How To Create Curved Text in GIMP {Circular Path}

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Watch and learn how to curve text in GIMP via the video above.

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In this GIMP curved text tutorial, I’ll show you how easy it is to place your text along a circle. You’ll find all eight steps below. If you prefer, check out the Youtube tutorial above to see how it’s done.

When you’re done, you’ll know how to add text to a circle shape, how to create strokes, fix upside down text, and more.

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 In GIMP

Here are the dimensions I’m using; 1920 x 1080 @ 300 ppi.

new gimp document

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: Create a Circular Selection​

For this GIMP text design tutorial, I’d like to adjust the composition to directly have the content in the center of the canvas. Let’s add a vertical and horizontal guide to help us place it in the center.

Image > Guides > New Guide (By Percent)

Add a value of 50 next to: “Position (in %).” Do this twice. Once for the horizontal direction and another for the vertical.

Next, let’s make a circular selection with your Elipse Select tool. You can either click on the Elipse Select tool icon from the toolbar or use the keyboard shortcut: Shift + M.

circle selection

Click your mouse button where the two guides meet in the center and drag out. To place the circle in the center and make a perfect round circle use the following two keyboard shortcuts as you drag out the shape;

PC – CRTL + Shift
Mac – Command + Shift

The CTRL and Command keys resize the shape from the center (where you clicked). The Shift key constrains the aspect ratio of the circle to 1:1 or, in other words, makes it a perfect, round circle.

Step 3: Convert the Selection to a Path​​

Path

Now that you have your circle selection, you’ll need to convert it to a path. This will give you the ability to add text to it. Here’s how to convert the selection…

Navigate to your Paths panel and click on “Selection to path.” To open your Paths panel; Windows > Dockable Dialog > Paths

In the Paths tool panel, you should now see what looks like a new layer. By default, the Path is turned off. To make it visible, click to the left of the layer, and a red outline will appear on your canvas.

Now, deselect your circle selection by going to; Select > None.

Step 4: Add Your Text​​​

Add Your Text

Let’s add some text!

Grab your text tool and click anywhere inside your canvas. Once your text editor (text box) is revealed, select your font type and font size. For this project, I’m using a free font from Google Fonts called Oswald (bold), and for the text size, I’ve chosen 100.

But, what about the text color? At this time, it doesn’t matter. The reason why is when you transfer your text to the circle shape, it becomes transparent. Once it’s added, you’ll then be able to fill it in with a color of your choice.

I’m going to create two different layers with different text. The first will be “Wrap Your Text,” and the other layer will be “Around A Circle.” With my Move tool, I will move the first layer to the top of the canvas and the other to the bottom.

Step 5: Transfer the Text To a Path + Fix Upside Down Text ​​​

Flip Tool

This step is crucial for ensuring your text is not upside down.

Fix upside down text

Now it’s time to transfer your text in GIMP to your circular Path. Before you do, you need to first duplicate the Path… one for each layer.

In my case, the first layer will be placed on top of the path line. The second will be placed at the bottom.

First Layer of Text

Navigate to your Path panel and click on the icon labeled: “Duplicate this path.” Let’s also rename each Path accordingly: Top and Bottom. Double click on the Pathname to change it.

Make sure your “Top” path layer is selected. Next, navigate back to your layers panel. In the layer window, click the text layer (to select it), and right-click on the “Wrap Your Text” layer… select “Text along Path.” Your transparent text should now be visible on the circle path.

To fill in your curved text with a color…

Step 1: Create a new transparent layer called: “Wrap Curved Text”

Step 2: Create a new selection of the text: Select > From Path
Step 3: Choose a foreground color, grab your Bucket Fill tool, and click on the inside of the selection (any letter will do)
Step 4: Deselect the text – Select > None, and turn off the visibility of the Path.
Step 5: Continue with the second layer of text…

Second Layer of Text

You’ll need to repeat the same steps for the first layer. However, before transferring to your Path, we have two extra steps. First, go back into the Paths panel and select the “Bottom” panel. Then, grab your Flip tool, and in the tool options, select the “Path” icon. Now, click on the Path line.

Nothing happens! No worries. This is not an error.

The end result is only revealed when you follow the steps above to transfer the text layer. In effect, the “Flip” tool makes the curved text in GIMP right side up.

Step 6: Rotate Your Curved Text ​​​

To reposition your text along the circle, you’ll need to use the Rotate tool. Grab it from the toolbox, select the text layer you want to rotate, and click on it (within the canvas).

This activates the rotate tool for that layer. Click and drag the tool from left to right to position it where you’d like the text to be. Once you’re happy with the position, click the Rotate button to commit to the new position.

Step 7: Create a Stroke Around Each Side of the Circle​ ​​​

add a stroke

First, let’s make sure a Path is selected and visible. You’ll now need to create a new layer for the stroke to be added to it. The next steps include converting it to a selection and adding a stroke.

Step One: Select > From Path
Step Two: Edit > Stroke Selection

The final step is cutting out the top and bottom portion of the stroke. I did this by making a selection with the Rectangle Select tool, and then you’ll hit your delete key or backspace key to delete the selection.

Step 8: Add An Image To Your GIMP Graphic Design Project​​ ​​​

add an image

Let’s finish off this project by adding an image. Here is the image I used. Once downloaded, click on the file from your operating system window and drag it over your GIMP interface.

Once you release, the image will be added as a new background layer. The file size I downloaded is much larger than the canvas.

To resize, grab your Scale tool and click on the image. Either grab a corner, side, or type in the dimensions via the Scale editor box (to the right) and click the “Scale” button.

Action Is Power

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

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

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

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 class.

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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Hello! My name is Chris Parker and I run this place. But, more importantly, what’s in it for you? Well, my passion is to help you achieve your creative vision.

With 30 years experience I believe I can help you do just that. So, if you’re ready… let’s do it!

 

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