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Newbie Notes: Organizing and Dropshadows in GIMP

November 19, 2010

Jayleigh had a question about organizing her workspace in GIMP. Part of her comment reads: “I couldn’t figure out how to put my canvas on the space and still be able to drag the elements and papers to the outer edge as I do in PS.”

Am I correct in saying, Jayleigh, that the problem is this – in PS you can open up your background paper into a new document which forms your working canvas, and then you can open up the other papers and elements and the photographs you are going to use in the blank, grey space around it, ready to be dragged onto the canvas –  however,  in GIMP each item opens in its own window with no working space around it?

I agree that this feels foreign to the usual PS workflow. Part of the learning curve with GIMP is getting used to different ways of doing things. (which is maddening and very slow!) There is a modification of the original GIMP program called GIMPshop, whose intent is “to replicate the feel of PS”. (See Wikipedia article HERE) But its development seems to be stalled and I have never tried it myself. I would prefer to stick with GIMP which is being updated and improved all the time, even though it does take a lot of getting used to.

Having said that, maybe it would help if I show you how I organize my workspace when I am opening multiple items. A lot depends on your monitor. Mine is widescreen as opposed to square, which makes things easier. Open up GIMP, and Restore Down the main pane, adjusting it so there is space to one side. In the screenshots below, you will see the cello on my desktop background to the right of the GIMP windows. This where I open the  files I want, then drag them into the main pane. So I am basically just using my desktop space as the grey work area that we know from PS. But it certainly reduces frustration to do it this way, I find.

Restore Down – look for the central button in the top right corner

Drag in your design elements from the side

The exception is when, as below, the photograph I am using is far too big for the LO. Then I find it easier to rescale the photo first, then make a new layer in the main workspace and copy it in, anchoring the layer if it is “”floating”.

Then, if you like this setup, you can go to Edit-Preferences-Window Management…

…click on Save Window Positions Now, then OK, and when you next open GIMP, it should reproduce your workspace.

I have my Toolbox and Layers windows set up to be independant of the main pane, so they don’t save in this way.


You will find the Dropshadow menu this way…

On the menu bar: Script-Fu, Layer Effects, Dropshadow.

That part is easy (when you know how) but I find it harder to use the settings to accomplish what I want to.

This is partly because you don’t get a “live preview” as you go along.

More practice needed!

Jayleigh, I hope this helps you with teaching your DDIL.

The gorgeous girl in the photos is my own newest DDIL  🙂

4 Comments leave one →
  1. lilcajunett permalink
    November 21, 2010 12:36 am

    Thank You so much My Juno! This will helpme alot! Did you add Gimp Paint Studio to your oringinal Gimp? You can find it here

  2. November 22, 2010 9:46 am

    *lilcajunett: Great, I’m glad you find the tutorial useful.
    I found a YouTube video about GIMP Paint Studio which is on my To Do list.
    Can you tell me how you use it in your artwork?

  3. jayleigh permalink
    November 28, 2010 4:30 pm

    Yes, you understood exactly what I was saying. Thanks for this tutorial. My daughter-in-law cannot afford Adobe PS, so I am hoping to get comfortable with Gimp so I can teach her to digi-scrap using this free program. Thanks for the wonderful tutorial. I really appreciate it! Oh, and thanks for your beautiful “Earthen” freebie – it’s exquisite!

    • November 28, 2010 5:17 pm

      *jayleigh: Fantastic! I’m glad you found it helpful. I’ll try to post a couple of good project links that you and your DDIL can try. I found actually following detailed instructions to produce a project really helped me.

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