Tutorial 001: Keeping Track of Time…

clockWe have something new here – written tutorials! Morten aka LuX is more into writing than making a video – and I (Rolf) love written tutorials and prefer them over video if they have enough images.

And now I give over to LuX, who will show you how to make a Grandfathers Clock from scratch:

This is something I’ve been working on the last month. I wanted to emulate a old longcase clock aka grandfather clock standing in our living room.

You can download the final XCF.

This tutorial isn’t difficult. I follow the KISS rule; Keep It Simple, Stupid!
Feel free to respond and create you own version maybe upload in user gallery in the forum.

Files to complete this tutorial can be found on Dafont.com and Deviantart.com, search for “resources for gimp”.

For reference or inspiration goto Wikipedia, there’s a long list of time devices.

And I have collected a bunch of free SVG images as examples for watches made from scratch.


• Create new picture with dimensions 600×800 facing Portrait
• Pull out guidelines to decide and divide the clock from each area. How much patterns should it have? How big should it be? and so on…


*At this point it’s wise to make several circles at once. Both to ease the process and for reference later in the project

• Create a circle for the outer line of the watch and make it to a path.
• Go to Select>Shrink enter 10 and call this path No_1.
• Repeat this step twice; 5 pixels and call it No_2 then 55 pixels and call it Innercircle.
• Go to path dialogue and click the Outercircle visible. With the Rectangular tool create a square that covers the circle. Remember to check fix ratio 1:1 and save it as a path, call it Outer Square.
• Last create a half circle on top of the square and save this also as a path. Name it Top.


• With the blend tool make a gradient from light to dark Braun on the background layer.
• Create a new layer, call it CornersBG and make a selection of the half circle from your paths dialogue. Select the blend tool pick Golden from the gradient list and set the mode to screen, form linear and check dithering. Repeat this with the square.

*The surface around  the clock is uneven due to patterns, so don’t make the reflection area same on the half circle and square. I choose to have it on each side of the square. Look below.


• New layer, call it Innercircle. Make a selection of the path with the same name. Pick colours FG dbcf48 and BG ffea00. With the blendtool choose mode normal, form radiant and check dithering. Fill the area with colour from the centre to the edge.

• Select text tool, pick a font CapitalisTypOasis with size 45, check hinting and antialiasing, colour black, spacing-2,3. Because Roman numbers are close to each other this is however different from font to font.

The right spacing between each letter is done by inserting extra spacings; (3) after I-(5)II-(4)III-(4)IIII-(4)V-(3)VI-(3)VII-(3)VIII-(3)IX-(3)X-(3)XI-XII(3)

• After the Roman numbers are written in text box with spacing,  choose the Innercircle path from the dialogue and click on text along path button.
• Make a selection of the Roman path, fill it with black and anchor it to a  new layer. Then rotate it until it fits with a clock with 12 a top and 3 to the right.
• New layer. Goto Filters>Render>Clouds>Plasma value 5,1 and click OK. Then Colours>Desaturate and pick Lightness.
• Take the innercicle layer goto Filters>Map>Bumpmap with the plasma layer. Choose following values; check Compensate for darkening, 125, 45, 3, 120, 319, 0, 0
• Delete the Plasma layer.


• New layer, call it NoBG and make a path to selection with No_1 path. Goto gradientlist pick Metallic Something then fill selection with blendtool, mode normal, form linear and dithering checked.
• Create a layer for the lines. Select each path and go to Edit>Stroke path with a solid colour at value 3 or 4.
• New layer call this Pattern. Find a pattern* and drag it to your layer. Highlight the square and press Ctrl+I and cut all excess.

*If you don’t have any patterns there’s several places online, Deviantart. The folder is located the same gimpfolder as the font folder. I’ve used zen79_cherry_arabesque.

• Cut one half of the remaining pattern away, copy, paste and flip it vertically to the opposite side. Anchor it to the patterns layer.
• Select the OuterCircle and cut away selection.


• Create a new layer for a globe. On this layer a wire frame must be drawn with a pencil, simply make some lines cross in a 90degree angle.
• Find a world map and open it in GIMP. If the picture you got is in different colours then make it black and white, or with colour picker select as much as you can.
• Copy selection into a second new layer and check the alpha channel box found in the layers dialogue. Fill the layer with black.
• Be sure to resize the frame so it’s slightly bigger than the world map and press the to layers into one. Then goto Layer>AutoCropLayer. Result should look like below.


• Filter>Map>MapObject pick ball and uncheck light source. Rotate the globe in Orientation page.
• With the scale tool get the proportions correct by entering the same values in top and bottom. Last scale it to the size you like.


• New layer, name it Top and fill it with another kind of pattern.
• Make a selection of Top path, Ctrl+I and cut. Or you can use a font which does patterns instead of letters.
• Create a text layer and write; Tempus Fugit font Schwaben_alt.
• With pencil draw a big hand, small hand and a center. Optional use the ellipse tool and stroke the selection.
• Finish


Adding some more effects


– added shadow to the hands
– woodwork on top of background colour
– created darker outlines in wood
– glass with blurred reflection
– title of producer
– bumpmapped the patterns into the CornerBG layer

You should be able to do that now.


Tutorial is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0

7 thoughts on “Tutorial 001: Keeping Track of Time…

  1. Hey, I find it wonderful, having some ‘read on’ tutorial besides your shows, Rolf.
    I also love this sort of tutorials (maybe because I’ve followed zillions, most of them in the ‘software developer’ arena, some years ago).
    LuX: thanks for the tutorial, I think it is clearly written and the pacing is spot on.


  2. Thanks for replies.

    Norman I did think of this, initially, but the case is a hole other issue. Hmm, the main problem is that I will end up showing more drawing skill than actually using GIMP options in the process. As it is the length is long, and I recall tutorial with too much info being ones that I never started to read. Secondly, beginner friendly writing takes time.
    Rolf is spot on, this should also give some inclinations to graphical users to take part in GIMP. Help develop, contribute.
    I’m planing on further tutorials, so there will be more.
    The idea isn’t bad, Normal, a second part following is worth waiting fore but it will be in the new year.

  3. Which software you used for podcast , i mean for your video based tutorial , similarly i am thinking and planning for various pen source software for the community

Anything to add from your side of the computer?