop Shadow 1.”  Then…

Filters > Light and Shadow > Long Shadow

And that’s it! You now have a long shadow. But it’s pretty dull. So, let’s style our design.

For the shadow color, I’m going with pure black; #000000, and I’m going to set the length to 26.

Second Long Shadow

create another shadow

For this design, I’d like to spice it up a bit with a second drop shadow. Duplicate the Drop Shadow 1 layer and append with “2.” Move the layer below the first and go back to…

Filters > Light and Shadow > Long Shadow

Although I’m using black again, I’d like to change the style from Finite to Fading.

Step 5: Create a Gradient Background

new gradient colored background

The current background is a little bland with a solid color. Wouldn’t you agree? Let’s fix that with a gradient color.

Create a new layer called Gradient Background. Set your foreground color to; #ba4d88 and the background color to; #821952.

I’m going with FG to BG (RGB) for the type of gradient and apply your gradient.

Action Is Power

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

Guess what? It’s time to take this new knowledge and apply it! Plus, I want to see your design too. Here’s how…

Visit our private community to post your “long shadow text effect design.” I’ll answer any of your questions. Also, if you want feedback, add #CC.

Guess what (again)? I have 20+ more GIMP text effect designs you can learn how to create.

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 tutorial and article.

Like this article? If so, please share!

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