Gimp Tutorial – Creating a lightening bolt texture

Creating a lightening bolt texture in the GIMP

Level: Newbie to Intermediate

Solid Noise generator in gimp
  • Step1. Launch the GIMP and create a new image of 256x768px. Go to Filters>> Render>> Solid Noise.

And in the pop-up enter the values as shown in the fig1 or choose one of your own by hitting ‘New Seed’ button. Finally press OK button to render the noise.

rendering a b&w gradient in the gimp
Creating a b&w gradient in the gimp
  • Step2. Create a new layer over the current layer. Go to the Tool Box and select the gradient tool and in the Tool Options select the shape of the gradient as Bil-linear and enable Adaptive-supersampling. Create a new layer over the noise layer and draw a small gradient over the new layer (see fig3).

One thing to remember here is that you should try to draw the gradient over the part of the solid noise which contains most white and its surrounding areas are darker that is where you get good contrast.

This time we will learn the procedure for creating a lightening bolt sprite from the GIMP.

fig 4.

Lightning bolts finds good used in 3D game SFX like zapping an item or enemy from an electric weapon or denoting tension in scifi looking area or just a natural lightening bolt to enhance the environment mood.

  • Step3. Go to the Layer’s dialog box (fig4) and change the layer-mode of the gradient layer to Difference. Immediately you can see the formation of bolt. Now do Image>> Flatten Image. To flatten all the layers into one single layer. No go to layer>> Color>> Invert to invert the color of the layer.
fig 5.
fig 6.
  • Step4. What you get is a streak of two lightning bolts (fig5), but these bolts are hardly usable as they are virtually glued together. Go to Layer>> color>> levels (fig7).

This will bring up the Level adjust dialog box here drag the input levels mid pointer towards right while you do this you can also see the formation of two clear lightening bolts(fig6). Adjust the amount of sharpness you want then press ok.

fig 7.

Step5. To separate the lightening bolts as alpha channel you will need to convert black color to alpha. To do that go to Layers>> Transparency>> Color to Alpha(fig8).

In the Color to Alpha dialog click the form button and choose black color then press ok. You now have an alpha based version of the bolt save it in the formats that support transparency like PNG or TGA etc.

fig 8.

Although this method only generates pretty straight bolts you can compliment it with the noise generation plug-ins for the GIMP called plasma2 etc.

They will allow you to have pretty much random noise generation which in turn can result in more varied bolts. I hope it had provided you with a nice and easy way to create lightening bolts.

Gimp Tutorial – Creating a Mahogany wood tile texture

Good looking ’tillable’ wood textures are often hard to come by, and that too if they are needed to be suitable for a particular job. The usual way is to modify the image(photograph) based textures, but in most cases they are not up to the mark. As photographs mostly come with lighting distortions, which, unfortunately, make them unusable or unattractive for tillable textures.

Such textures can be corrected for lighting distortions by manipulating them using a technique called Highpass filtering. I will write about it in next tutorial that’s right!! Instead of image manipulation we will go my way and created the texture from scratch. In this case, we will create a Mahogany wood texture.
  • Step1 You can choose your own resolution as usual, but here I have chosen 512×512. First off we will create bands for the wood. Go to Filters>> Render>> Clouds>> Solid Noise. To get bands(vertical here) increase the ‘X size’ to 16 and reduce the ‘Y size’ to 0.6. You can copy the random seed value or choosing the value of your own.
Image 1. Generating the wood patterns.
  • Step2 Next step create a new layer, rename it to Mahogany color. Select the color #5f0909 from the color picker. And fill the new layer with this color. Change the layer mode to Multiply. This gives us the very basic texture.
Image 2. The Mahogany color.
  • Step3 You would have noticed that right now the texture have very subtle color radiations. We will increase the saturation so that they are more visible. Select the bands layer and press Layer>> Color>> Levels. Either copy the values from the image3 or make sure the ‘Preview’ is checked and modify the black and white level until you are satisfied.
Image 3. Increasing saturation.
Image 4. Applying noise on banding.
  • Step4 The bands are too plain to be convincing. We will make them a bit dirty. Go to Filters>> Noise>> ScatterRGB, un-check the independent RGB and increase the value to 0.46. The independent RGB created colored noise while unchecked one gives black and white noise and that what we need, you can use that also and after applying use Layer>> Color>> Desaturate for approximately same effect.
  • Step5 The noise addition destroys the plainness but is too coarse to be usable. We will not apply motion blur vertically. Go to Filers>> Blur>> Motion blur. Change the length value to 20 and angle to 90 press OK button to apply. The noise patterns will get washed vertically creating interesting patterns in the bland wooden bands and the over result is much better in comparison to the plain bands we created in step1. But is still lacks the chaotic variation of the natural wood.
Image 5. Applying Motion blur.
Step6 We just need to get distortion in the regular vertical bands. Go to Filters>> Distort>> Iwrap. And there yo can change the distortions by moving the mouse over the small preview and using the three options, grow, move and scale so that you get somewhat like in the image8. The image 6 is before distorting.

Image 6. Before distortion.

Image 7. After manual distortion.
Step7 The wood now looks much realistic. The whiteness of the bands is sharper and will be noticeable during tiling. We will add one more differed, but brute banding to get more balanced texture. Create new image just double the size you chose for the texture. Create new band pattern by going to Filters>> Render>> Clouds>> Solid Noise. Enable Turbulent and choose some pattern seed or copy from the image8 below.
Image 8. Hard banding for a new image.
  • Step8 We want more banding lines in our texture and the ‘Solid Noise’ tool does not give much control over this feature, so we will compress the new image to half in width only and leave the height intact. Then select all (Ctrl+A) and copy the new texture.
    Image 9. Compressing the image width.
Image10 Layers position.
  • Step9 Paste the copied texture in the older as a new layer on top of all. Now go to Layer>> color>> Invert to invert the new layer. change the Layer mode to ‘Burn’ and bring the opacity down to 20. There you have it the Mahogany tile texture.
  • Step10 The texture although complete is not perfect until its tillable. Save the Image copy now and flatten the image now use ‘Ctrl+Shift+O’ and change the offset to 256 in both X and Y. Start editing the texture using the clone and smudge tool until you deem necessary.
Image 11. The seam problems in the middle.
Image 12. Tillable Mahogany wood texture.
This finishes the tileable wood texture tutorial in gimp.
Happy gimping!

Gimp Tutorial – Creating a tile able ceramic texture

Creating a ceramic tileable texture in GIMP

Gaurav Nawani


In this tutorial, we are going to create a ceramic tile floor texture using Gimp tools. Gimp ver2.2 has been used for this tutorial, if you are using earlier versions, you might require different steps.

  • Step1. We will first start off with a new file of your chosen size. Here the size is of 300×300 pix, choosing. Choose and fill the base color of darker brown.
  • Step2. Create an empty layer. Go to Filters>> distort>> Mosaic and adjust the settings as in the image 1.
Image1. The Mosaic dialog box settings.
Image2. The mosaic tile rendered.

The mosaic distort filter will fill up the transparent later with mosaic tiles as shown in the Image 2.

Image3. The Offset layer.
  • Step3. Since its a tile, we need to make it seamless. We have to repeat seamless drill as done in previous tutorials. Select the tiled layer, press Ctrl+O to bring up layer offset dialog box and fill 150 in both x& y and press OK. You will get something like below. It is not seamless and need to be worked.

Make it seamless by creating. joining and cutting current tile patterns by editing them with clone brush and or any tool you prefer.

  • Step4. After making the tile seamless, right click on the tiled layer and click Alpha to selection. Create a new transparent layer and fill it with same ‘grey’ from the rendered tile.

Duplicate the new layer and apply Gaussian burr of .6. Right click on the blurred layer and select Merge down, to merge it with the base layer it was duplicated from.

This step is done as we need a source for bump map layer. You can use the source from the step3 itself, but it will not create smoother edges in the bumps as the one we prepared in this step.

  • Step5. Select the base color layer and go to Filters>> Map>> Bump Map. And apply the settings as below.
Image4. Bump mapping for the tile patterns
  • Step6. It’s time to create details on the texture. First go back to the seamless tile again and right click and select ‘Alpha to selection’ again. Create a new transparent layer. Apply Filters>> Noise>> Hurl at default settings.

The go to Layers>> Color>> Apply desaturated on the noise layer. Apply Gaussian blur of .3 on the layer.

  • Step7. Now we need to create bump maps from the noise layer as a source. Select the bump mapped color tile texture. And apply Filters>> Map>> Bump Map. Select the source as the noise layer and copy the setting from the image5.
Image5. Bump map settings for noise.
Image6. The tile nearly finished.
  • Step8. Select the seamless tile from the Step3 and select “Alpha to selection” and then press Ctrl+I to invert the selection. Create a new layer at the top of all layers and fill it with black and change its transparency level to 20-35 whatever works best for you. Basic tile is finished.

    Image7. After addition of details.

Image8. The Ceramic tile texture after tiling 2×2 times.
  • Step9. This is the final step for the texture tiling. After creating the tile you need to flatten it and check it for any seamless defects. Use the same method as step3 if you need to make it seamless. Your ceramic tile is ready to put for other uses.
Image9. Sample texture after some modding.

This finishes the Ceramic texture tutorial in Gimp.


Gimp Tutorial – Creating tile able wood texture

Creating tileable wood texture in GIMP

 Gaurav Nawani

This tutorial will be easy enough for a new user to GIMP as well as intermediate users of GIMP. The aim of this tutorial is to create a tileable wooden texture, which can be used as a base for other modifications and is described with an example. Before you proceed you will need to have GIMP2, although this isn’t a requirement, but you might lose way if you have older versions. This tutorial can be adapted in other similar graphics manipulation programs. The base image is of 300×300.

  • Step-1. Chose any colour you wish your texture to begin with or use colour dropper to pick the colour from the image below.
Image-1 Base colour for the Wood tile
  • Step-2. Create a new transparent layer and go to Filters>> Noise>> Noisify. Un-check independent in the Noisify dialog box and increase the setting to 0.76. Rename the layer to ‘noise’ or something you favour. Those of you who are using Gimp2.2pre first you need to have a white layer instead of transparent. Then go to Filter>> Noise>> Scatter RGB and un-check independent there, and use 0.56 as the value.
Image-2 The noise.
  • Step-3. Now we will create the wood skin pattern from the noise layer. You can keep a duplicate of the noise layer if you want to experiment more. Go to Filters>>Blur>>Motion Blur a motion blur dialog box will pop-up. See Image 3 for settings.

To smoothen the motion blur again apply the ‘Motion blur’ filter but this time in opposite direction I.e. 3600.

Image-3 Motion Blur dialog box.

Now change the mode of the motion blurred noise layer to ‘Divide’ from Normal.

  • Step-4. To create a tileable image, it is necessary that we do not have seams in the image. To remove seams there are two methods in GIMP first one is the filter which will make your tile seamless by using the image info at four corners and then overlapping them. You can do that by Filters>>Map>> Seamless. But for our work this will show visible patterns. So I had chosen a manual method. It is pretty straight forward but requires more work, again it will give better results.
Image-4 Offset dialog box.

To make a seamless tile manually, select the blurred noise tile if not selected, press ‘Ctrl+Shift+O’ It will open the offset dialog box (see Image4). Here you keep checked the wrap option. It is necessary. Just change the X and Y values to half or similar to what the size of an image you made.

  • Step-5. After changing the offset of the blurred noise layer, yo will get something like this.
Image-5 Tile after offset wrapping.

The image5 the noise layer has very subtle seam horizontally but very visible seam vertically (note image is zoomed). Now you can use “Smudge” tool (S-key) and very smaller brush size to try to remove the seam in between. If you are dexterous this method will bring better results as mostly the image have very similar patterns near the seam.

After making, it seamless just reverse the offset by again inputting X and Y values in negative and again check for any visible seam and remove it again by using the ‘Smudge’ tool.

Image-6 Colour exchange dialog with settings.
  • Step-6. After making the Seamless tile from the noise layer we need to make it such that it can be used to provide good bump maps for the wood texture. Select the seamless tile layer, go to Filters>> Colors>>Map>> Colour Exchange. See Image 6. Chose From colour and to colour as shown in the image and press OK. This will change black colour to grey which can be used effectively for bump maps.
  • Step-7. Now select the ‘base colour’ layer and got to Filers>> Map>> Bump Map. Here select the tiled noise layer as the bump map and change the values as shown in the image7.
Image-7 Tile Bump Map dialog box.

After applying bump map, you will get the very basic building block for the wood tile. The tile should look like as in image7, but depending on your settings it may vary.

Image-8 Tile layers in the Layer panel.
  • Step-8. The tile as it appears will look pretty basic and it needs to dirtied up a bit. Follow the following actions carefully.

Duplicate the noise layer two times and merge them. And retain the layer mode for it at ‘Divide’. Select any colour from it by using the tool “Select regions by colour” (Shift+O). Press ‘Ctrl+I’ or goto Select>> Invert Selection to Invert the selection. Without disturbing the selection create another transparent layer and rename it dirty. Fill the selection with Black colour in the dirty layer (in image8 its is shown by layer named Empty layer). Change the layer mode to ‘Grain Merge’ and opacity to 50.

The basic wooden tile is ready for action. At this point, you can use or modify it for any use you wish.

Image-9. In the meantime, the basic tile should be looking like this.
Image-10. Notice the seamless-ness of the tile. Here it is repeated two times
Image-11. A planked texture ready for use.

This finishes the wood texture creating a tutorial.

Happy Gimping!

Gimp Tutorial – Creating a tile able wall texture in GIMP

Simplified approach for creating a tileable wall texture in GIMP

Gaurav Nawani

This tutorial assumes that you are able to make your way through the GIMP interface nicely. This tutorial does not aim as laying out step by step tutorial for creating photo-realistic wall texture, rather it aims at a simplified approach for creating a photo-realistic texture. The end result will depend on the amount of work put into and artistic ability of the user, so if you understand the ‘underlying approach’ instead of steps and try out your own Ideas with it, it will be a rewarding experience.

In CG you will mostly have to deal with textures which are multiples of 2, like 16, 32, 64, 128, 256, 512, 1024, 2048 etc, The image size of 512 and above are heavily used as 3d game textures. In pure 3d renderings, you can use any resolution, but sticking with it, helps you to have a better and faster way of creating textures, especially ’tillable’ textures. The application of tillable textures can be in any CG since the difference between tillable and others is obvious, you can create multiple styles from a single tillable texture, which can fit seamlessly among  varied versions of it.

One more thing concerning the CG textures is the size at which they are painted and used. As a rule of thumb create textures double the size of what you require. Like you need to render an image at 512×512 then your texture should be 1024×1024. This is not because of any restriction but because of the fact that you can paint more details at higher resolution than at smaller resolution, and scaling the texture by half keeps good level of detail, enhancing the overall quality of the artwork.

  • Step1. Create a new image in GIMP, you can select the size of your choice, but for the sake of simplicity we are going for 320×320 pixels.

Add a new transparent layer above the background layer and fill the colour as shown in the colour selector window, rename the layer to ‘wall-colour’.  This will be the base colour for the wall texture we are going to create.

Image-1. The colour selection box.

Add a new transparent layer above the ‘wall-colour’ and rename it to ‘wall-noise’. Go to Filters>>Noise>>Noisify, change the settings as shown in the Image-2.

The noise added will be used to create the rough bumps on the walls. Unchecking independent will lock all the noise channel slider, so when one is moved all of them will move together. Although this step is not exactly necessary as we have to eventually ‘desaturate’ the colored noise to greyscale.

The reason that the noise is desaturated is because ‘bump mapping’ takes information only from the colours between grey and white. Grey means downward bump and white mean upward bump. Middle grey is no bump.

Image-2. The Noisify dialog box.
  • Step2. Select the noise layer and go to Layer>>Colours>>Desaturate. The noise layer will get converted to greyscale, exactly what we need for the bump map for the wall texture.
Image-3. The noise layer after desaturation
Image-4. Layer positions

Gimp Bump Map dialog

Image-5. Bump Map dialog box
  • Step3. Now we will create the bump map for the wall texture. First select the ‘wall-colour’ layer. You would like work on a copy of it in case you mess up with settings.

In the Image window select Filters>>Map>>Bump Map. The Bump Map dialog box will pop up. Here select the ‘wall-noise’ layer as the bump map source from the drop down selection ‘Bump Map’ (see Image5) and press ok for bump map calculation.

Here do not forget to check the ‘Tile Bump-map’ as it will make the resulting bump mapped layer tillable. The Invert bump map will do as it says it will produce inverted results of actual bump mapping, try it out by toggling.

Tip: In GIMP you can check whether the image is tillable or not, by Filers>>Map>>Tile then enter the size just double of large enough for tiling. It will create a new image in the separate window. Beware only the current layer is tiled, not the whole image. To check the whole image you either have to save it in a single layer or’flatten layers’ temporarily.

Image-5b. The resulting bump map.

The Image-5b shows the bump mapped layer. Here the colour of wall (texture) is the one made up of soil, as this texture will be used in a 3d scene relating to a ‘kuccha’ wall or a wall made up and coated of brown soil.

OK, the bump map provided a good amount of detail. For me, it will work this way, but in real life the bumps on the wall will be more varied in shape size and location. So you will need to try out other types of bump map to increase realism. One way is to create new image of larger size and in a new transparent layer create noise pattern, desaturate it then scale it down to the current texture size, and use it for bump mapping, also you can get varied results by tweaking ‘Elevation and ‘Depth’ in the Bump Map dialog box in Image5.

Further, you can manually tweak the bump layer or completely create one of your own. We will proceed here with whatever we have here.

  • Step4. The bump mapped layer is pretty plain right now, we need to dirty it up a bit to get weathered look. There can be various ways to do that we will choose a simplistic approach.

Create a new layer above all the layers and go to Filter>> Render>> Clouds>> Plasma. You can use the settings on the Image-6 if you wish. Now we need to convert the freshly drawn plasma layer to greyscale. Again follow Layer>>Colour>>Desaturate.

Rename the plasma layer to ‘dirt-map’. And change the mode from ‘normal’ to ‘overlay’.

Image-6. The plasma flame dialog box.
Image-7. Greyscale plasma map.
Image-8. Layer positions.

Changing the mode to ‘Overlay’ brings dirt patterns in the texture. The inclusion of dirt pattern is an improvement over the earlier  bump mapped version. But it still lacks more depth.  If you need to add more details, you can add a transparent layer above all and set its ‘mode’ to ‘Overlay’ and start painting with grey shades, from a normal brush. The black colour in the layer will result in a white pattern in the overall image while white will produce dark colours.

Another method will be to use other seed value for plasma patterns and repeat the trick given at the end of Step-3 by creating a bigger plasma, desaturate it scale it down and use as another dirt map.

Image-9. Texture after simple dirt map.

Before we proceed we first need to make sure that the dirt map layer is fully tillable. To do that first select the ‘dirt-map’ layer then go to Layers>>Map>>Make Seamless. This will create a seamless or tillable dirt map on the same layer

The following are the two different versions of the same texture, tiled as to see how they can be used. The Image-10 is the 2×2 tillable version of the finished base texture. Notice the diagonal stripes in the Image-10, these could have been avoided if we had taken the dirt map to more work. Needless to say manual editing can easily enhance or remove the diagonal stripe patterns.

Image-10. The finished base texture.
Image-11. The Plate-1 is the base texture and Plate-2 have hand painted cracks on the same base texture.

This brings us to the end of the texture creating a tutorial. But this is not the end of learning for you remember to play a lot with different tools and experiment with the settings.

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