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Handling layers with Gimp

Handling layers with Gimp By saby - Last updated on Wednesday, December 22, 2010
11402 Views :: 2 Comments :: Article Rating (Total Votes: 14)
Category: Studio 1-15 Tutorials / Edition  -  Previous tutorials  -  Associated File(s)
Published on Saturday, April 11, 2009
Created on Saturday, March 28, 2009 8:28 AM

I propose to use today a free and open source software called Gimp. For a description and a link to the official website I invite you to visit our links page- GIMP (EN).

Gimp, as any good image processing software, is perfectly capable of handling layers. You should know that an image may consist of a stacking of numerous layers. A layer is a priori transparent and something can be drawn above. This is the virtual superposition of these layers and thus the visual elements they contain, which forms the image.

Small illustrated guide on layers :

A cartoon worth more than a thousand words, I propose to take the next picture :

Complete image

As you can see, this picture is a white background, but also an A :


a B :


and a C:


The Layers window shows us how it is organized in our mille-feuilles :

Complete image order

The layer over the top is the one on top of the mille-feuilles. That is why we get an A over a B, itself above a C, all on a white background.

Let's get it a little more complicated and change the order of letters in the mille-feuilles :

Variant 1

It was enough to get the layer C above all others, followed by B and then that of A :

Variante 1 order

All this by selecting each layer and moving vertically with the two green arrows at the bottom of the window.

Ever higher, ever stronger, how to get this :

Variant 2

Here is the new layers ordering :

Variante 2 order

If you only look at the picture, you can not guess how arranged are the A and C, one over the other. Let's moove the C :

Variant 3

We see that it is above the A. But we can get it behind again ::

Variant 4

And here is the corresponding layers ordering :

Varaint 4 order

Layers can be hidden in an image while still present. For this just click on the eye that is in front of each layer :


In this way, I remove the background. It is always in the picture but we do not see it anymore :

Without background

Same on the B layer and this is what happens :

Without background nor B

Those who would want to train with the examples I give can do this by getting the file GimpLayers.xcf available in the « Associated Files » section below. Simply open the file in Gimp and you have all the equipment used in the tutorial at your disposal.

.psd from eye Scream Factory

Some images from Eye Scream Factory website are in .psd format. These are menus templates. The PSD is the native format of the famous Photoshop developed by Adobe. Fortunately for us and our wallets, Gimp can open and decode .psd.

Open, for example, the file 3hearts-main-PAL_D1_DV.psd from teh package DVD Art Professional Volume I. That's what it looks like :


If you want to know what constitute this picture, just take a look at the window layer :

Layers of the template

There are various elements :

  • various textes : Title of film, Start movie ...
  • small red hearts
  • arrows piercing these hearts
  • a background

To identify them, just use the eyes in front of each layer to see what element of the image corresponds to the layer.

For example if I want to keep only the background, I just have to hide all other layers. Then, before saving the image I must flatten it : Image, Flatten Image.

Flatten image

Suddenly, all the other layers have been removed and it only remains for me to register in a .jpg file, for example.That is how to get an image for a menu background.

Now if I decide to keep only a heart and its associated arrow in order to make a usable menu button in Studio, the process is as follows : I display the layer called heart #2 (one of the hearts) and the layer called (=1) highlight#2 (its associated arrow) and I hide all the others :

Heart + arrow

Her is what we get :


Actually not quite, since this element is now in an image far too much. We must crop it. We create a rectangular selection around and we crop the selection with Image, Crop to Selection :

Selection crop

We save in .tga to maintain transparency : File, Save as. Search for TarGA image in Select File Type then Save. And when the Export file window appears check Merge Visible Layers and Export. Then Save again and it's finished. We get a nice button for our DVD menus in Studio.

If you want to use your DVD buttons in Studio, follow the tutorial: DVD menu: using Eye Scream Factory content in Studio

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sudhanshu By # sudhanshu @ Tuesday, March 16, 2010 1:00 AM

i want to know how we can make more than one layer in video editing in my pinnacle studio12.

Déclic Vidéo FX By # Déclic Vidéo FX @ Tuesday, March 16, 2010 3:27 AM
Hello Sudhanshu,

Please consult the following tutorial to learn how to add additionnal layer to Studio: Third Video Track with Pinnacle Studio


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