How to Add Inner Text Shadows in GIMP

  1. A quick guide on how to achieve this effect
  2. Create Inner Text Shadow in GIMP
  3. Create text for effect
  4. Duplicate text and change color
  5. Move shadow layer and use alpha to highlight
  6. Use Gaussian Blur to blur the shadow
  7. Apply a layer of mask

A quick guide on how to achieve this effect

Create Inner Text Shadow in GIMP

Adding an inner text shadow in GIMP isn’t easy with one click, but in this tutorial, we’ll show you how to achieve this effect, making text look like it’s been cut from the page.

Anyone used to working with Adobe Photoshop knows that the inner shading of text is easy to apply with layer styles, but GIMP offers no comparable feature. To add an inner shadow to text in GIMP, you have to follow a few separate steps, and it may seem a bit complicated for less experienced users.

However, the process is relatively simple, so even new GIMP users should have no problem following this guide. In addition to accomplishing the general goal of teaching you how to add an inner text shadow, you’ll also become familiar with using layers, layer masks, and applying blur, one of the many default filter effects that come with GIMP.

If you have a copy of GIMP installed, you can get started with the guide.

Create text for effect

The first step is to open a blank document and add text to it.

Go to File New and in the Create New Image dialog box, set the size to your requirements and click Okay † When the document opens, click background background color to open the color picker and set the desired background color. Go to Change Fill with color BG to fill the background with the desired color.

Now set the foreground color to text color and select Text tool on the Toolbars † Click empty page and enter the text you want to work with in the GIMP text editor. You can use the controls in tool options palette to change the font and font size.

Then duplicate and rasterize this layer to form the base of the inner shadow.

Duplicate text and change color

The text layer created in the last step can be duplicated using the layers palette to form the base of the inner text shadow.

In the layers palette, click the text layer to make sure it’s selected, then go to Layer > Duplicate Layer or click the Duplicate Layer button at the bottom of the layers palette. Places a copy of the first text layer on top of the document. Now by choosing Text tool Click text in the document to mark it – you should see a box around the text. If it is selected, click color field in the Text Options palette and set the color to black. When you press OKAY, , the text on the page will change color to black. Finally, for this step, right click top text layer in the layers palette and choose Cancel text information † This changes the text to a bitmap layer and prevents you from editing the text.

You can then use the Alpha selection to subtract from the text layer to get the pixels that will make up the inner text shadow.

Move shadow layer and use alpha to highlight

The top text layer should be moved a few pixels up and to the left so that it is offset from the text below.

Select first Move tool on the Toolbars and press black text On the page. Now you can use arrow keys on your keyboard to move the black text slightly left and up. The actual amount you move the layer will depend on the size of your text – the larger it is, the more you’ll need to move it. For example, if you’re working with relatively small text, say for a button on a web page, you can only move the text one pixel in each direction. Our example is a larger size to sharpen the corresponding screen (although this method is most effective at smaller sizes), so we moved the black text two pixels in each direction.

Then right click bottom text layer in Layer palette and choose Alpha to selection † You will see an overview of “marching ants” and if you click on top text layer in Layer palette and go to Change Clear , most of the black text is removed. Finally, go to the section Select Not to remove the “marching ants” selection.

The next step is to use a filter to blur the black pixels on the top layer and soften them so that they look more like a shadow.

Use Gaussian Blur to blur the shadow

In the last step you created small black outlines on the left and top of the text and these form the inner text shadow.

Make sure the top layer is selected in Layer palette and go to the section Filters to fade Gaussian Blur † In the Gaussian Blur dialog box that opens, make sure the chain icon next to the blur radius is intact (click it if there is one) so that both input fields change at the same time. Now you can click up and down arrows next to the horizontal and vertical input fields to change the amount of blur. The amount will depend on the size of the text you are working on. For smaller text a blur of one pixel may be enough, but for larger text I used three pixels. Once the amount is set, click Okay

The last step will make the blurry layer look like an inner text shadow.

Apply a layer of mask

Finally, you can make the faded layer look like an inner text shadow by using the Alpha to Selection tool and a layer mask.

If you’re working with small text, you probably won’t need to move the blurry layer, but since you’ll be working with larger text, you might want to Move tool and move the layer one pixel down and to the right in each direction. Right click now bottom layer of text r in Layer palette and choose Alpha to selection † Then right click upper layer and choose Apply a layer of mask to open the Add Layer Mask dialog box. In this dialog box, click Choise and then click To add

This hides any blurry layer that extends beyond the boundaries of the text layer, giving the impression of an inner shadow of the text.

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