Once a while I need to make a 2x2 for official document such as passport. It's annoying if I need to go CVS paying $15 for a digital while myself owns a whole bunch of lenses and am proud of myself of taking good photos.. well, I guess this is exaggerated feeling, it's like saying that doctors shouldn't let other doctors treat them.

    Ok. So out of curiosity, I have always fallen back to GIMP to make a 4x6, thus 6 of 2x2, and print it for like 27 cents. So much satisfying! But since I don't do this for a living, it's totally new each time I need to do this. So, let's write this down once for all, so I can look it up next time, quickly.

    Steps is straightforward:

    1. Pick a photo with not-too-noisy background, because we will select using the intelligent scissor in GIMP. So the more contrast or clean the person is in this photo, the easier.

    2. Select scissor (i) and be patient. Close the loop by click left mouse on the very first point ← the mouse icon will change when you hover over that point. But honest, the point is so small that I can hardly follow it.

    3. Click anywhere inside the loop ← this is the step I keep forgetting. By doing so, the selection will blink with dash line, now we are in business.

    4. Paste selection into a new file. Now you should see only the selection, with like transparent background.

    5. Crop (r) to a roughly square shape → this is the step you can position your head in the way that passport photo wants — so much for the head room, show some shoulders:

      There is a tiny reading at the right bottom of the window when you resize the crop overlap, eg. 0.98:1, so you are aiming for 1:1 to be square. Don't worry if it's not mathematically square, just approximation is fine.

    6. Some math (reference). Measure (m) from the top of your head/hair to the bottom of your chin → 1172 pixels, for example → resolution of the new photo = 1172/1.1875 = 987 (pixels/in).

    7. Create a new image:

      • size: 6 x 4 in
      • Under Advanced, resolution to 987 (see step above) ← ignore the warning that you are creating some 200+M file. It's ok.
    8. ImageConfigure grid, sec to 2x2 in, and view to show grid. Tried grid offset to 10px, can't see the difference.

    9. Select ALL of the cropped new photo (step #4), copy and paste, six times, in the grids. You see the result now.

    10. Grid line won't print. Use Filters > Render > Pattern > Grid to add an exact grid line overlay (will be printed as a light gray line, perfect!):

      1. width: 1 px
      2. spacing: 2 in
      3. offset: 10 px
    11. Save the .xcf file (as source), and export to a JPG.

    Now just find a place and print a 4x6. Done, done, done!!

    — by Feng Xia


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