I'm having some trouble with gradients here, can anybody help me? I'm currently trying to follow this tutorial... How to make retro 80's chrome text in GIMP?

I'm in the Text Shading section, and I'm trying to apply a gradient to my text. This should basically give a smooth gradient from full black to transparent from the vertical middle of the text to the vertical extremes... Basically, I want this: enter image description here

But I'm getting this, enter image description here

The problem here is that I'm getting a thick horizontal block of black that's not shaded until the VERY END of the defined area for the gradient. Messing about with the Edit Gradient dialogue in Gimp is only allowing me to change the gradient at the very ends of the definied gradient area. It's really weird. Any ideas?


So, I've been trying to follow Billy Kerr's example below and... I've kinda got a result similar to my objective. enter image description here However! What a nightmare! Obviously a subjective opinion, but those gradient controls are... somewhat obtuse. In addition, the in-line gradient controls mentioned by Billy seemed to just stop moving at apparently arbitrary positions, as the length of the gradient application line is not relative to the width of the Gradient Editor window. Really frustrating.

And it's still a ridiculously harsh transition from gradient to hard colour. So annoying.

Thank you for your advice, though, Billy!

2 Answers 2


It looks like you are applying the gradient in one narrow horizontal strip.

You can apply the gradient to a wider strip, and you can shift the position of the stops while using the tool so it looks more like the example in the tutorial.

For example:

enter image description here

Here's the gradient I used

enter image description here

  • I've attempted to follow this method - have updated the question to reflect this. Commented Sep 4, 2019 at 17:45
  • @ReverendSpeed - the controls are a little fiddly, but you can also edit them directly in the gradient editor window by moving the sliders there. Try that instead.
    – Billy Kerr
    Commented Sep 4, 2019 at 21:53
  • @ReverendSpeed I also notice that you seem to have more stops in your gradient than are necessary. You only need three stops, i.e. the two ends ones, and a middle one, and then the two sliders in between to control the blend in each segment. You could try deleting the extra ones. Look at the gradient shown in my answer and compare it to yours, and you should see the issue.
    – Billy Kerr
    Commented Sep 4, 2019 at 21:59
  • Hey @BillyKerr - I was editing in the Gradient Editor, but still found that a rather awkward interface. I see your point with the multiple stops - but at this point I kinda, just uh, gave up with Gimp (I like it for a lot of things, but this...!). Ultimately I achieved my effect by making the gradient in Inkscape and applying it in Blender. Thanks so much! Commented Sep 4, 2019 at 22:23
  • @ReverendSpeed - the gradients are tricky to edit, true. All the left/right segment stuff can be somewhat confusing, but it's worth persevering. Just another thing that might affect your gradient is the "Blending function for selection" - setting it to "sinusoidal" will help smooth out the gradient more. But anyway, yes Inkscape is good too. I also use it, especially for designing graphics. GIMP is obviously much better suited to photo editing.
    – Billy Kerr
    Commented Sep 4, 2019 at 22:28

The screenshot you show is from Gimp 2.8. If you are using Gimp 2.10 things could be different.

Assuming you have followed the layer modes indicated, make sure that you are using the "Legacy" ones and not the "Default" ones (small selector at right of the layer mode). Some blend modes works quite differently between perceptual and linear light.

  • I'm using Gimp 2.10.12. I'll give that Legacy switch a go, thank you. Commented Sep 4, 2019 at 17:51

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