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Tutorial: Create a shield symbol

Written by · Created on Sep 12, 2007, last updated over 10 years ago CC BY-NC License
Create a shield symbol


In this user tutorial our user myke shows you how you can create a shield symbol/icon for (e.g.) all kinds of security issues.

Tutorial details

  1. 1

    Create a new picture in a size of 320×240 und fill it with a light grey (e.g. #eaeaf0).

  2. 2

    Choose the paths tool and create three points like in the picture. Take the two points on the top and drag them while pressing the Ctrl key into the right positions.

  3. 3

    Choose the selection from the path and create a new layer. Then fill the selection with white and rename the layer to “Basic form”.

  4. 4

    Now add a shadow in Filter → Light and Shadow → Drop Shadow. Choose these settings:

    0, 0, 5, black, 80

  5. 5

    The picture will look like this:

  6. 6

    Let’s make the image more like 3D. Add a new layer named “Shadow” and add a black layer mask. Then choose the “Basic form” layer, get the selection of the alpha channel (to do that right click the layer in the layers dialogue and choose “Alpha to Selection” or “Selection from Alpha”) and fill the selection in the mask with white (click the black layer mask in the layers dialogue to work on it – then use set white as foreground color and choose from the main menu: “Edit” → “Fill FG color”;).

    Deactivate the selection (Select / None) and click the shadow layer in the layers dialogue. Now set black as your foreground color and set the “Mode” option of the blend/gradient tool to “GC color to transparency”. Now drag the gradient like in the picture.

  7. 7

    Set the opacity of the layer between 30% and 10%. I have chosen 15%.

  8. 8

    Creating the shape of the shield: Add a new layer named “Form” and fill it white. Select again the alpha channel of the “Basic form” layer and shrink the selection by 2 pixels. Fill the selection with black, unselect it and draw a white line through the form. For straight lines hold the Shift key.

  9. 9

    Make the border softer: Use the Gaußian blur and radius 5 and choose the Curves tool (Colors → Curves). Adjust the curve as to see in the screenshot and press OK. Remove the white color by clicking Colors → Color to Transparency → White. Hide the layer.

  10. 10

    Copy the layer, show it and rename to “Color”. Lock the alpha channel and fill with an appropriate color (e.g. #274383). The lock icon can be found atop all layers in the layers dialog (next to the transparency).

  11. 11

    Create a new layer, name it “Shadow Color”, select the alpha channel of the “Basic form” layer and shrink the selection by 2 pixels. Choose a darker color as the previous one (e.g. #13295a), set the blend shape to “Shaped (angular)” and activate “reverse”. Create a new blend by dragging. Add a black layer mask, choose the alpha channel of the form layer and fill it with white.

  12. 12

    Duplicate the layer “Shadow”, delete the content, move it to the top of the layer list in the layers dialog and set the opacity to 100%. Drag a linear blend (White to Transparency) like shown in the image and move the layer to the top of the layer list.

  13. 13

    Create a mirror effect by hiding the background layer and clicking Edit → Copy Visible. Edit → Paste => new layer (click the new layer button in the layers dialog to get this on a new layer). Flip the layer vertically and move it downwards. Add a layer mask and drag a blend (White to Black) from top to down. Name the layer “Mirror” and set the opacity to 30%. Show the background layer.

  14. 14

    Add a short text in the light color and rotate it by -45°. Move the layer in the middle of the shield and add a shadow (radius 5). You’re done.

  15. 15

    The layers dialog list:

    In the picture some layer names are German:
    “Spiegelung” is our “Mirror”-layer
    “Grundform” is our “Basic form”-layer
    “Schattierung-Farbe” is our “Shadow Color”-layer.

  16. 16

    Some variations I made:

  17. 17

    And another possible use:


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This topic (Create a shield symbol) has been rated 3.8/5.0.

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groni member for over 9 years groni 2 comments rated this topic with 5/5
over 9 years ago

you make good tutorials
do it further so

devvv member for about 17 years devvv 1475 comments
over 9 years ago

vielleicht solltest du dir das tutorial auf der deutschen seite anschauen ;)

over 9 years ago

Dieses tutorial ist nicht sehr gut erklärt. vieles funktioniert nicht. villeicht liegt das an den unterschiedlichen gimp versionen (2.3 ./. 2.8) :(

over 11 years ago

Please can you make that video ... all the process that is because not manage to make it;

devvv member for about 17 years devvv 1475 comments
about 12 years ago

thanks for the hint. I've updated step 6 to make it more user friendly. It now explaines the step much better!

about 12 years ago

this tutorial is not well explained at all, the moment you get to step 6 you can't really go any further, the blend tool doesn't do what he said it would, it would also help if you could see they layers during each step so we know we're doing it right

devvv member for about 17 years devvv 1475 comments
about 13 years ago

whats wrong with the steps of the tutorial? where does it not match your version of GIMP?

Toli rated this topic with 1/5
about 13 years ago

This tutorial is not synchronized with the current version of GIMP and the final result could not be achieved. I think the tutorial should be changed or should be removed.
Do not take it in this form!

Fernando Carvalho rated this topic with 5/5
over 13 years ago

Forbid entrance of programs not solicited. Tanks Fernando

devvv member for about 17 years devvv 1475 comments
over 13 years ago

Use the Bezier Curves tool. then click 3 times and place the 3 points as shown. connect the last point with the first one while pressing CTRL. Then holt CTRL and drag a line out of the point to control the curve.

hope that helps

James rated this topic with 4/5
over 13 years ago

How do you do step 2.2, I am struggling just to create the shield shape ?

n00b member for over 13 years n00b 3 comments
over 13 years ago

Could you be a little more specific? With step by step of how to do each. Like where to make each selection? Also when you say "click on layer" could you instead say something like "Click on the layer 'shadow"

This looks neat and I'd love to be able to make it, but I'm just too new to get this.

Timothy Dawson
almost 14 years ago

The result looks amazing, but I've been using GIMP for years and things just stopped working right between 4 and 6. Highly unspecific. 1/10 stars.

about 14 years ago

I used this logo for Gufw project.
Thanks very much for your work!!

about 14 years ago

Several of these steps can be totally eliminated using GIMP 2.6.6. If you're stuck and want to see the step by step of how I got around some of the steps mentioned here, check out my site at I'll have the tutorial up within the next day or so.

The tutorial posted here was done in 2007 and it looks like Mike isn't checking in

about 14 years ago

I got stuck on step 6
which layer do we gradient on
and the drop shadow layer on mine just came up with nothing instead of a shadow

over 14 years ago

I am a realatively new GIMP user..I am having problems with step 6, I can not get the gradient to show any black. It shows grey to white. Also, Step 8 is giving me alot of trouble, I can create the layer and fill it white. I can shrink it 2 pixels, but when it comes to "Fill the selection with black, unselect it and draw a white line through the form" It wont fill black, it stays white and I cant make the line. Can anyone walk me through this please.

over 14 years ago

enhorabuena de iconos para escudos y esta muy bien de organizado.

devvv member for about 17 years devvv 1475 comments
over 14 years ago

to get the selection from alpha right click the appropriate layer in the layers dialog. then choose "Selection from Alpha". After that right click again and choose "new layer mask". directly right of the layer the mask will appear. click it - then you can work on that mask. then fill it with white by selection white as Foreground-color - go to edit / Fill FG-Color to fill that selection. in step 15 you see a layer called "Schattierung" - i think that is the one you make in step 6.

hope that helps

ShockwaveLover member for over 14 years ShockwaveLover 7 comments
over 14 years ago

I am also having problems with step 6. Just how do you 'get the selection of the alpha channel and fill the selection in the mask with white.' ?

A step by step walkthrough would be nice.

Sander Valcke
over 14 years ago

Wow, not always super easy to see what you have to do -for a gimp noob :p- but the result is just fantastic!

almost 15 years ago

I have tried this over and over and still cannot get it. Can you show screenshots of each step and not just the finished look of each completed step? For instance in step #6 where it says 'Then choose the "Basic form" layer, get the selection of the alpha channel and fill the selection in the mask with white' can you show how to do that step? Because that selection of the alpha channel is throwing me for a loop, among other things.

All3yCat member for about 15 years All3yCat 1 comment
about 15 years ago

ok so #6 i understand but i don't know if i was doing it wrong but it wont show up like the picture you have and it it irritating me

over 15 years ago

Got confused in point #6 :-(
Can you please clarify it more clearly, which layer you are referring and when.
Also, can you please clarify, which layer should be on top of which one?

over 15 years ago

Point #6 went a little over my head. Could you be more elaborate on the steps needed?

over 15 years ago

Hey this is so sweet but i dont no how to make them on the internet

devvv member for about 17 years devvv 1475 comments
over 15 years ago

on the top click downloads and choose the installer for your operating system. the program is called gimp (the gnu image manipulation program)

over 15 years ago

wat isvthis program on wich i can create thease things?
were can i gett it?

about 16 years ago

Looks good.
Nice and to the point.

about 16 years ago

Really cool tutorial.

henriquemaia member for about 16 years henriquemaia 11 comments
about 16 years ago

Great tutorial. Thanks!