GIMP. I did this using the ‘scissors select tool’ and copy / pasting into a new blank image.
This photo shows a screen shot of cropping this way in the process. You simply click the mouse on the edge of your image that you want to crop out, move the mouse a bit more, along the edge and click again. The two dots, where you clicked will connect and will also use what is called intelligent edge-fitting to determine how the line connecting the dots should curve. You need to continue doing this around the image and complete a ‘circle’ or loop by clicking one last time on that very first dot you made. Then click anywhere inside the loop you created to select your region. Copy and paste your selection into a new blank image.
This takes some practice. The intelligent edge-fitting feature works best when the image you are wanting to select is clearly defined by differences in color or shading from the rest of the picture. I’ve found that it works best if I take my time and click the mouse often to create my dots pretty close together.
I thought a nice shadow behind her would really make her stand out. I’m impressed with GIMP’s ‘perspective’ shadow filter. Once you have your desired image on its own canvas, and while it is still selected, click on ‘filters’ (in the top menu) ‘light and shadow’ --> ‘perspective’. This will open a scripting window where you can adjust the angle, length, color and opacity of the shadow. I played with it for awhile until I got the desired effect. You can easily do ‘edit --> undo’ if you don’t like the results and try again.
I also increased the contrast, decreased the color saturation, and used the cloning tool to remove the dark spots off of her face.
Then I went to work on designing the invite. The theme of our party was simple and (what seemed to me) nostalgic, with party hats, games and an ice crème buffet---reminiscent of an ice crème social. I wanted the card to have the same easy, uncomplicated feel with some fun.
I took a picture of my party hat prototype, which I had made, and used its image inside the card to give the guests a sneak preview of what to expect. Using a cropped photo of my mom from the front of the card is a design trick that I learned from ‘The Non-Designer’s Design Book’ from Robin Williams. She states, in the book, that taking pieces of a design element and using them in other areas of your project is a good way to create repetition and help to unify the whole design while keeping it interesting. I can easily and whole-heartedly endorse her book. It takes design principles and makes them very easy to understand and remember.
I love that photo of Mama. She told me that she made the dress she is wearing, but was never very fond of the way it fit her. I think she looks absolutely beautiful. And the party was wonderful. I have an earlier blog post where I talk about the ice crème social with recipes for sauces here and another where I explain how I made our party hats. I think parties are great---every single thing about them.