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1. Open both the photo and the mask you want to use as layers (using the drag and drop method if you’d like- if you do this, be sure to open the picture first as it will likely be the larger file)

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2. Choose the mask layer from the layers menu —> Right Click—> choose Alpha to Selection. After you do that the mask will get the ‘dancing ants’ effect. Don’t panic if it looks more like the mask is shimmering or animated, sometimes GIMP makes it look that way when there are partial transparencies in the mask. If it’s doing that then you picked the right thing!

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3. Now that you have your dancing ants around the mask, click Edit—> Fill with BG Color. This should make your mask turn mostly white. Again, a good thing! Now you want to copy the mask. So, click Edit—> Copy

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4. Now you’re going to add the mask to the picture. Do do this, choose the picture layer from the layers channel. Right click —> Add Layer Mask. Then you’ll get a pop up, choose Black (Full Transparency) Once you click to confirm your choice, your picture will actually disappear, leaving just the white mask.

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Once you click to confirm your choice, your picture will actually disappear, leaving just the white mask.

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5. Now you make sure that you have the picture still selected in the Layer Menu, next to the picture you’ll see a black box with a white border- this is good. Now you click Edit—> Paste. When you do that it will actually make the portion of your picture under the mask reappear. You can then move the mask, resize it, whatever you need. Once you’re done positioning it, click Anchor Selection. Then you can delete the Mask layer (do this by right clicking on the layer, and choosing Delete Layer)

6. Now you want to Merge all the layers (this is where the clipping part comes into play) Click Image —> Merge Visible Layers.

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When you do that you’ll get this pop up, Choose Clipped to Image and then Click Merge:

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7. This is a totally optional step, but I always do it to make the mask more manageable to work with within a layout. I autocrop the image so that it’s only the size of the mask itself. To do that Click  Image —> Autocrop Image. This handy dandy tool will automatically crop it to the size of the actual object.

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Now you’re all done! Here’s my finished product to reuse in a layout. The mask is a Freebie from Twin Mom Scraps

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This tutorial written using GIMP 2.6

Okay- here we go! This is a great way to get familiar with basics in GIMP, and I’ll be posting more specific breakdown of the specifics later for those of you who find this tutorial too broad. The best way to learn something is to DO it, so open up GIMP and see what you can do!

1. Open up GIMP, this is how my screen looks upon open:

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2. I use the ‘Drag and Drop’ method to open all files in GIMP as I have found that after opening about 3 files using the ‘Open’ option under ‘File’ that GIMP would crash and I’d lose all my work to that point. Since when you’re scrapping you use LOTS of elements, that can be inconvenient. So- I simply keep my folder containing the kit I’m working with (or numerous folders on occasion) and ‘grab’ the file with my mouse (Click the file and don’t release the button) then I ‘drag’ the file to the blank middle area of the screen on GIMP directly from my computer files (continue to hold the button and move the mouse to the center of the GIMP screen) and ‘Drop’ (release the mouse) GIMP will then open the file as a new document. As a general rule, you want to make the first thing you drag and drop your background. This will be the biggest file and the rest of the elements should be coordinated to fit within that space. If you start with too small a document, it can wreak havoc later! So grab your favorite background, drag it and drop it from your computer files into GIMP!

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So now my screen looks like this:

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3. Then drag and drop any elements you wish to use. Move the elements the way you’d like them. Simply choose this tool and be sure to click ‘Move the Active Layer’, also make sure you’ve chosen the correct layer under the Layers Channel before trying to move. Remember that the ‘Undo’ button is your friend in case you make a whoopsie! The ‘dancing ants’ (the moving dotted line) should be outlining the element you wish to move before you move it after you choose it in the layers menu.

movetooltip layer tooltip

So I added a frame, and moved it from the center of the screen.

4. Rotating elements: Now I’d like to rotate the frame since the picture I want to use is horizontal. Make sure the correct layer is picked again, and choose the rotate tool. Click the element you are rotating, then the rotate window will pop up. Drag the mouse over the element until it’s rotated the way you want, then click the rotate button.

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5. Resizing elements: As you can see below my picture is too large for my frame, so I need to resize it. Choose the ‘Scale’ Tool, be very sure to check the ‘Keep Aspect’ button! Choose the Correct Layer; Choose the Scale Tool; Check the Keep Aspect Box; Click your mouse over the picture you’re resizing and the Scale box will pop up; Click and Drag Mouse to resize, and then Click Scale… tada!

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6. Rearranging layers. Now my picture is the right size, but above the frame rather than under it, so I need to move the layer down under the frame. Very simple. Just choose the layer you want to move, then click the up or down button at the bottom of the layers box to rearrange.

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And it now looks like this!

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7. Now add any other elements or text you’d like and arrange them with the tools listed above. When you’re done arranging them, you need to Merge all visible layers and save your creation! Be sure you’re done arranging layers when you chose the Merge option, because there will be no more layers after you do it. Choose Image, and then choose Merge Visible layers from the drop down. Choose ‘Clipped to Image’ in the pop up box. Then choose File and Save your creation with a new name! You’re all done!

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You’ve gained some good experience looking around GIMP- keep trying new things! That’s how you learn!

Here is my finished page. All graphics used are by Amy Sumrall’s Rawr and Berry Sweet kits. You can get them and more of Amy’s awesome goodies at: http://www.thedigichick.com/shop/manufacturers.php?manufacturerid=70

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So why am I here?

Ahhh the eternal question that philosophers have asked for centuries…

Unfortunately I can’t answer on THAT particular scale, but I can tell you why I’m blogging 🙂

Digital Scrapbooking- if you don’t know what Digital Scrapbooking is, go google it as I am far too lazy to explain LOL- and while most people who scrapbook on a pro level use things like Photoshop… my husband deemed it far too expensive (and to give him credit, the program is crazy expensive) especially since I am currently a SAHM.

I started out goofing off on iVillage while I was pregnant with my daughter , and noticed all these gorgeous signatures that people were using and wanted one for myself. Originally I had girls make them for me, but as I’ve got a curious mind I wanted to know how to make my own… this led me to GIMP- a free photo editing software with almost all the capabilities of Photoshop- just a bit harder to figure out so I had to work for it. Well I went from making signatures for myself, to making them for other ladies, to scrapbooking my daughter’s milestones, to scrapping for some fantastic designers online… now I’ve got folks asking for tutorials in using GIMP for scrapbooking.

Just so you know- I am by no means a GIMP guru- it is such a complex program that would be nearly impossible… I learn new things it can do all the time! Also- don’t get discouraged! I gave up on GIMP 5 times before the lightbulb finally came on, now I love it. I am hoping that these tutorials will save you some frustration and time, when I started using GIMP for scrapbooking there were no sites like this out there, so I learned most of this through trial and error and experimentation. If you have questions- ask me! I’ll try my best to answer.

I’ll be posting tutorials as I can, but if you need to know how to do something, feel free to request a tuturial in my comments section. I do read and appreciate all comments!