Basic GIMP question
February 11, 2012 1:50 PM   Subscribe

Using GiMP. How do I select something out of an image to create a standalone .png file of that something?

I am running GIMP and I have very little Photoshop skills.

I would look this up on Google but I'm not even sure how to phrase this problem. So any help is appreciated. Please excuse my mangled graphics-related vocabulary.

Let's say I have a simple graphics file: a blue sky with a yellow sun in the center.

I want to select the sun (made of 2 colors) and save it so it will be a standalone .png file. (Just the sun, without any kind of background, to be used on a variety of other backgrounds later.) What is the best way to do this? Is there a tutorial that shows how?

Thanks in advance!
posted by The ____ of Justice to Computers & Internet (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
You probably want to use the fuzzy select / magic wand tool. Here's a short writeup on it.
posted by Earl the Polliwog at 1:53 PM on February 11, 2012

As Earl said, use the magic wand tool to select your region.

Then: Edit->Copy, Edit-> Paste As New Image, File->Save As.

Also know that when selecting you can use shift when you start to select to add the new selection to the previous selection, and the control key to subtract the new selection from the previous selection.
posted by straw at 2:11 PM on February 11, 2012

As long as the sun is the only yellow object in the graphics file, the fuzzy select tool should work fine.
After you have selected the sun, Edit>Copy or Ctrl-C to copy it. Then go to File->New... click on "advanced options" to set the background to transparency and create your new transparent background. Then in this new file, paste (Edit>paste or Ctrl-V) the sun in. Crop or auto-crop if needed. Then File>Save as... PNG will be an option, and be sure to maintain the transparent background if it asks.
posted by 2ghouls at 2:18 PM on February 11, 2012

You can also type in the extension in the file name as you "save as" and that GIMP will save it as that type. It is sort of smart that way.
posted by lampshade at 2:32 PM on February 11, 2012

You folks are amazing!!!! Thank you!!!!
posted by The ____ of Justice at 2:47 PM on February 11, 2012

If the magic wand solves your problem, just use that. It is notably inadequate for cases where the region you're cutting out is not a solid color. If by chance the magic wand is inadequate for your purposes, layer masks allow more control, although they are unintuitive.
  1. Right click a layer; select Add Layer Mask. If a confusing options window appears, just accept the defaults, you can change them all later.Now there's a new thumbnail next to the one that shows what's in the layer.
  2. Click that thumbnail. Now you're editing the layer mask. It looks the same as editing the layer itself, at first.
  3. Choose some paint tool or other; I prefer the pencil.
  4. Choose a "color". Actually, the only important part is how bright or dark the color is. Bright colors in the layer mask will make that part of the layer more opaque, and dark ones will make it more transparent.
  5. Edit the layer mask as though it's a regular layer. Transparent-ify the parts of the layer you don't want. Opaque-ify the parts you do. You won't see the color you picked, you'll just see the appropriate level of opacity.
  6. Save image. If saving as .png, make sure to Apply Layer Masks when it asks you to.

posted by LogicalDash at 5:46 PM on February 11, 2012

Ld--that's definitely one of those advanced techniques I could never quite grasp. Thanks for the explanation. I'll give it a try.
posted by The ____ of Justice at 5:51 PM on February 11, 2012

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