When you’re doing any kind of design work in GIMP, having complete control over your layers makes the job much easier. Alignment tools are a major timesaver for designers, preventing you from having to calculate pixel offsets and other tedious things that the computer is much better at doing – at least, it’s usually better.
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Click on the vertical ruler at the edge of the image window and drag overtop of your image. GIMP will show you a blue overlay of a guide, which will stay fixed in place once you release the mouse button. These just act as temporary visual aids, and don’t appear in your final saved image.
With a guide on either side of my text, I can use them to center Wilber’s head above it without having to worry about whether or not the computer can calculate it properly. You might not be able to get it exactly pixel-perfect the way the computer would, but because the balance is slightly off anyways, it will be virtually impossible to notice.
There is a bit of subjective decision-making here too, which will depend on what layer you’re centering. Because of the exact shape of the curve that forms the bottom of Wilber’s jaw and ear, he might actually be better a bit farther over to the left than I placed him – but you’ll have to make that choice yourself.
One of the most important things to learn when you’re developing your skills as an image editor is when to trust the computer’s calculations and when it’s better to trust your own eye. If you were doing technical work, trust the computer every time – but for visual quirks like this one, trust your eye.
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That’s everything you need to know to center a layer in GIMP – and a bit of extra knowledge on top! I hope that it helps you sharpen your skills.
If you’ve got a centering trick that I didn’t include, be sure to let us know in the comments =)