GIMP Tricks



Many Linux users have at least heard of GIMP. Those that have seen it may feel that GIMP is too complicated. Once one realizes GIMP is simple to use, then it becomes easier to use it. GIMP can perform some interesting tasks and generate some cool images very easily. Some seemingly difficult tasks are going to be explained very easily and be made very easy to complete.

Make a lightning-like wallpaper:

Open GIMP and then click "File > New". Once the window comes up, set the desired width and height. I will make a 3840x2400 wallpaper. Click "Advanced Options" and set the X and Y resolution. I set each to 800. Color space should be RGB unless you need different results. We will make "Fill With" white. Lastly, type something for the comment like "Made by Joe Schmo from Coca-no". Click "Okay" when done.

Next, click "Filters > Render > Lava". Select a gradient and tweak the other available options.

Once the image is generated, the picture can be saved as an image file by clicking "File > Export". Choose where the file should go and what you wish to name it. Also, type the file extension for the format you want. High-quality wallpapers work well as PNG files, so the extension I used was ".png". Next, click "export" and make the desired choices that appear in the following window. After that, GIMP will see the chosen extension and create the proper file.

Make a coloring page from your favorite picture:

GIMP can be used to make coloring pages. This works well with cartoon pictures. Images of more detailed scenes, like screenshots of Quake, will not turn out well. Neither will live photos from a digital camera will work.

First, download a free legal copy of some image of a cartoon character. I got the Firefox logo for this example.

NOTE: The Firefox logo is licensed under the Mozilla Public License version 2.0. ( The coloring page that I include in this tutorial is also licensed under MPLv2.

Open the image in GIMP and duplicate the background twice by right clicking the small image in a list-like box. You should now have three layers.

Set the top two to an opacity of 50%. The opacity setting is above the list of layers. Click a layer and set the opacity. This does not need to be precise.

Then, click "Filters > Blur > Gaussian Blur" for the top layer. Set the blur radius to 20px. Either blur method works equally well.

For the top layer, click "Colors > Invert". Then, merge the top layer to the second layer by right-clicking the top layer and selecting "Merge down".

For the new top layer, click "Colors > Desaturate". In the window that opens, click "Lightness".

On that same layer, click "Colors > Curves" and make an S-shaped curve. This curve does not need to be perfect.

Next, click "Colors > Brightness-Contrast" and adjust this until you get the best results as possible at this step.

Now, combine/merge the two remaining layers.

Then, click "Hue-Saturation" and set the "Lightness" on high and the "Saturation" on the lowest value.

If the image has any transparent areas, they should be made white.

Lastly, save this as a GIF file. GIF files do not support very many colors and the whole point of this process is to remove colors. Each and every step is needed to remove colors or make it easier for a future step to remove colors.

The Firefox logo will not be exactly like typical coloring pages because the logo contains shadowing and shading, but this is still a great coloring page. A true flat cartoon will yield the best results.

Alternate method: However, for some images, it may be better to desaturate by "luminosity", set the contrast high, and then set the saturation in "Hue-Saturation" to the lowest possible value.

It is best to remember that all images are different. The steps in each method may need to be adjusted. There is not standard method that I am aware of.


Quick Abstract/Digital Art:

To make some abstract/digital wallpapers quickly, make a new project in GIMP with a wallpaper-sized image. Next, click "Filters > Render > Pattern > Qbist". In the window that appears, click the squares randomly until you see the preview that you like. Click it so it goes to the center. Then, click "Okay". To keep the file, click "File > Export".

Maze (not for playing):

To make a maze pattern (this is not going to make a maze that is reasonably playable), click "Filters > Render > Pattern > Maze". In the new window, change the pixel height and width and then choose an algorithm.

Make a shining star:

To make a real-looking star, click "Filters > Light and Shadow > Supernova". In the configuration window, the color, size, and the number of rays can be set. The "Random Hue" setting gives the star some random colors.

"Filters > Light and Shadow > Gradient Flare" contains similar features such as stars. It also contains light glares to give your picture the appearance that it was taken by a camera on a sunny day.

To learn how GIMP can be enhanced, read this article by the same author (


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Interesting. I am not artist though. I would have to take an art class lol.

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