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GIMP Tutorial - How to Make a Great Border Effect.

The GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) is a completely free and open-source application for image manipulation, specially useful for photo retouching, it is available for Windows systems, Mac OS and those based on Unix, as many of you surely know it is widely known as the most successful free full functioning alternative to Adobe's Photoshop.

In this tutorial I’m going to show you how to do interesting border effects using GIMP. Today we are going to use a feature called QuickMask to modify the border region of an image. We are going to combine it with other tools like the rectangle select and the paintbrush.

To start with you need to open any image you want to modify in this way. Oh, this is a good moment to install GIMP if you haven't. Go to the big “Download” button above and click on it. The complete download and installation process will only take a few minutes of your time.

OK, assuming you have GIMP running and with your image opened make a rectangular selection covering the area you want to modify. This can be done by selecting
this tool and it should look like in the next screenshot.

Now click on the QuickMask button which you can find at the lower-left side of the image.

Click on it and your selection will become transparently red tinted representing the outside of your selection like this:

Well now we can play a bit with this mask. Go to the menu Filters > Distorts > Waves... in the Image window menu and this dialog will open.

Here you can plat a bit with the Amplitude, Phase and Wavelenght parameters to achieve the exact look you are looking for. Apply the filter, and this is the result on the mask.

As you can see the transparent area got all wavy. I added a bit of blur effect by going to Filters > Blur > Gaussian Blur just to soften the edges and it looks like this.

The next step is to click the red QuickMask button doing this will convert the mask into a selection path.

It's interesting to see the selection following the mask. This shows how powerful is the QuickMask feature in GIMP. So, let's go to the last step by inverting the selection, go to Select > Invert in the Image window menu and immediately after that go to Edit > Fill with BG Color also in the Image window menu.

Voilà! Now you have a wavy soft transition into the white background. Here are two other examples of what you can do if instead of wave distortion you use other filters.
First using the filter Noise.

And last but not least, the next one is done with the blur filter in the Random Slur mode.

Now you have the tools to create great borders or “vignette” effects to your favorite pictures. Free your imagination with GIMP and express yourself in new ways. Download GIMP now by clicking on the “download now” link below.

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