Create a statue effect using Gimp

Michael Bates shows us how to turn a person into stone and create a statue effect using the free image editing software, Gimp

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If you’ve ever felt like being a little more adventurous than usual with your photographs, why not try transforming someone into a statue using GIMP?

Although daunting at first, this project is actually easier than it first sounds and has surprisingly effective results. Instead of merely overlaying our model’s skin with a stone texture, we are going to use GIMP’s Bump Map filter to create a rough stony effect that allows us more customisation options.

Step 1 Open your image and duplicate the background layer, renaming it ‘Statue’ or something to that effect.

Gimp statue


Step 2 The first thing we are going to do is remove aspects of the image that will detract from the finished effect; most notably here, the tattoo. Select the Clone Stamp tool then select an area close the tattoo using ctrl and the left mouse button.

Then draw over the tattoo to introduce the flesh tone, it won’t be blended at all, so now use the Healing Brush in the same way to blend the corrected area into the surrounding colour.

Gimp statue

Gimp statue   Gimp statue
Step 3 Desaturate the image using Colours>Desaturate, selecting whichever option leaves your image with the best contrast, I used Luminosity so as to maintain the highlights of the image. You can then use the Colours>Levels tool to alter the contrast and dynamics of the image if they require a little bit of tweaking.   Step 4 We now need to select our model so as to avoid bump-mapping the background as well. We can use the magic wand tool to select all the black outside of her arms, but in this image her hair would also if I used the same method to select the areas inside them. To get around this I used the path tool to draw a selection around the inside of her arms and the head first.

Step 5 I then used Select>From Path to turn it into a selection, and used the Magic wand to add the exterior areas to my selection.

Step 6 Invert your selection and press delete to remove the surrounding areas in the ‘Statue’ layer.

Gimp statue

Step 7 We are now going to apply the Bump Map filter in order to give our model a stony texture. Open Filters>Map>Bump Map and you will be presented with a dialogue box complete with preview window.

Gimp statueSelect either Sinusoidal or Linear mapping, the spherical filter is too subtle for this project, and increase the depth of the map to the desired level. The Azumith and Elevation controls determine where the light-source is and therefore changes the appearance of the shadows in the map.

Depending on the size of your image you may need to greatly increase this setting to make the map visible without having to zoom in. As you can see in this screenshot, even though the effect looks dramatic in the preview window it isn’t as noticeable in the final image, so play with this filter until you are happy. Apply the mask and you should have a statuesque figure ready for colouration and dropping into a scene.

Step 8 To finish off the statue and give it a realistic stone colour, reselect your figure using the ‘From Path’ option in the Path pane and the magic wand tool as before then create a new layer. Set the layer mode to Overlay and then fill the figure with a stony colour, here I have used a brown colour to make her look more like natural stone, but you could use any colour you liked for a variety of results.

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