Pinehead.com: GIMP: Using LayersMar 03, 2001, 12:00 (1 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by maddog)
[ Thanks to maddog for this link. ]
"One of the main keys to doing graphics with GIMP is the use of layers. By using layers you can control every aspect of your image. Each picture is actually a combination of several pictures. This is called a composite image. Each layer should be a different component that you can manipulate at will. If you want to change some part of the background or nudge that big cool sci-fi looking orb a little to the left you can do so by selecting the appropriate layer.<"
"Start out by creating a new image. Go to file | new, set your image size and click OK. Decorate it a bit by applying a gradient. Change the foreground and background colors by double clicking the appropriate colors in the toolbox. I've found that just about anything in the foreground and black in the background usually produces a striking effect. Now select the gradient tool. There's a variety of options available here, but for our purposes we'll use the default linear gradient. Hold your left mouse button down at the top of the image, drag about halfway down, and let go. You now have your foreground color at the top fading to the background color at the bottom."
"Right click your new image and select Layers | Layers, Channels & Paths (this might be labeled slightly differently depending on which version of GIMP you're using). You'll see that you have one layer labeled "Background". Click the icon at the lower left. A box will pop up called "New Layer Options". Accept the defaults and you'll have a new transparent layer the same size as the background. You can name it or keep "New Layer". Click OK and there you have it. The checkerboard pattern indicates that it's a transparent layer."