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September 27, 2003

Point: Gimp

Posted by Mike on September 27, 2003 8:50 AM

Imagine my disappointment: We got back from the 8:00 of "The Rundown," (perhaps the best PG-13 action movie of the last few years, if the squeals of delight from all the 13-year-old boys in the audience were any indication) and I sat down to do some work. I owe Sam a logo for bitrot bbs, but all the recent "vintage pastels" stuff for the 'bowl is still in my head, so I set out to make a basic "globe with text around it" pic. You can see it in the upper left, or here's an early draft:

Global Pudding

I know the right tool for that kind of job is probably a bona-fide vector illustrator of some kind, but I don't own one: Photoshop Elements is the default graphics program around here. I discovered it doesn't have a way to make a line of text wrap in a circle. No problem... I found a few tutorials on the web showing how to hack one (all praise Google), but they all want a pathing tool of some kind, and Elements just doesn't have one. Nor does it seem to have guides. Weird. I suppose there are probably plug-ins I could pay for that might do what I want, but the whole "pay for plug-in" idea makes my amateur blood run cold.

Fortunately, there's Gimp for Win32 (prolonged graphics work on a laptop makes me walk into walls when I'm done), which has a script that just spits out text in a circle. The results aren't uniformly wonderful, but three or four runs netted an acceptable circle of text.

Photoshop Elements 2.0: $100 (it was $50 with my student i.d., but I'm still glad it was a birthday present). GIMP: $0. Now if I could only find the time to learn scheme.