Create an Abstract Background With Curves in GIMP

Updated on March 8, 2018
Dina Blaszczak profile image

I'm a stock photographer with a passion for writing. I have extensive experience using GIMP to edit photos and create new designs.

Abstract Background with Curves
Abstract Background with Curves

In this tutorial I want to show you how to create another abstract background with GIMP, but this time with curves. It's very easy, we will even repeat some steps, so this should be a piece of cake for you to learn.

Open GIMP, create a new image going to Image / New. Make it 1200 x 900.

Set your Foreground colour to red “e00000”, Background colour to yellow “ffe100”.

Take Blend Tool, in Gradient options choose “FG to BG (RGB)”, Shape - Liner.

Pull gradient from the top of the image to the bottom see Fig 1.

Fig. 1
Fig. 1

Create a New Transparent Layer by clicking on the first icon at the bottom of the layers dialogue or right click on the background layer choose New Layer / Transparency. Call it “1”.

Take Ellipse Select Tool and make selection in a shape like in Fig 2. I suggest you to zoom out a bit to have space to make proper selection.

Fig. 2
Fig. 2

Set your Foreground colour to White, take Blend Tool and in Gradient options choose “FG to Transparent” option. Pull gradient from bottom closer to the right hand side to the top left corner as shown in Fig 3. Set this layer to Overlay. Next go to Select / None.

Fig. 3
Fig. 3

Create a New Transparent Layer, call it “2”.

Take Ellipse Select Tool and make selection in a shape like in Fig 4.

Fig. 4
Fig. 4

Pull gradient from where your selection starts to the middle of the selection see Fig 5. Set this layer to Overlay. Next go to Select / None.

Fig. 5
Fig. 5

Duplicate layer “1”, call it layer “3” and place it above layer “2”, so the layers could keep order. You can move layers up and down using green arrows at the bottom of the layers dialogue, just make sure the layer you want to move is selected. Or you can just grab layer with the mouse and drag it up or down.

Now go to Layer / Transform / Rotate 90° counter clock-wise (to the left).

Using Move Tool, make sure “Move the active layer” is selected, move layer “3” and place it as shown in Fig 6.

Fig. 6
Fig. 6

Duplicate layer “1”, call it layer “4” and place it above layer “3”.

Go to Colors / Invert. Layer “4” should turn from white to black now.

Layer / Transform / Rotate 90° clock-wise (to the right). Move and place layer as shown in Fig 7. Reduce opacity of this layer to 80%.

Fig. 7
Fig. 7

Duplicate layer “1”, call it layer “5” and place it above layer “4”.

Go to Colors / Invert. Move and place layer as shown in Fig 8. Set this layer to Grain Extract and reduce opacity of this layer to 40%.

Fig. 8
Fig. 8

Create a New Transparent Layer, call it Glow.

Take Blend Tool, make sure your Foreground colour is white, for Gradient choose “FG to Transparent” option. Shape – Radial. Pull gradient as shown in Fig 9. Reduce opacity of this layer to 63% and set to Overly.

Fig. 9
Fig. 9

Create a New Transparent Layer, call it Circle.

Take 100% Hardness brush, set size to 400, Foreground colour should be white. Make one circle as shown in Fig 10. Set layer to Overly.

Fig. 10
Fig. 10

Duplicate layer Circle, go to Colors / Invert. Take Move Tool and move this layer a bit towards the bottom right corner see Fig 11.

Fig. 11
Fig. 11

Image / Merge Visible Layers.

Filters / Enhance / Unsharp Mask. Apply settings: Radius1.3 Amount0.50 Threshold 0.

Image / Flatten.

Save your image going to File / Export (for GIMP 2.8)

Questions & Answers

    © 2012 Dina Blaszczak

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      • profile image

        Michael Rhodes 

        12 months ago

        This is the second time I have tried this tutorial and this time I got it. Thank you! Learned a lot doing this. Sometimes one needs to just experiment and see what happens. You can almost always undo it.

      • Dina Blaszczak profile imageAUTHOR

        Dina Blaszczak 

        6 years ago from Poland

        @ AudreyHowitt GIMP is a free software to edit photos and create illustrations. It's a smaller version of Photoshop. It can be downloaded from here: http://www.gimp.org/

      • AudreyHowitt profile image

        Audrey Howitt 

        6 years ago from California

        Ok--so now I have to figure out what GIMP is---

      working

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