Home GIMP Tutorials How to Create 3D Spherical Text Effect with GIMP

How to Create 3D Spherical Text Effect with GIMP

Last updated: March 6, 2019

There are plenty of inspirations to play with 3D text in GIMP. One of which is billiard balls. If you love to play billiard, I am pretty sure that you once thought of creating a 3D text with a spherical effect like a billiard ball. GIMP has an effect filter you can use to create a spherical text like billiard ball. This tutorial will show you how to use it.

In order to make your spherical texts be a bit more attractive, you can also add the shadow under each text.

In this tutorial I will use numerical digits instead of alphabet texts, but you can also use alphabet texts if you want to form certain word, like “GIMP” for instance. To make it easier for you, I will divide this tutorial into three sections: first sphere, second sphere and background.

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Section 1: first sphere

  • Launch GIMP on your computer and go to File -> New to create a new file. In this example, I use a 640×400 image.

  • Create a new layer group by going to Layer -> New Layer Group. Rename this layer with something like “first sphere”

  • With “first sphere” group layer selected, create a new transparency layer by going to Layer -> New Layer and use the smaller dimension. In this example, I use 300×300.

  • Duplicate the layer you have just created above to three.

  • Select the second duplicated layer.

  • And change its foreground with the color you like. For the first sphere, I choose blue.

  • To apply the foreground you chose, click the Bucket Fill Tool on the Toolbox panel and click on the selected area.

  • Select the Text Tool on the Toolbox panel to add the first text. You can use any color for your text. I use white in this example.

  • To get a better result, you need to scale the width of your text. In this example, I scale down the width of the text to half. To do so, go to Layer -> Scale Layer. On the appearing pop-up dialog, unlink the scale size and lower the width value.

  • From the step above, you will have a new layer on the “first sphere” group layer. With the new layer selected, go to Layer -> Merge Down.
  • Re-select the second duplicated layer which now contains a text.

  • Go to Filters -> Map -> Map Object. On the appearing pop-up dialog, select the Sphere option on the General Options section under the Options tab. Also check the Update preview live option.

  • Still on the same pop-up dialog, switch to Operation tab to set the rotation. Use the selector to set the value of X, Y and Z.

  • Once you get the sphere, now it’s time to create the shadow. But first, change the foreground with the darker color. In this example, I use a color with hexacode of “1d1d1d”.

  • With the Ellipse Select Tool selected, draw the shadow area below the sphere.

  • Select the Blend Tool on the Toolbox panel and set the gradient to FG to Transparent.

  • Click on the left edge of the ellipse area of the shadow and hold. Drag to another edge of ellipse area to apply the gradient.

Section 2: second sphere.

Until here, you are done with the first sphere. Now, it’s time for the second sphere. For the third sphere and so forth, you can redo the steps on the section 2 I am going to explain below. You just need to change the color and text.

  • Select the “first sphere” group layer.

  • Go to Layer -> Duplicated Layer to duplicate the whole layers under the “first sphere” group layer. Rename the new duplicated group layer with something like “second sphere”.
  • With the Move Tool selected, move the second sphere to make it easy for you to edit it.

  • Select the second layer under the “second sphere” group layer.

  • Change the foreground the color with the different color to the first sphere. I choose red for second sphere in this example.

  • Select the Bucket Fill Tool on the Toolbox panel and and choose the Fill whole selection option on the Affected Area section.

  • Click on the selected area to apply the foreground color.

  • Disable the first layer under the under the “second sphere” group layer.

  • Select the Text Tool on the Toolbox panel to add the second text. Same as the first text, use the color of white for your second text.

  • Go to Layer -> Scale Layer. On the appearing pop-up dialog, unlink the scale size and lower the width value.

  • From the step above, you will have a new layer under the “second sphere” group layer. With the new layer selected, go to Layer -> Merge Down.
  • Re-select the second duplicated layer under the “second sphere” group layer which now contains a text.

  • Go to Filters -> Map -> Map Object. On the appearing pop-up dialog, select the Sphere option on the General Options section under the Options tab. Also check the Update preview live option

  • Still on the same pop-up dialog, switch to Operation tab to set the rotation. Use the selector to set the value of X, Y and Z.

  • Re-enable the first layer under the under the “second sphere” group layer.

You are done with the second sphere. Go on with the third sphere, forth, fifth and so forth by redoing the steps of the section 2 above.

Section 3: background

On the last section, we are going to modify the background color to make it looks more attractive. We have the sphere shadow on the lower right area of the sphere so logically, the light comes from the upper left direction. So, we are going to make the upper left area of the background brighter than the lower right area.

  • Select the background layer (bottom most).

  • Change the foreground color with a brighter color. I use white in this case.

  • Change the background color with the a darker color. I use a color with the hex code of “818b94” in this case.

  • Select Blend Tool on the Toolbox panel and set the Gradient to FG to BG (RGB). Set the Shape to Radial.

  • With the Blend Tool selected, click on the top-left corner of the background and hold. Drag to the bottom-right corner of the background to apply the gradient.

Done!. Following is the example result of this tutorial.

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