How to Make Semi-Transparencies in GIMP

Written by ben lingenfelter
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How to Make Semi-Transparencies in GIMP
Adding transparency is simple with GIMP. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

The GNU Image Manipulation Program, or GIMP for short, is open source software, but few graphics programs can compete with this application. Creating transparency and semi-transparency in GIMP can be as easy as moving a slider. Beginning with version 2.6, GIMP makes doing this kind of graphic design work very simple, allowing for layers, alpha channel for complete or partial opacity and masking that will turn shades of grey into a semi-transparency as well.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy


    Using the Transparency Slider

  1. 1

    Open your image in GIMP. Almost any graphics format can be opened in GIMP.

  2. 2

    Click the layer to which you want to add transparency. If there are layers beneath it, you will find that they show through once you add the transparency.

  3. 3

    Right-click the layer and select "Add Alpha Channel."

  4. 4

    Slide the "Opacity" slider to the left. This slider is directly above the list of layers and beneath the "Mode" drop-down menu. Moving the slider to the left will add more and more transparency.

    Adding Transparency with a Mask

  1. 1

    Open your image in GIMP. Using a layer mask will turn all the shades of greys and black into differing levels of transparency.

  2. 2

    Right-click the layer of your choice and select "Add Layer Mask." A dialogue box will open.

  3. 3

    Choose "Grayscale Copy of Layer" in the dialogue box and click "OK."

  4. 4

    Paint black or grey onto the remaining picture to add more transparency. White is left opaque and black is fully transparent, while grey is in between.

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