Tutorial: create a puzzle from a photo with Gimp

Published by TheJoe on

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes


This article was published more than a year ago, there may have been developments.
Please take this into account.

In today's tutorial we will apply the’puzzle effect to a photo in a few simple steps using the integrated plug-in in Gimp.

First, choose a nice picture of a beautiful landscape. The following photo is a shot of the castle of Neuschwanstein, in southern Germany. I am the author of the shot, the photo is in the public domain, also for commercial.

The dimensions are 800×600 pixel, but obviously the bigger picture and more applications for it will be:

Now let's create a new level white, on which we will define the pieces of the puzzle.

Now after selecting the level of white go “Filters” – “Render” – “Reason” – “Puzzle” and we set the values ​​as you like.

Unfortunately the filter “Puzzleis not done very well, and in addition to not work on levels “Empty” does not support antialiasing. For this reason we are working on a level white, and always for the same reason will follow a few short steps to make the effect “antialias“.

Read more…

taken from wikipedia
The’antialiasing (often abbreviated AA) è una tecnica per ridurre l’effetto aliasing (in italiano, blockiness, chisellings or scalettamento) when a signal at low resolution is displayed high resolution. L’antialiasing ammorbidisce le linee smussandone i bordi e migliorando l’immagine.

First remove the white color leaving only the edges of the puzzle blacks. “Colors” – “Staining for alpha” leaving the default settings.

Now duplicate the layer puzzle and move the duplicated layer of a pixel in the bottom and one on the right.

left before moving the level, moved to the right the two levels

We repeat the operation again, then merge together the three layers that make up the puzzle. We give the background level (image) invisible, right-clicking on any of the levels remained visible select “Merge Visible Layers“.

At this point we select the instrument “Select by Color”  and click on black edges the puzzle. Now we go to the menu “Select” – “Enlarge” and confirm the default value of pixel. Restrict the selection again through the instrument “Select” – “Collapse“, always pixel.

Look here:  Add a caption to the photo pop-up with CSS3
prima e dopo “Enlarge” and “Collapse” selection

Now select the tool “Color fill“, choose between the settings “Fill whole selection“. We click on the selection in filling all in black.

At this point sfochiamo the puzzle. “Filters” – “Blur” – “Gaussian” with a radius of 6px.

We optimize the contours with the unsharp mask: “Filters” – “Improvement” – “Unsharp Mask“.

Now click with the right level puzzles and select Alpha to Selection. Then we go to the menu “Select” – “Collapse” and reduce the pixel. Now more on the menu “Select” click on “Invert” and immediately after press “Ctrl” + “X“. If everything goes well this should be the result.

At this point deformiamo slightly the pieces of the puzzle, to make them uniquely different from each other. “Filters” – “Distortions” – “IWarping“.

Now we have create a glow of the puzzle to apply to the background level. Duplicate the level puzzle, go on “Colors” – “Invert” to make it white and “Filters” – “Blur” – “Gaussian” with a radius of 5 pixel. Let the background layer copy (calling “background mapped“) clicking on the button in the tab level and go on “Filters” – “Map” – “Mappa a sbalzo” with the following settings.

At this point both the black level puzzle, both at the level we need to give a fuzzy white puzzle’opacity of the 50% (levels in the tab), we put the puzzle level white below to black and turn away of two pixels down and two pixels to the right. Click with the right level puzzle on black, select “Alpha to Selection“, then select the white level and click “Ctrl” + “X“. Now we are making invisible the black level. And this should be the result.

With a little more effort you can think of some variant.


I keep this blog as a hobby by 2009. I am passionate about graphic, technology, software Open Source. Among my articles will be easy to find music, and some personal thoughts, but I prefer the direct line of the blog mainly to technology. For more information contact me.


TheJoe · 24 December 2011 at 10:14 AM

Ciao Elisa,
thanks for the comment and compliments.
As for your question, I advise you to “play” a powder’ with levels. To give you an idea of ​​how I did it was enough to select the piece that I moved on the level “puzzle”, I expanded the selection of 1 the 2 pixel (I do not remember), ho copy – glued all necessary levels (and I have also created a small shadow).
I then concatenated levels newly created (with the icon in the tab catenin levels) and I have inclined.

Regarding the edge in black and white I used the technique of “selective coloring” (There are pounds of online tutorials for this technique).

Hope that help, If I received more comments I could think of integrating the tutorial with other explanations.

Elisa · 23 December 2011 at 4:24 PM

Your tutorials are really well done,
But I also would like to know how to make the latest changes, especially the movement of the piece of the puzzle.
I came to the end (the puzzle all colored ^ ^)

TheJoe · 27 November 2011 at 7:03 PM

Ciao monyka,
thanks for the comment and compliments. Before proceeding further… you manage to get up to the penultimate step (the puzzle all colored)?

monyka · 27 November 2011 at 6:49 PM

hello congratulations and very nice … very original really wo… soppratt the last photo…but how do you do it…???? 🙂 grazie mony

Leave a Reply

Avatar placeholder

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.