Posts in the “design” category

How to create outlined text using Gimp

Here’s a quick look at how to create outlined text using Gimp. I don’t know if that’s the right term, but I’m thinking of the large white text you see with a black border that you usually see on meme images.

Here are the steps I just used:

  • Select the text you entered, such as, “I USED A var”. Make sure the Text Tool is active.
  • Click the “Path From Text” button in the Text Tool panel.
  • Click the Select menu, then “From Path”. You should see some action on screen here.
  • Create a transparent layer, move it below your text, and make it active.
  • Click Select, then Grow...
  • On the popup dialog, enter 3 pixels, 5 pixels, whatever you need for your font. When you click OK you should see the selection area on screen change size.
  • Click Edit menu, choose “Fill with BG Color”, or “Fill with FG Color”.

If you use a white font with a black background color, your image should look like this:

Apple design: Jonathan Ive design interview quotes

This article contains a collection of quotes on design from former Apple designer Jonathan Ive (or “Jony Ive,” as Steve Jobs called him). (Note: He prefers to refer to himself as a “builder” or “maker” as opposed to a designer.)

For those who don’t know of him, Jonathan Ive is credited with designing almost every Apple product since 1997. Given that very long string of success, I became interested in what Mr. Ive has to say, and to that end, here’s a collection of Jonathan Ive design interview quotes I’ve gathered over the last few years.

How to design products you’ll love (inspired by Jonathan Ive)

Introduction: Recently I was talking with some people recently about “design”, and as an effort to show how the design process works, I used the process of designing a coffee mug as a way of explaining the process. This article walks you through this process, though the actual designs are up to you.

[toc hidden:1]

Yoda on Luke’s back (cartoonized with Gimp)

This is a cartoonize’d version of Yoda on Luke Skywalker’s back during Luke’s initial training in the swamp. To create it, I found the original movie image with a Google search, opened the image in Gimp, then worked back and forth with a Cartoonized plugin effect, the Beautify options, and the Artistic/Oilify effect. I can do a lot better than this, but for the purposes of this example, I created this cartoon image in less than five minutes. Given more time, I would clean up Yoda quite a bit before using the Cartoonize effect.

I’ve used Gimp to create almost 2,000 images that I use with the Mac screensaver “rotate images” feature, and this is the latest addition.

(Click the image to see the full-size, 1200x600 pixel image.)

How to make a rounded rectangle in GIMP

I recently needed to make an icon look like an iOS style app icon -- a rounded rectangle with transparent corners -- and to do that I needed to learn how to create a rounded rectangle in Gimp. This tutorial contains a short step-by-step description of how to do this.

Note: I’m writing this tutorial in April, 2015, using Gimp 2.8.

How to make a color transparent in Gimp

I was recently working on some images of a mobile phone, where the mobile phone was surrounded by a solid color that I wanted to make transparent. Unfortunately the phone was black, and that color was dark gray, so when I made the dark gray a transparent color in Gimp using my usual approach — clicking Colors > Color to Alpha, then choosing dark gray — it had the effect of bleeding a lot of color out of the black phone. This was wrong.

“Faster horses”

“If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said, ‘Faster horses.’”

~ Henry Ford

I think of this quote when I see both good and bad design. Some people build/design faster horses, others invent cars.

A Luke Skywalker sketch

As I’ve mentioned before, I can’t see an image these days without wanting to do something with it in the Gimp. This is a Gimp “sketch” of Luke Skywalker from Star Wars movie #7. It would probably be better in plain black and white with a little less realism, but I have to get to work now. ;)

A gallery of 130+ Gimp filters/effects examples

There are times when I work on images a lot with Gimp, and then there are times when I don’t work with Gimp for a month or two. When I don’t work with Gimp a lot, I tend to forget about all of the different things I can do with. Therefore, I have created this page as a “Gimp special effects cheat sheet” page to help remind me of all the cool things I can do with Gimp effects.

[toc hidden:1]

Good and bad design at Apple under Jonathan Ive

This medium.com article contains a fair balance of pointing out the good and bad of design at Apple under Jonathan Ive. Most people know the good parts, so this image shows a discussion of just two of the worst design decisions made by Apple’s design team. Other bad designs under Apple include pretty much every mouse ever made, the horribly infamous butterfly keyboards, and the trashcan Mac Pro design.

It seems like at some point every design quits thinking about what’s the best for the customer and succumbs to something that looks pretty. As the old saying goes, “Absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

Henry Ford on faster horses

The famous Henry Ford quote: “If I asked people what they wanted, they would have said ‘faster horses’”.

Ferguson Jenkins, Chicago Cubs

Ferguson Jenkins was one of my favorite pitchers to watch when I was very young. Unlike other “throwers,” he was a true “pitcher,” getting by more by his control and changing speeds than having a blazing fastball. I created this “artistic” image of him pitching using Gimp.

The “Nanna teapot” (from Don Norman's Emotional Design)

It’s worth mentioning that my last post about a glass teapot was inspired by a book titled Emotional Design: Why We Love (or Hate) Everyday Things by Don Norman. In that book he shows this image of three teapots, and the glass one in the middle is known as a “Nanna teapot.” I just saw that one sold on eBay for $275; that’s a little more than I had in mind. :) Mr. Norman earlier published a best-selling book titled The Design of Everyday Things.