How to Make an Infographic In GIMP, A Written Guide and Video Timelapse
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Infographics are a useful tool for Internet marketing, and sometimes people even read them. Here's how to make them using the GNU Image Manipulation Program (GIMP).
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Infographics are a useful tool for Internet marketing, and sometimes people even read them. 256 Kilobytes, for example, has publisheda number of infographics and cheat sheets, all of which (at the time of this post) were created usingthe GNU Image Manipulation Program (GIMP), a free and open source tool similar to Adobe’s PhotoShop.
Video Timelapse of Making an Infographic In GIMP
The result of this video is the SQLite infographic in this article.
How to Make an Infographic In GIMP, Written Guide
Create the Canvas
The first thing that you want to do to create an infographic is to create a new project in GIMP. You’ll want to decide on a canvas size that makes since. 1,000 pixels is generally a good width that will allow plenty of space while displaying well on most monitors. In terms of height, your exact canvas size will depend on the amount and type of content you want to include; use as much height as needed.
Create Headers and Footers
This is relatively straightforward:
- Create a solid color background
- Create some text
- Add a guide to align the text and background together
- Optionally, use color tags to group header/footer layers together for ease of identification
Create a Background
You can relatively easily find a usable public domain image for the background of most infographics. This can be done through images.google.com under Tools > Usage Rights. Make sure to double check the actual copyright listed on the source page, since some pages can be included erroneously, or may have specific use requirements that are not obvious from the image search result page.
Once you have a background image, it is generally a good idea to make it blend with the actual text. This can be done by:
- Adjusting the image’s opacity;
- Adding a layer over and/or behind the image (gradients can be useful here); and/or
- Adjusting the “mode” value of the image and/or the layers above and below it.
After experimenting with a few options, you shoudl find a setup that looks good reasonably easily.
Add whatever text you want to include. The addition of guides (Image > Guides > New Guide) can be useful to make sure everything lines up. At this point in the project, avoid adding effects (like bevels) to the text, since once these effects have been added, the layers will no longer be editable text.
Once everything is aligned in its correct position and you’re ready export, you may want to go back and add effects to any text that you’ve added. The basic process is to:
- Right click a text layer
- Select “Alpha to Selection”
- Go to “Filters” and select an effect. In particular, these effects are easy to use and can improve an image’s quality substantially:
- Decor > Add Bevel
- Light and Shadow > Drop Shadow
Apply whatever effects you want and then save the file.
Once everything is good to go, export it under File -> Export. You may also want to compress it, since infographics can easily exceed a megabye of data. I have found thatthis tooldoes a good job of compressing images effectively without losing quality, although you could also just adjust the settings from within GIMP.
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