Photo Editing Software for Making Haiga: Layers.

There are two functions of photo editing software that you absolutely need to know how to use in order to make photo haiga; layers and text.

I’ll start will layers because to get the best out of text, it helps to be able to use layers first. I will present options in Gimp, a very good FREE photo editor and Corel Paintshop Photo Pro X3. You should be able to generalise these tips to other versions of these programs. Please read through both before settling with the program you have as I prefer not to repeat myself.

I have no familiarity with Photoshop, so I suggest those of you with this software check out this excellent series of tutorials:

http://mashable.com/2010/08/12/12-beginner-tutorials-for-getting-started-with-photoshop/

Layers

Gimp:

First go to the toolbar as select Windows>Dockable Dialogs>Layers. This will bring up the dialog box for layers.

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Then open a photo by going to File>Open and then selecting Pictures. Gimp can be annoying as it does not give you thumbnails. Get around this by clearly naming images you think you might want to use for haiga clearly when you first save them.

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Go to the place on the tool bar marked Layer:

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Click on New Layer. This dialog box will appear:

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For our current purposes, just click okay. Now your layers taskbar will look like this:

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You will notice that your picture is here. The layer you have just open is above and highlighted. The highlighted layer will always be the one you are working on.

What now? Well you can paint on this layer with the airbrush feature or the paintbrush. Flood fill it and toggle the opacity up and down for filter effects or retouch colour with the paint/airbrush facilities. When you are finished, you need to merge down combines the layer you are working on with the one right below it. Go to Layer>Merge Down:

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Then just save and continue and you are good to go.

Corel Paintshop Photo Pro:

Open an image, File>Open. On the toolbar select Layers. This will come up:

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For our purposes here select New Rasta Layer. Rastas are quite versatile and can be painted on etc. (See the description of what you can do in the instructions for Gimp). Art Media Layers are used with the art features of this program but after you have mastered basic layers, you can explore this yourself at your leisure. When you have finished, you need to go to Layers again. You will be presented with a few options for Merging:

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You really only need to know about Merge Down and Merge All at this point. Merge Down merges the layer you are working on with the one directly below it. It may not preserve the settings you have selected though. Merge All compresses all the layers into one image. If in doubt, leave all your layers separate to the end and merge all. This is usually the final merge you would do. Now all you have to do it save.

In my next post we will cover inserting text. See you then.

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