Hi, Ronald -

Seems to me what you are trying to do is really easier than all this.

1. Click on the Ellipse Select tool to get your oval selection.
2. Click on the little "Feather Edges" checkbox in the "Ellipse Select" tool. You can experiment with the "Radius" setting to get the amount of shading you want. 3. Select your oval - a bit larger than the picture because the shading tends to center on your selected boundary. 4. In the Select menu at the top of the window, pick "Invert". Now you have marching ants around the oval and also around the entire image.
5. CTRL-X (Cut).

At this point you have your oval the way you want it .

What you really wanted to know, though, is that the annoying checkerboard really indicates a transparent background.

 It's replaced by white if you simply Save As yourPicture.jpg.

The JPG save will complain about that b/c jpg does not handle transparency, and when you save it the "transparency" checkerboard automatically fills white.

There are subleties here that you will find interesting.

If you right-click in the Layers, Channels box, a menu appears with a bunch of submenus. Select the Layers menu, then the Transparency submenu, and you will have a menu item saying Remove Alpha Channel. Click that, and your white background appears for you.

You can get it back by following the same selection, and then you will find the Remove Alpha Channel menu item gray, and you can now Add Alpha Channel.

If you want to save your portrait in a form that can show up on a webpage with a colored or patterned background, export to PNG rather than JPG.

Have fun, tho - that's what it's all about.

On 03/30/2012 05:08 PM, Ronald F. Guilmette wrote:
In message<4f763699.3000...@gmail.com>,
Stefan Maerz<stefanma...@gmail.com>  wrote:

On 03/30/2012 03:19 PM, Ronald F. Guilmette wrote:
Anyway, a relative just sent me an old old family photo that some nitwit,
perhaps a generation or two ago, did some seriously violence to with a pair
of scissors.  To salvage this one and to make it look presentable I really
need to be able to take the scan I have of it and crop it into a oval shape.
(Yes, it is a portrait.)

P.P.S.  For bonus points, somebody please also explain to me how to fade
the edges of the oval slowly to white.  that would be really cool, and
would, I'm sure, impress the bejesus out of some of my relatives
Hi Ronald,

Gimp's user interface is a bit hard to learn at first. Just do some
tutorials, and you'll pick it up in no time.
Any suggestions for which ones?  URLs?

For your question, I don't know of a way to do this without the use of

With the oval selected, press CTRL+X to cut it out.
Then do a CTRL+V To paste the oval. This puts the oval into a "Floating
Selection". It is almost like a layer, but not quite.
OK, I did what you just said.

Now a little about Gimp's interface: You have three windows. In "Layers,
Channels, Paths, Undo - Brushes, Patterns, Gradients" there is an area
for Layers (you probably know this).
I'm still on the early/steep part of the learning curve, but yes, I've seen
that one.

At the bottom of the layers area
(above brushes) and to the left is a create new layer. Press it this
turns the "Floating Selection" into a layer.
Hummm... OK.  Yes, I see.  Now it says "Pasted Layer" next to it, instead of
"floating layer".

Next you can select on the other layer (Titled "Background" by default),
and delete it by right clicking and pressing "Delete Layer". At this
point you should have your image as you desire.
Okey dokey.  Yes.  So now I got just my oval'd pic on top of the checkerboard.

Question:  *Now* what the bleep do I do?  I gotta put some 255-white into
the rest of the rectangle that's not covered by the oval.  So how do I do
that?  And then how do I subsequently smush my oval pic together with the
outer whiteness and save the whole shebang together as a single JPEG?
(Do I gotta do a "flatten layers" in here somewhere?)

(Sorry, but I really am ignorant, as you see.  So even though what I'm asking
is probably very basic, I still have no idea how to do this.)

Instructions for feathering (the bonus points):

If your oval's layer isn't selected for any reason select it now.
OK, hold on.  When you say "select it now" do you just mean that I should
place and size my oval, you know, and then just leave it with the marquee
outline flashing around it?  Or once it has been placed and sized to my
satisfaction, do I need to do one more step, e.g. place the cursor inside
the oval and then either left-click or else hit return?  (I know that I
always have to do the latter when I am cropping to a rectangle.  In fact
that's one of teh very few tghings that I _do_ know.)

Then pick the "Select by Color Tool" from the Toolbox. Set the threshold to
255(in the bottom half of the toolbox) and click on your oval. This
selects your oval...
Hummm... if I have placed and sized my oval to my satisfaction, and then I
click on the lttle "Select by Color Tool" icon (and set the threshold to 255)
and if I then just left click inside of my oval (which still has the marquee
outline blink around it) the only thing that seems to happe is that the
blinking marquee goes away.

This can't be right.  Is it?  I'm thinking that I messed up your simple
instructions somehow.

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