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PicsArt has a very nifty tool called square fit that adds a enlarged blurred layer of your image in a now squared background

Example

I'm not trained in Graphic Design in any way and I confess at first I thought I should post this question on Ask Ubuntu, then I decided it was a better fit for Super User. I ended up here as I figured I should stop somewhere and this meta post seems to indicate this is indeed the place for a specific questions like this.

I just want to manipulate some photos and have my manipulations displayed to the websites I upload them to. Websites I upload these too though (e.g. Facebook profile pictures) will typically forcibly square my image and then cut off pieces of my manipulations. So, to get around this I've been using PicsArt's square fit tool. After the image is squared I can then do whatever I want to the image safe in the knowledge that it will all be in the final uploaded image.

My question is: How do I "PicsArt Square Fit" an image in GIMP or MS Paint or some other free software? I don't always want to have to take out an android device to do this.

Ideally I would like an answer for both since I use both Windows and Ubuntu.

  • Hello Cornelius and welcome to GraphicDesign! If you accidentally created two accounts, you can ask a mod to merge them – Zach Saucier May 7 '16 at 13:39
  • D o you want to recreate the exact same effect as in the example image you linked to - i.e. your original image in front of a blurred square crop of it - or to you want to crop a suitable square out of your original image without any other modifications? – Michael Schumacher May 9 '16 at 11:56
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In GIMP, you should copy the current layer (the one with the picture), use Gaussian Blur on the bottom layer and manipulate the colors a bit (from the color dialogue), scale down the top layer with Scale Layer, and then flatten the image. Finally, use the Crop tool to make it square.

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Below are instructions for doing this in GIMP. I don't think this effect would be easily achieved in MS Paint.

  1. In the Layers pane, right click the layer and select Duplicate.
  2. Create guides for the size of the final image:
    1. On the View menu, ensure that Snap to Canvas Edges is enabled.
    2. Select the Rectangle Select Tool.
    3. In the tool settings, select Fixed Aspect ratio
    4. In the box below aspect ratio, type 1:1 and press Enter.
    5. Select a square section of your image from one edge to the next.
    6. On the Image menu, hover over Guides and then click New guides from selection.
      You will now have some guides that show what the size of your final image will be.
    7. On the Select menu, click None.
  3. Scale the top layer.
    1. With the top layer selected, select the Scale Tool.
    2. Click the image.
    3. In the scale settings, make sure the aspect ratio is fixed (the chain link is not broken)
    4. Drag the corners of the layer until it is within the guides.
    5. In the scale settings window, click Scale.
  4. Blur the bottom layer.
    1. Select the bottom layer.
    2. On the Filters menu, hover over Blue and then select Gaussian Blur.
    3. Change the Horizontal and Vertical settings to 15.0.
      A higher number will create more blur, if needed.
  5. Crop the image to the guides you previously created.
    1. On the View menu, ensure that Snap to guides is enabled.
    2. Select the Rectangle Select Tool.
    3. Click one corner of the guides and drag to the other.
    4. On the Image menu, select Crop to Selection.
  6. (Optional) Decrease the brightness of the bottom layer.
    1. With the bottom layer selected, on the Colors menu, select Brightness-Contrast.
    2. Decrease brightness by -10.
    3. Click OK

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