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[Tutorial] Curved Text in Gimp

Octochimp Designs Octochimp Designs 562 posts

ok so you’ve created a funky image (in this case a T-shirt design) and it needs sprucing up with some text. There are times that you just know it really should be curved text. You wish you knew how to do curved text. You don’t. You feel empty inside……
Well wish no more !!!! This is how to do it.

Here’s our image:

You see what I mean right? It’s just got to be curved text. Ok, let’s get started.
First to create a new transparent layer, start by clicking on your topmost layer so that when you create a new layer it’s right at the top of the stack (in front of the other layers). Then click the add new layer button.

Now click on the Paths Tool.

Now left-click once on the left side of the circle, and once again on the right side.

It’s a straight line now, and what we want is a curve. The two points at each end are called nodes. Click once on one of the nodes to selct it. Then while holding down CTRL, hold down your left-click mouse button and drag. This reveals one of the ‘handles’. We need these handles as you’ll see in a moment in order to create the curve.

Now, we are going to grab that square point at the end of the handle and move it some more. This time while holding down the SHIFT key, left-click (holding the mouse button down) on the square and drag downward. Keep going until the top of the curve is about half as high as we want it to go.

Now do the same on the node on the right hand side; using CTRL to drag out the node initially, then SHIFT to do the adjustment. If you drag that handle down about the same distance as you did on the other side the top curve will even out and go to the full height you want.

If the curve height is not quite right, you can fiddle a bit until it is.

Ok, so we now have our curved path. Let’s create the text to go on it.
Select the Text Tool.

and create a text box somewhere on the piece (it doesn’t matter where you put it, since we’ll hide it again soon). Choose your font, font size, font colour etc.
Then click the “text along path” button.

You’ll see the green text appear on your curve. Exciting isn’t it? Can I hear a "Woop Woop!! "? Yes. Yes I can.
Ok, chill a bit. We’re not quite there yet.

We need to go to the Paths dialogue

right-click on the path we just created and select “Path to Selection”

now click on the eye to hide the green stuff

and head on back over to the layers dialogue

click the eye next to the text layer to hide it. We don’t need that anymore.

and click on the layer below it to select it

I want you to take a deep breath now. Yes, we are just about there. Savour the moment.
Select the Bucket Fill tool

and click somewhere inside the text area

YEH BABY !!! that is your curved text right there ! You did it ! Pat yourself on the back. But don’t away just yet.
The curved text is almost never in quite the right place, and just moving it around won’t help. You have to “rotate” it to get it right. So before we finish up, let’s do that. It’s easier to fix this now that later.

Select the Rotate Tool

left-click (holding down) anywhere near the text and drag it around the desired amount and then click the “Rotate” button

then select the Move Tool

and you can drag the text into the right position

What? it’s not quite right? you rotated too much or too little? Yeh, of course you did. Me too. Just switch back to the Rotate Tool and have another go at until it is right.

…and you’re done.

note: if you want to do the same thing but on the under side of the circle you would do all the same steps as above… but when you drag out the handles from the path nodes you would have dragged them upwards instead of downwards (to give a downward curve). On this Tshirt design I did both. See finished result here

If you enjoyed this tutorial, go and check out my Tshirt designs. You know you want to…. :)

Psychosis Psychosis 539 posts

This is really awesome mate! Thanks so much for taking the time to write it and add it to the group! I’m gonna have a go at this in the near future!

Keep creating the Magic.

TuacaSam TuacaSam 1 post

I know you posted this forever ago but do you know how to make the text have a border AND be curved? I want a white text with a black border curving around a logo. Awesome design, btw!

Octochimp Designs Octochimp Designs 562 posts

Hi there. Thanks. Yes, if you do the text just as per the above instructions. Then for a border around the text : 1) use the “select by colour” tool to select the text. 2) create a new layer and position the layer (you can reposition layers by dragging them and dropping them.) just below the layer holding the text. 3) make sure you’ve got the new layer highlighted (it should be already since you just created it). 4) Go to “Select > Grow” and grow the selection by whatever amount (e.g. 5 pixels). 5) now use the “bucket fill” tool and fill that selection.
Because the new selection is bigger, and sits behind the text, it will appear as a border around the text (assuming you used a different colour that is.. I forgot to mention that).