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Tutorial: "Solar winds" graphics effect

Written by , translated by redforce · Created on Oct 22, 2010, last updated over 13 years ago CC BY-NC License


In this tutorial we want to create a dynamic effect where dotted rays get some movement. I decided to call it "solar winds" effect but I'm not quite sure if this is correct...

Tutorial details

  1. 1

    - Create a new image with a black background and 1024×768 size.

    - At first we have to do some brush settings. Select the brush tool and choose a hard, big brush.

    - Open the brush dialog (Window / Dockable Dialogs / brushes) and set the spacing to 150%, so that brushes have a space between each other when they’re placed on the workspace.

  2. 2

    For the brush tool, select the brush dynamics like in the image.

    In GIMP 2.7+, choose:
    - “Opacity” to “pressure” and “fade” and
    - “Size” to “velocity”

    So the brush becomes smaller the faster you paint.

  3. 3

    In the next steps we will outline 3-4 paths.

    - Let’s begin with the first path. Select the path tool. Click on some places in the image and change the curves at the points, but don’t merge the path because the points shall not become connected. Create a nice-looking curve.

  4. 4

    Click on “Stroke path”, then select the option at the bottom and choose “emulate brush dynamics”.

  5. 5

    - Create a new transparent layer.

    - Click on “Stroke” in the “stroke path”-dialogue. Now there should be points that become smaller along the path.

  6. 6

    - Create 2-3 more paths. For each path, reduce the brush scaling by about 1/3 (for instance, 1.00 for the second path and 0.5 for the third).

    I created and outlined 3 different paths.

  7. 7

    Now apply Filter / Motion Blur to the first path (use the values from the illustration). Make sure that “Blur outward” is disabled.

  8. 8

    Repeat this for all your paths.

  9. 9

    - Disable the background layer.
    - Right-click in the layers dialog on the topmost path and select “New from Visible”.

  10. 10

    - Select the topmost layer and open the Motion Blur again using Ctrl+Shift+F. This time, enable “Blur outward” and set the value to 140 or higher. Apply the filter.

    - Make the background layer visible again by clicking the eye symbol in the layers dialog.

  11. 11

    Now let’s get some color into play.

    - Create new transparent layer. Then, for this layer:
    - Filter / Render / Clouds / Plasma (use the values from the screen shot).

  12. 12

    - Set layer mode to “Grain extract”.

  13. 13

    - Right-click on the topmost mayer again and create “New from Visible”.

    - Now do Colors / Color Balance:

    Shadows: 0 / 0 / -40
    Midtones: 20 / 0 / -65
    Highlights: 25 / 10 / -40

    (Of course, you can play around with the color settings yourself.)

  14. 14

    Duplicate the layer, set the layer mode to “Multiplicate” and opacity to 50%.

    Ready ;)

  15. 15

    Here you can see another version with smaller spacings and other curves.


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over 12 years ago


over 13 years ago

Awesome toturial!
Thanks for sharing!:)

cak anas
over 13 years ago

thank's ... good tutorial's.. :)

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

Actually the option is "Stroke" found in the Stroke-Path-dialogue. I changed it in the tutorial ;)

over 13 years ago

Where do I find "Outline" from the step 5 in GIMP 2.6?

over 13 years ago

Excellent tutorial. Thanks!

over 13 years ago

OUch that looks pretty awesome!
thanks for sharing.
gonna test it tonight ;D