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Clipwarped text tutorial.(14th Dec 2013)

Red ochre

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This tutorial is available as a PDF. Click here to view or download it

Clipwarped text tutorial.

Ability level: You must be able to install plugins, use layers and select things.

Purpose: To make some shiny text like the examples shown and to explain different ways to shade the object before using clipwarp. Different shading patterns create different shapes and you need a smooth tonal gradient over the object to get a good results.

Speed-reading: Important things in bold.

Object layer = the layer with the text on it, surrounded by transparent pixels.
Clip-image layer = the layer that will be copied to the clipboard and distorted around the object.
Background layer = the layer that will be seen underneath the finished clipwarped text.

I have re-written the Clipwarp plugin and called it 'Clipwarpnew'. Because it has a different .dll name to the original you can have both versions installed. The new version is (hopefully) easier to understand and use and has smoothing and an overlay shading option. It can do most but not all of what the old version could.

The smoothing option does what it should but it can be very slow - it is doing many, many calculations. I recommend that you leave this option till last and reset it to zero the next time you run it.(One of the few disadvantages of plugins 'remembering' settings). It is actually averaging an area of pixels on the clipboard image to 'fit' them onto the object. This means the larger the 'Maximum displacement' the larger the area it will have to process and the longer it will take. I have used a slider for the smoothing so you may be able to get away with less smoothing for large displacements or large images.

This tutorial concentrates on how to shade the object layer for smooth results - probably text or simple shapes. However both Clipwarp versions can still be used to distort an image by itself or the object can be anything with a smooth tonal gradient (eg. photo of a face).

Plugins required:

- Clipwarp (tutorial uses the new version but concept applies to the old version too).
- TRs Contour filler
- Overblur
- Object Edges
- Gradients Galore


Those last 3 in my pack http://forums.getpaint.net/index.php?/topic/22500-red-ochre-plug-in-pack-updated-23rd-oct-2012/


1. New image approximately 1000 pixels wide by 750 high. Not too big or it will be very slow!
This is the largest size that fits on my monitor at 100% - but my Window Task bar is docked to the side.



Display at 100% (looks better)...

2. Create the 'Clip-image' layer. - Use anything, this is the super simple image I used for the example screenshots.
(You could simply use a photo for this but please resize it to roughly the dimensions above. Then duplicate it and give it a large Gaussian blur before copying it to the clipboard. )

2.i Create a subtle gradient. - (you could use the built in gradient tool for this).
I used Effects/Render/Gradients Galore with settings like this...


2.ii Draw some light lines 40 pixels wide...
(I used light blue and you can use the line tool or the paint brush  - I used the paintbrush – remember left click and drag for Primary Color and right click and drag for Secondary Color)

2.iii Large Gaussian blur – radius 40...
(Effects/Blurs/Gaussian Blur)


2.iv Draw some more lines 20 pixels wide...
(This time I used pink)

2.v Medium Gaussian blur – radius 30...


2.vi Draw some smaller lines 5 pixels wide
(this time I used white and the line tool)

2.vii Small Gaussian Blur – radius 5...


Please do experiment with different Clip-image  layers but bear in mind that a slightly blurred image will give smoother results and that very thin lines may not show up on the text. There just aren’t enough pixels in a letter to show every detail I’m afraid.

3.Create the text Object layer

3.i New layer :LayersAddNewLayer:

3.ii Select the Text Tool and set the font type and size. :TextTool:
(I will use 'Ariel Black' at size 118 - click in the font size window and type 118) ...


3.iv Double click on the new layer with the text and write the Font type and size there (just good practice - I never do!).
4.Shade the text Object - the important bit!
I will show two different techniques - each gives different results.
The main thing to remember is that you need a smooth tonal gradient across the object for best results.
4.A. Contour-Fill method. (looks angular)
4.A.i Effects/Color/TR'sContour Filler...

use these settings for a triangular cross section...


or these for a truncated triangle...


4.A.ii Now zoom right in on the text to see what the pixels look like (not smooth enough)...


4.A.iii Effects/Blurs/Overblur - radius 3 - to smooth it ...


4.A.iv That's it! - you could go straight to section 5 or try the original method below.
4.B. Object-Edges method.(looks rounded)

4.B.i Effects/Object/Object Edges with the settings like this...
(Note the first time you run this you will be using both colours at full opacity and a large radius.
The objective is to get a smooth gradient from just only white in the middle to grey at the edges.)


4.B.ii ObjectEdges again! (this time make the 'middle' colour transparent, lower the radius and the edge tone)...


4.B.iii And again! (reduce the radius further and set edge tone to black)...


4.B.iv Zoom in again and use Overblur at radius1 - should be nice and smooth...


5.i Make sure the Clip-image layer is selected (Edit/Select all) then copy (Edit/copy)
- Yes, there are keyboard shortcuts and icons in the tool bar;-)

5.ii Select the object layer then Effects/Tools/ClipwarpNew - (the shading the object layer techniques work with the old version too). Make sure the 'smoothing' slider is at zero and play with all the controls.
When you are happy with the settings, increase the 'smoothing' slider, then click ok...

6. Additional techniques.
To create a very fat text effect you could use 'Pyrochild's Outline object' after stage 4.B.iii and before 4.B.iv.
For super smooth reflections put a large Gaussian blur on the clip-image layer before copying it.

7. Notes.
Clipwarp (new) is designed to work with the object edges being darker than the middle - it will work the other way but the control names will be reversed.
'Smoothing' can take a very long time with large displacements!
In an ideal world I would write a plugin to automate the shading of the object process based on the pixel's distance from the object edge. In theory a tone gradient based on hexidecimally increasing the tone could give 765 tone shades. The methods shown are based on grey and can only give 255 separate shades. It will always be useful to create the shading manually in any case.

Happy 'clipwarping'.
Happy Christmas.
Please post your results in this thread and any useful tips.
Here are some examples to give you ideas.










  • Upvote 4


Red ochre Plugin pack.............. Diabolical Drawings ................Real Paintings



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Hi TR,

Thanks for trying the tut and posting your results.

...Yes, once the shading is smooth (I can see yours is), then using 'Curves' is good way to alter the graduation from dark to light - effectively changing the cross-sectional shape of the letters. Good tip!


Red ochre Plugin pack.............. Diabolical Drawings ................Real Paintings



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  • 3 weeks later...

Hi Red :bertie:


I have been trying to use clip-warp on the custom mini-brushes but I end up with more questions than answers. I usually just frustrate myself. Is there an easy way to use clip-warp without having to make duplicate copies of the original image? :tardII:I can't use  the custom mini-brushes without a duplicate - I need to see my subject so I know where to put my clip-warp object (I hope that made sense).


 You do have a good tutorial but I don't think the same theory that applies to the text would work on my project.

Please help me.

Thank you

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Hi Kelly,

I not sure that I really understand the question - but here goes:

Is this the problem?:
1. You want to create an object using Custom Brushed Mini(CBM) which you can later apply clipwarp to.
2. If you use CBM on transparent layer you cannot see where you are drawing.
3. If you use CBM on a copy of the background layer you cannot seperate what you have drawn into a seperate object.

Soloution 1: - Ideally Simon Brown would include a way to display the clipboard as a background when using CBM - as Pyro's 'Liquify' does.

Soloution 2: I have a plugin - which is not perfect! - but may help.
It should appear under Effects/Advanced and be called 'ClipminusBeta'


How to use:
1. Duplicate your backgound.
2. Use CBM on this duplicated background layer and draw something.
( You now have 2 layers which are identical apart from what you have drawn with CBM.)
3. Copy the original layer to the clipboard - (then, possibly turn off the visibilty so you can see what happens next).
4. Move to the top layer and run ClipminusBeta on default settings.
5. You should now have just the bits you have drawn using CBM as objects on a transparent layer and can treat them as in the tutorial.

(Note: It is not perfect as it will make a pixel transparent if it is the same on both the clipboard and the active layer. If the newly drawn CBM image has exactly the same colours as the image on the clipboard they will be made transparent too.)

Now you're going to tell me I've completely misunderstood! :lol:


Red ochre Plugin pack.............. Diabolical Drawings ................Real Paintings



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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 3 weeks later...


Hello I still need help.....when I get to the final stage and run the clip-warp it warps the entire picture not just what I've drawn using CMB :P. I did everything you said to the T...unless I misunderstood something :tardII:.?

After you have copied the background to the clipboard, you then need to click on the layer that you want to apply clipwarp to.



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