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Tutorial: Creating an abstract chaos explosion

Written by , translated by redforce · Created on Dec 21, 2008, last updated over 13 years ago CC BY-NC License
Creating an abstract chaos explosion


I saw this tutorial recently for Photoshop and have ported it to GIMP. Doing this effect is quite simple and you will achieve good results even if you have no GIMP experience. We will create an "abstract explosion" with a little painting and a few filters. Have fun!

Tutorial details

  1. 1

    Create a new empty image: 1024×768px.

    - Set foreground color: black
    - Then: Edit / Fill with FG Color

    The whole image should now be black.

  2. 2

    - In the layers window (show with Ctrl+L), create a new transparent layer.
    - Choose the color #ffa200 as the foreground color.
    - Select the pencil tool with the “Circle (3)” brush.
    - Then draw some mazy lines on the new layer.

  3. 3

    Now choose

    - Filters / Blur / Motion Blur

    There you select blur type “Zoom” and set the blur parameter “Length” to 90. Don’t modify the other values. Make sure that “Blur outward” is not selected.

  4. 4

    To intensify the colors, duplicate the layer and change the layer mode to “grain merge”:

    - In the layers window, press the “duplicate” button.
    - Select the top layer (the one that has been created by the duplication)
    - A bit above, you can find a dropdown menu named “mode”. There you select “grain merge”.

    Now the whole thing should look a little more igneous.

  5. 5

    Now we bring some more chaos into the image and the rays:

    - Create a new transparent layer.
    - Select the Paintbrush tool, choose “Calligraphic Brush #1” aus (see screenshot) and draw some rampant lines onto the layer again.

  6. 6

    - Filters / Distorts / Waves:

    Choose the vales like on the screenshot:

  7. 7

    Set the layer mode of this layer to “Overlay”.

    Hint: If you think the chaos effect looks too strong, you can use the opacity control to modify the strength of the effect. I used opacity 60%.

  8. 8

    Now the last step that reduces the luminance and thereby brings some more abstractness and details into the image (it doesn’t look like a simple zoom/blur filter combination then, too).

    - Edit / Copy visible
    - Edit / Paste as / New layer
    - Filters / Edge-detect / Edge: (Sobel, amount: 2)

    Looks cool already — if you want to leave it like that, just do so, but originally it’s intended for something else.

  9. 9

    - Colors / Color to Alpha: from black to alpha.

    Now everything black has been removed from the layer.

    For the next step, the yellow lines have to become white. Click on the “lock” checkbox right below the opacity ruler so that it is selected.

    - Choose white as new foreground color and choose Edit / Fill with FG color — the lines are now white.

  10. 10

    - Set the opacity to 50% in the layer window.
    - Then set the layer mode to “Grain extract” so some of the glowing orange color is removed.

    That’s all. I hope you like the effect and have fun when playing around with it. You can also make nice desktop wallpapers with this effect.

  11. 11

    Here are 2 different color versions of the result:


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devvv member for almost 18 years devvv 1475 comments
over 13 years ago

You're welcome ;)

Jackster111 member for over 14 years Jackster111 2 comments
over 14 years ago

Hi I am new to Gimp and found this tutorial very helpful. Thanks for posting!

over 15 years ago

thanxz for your tutorial.It was really helpful

over 15 years ago

Cool, was looking for a cool way to make a splash screen. I think I've found it!

over 15 years ago

OMG! Thanks to you i saw the light xDDD
Great tutorial ^^

redforce member for almost 18 years redforce 230 comments
over 15 years ago

TheJoe: If you want to publish your good tutorials on this site, please just submit them via email ( Thanks

over 15 years ago

oh my god.. what is that?? didn't u had anythin more interesting to post?? this ain't a good tutorial..

over 15 years ago

Wow it looks very impressive, thanks

prairiekittin member for over 16 years prairiekittin 3 comments
over 15 years ago

Interesting and fun. Thank you!

over 15 years ago

Great tutorial! I'm new to gimp and I'm finding all of the tutorials very informative and makes creating images and graphics quite simple. Thanks.