Whispers & Screams
And Other Things

Curved Text In Gimp


Photoshop is a pretty well-known piece of software. Indeed its become so well known in the field of manipulating images its transitioned into the catch-all verb to describe the act of artificially changing a photograph. Not so well known, but to all intents and purposes just as powerful as Photoshop is GIMP. GIMP stands for (The) Gnu Image Manipulation Program and one of the best features that place it streaks ahead of Photoshop is the price. It's free.

The power packed into this freely downloadable piece of software is phenomenal. You name it, GIMP can do it. Ok so introductions over, one of the things I get asked about regularly is whether GIMP can create curved text. The answer, you've guessed it is of course yes. Let's take a look at how it's achieved.

 Let's say you have a logo which looks something like this image here on the left. Your friend, who happens to be a Dentist is looking for some help with his website branding and, let's face it, toothy the tooth does look a little isolated over there. So your friend asks if you could help him place some text around the logo to give it some punch. 

The brief is that the words "Toothsome Teeth" need to curve around the top with "Dental Services" on the bottom.

So where do you even begin? Ill explain in the rest of the post.


1. The first thing you need to do is to import the image itself into GIMP. Ill assume you have the skills to get this done for yourself and that you've already downloaded and installed GIMP. If you find yourself wanting on either count there are many good tutorials out there that will hold your hand through the process. If you'd like to ask me anything specific do please feel free to drop me a line using the contact form right here on my website.

2. Sitting as you now are with the bare image open in GIMP, you now need to start thinking about adding your curved text around the top of the image. To begin this process, you'll want to describe the shape of the curve into your image. The way to do this is to click the Ellipse Selection Tool. You can see where this is in the image on the right. The arrow is pointing at the tool you will need. Once the button is clicked you'll find that if you click and drag your mouse across the image, you can place an ellipse or a circle of any size just about anywhere on the image. Have a play at this and get your circle positioned just as you'd like it. I've done this for myself and you can see the expected result right there on the left in Image 3. Finally, in this stage, go to the menu bar at the top of GIMP and click Select -> To Path.

3. From here, we need some text to apply to the curve. This is really straightforward. On Image 2 you'll notice an A icon about half way down on the left-hand side. This is the Text Tool. By clicking this then dragging your mouse across an area in the image you will create a container inside which you can place text. Give it a try. Once you have the container created, (anywhere will do for now) you can type in the text to curve. Then, right click on your text layer to open up a menu inside which you will see the option "Text Along Path" which you should click.

4. Youll now see that an outline of the text you want to curve is placed along the path you selected previously. If you're happy with the text size and placement, go to the paths tab and right click the one that has your words in it. Click the option, "path to selection" then create a new transparent layer on top of the image. 

5. Next, you need to make all layers except the new transparent layer invisible. Do this by clicking the eye icon at the far left of the layer in the layers tool. I've shown this in Image 4 on the left. Once done, you will be able to apply a fill of your choice to the selected curved letters. In this example I've gone for a gradient juts for the hell of it but you can choose your own option. I'll explain how to make gradients in a future post. The final part of this step is to go back to the paths tab and delete all the paths that you find there. We have no further need for them. 

6. This step involves creating the text to place under the image. Place it and scale it as you see fit. Its all about expressing yourself, right.

7. OK, its showtime. Re-enable all of your layers in the layers tool and position them appropriately. You can see my finished article below. If you'd like to ask me anything about this guide feel free to let me know using the site contact form. I'll be publishing some more GIMP magic really soon so check back regularly to stay updated. Thanks for reading and happy GIMPing.

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Friday, 27 January 2023
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