How to Create Engraved Text in GIMP

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How to Create Engraved Text in GIMP

One day, you spotted an interesting wooden board and imagine if you could carved your name on it. Too bad, you are not a carver. You can at least take a picture of the wooden board and carve your name digitally. This tutorial will show you on how to do so.

In addition to wooden board, you can also use other objects that has a interesting texture and potential enough to be carved. Like brick walls or anything you find suitable to be carved.

To create an engraved text effect in GIMP we are going to take advantage of a filter called “Drop Shadow”. But before applying the filter, there are several settings you need to make first.


Before getting started, ensure you already have the object you want to carve. In this example, I use a photo from Pixabay. I made some modification to the photo to make it look a bit more aged by reducing its saturation since the original photo was too bright to me.

Once you ready, follow these steps bellow.

Bonus: Most essential GIMP shortcuts

  • First and foremost, launch GIMP on your computer and open the image you want to carve your name on.

  • Click the Text Tool menu on the Toolbox panel and add your text on the object. Use the color of white on the text.

  • The step above will automatically create a new layer, so by now you should have two layers. To makes it easy in differing the layer, you can also rename them. In this example, I rename them to “text” and “background”, respectively.

  • Select the text layer and go to Layer -> Layer to Image Size.

  • Select the background layer and go to Layer -> Layer to Image Size.
  • Select the text layer and go to Filters -> Map -> Displace. On the appearing pop-up dialog, select the background layer on both X displacement and Y displacement options. Leave the values default and click the OK button.

  • Still on the text layer, go to Layer -> Transparency -> Alpha to Selection.
  • Until here, you are no longer need the text layer. So, you can delete it.

  • The next step, go to Select -> Invert
  • Go to Filters -> Light and Shadow -> Drop Shadow. On the appearing pop-up dialog, set the value of Offset X to 8; Offset Y value to 8; and Opacity to 100. Click the OK button.

  • Once again, go Filters -> Light and Shadow -> Drop Shadow. This time, set the value of Offset X to 0; Offset Y value to 0; and Blur radius to 30.

  • Lastly, go to Select -> None.

Done, you can now export your image. Following is the result of this tutorial.

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