Lesson: Making animated brushes in GIMP

19 Jun

Can’t sleep so I got up to do something fun rather than mope because I feel too yucky to get any rest. I’ve wanted a brush that follows my mouse (like for stitches) and also one that will randomly, if I mouse click one by one will rotate the direction of the brush design. I think I’ve got it now sort of. It doesn’t seem to random on single clicks easily, more like I click and drag till I see one.. then release, and repeat. If you have any suggestions on how to make it react instantly on a mouse click, please help! :) I want to be able to throw down paw prints or word brushes exactly where I want them but in a random direction.


But the follow the mouse is good!

I’ve a few tips for you!

Read on, it’s a long post with links to all sorts of good info!

First I will clarify that I am using GIMP 2.6.8 on WindowsXP.

When you save it as a .gih file put the name of your brush in the Description line. That’s the line that seems to show up in the brush list. Rather than the name of the file. Assuming you have a brush named “crappy_brush1″ in your list. Pretend you edit it, save it as crappy_brush1b.gih”. So if your description still says crappy_brush1, even though you saved it denoted as version 1b (got what I’m saying here right?) It will show up in the list as crappy_brush1#1. Because it reads the description.

So basically what I’m saying.. rename them in both places :)

You do NOT have to close GIMP down every time you edit a brush. Nope! I learned this today too!

Click the brush tool, then click the little image of the brush design there under Opacity. When that opens, click the little brush icon on the bottom right corner. Now when that opens, see where the little x is? Don’t touch it!! See the little dot below it, I think it might be a small arrow. Touch that! Hover to Brushes Menu, when that fly menu pops up then go to “Refresh Brushes”

BAM! No rebooting GIMP with each minor edit. Awesome yes?

On to the script and info!

I used the Rotating Brush Assistant Script to create my brush. I created a small image, perfect square, white background, single layer. Then start that up like the directions say and do the steps. To do a color brush, you won’t want a white background and you’ll need to put a checkmark in the right spot when you open the script up.

When saving as a GIH file, that’s where it gets a little tricky so I’m going to provide you a link to the official manual. It’s a bit overwhelming with ranks and 3d sketches. So I’ll include a link to a forum thread too with good images about saving. Take note of the Cell # and Rank Angular #! That fixed my problem I was having. They need to match, apparently! That thread does not use the plugin I’m using, but if you scroll down to the saving steps, it’s good info.

I use a Logitech Marble Mouse, so the bottom three I think were pressure and xTilt and yTilt (something like that) only matter if you’re using a pressure tablet. That’s noted on the GIMP manual website. That’s also why my example stitches look like I was shivering as I drew haha!

Another tip! For my stitch example, the stitches were rotated wrong and it took a bit of time to figure out a solution. Rather than following a line as if I hand stitched them, they were vertical like a whip-stitch. That’s what I get for GIMPing when I’m sleepy, the solution took me forever haha. You need to rotate that original square image that you started with, before you ran the script to create the row of rotated versions. Rotate it 90 degrees or whatever it takes to adjust it so it is right on your animated brush result. Then redo the whole script brush maker stuff, save a new brush, refresh your brushes and try it out. Make sense?

On the saving the GIH screen: a step of 100 is pretty good for what I wanted, it’s what I used in the example image :) It creates a nice spacing between the stitches. Step of 50 resulted in them touching/overlapping. Neat, but not what I wanted for that particular brush but I am sure I will find it useful in the future, perhaps for rings or other open shapes that should overlap?

Here’s some links:
How to install plugins/scripts in GIMP
Rotating Brush Assistant Script (has a short lesson too)
Gimp Manual: Animated Brushes
Forum Thread: Animated Brushes (has good pictures!)

I cannot promise I can be of any help, but you’re welcome to ask questions if anything I wrote here didn’t make sense. I read it over again but if I forgot a step, please say so! Please do not ask me basic GIMP questions though. I cannot possibly be expected to teach random strangers how to use GIMP. Open up Google and search, read the official manual (I linked it in this post), take classes in SL, take classes in RL, check your library/paperbackswap/amazon for books. I cannot recommend any particular book though, as I do not own any (and neither does the library out here). I’d love to hear of your book suggestions though, if you have any!

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