>[...] Now, to the point: [...]
OK, so I have tried using resize canvas. That added some space at the bottom.
Here's what I'm seeing now:
My central image has white space on three sides as a result of previous layer
resizing. The layer containing the central image has a yellow and black
dotted line around it--that's the layer boundary. On the bottom, the image
touches the layer boundary, and below this layer boundary there is a
checkerboard pattern. That checkerboard is the result of the canvas resize
you recommended. I suspect that the image might be extending into new canvas
space, but I can't see it.
Is that checkerboard pattern a background coloring that I should change, or is
it the default look of an empty canvas space? Is the bottom of the image
hiding somewhere in that checkerboard? Where to go from here...
The checkerboard pattern is a visual representation (cue?) of the "ultimate" background. Think of the layer structures in terms of transparent plastic slides like they use when making anime or special effects in movies. When you see the checkerboard, it means this area of the image is transparent.
If you want to have a white background for your postcard, you can add a new layer of white colour. There exists also a function in gimp that transform the layered structure of the image (i.e. the many layers) into one single opaque layer: it is called "Flatten" in Gimp's jargon (image or layer menu, I do not remember).
However, if you are using a printer, I think you should not need to add the white background. I guess printers assume the paper sheets are white and transparent = white = no ink for printers.
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