I’ve been using Photoshop for a long time, I think it’s the best tool for manipulating images and creating all sorts of effects. Besides that there are people that can make magic with Photoshop, like I posted before on the 10 Photoshop Masters’ article.

Although I really like the Adobe’s main product, I have seen a lot of articles about GIMP, that stands for GNU Image Manipulation Program, and people creating amazing effects using this tool. So I decided to give it a try.

I have to say, it’s possible to achieve very good results using GIMP. There are great variety of Filters, some of those I wish Photoshop had. However the interface is not that friendly. It lacks a lot of features like organizing layers in folders, the layer styles and running native on Mac OS X, if you compare to Photoshop.

But I don’t want to compare or review software here, I just want to show my first creation using GIMP and how I did that. The idea for the image was inspired by the new Mario Galaxy game.

1- Open a New Document, I used 1440x900.

Creating the first GIMP doc

2 - Create a Gradient: Set the shape to radial, and choose black for the background and any color for the foreground.

Creating the gradient

3 - Adding some smoke: add a new layer, set the foreground to white and go to Filters>Render>Clouds>Solid Noise. Set the layer mode to Overlay 44%.

Adding noise

Noise settings

Set randomize, 1 to detail, and X and Y size to 16.

4 - Creating the Beam of light: Create a new layer, choose the Create and edit paths tool (B) and draw a triangle to be the beam of light. After that create a selection clicking on the button to create selection from the path. Fill the selection using the Fill tool (shift+B) with a blue color.

Create a path

6 - Create 2 copies of the Beam of light layer, and apply the Gausian Blur to them. Set Overlay to the layer that is in the back, and Dodge to the others. This will produce the lighting effect.

Creating the beam of light

7 - Creating the sparks: Add a new layer. Using the Paing fuzzy brush strokes (P) to create the sparks like the picture bellow and apply Dodge to the layer mode.

Creating sparks

8 - Add colors to the sparks: Using Filters>Colors>Colorify to change the color of the sparks.

Changing the sparks colors

Color sparks

Tip: Duplicate the layers and add a little blur to create that glowing effect.

9 - Creating the light circle: Create a new layer, go to Filters>Light Effects>GFlare, choose hidden_planet in the selector tab. Try some different setting values or like the ones I used. Set the layer mode to Dodge.

Adding a Flares

11 - Resize the Layer to add the perspective.

Resizing and adding perspective

12 - Some dust: Duplicate the light circle layer and add a Filters>Blur>Motion Blur. Type linear, and angle 90. The layer Mode is Dodge again.

Creatin the dust with motion blur

The dust in detail

13 - The Supernova: Add a new layer, fill it with black, go to Filters>Light Effects>Supernova. Again, try different values and choose the ones you like or follow the image bellow. After that apply Screen to the layer mode.

The supernova effect, awesome

The supernova effect, awesome

14 - More depth: In a new layer, use the Gradient but this time with a blue foreground and black background, create a radial gradient from the top left corner to the bottom right. Set the layer mode to Screen with 65%.

More depth

Now it looks like the space

15 - Add some noise: Add a noise Filters>Noise>Hurl to the first layer, the background gradient of the image.

Adding some noise

16 - The Final Result:

Creating the first GIMP doc

If you want to create the stars, like in the Final Result image, just follow the photoshop tutorial about how to create the Leopard Starburst effect in Photoshop. It's exactly the same in GIMP.

The GIMP file can be downloaded here (13mb), and the icons can be found at iconbase.com

About the author of this post

Abduzeedo is a blog about design. There are all sorts of articles for those who want to look for inspiration. Also you will find very useful tutorials for the most used applications out there, with a special selection of Photoshop Tutorials and Illustrator Tutorials. Of course there are other softwares conteplated like Pixelmator, Fireworks, and web design tutorials.