I just borrowed Beginning GIMP: From Novice to Professional from the local library to pick up some tips on using GIMP. I had a specific idea in my head that I wanted to use GIMP to produce. As I looked through the book, I found a multi-step process that might be modified to make what I wanted to do happen. I tried it, with my modifications and discovered I could not get it to work. I made so many layers and merged down so many times I had no idea what I had done even if I managed to end up with what I wanted.
Tonight I decided to give up on my idea for the time being and just play around. I am starting to get used to using layers now, which is helpful. Now I just have to make my brain understand in advance what will happen if I change the order of the layers. More practice, I am sure, will help. In the meantime, I have an updated banner (the one at the top of my blog.)
Steps I used for my banner:
1. Created a layer in the appropriately sized file.
2. Opened a photograph to cut.
3. Used the Select Rectangular Regions tool to select the part of the photo I needed. This took a few tries to get what I wanted.
4. Copied the rectangular region and pasted it into the layer of my banner file.
5. Chose text tool. Clicked on banner to create layer. Added text, choosing font and color. I eventually settled on white after playing around with lots of choices picked from the photo.
6. I added a drop shadow, which is found under Script-fu and Shadow.
7. Finally, in the layers window I chose the white font layer and chose the Grain Merge mode.
GIMP Tip for the day: In your layers window, the icon that looks like an eye can be clicked. When you click it, that layer disappears from view (and whatever effect it was having on your project will disappear from view as well.)