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Tutorial: Creating a Vista-like wallpaper

Written by , translated by redforce · Created on Nov 26, 2008, last updated over 13 years ago CC BY-NC License
Creating a Vista-like wallpaper


There are different opinions about Microsoft Vista, but one thing impresses even me: the desktop backgrounds / Aero wallpapers. In this tutorial I will show you how to create a Vista-like background with GIMP. It needs some sensitivity, but this shouldn't stop you.

Tutorial details

  1. 1

    Create a new image: 1600×1200px, white background.

    Use Filter / Render / Clouds / Solid noise with these values:

  2. 2

    Create a new empty layer.

    Choose the
    Nehmt nun das Paths tool (hit B). Click one time left of the image area, then one time right of the image area. A line appears.

  3. 3

    Now grab the line in its center and move it a bit to the bottom. Dashed adjustment lines appear. Drag the left line to the right top (have a look at the screenshot). Drag the right point in the opposite direction.

    Then your curve should look like this:

  4. 4

    Press D to set the default colors. Bring the tool window to the foreground (press Ctrl+B). In the Paths tool settings, choose “Stroke Path”.

    Line width 1px.

  5. 5

    Duplicate the layer (Ctrl+Shift+D). Select the Move tool (M), click into the image area and hit the “Arrow down” key about 12 times to move the line to the bottom.

  6. 6

    Use the Rotate tool (Shift+R) to rotate the duplicated layer by -0.2°.

    Duplicate the rotated layer again and rotate the new layer. Move it down 12 pixels like before.

  7. 7

    We need some more of these lines, so we group the line layers to accelerate the duplicate/rotate process. Make the background layer invisible (click on its eye in the layer window).

  8. 8

    Press Ctrl+M or select Image / Merge visible layers in the menu and click on OK. Now we have 3 lines on one layer. (If you want to, you can make the background layer visible again using the eye symbol.)

    Now duplicate this layer again, rotate it by -0,6° (three lines to -0,2° each) and move it down.

    Repeat this procedure until you have produced about 24 lines.

  9. 9

    Merge all layers (make background layer invisible first). Now there should be only 2 layers remaining. Make the background layer visible again.

  10. 10

    Duplicate the lines layer.

    Switch to the background layer. Use Colors / Colorize: 210 / 100 / 20.

    Then do Colors / Brightness-Contrast: 0 / +50.

    Now use Filter / Blur / Gaussian Blur: 80 px two times.

  11. 11

    Zoom out far (for instance using Ctrl+mouse wheel). Select the Perspective tool or press Shift+P. Distort the layer like you can see on the screenshot.

  12. 12

    Select the line layer that you have duplicated before. Distort this layer, too (use the screenshot for reference).

  13. 13

    The next step is to enlarge the lines using the Scale tool (Shift+T).

    In the dialog, set 130 percent.

    Repeat this for the second layer.

  14. 14

    Now choose the Move tool (hold the Shift key to move the active layer only). Move both layers like I did (see the screenshot).

  15. 15

    Make the background layer invisible using the eye symbol.

    Select Edit / Copy visible, Edit / Paste as / New layer. I named the new layer “linien-beide” (“lines-both”). Click on the eye symbol for the pasted layer because we need it only later.

    Make the background layer visible again.

  16. 16

    Set the modes of the two line layers to “Grain extract”.

  17. 17

    Create a new layer above all the others and name it “gelb” (“yellow”).

    Select the new layer and choose the gradient tool (L key – no shift!). Select the 4th gradient
    (foreground to transparent). Color: #ffd200, shape: radial. Then drag the gradient from the right bottom to the left top third of the image.

  18. 18

    Create another new layer and do the same as in the previous step, but drag the gradient from the left to to the center and set the color: #24ff00.

  19. 19

    Set the modes of the previously created layers to “Hue”. Set “gelb” to opacity 100%, the green layer to 45%.

    We have to do a color correction on the background layer yet. Select the background layer, choose Colors / Curves and apply the settings as you can see them on the screenshot. They make the dark blue tones more black. Don’t forget to adjust the green and blue values.

  20. 20

    Duplicate the background layer, choose Colors / Desaturate, click on OK. Set the layer mode to “Screen” and its opacity to 85%.

  21. 21

    Now we need some more chaos.

    Duplicate the “linien-beide” layer (that’s the one where all the lines are). Set the modes of both layers to “Grain extract”.

  22. 22

    Apply Filter / Blur / Motion blur:

    Type: linear
    Length: 81
    Angle: 39

    Move the layer a bit to the top.

  23. 23

    You can modify the next steps to your own liking, but here are some guidelines:

    Switch to the copy of the layer. Apply the filter to this layer again, using the values:

    Type: linear
    Length: 79
    Angle: 205

    Move the layer somewhat to the bottom.

  24. 24

    Transform the two layers we have just blurred and make them larger (about 120%). Move them to positions that look good. Play around with the opacity, everything shouln’t be too visible.

  25. 25

    Right-click on the lines layer in the layer window and create a new layer mask (white). Then select the gradient tool, press D to reset the colors and use the bi-linear gradient (you have to set the shape!). Select the first gradient in the dropdown field (black to white).

    Also create a layer mask for the duplicated lines layer.

  26. 26

    Save the result. Choose Edit / Copy visible, Edit / Paste as / New image.

  27. 27

    Duplicate the new layer and set the duplicate’s mode to “Soft light”.

    Create a new layer and fill it with the color #ffae00. Set the layer mode to “Soft light” and the opacity to 80%. So the image looks warmer.

  28. 28

    Now some final things:

    Image / Merge visible layers. Move it a bit to the top.

  29. 29

    Duplicate the layer, select the Flip tool and flip it vertically. Move the layer to the bottom to cover the transparent region.

    Colors / Brightness-Contrast: +100 / +5

  30. 30

    Ctrl+M to merge.

    Select the Perspective tool and distort like this:

  31. 31

    You can put some text into the image, for instance like this:

  32. 32

    You can achieve good color combinations using Colors / Color Balance. Have fun when trying it out…

  33. 33

    Another possibility:

  34. 34

    Yet another…

  35. 35

    Or have it like this!


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devvv member for over 17 years devvv 1475 comments
over 11 years ago

thank you, thats very kind!

pressure washer reviews
over 11 years ago

This is very interesting, You are a very skilled blogger. I have joined your rss feed and look forward to seeking more of your great post. Also, I've shared your web site in my social networks!

almost 13 years ago

Awesome tutorial. Pleasure to find a good one for intermediate users, I have been trying to work out how this is done for a week or two Thanks

Zono rated this topic with 4/5
about 14 years ago

What font is in the example image?

about 14 years ago

im sorry, but how do you group the layers like in step 6? :p

almost 15 years ago

Nice tutorial, but all of your preview images look weird, you haven't rotated or skewed the text to make it fit in with the skewed image..

over 15 years ago

Hy, Could some one make one for me, i can't make the 3rd layer.
Just email it to me at
A image like #35 without text.


prinsz91 member for over 15 years prinsz91 2 comments
over 15 years ago

ow sorry I didn't explained it right.
I cant see the pictures in the tut. there not displayed, so I havent got anything to click on. funny, caus when somebody posts a comment with his own picture result I suddenly can click on those ones.

sorry for my lacky english I am dutch

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

please click the image itself - not the text below the image. or do you have some aggressive popup-blocker plugins installed?

prinsz91 member for over 15 years prinsz91 2 comments
over 15 years ago

I cant click to enlarge the pictures..

Sumit Banerjee
over 15 years ago

Hey, this is a great tutorial. However, I had a bit of trouble with steps 19 and 20. For some reason, these steps don't produce the same result as it does for you. I even went as far as to use the same seed as you for the render.

over 15 years ago

very nice effect devv!! thanks

Reynante Martinez
over 15 years ago

Gee, thanks so much. ^_^


over 15 years ago

great tutorial! thx for sharing, devvv!

over 15 years ago

nice tutorial

misstarnia member for over 15 years misstarnia 2 comments
over 15 years ago

Great instructions, mine worked