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(This tutorial is out-of-date, and very vague, so I'm struggling with it since I'm a noob. I'm open to an alternate 80s chrome text Gimp tutorial as long as it looks as good as this one.)

I'm trying to create my own interpretation of this tutorial:

How to make retro 80's chrome text in GIMP?

but I'm stuck on the Text Shading section, which says:

  1. Create a bilinear, black-to-transparent gradient on each layer using the Blend tool from the toolbar (icon looks like a gradient; set mode to bilinear, gradient to FG to Transparent, click and drag from the middle of the text to the edge while holding ctrl for vertical snap).

I've followed what he says, and dragged the gradient from the middle of the text to the edge (of the text, or the edge of something else?), but his black line in the center is much thicker than what I'm getting as you can see: https://i.imgur.com/fWdx9UF.png

  1. Create 2 new transparent value layers for the highlights. Change the layer mode from "Normal" to "Value" for each.
  2. Create white bilinear gradients like before. Hit "x" to swap foreground/background colors, and then draw the gradients using the blend tool.

I'm not getting the effect he's getting. Whenever I do this step, it just effectively changes the text to white, covering up the previous gradient. It's still technically a gradient if you look closely.

  1. Mask the highlight. Use the Rectangle Select tool to select the top part of each gradient, right click on the corresponding highlight layer and choose Add Layer Mask>From Selection.

I have no idea what he means here, can anyone help?

  1. Rough up the masks. Click on each layer mask in the list (not the layer itself) to select it. Use Filters>Noise>Spread 16px, Filters>Blur>Gaussian Blur 8px, Colors>Brightness-Contrast 100 to go from a sharp border to a wavy one.

I did this, and it didn't seem to do anything?

1 Answer 1


One change in GIMP 2.10 is that you can now edit gradients directly with the Gradient Tool, live on-screen. This is a vast improvement over the old Gradient Editor and could save you a lot of trouble. Also you probably don't need to use several gradients and masks. One gradient would do the job just fine.

The example below is a blue background, white text layer, and a gradient layer in Multiply mode above the text layer. The Text and Gradient layers are also both in a group. Here I'm basically adjusting the stops until the gradient looks good. Stops can also be added or removed, opacity and colour adjusted using the little dialog that appears when you select each stop

enter image description here

As for roughening, I'd use the Warp Transform tool. Choose a small brush size and just move it over the black part of the gradient layer, wiggling slightly as you go.

enter image description here

This might create look a bit rough/pixelated at this stage, but the second you switch to another tool or hit Enter, the pixels will smooth out as the warp is applied.

  • Thanks a bunch, your help means a lot. I was going to ask you if you happened to know how to get that "glow" that almost makes it appear as if it's a sun rising over the horizon, in between the black and grey, but I figured out how to do it myself. Or to say more accurately, I accidently achieved it myself, and I guess GIMP "remembers" or something, so when I did it again for the next line of words, it did the same thing. I think I need to look into a GIMP 101 youtube playlist. Commented Jul 23, 2021 at 23:12

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