GIMP Tutorial – Dripping Paint Background

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GIMP Tutorial – Dripping Paint Background

Thanks to GIMP, everyone can be a painter. Well, not a real painter like van Gogh or Picasso, but you can manipulate an image as if it is a painting. This GIMP tutorial will show you how to create a background with a dripping paint effect, as if it is an abstract painting.

To get the effect, we are going to take advantage of a filter called “Displace”. But first, we need to fill the background with certain gradient (“Metallic Something” in this case) before applying the effect. Follow the steps below to get started.

In this tutorial, I will use an image with the size of 800×600. You can use different size (bigger may be) if you want.

Bonus: Most essential GIMP shortcuts

  • Launch GIMP and create a new file by going to File -> New. You can use any image size. In this tutorial I use a 800×600 image.

  • Click the Blend Tool on the Toolbox panel and set its mode to Difference, gradient to “Metallic Something” and shape to “Conical (sym)”.

  • With the Blend Tool selected, click and drag on the canvas area a couple times until you get the color gradient combination you want (5 – 8 times I think is enough).

  • Create a new transparent layer by going to Layer -> New Layer. On the appearing pop-up dialog, select Transparency.

  • With the new transparent layer selected, go Filters -> Render -> Clouds -> Solid Noise. On the appearing pop-up dialog, set the values of X and Y according to your image size. Since my image is 800×600, so I set the value of X to 8.0, while the value of Y is 6.0. Before clicking the OK button, check the Randomize option.

  • Move the transparent layer down below the background layer.

  • With the background layer selected, go to Filters -> Map -> Displace. A pop-up menu dialog will appear. Select the displacements from the dropdown menu button. Since you want to create a dripping paint effect, you need to set the X displacement value to 0. For the Y displacement value, you can set it to 50. Before clicking OK button, check the Smear option on the Edge Behavior section.

  • Repeat the Displace filter a couple times until you get the dripping effect you want. You can press the CTRL+F button on your keyboard to do so.
  • Once you get satisfied with the dripping effect, set the color balance by going to Color -> Color Balance. Adjust the color levels on the appearing pop-up dialog.

  • Duplicate the background layer by going to Layer -> Duplicate Layer.
  • With the duplicated layer selected, go Filters -> Blur -> Gaussian Blur. Set the Horizontal and Vertical values to 20.

  • Change the mode of the duplicated layer to Screen and lower its opacity to about 60.

  • Duplicate the duplicated layer. Leave the opacity to 60 and change the mode to Overlay.

That’s it. Following is the example of the demonstration I made.

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