Picture of How to fake a miniature model.
This will show you how to modify a photograph to look like a miniature model.

You will need Gimp
and any aerial photograph.

if you're running windows, you'll also need a focus blur plugin
Gimp for linux has focus blur built in.
Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up

Step 1: Selecting a picture.

Picture of Selecting a picture.
This step is very important. The method i will show you may not work well on some images, in fact, it may not work well on many images. Aerial photographs seem to work best. Remember, you're faking a miniature model, and they're kind of hard to photograph, the easiest way to photograph a model is from just above it. The image i chose for this is an aerial photograph of the vehicle assembly building at the Kennedy space center. I highly recommend you use this image for your first try. (right click and hit 'save image as')

Step 2: Add a layer

Picture of Add a layer
After you've loaded the image in Gimp (File > Open), we need to add a blank layer on top.
In the Layers window Click new layer and name it whatever you want.
If you don't see a Layers window, press Control-L (or select it from the Dialogs menu)

Step 3: Add a gradient

Picture of Add a gradient
In the Layers window, select the new layer by clicking it.
Now click the Gradient tool in the Gimp window.
Next, click and hold near the bottom of the image and drag the mouse to the top of the image, a line will appear as you drag, it is important that you keep that line as straight as you can. Release the mouse, your image should now be black on the bottom and fade to white at the top and look like the (second) image below.

If it has White at the bottom and black on top, click Colors and select Invert.
Derek Vigil3 years ago
Here's mine.
carrotman426 years ago
Hi, where abouts do I put the focus blur plugin I downloaded for it to work?
joe57005 (author)  carrotman425 years ago
rtfm! depending on your gimp version (rather, the os you use) there should be a "plugins" folder somewhere you can just drop it in, assuming it doesn't need to be compiled. if you're on linux it may be under /usr/share/gimp or in your home folder somewhere. in windows it'll be under program files somewhere.
DanwiseG6 years ago
Adult Swim has used this technique I think for some of their commercials.
joe57005 (author)  DanwiseG6 years ago
Joss Whedon's new show, Dollhouse uses this in their opening title sequence. (my new favorite show!)
eviltechie6 years ago
Very nice. This makes me want to go out and buy an airplane and a tablet. Anyway, this is my attempt at this.
lieuwe6 years ago
I would like to try this, but I'm on a windows machine and it looks like you can't install gimp plugins on windows, does anybody know how i should tackle this?
joe57005 (author)  lieuwe6 years ago
Here's the windows version it should work the same way, just slower. (i haven't tested it)
lieuwe joe570056 years ago
that, doesn't work :-(, it just makes gimp throw an error at me
joe57005 (author)  lieuwe6 years ago
what kind of error? are you using the binaries and right version of gimp? I'm sure there's a gimp forum somewhere that can help. give me a day or two and I'll make alternate instructions for the disab... er.. windows users :) There are other ways to do this, they just don't look as nice. (with my experience)
lieuwe joe570056 years ago
yeah sorry about that, I've got the new version of gimp now, works great is there any chance you know if there is an pre-compiled win32 version of gimp-gap for 2.6?
joe57005 (author)  lieuwe6 years ago
I looked (briefly) and didn't find anything. I sugguest installing the mobile version of gimp 2.4 to a folder somewhere and run that. it shouldn't affect the current gimp on your computer. Or you can download a livecd of ubuntu (use 8.04) and run the linux version of gimp from the cd.
thats neat.....
ll.136 years ago
Very nice!
Model work now always reminds me of a scene in James Bond - Dr. No where a model boat is used in a shot, it's a little obvious =]
Nice job joe, I've a few photoshop 'ibles on the way myself since it's all I've been doing for the last three days (tech coursework, repairing my images etc. for pro quality...)