In my previous article I drew those red
dice myself, using GIMP. Since I
really enjoyed figuring out how to do it, and actually doing it, here
is a little tutorial.
The numbers and sizes are arbitrary, so feel free to adjust things if
you think they look better. I am no artist. I am sure someone could
take this further to make it look better, perhaps by making the pips
look indented, or adding some transparency effect so the dice look
clear. I am a GIMP newbie.
Step 1: Make a Face
In GIMP, create a new 300x300 image and fill it with a dark red. I
c30808 for this. This will be the base color of the
dice, so if you want differently colored dice, choose whatever color
Step 2: Make Pips
Next we use the ellipse selection tool (e) to make pips. In the
settings, set the ellipses to a fixed size of 75x75.
Create the ellipse and move it to the upper left-hand corner. Use the
arrow keys to nudge it to position (5, 5) — or just type in these
Use bucket fill (shift+b) to fill the selected area with white, or
whatever color you want your pips to be. Keep doing this to make pips
in each corner. The positions should be (5, 220), (220, 5), and (220,
220). This makes the 4 face. Put a fifth pip in the middle, (112,
112), to turn it into a 5 face.
Step 3: Make More Faces
You now have one face of your die. The 1, 2, 3, and 4 faces are the
same as the 5 face, but fewer pips. In the layers dialog name the
current layer "5". Now, duplicate the layer (shift+ctrl+d) and name
this new layer 4. Use either the paintbrush tool (p) to paint your
base color over the middle pip, or use the selection tools to remove
Keep duplicating layers and removing pips until you have 5 faces: 1,
2, 3, 4, and 5.
Duplicate the "4" layer and create two more pips to make the 6
face. You now have 6 layers, each containing a single face. Here is
.xcf when I was done:
Step 4: Map it to a Cube
Now comes the fun part, the real guts of the drawing. You are going to
map these layers onto a cube. Go to Filters -> Map -> Map Object. Map
to "Box" and select Transparent background and Create new
Under the Orientation tab adjust the rotation. For the first
die, try something like (20, 40, -5). If you enable Show preview
wireframe you can see your adjustments live. Just don't make these
values too high or it will make the next step more difficult.
Under the Box tab set the Front, Top,
and Left faces to different layers. Note that the opposite
sides of a die always add up to 7. That is, 1 is opposite to 6, 2 is
opposite 5, and 3 is opposite 4. Here is how a typical die looks.
If you are really picky, you might want to pay attention to the
orientation of the 3's, 2's, and 6's and flip those layers
Hit Preview! to see your work. If you are happy,
click OK. Autocrop the new image with Image -> Autocrop Image.
Step 5: Make More Dice
Do this a few more times with different faces at different
orientations. I will make just one more for the example.
Create a new 640x480 image with transparent background. Copy and paste
your dice into this image. After each paste, make a new layer
(shift+ctrl+n), so each die gets its own layer. Use the Move tool (m)
to adjust the dice into a sort-of mid-roll. Whatever looks good.
Step 5: Make Shadows
The last part left is the shadow. First, merge the visible layers
(shift+m), then duplicate the remaining layer. Call this new layer
Go to Colors -> Brightness-Contrast. Set contrast to -127. This will
be the shadow. If you want a darker or lighter shadow, open the same
dialog again and adjust the brightness. Next scale the shadow layer
vertically by 50%. You want the width to remain the same.
Select the Sheer tool (shift+s) and sheer the layer in the X direction
-100 pixels. Move the shadow layer to the bottom. Now use the Move
tool (m) to move the shadow into an appropriate position.
You can add a
penumbra by applying a Gaussian blur to the shadow layer: Filters
-> Blur -> Gaussian Blur. I blurred mine by 5 pixels.
Finally, you might want to autocrop the layers, then fit the image
canvas to the layers, which will get rid of the excess border.