Super Slick Dusky Lighting Effects in Gimp


Super Slick Dusky Lighting Effects in Photoshop now in Gimp
The original tutorial was made by Collis from PSDtuts. This is just that tutorial made with gimp.

Video tutorial

There is also two set of videos for this gimp tutorial that can be found here


This is the original image we’re going to use, bought at istockphoto. Additionally, we’ll need some vectors from Go Media’s freebie pack.

Step 2:

To start with, I’ll say that most of the steps needed for the tutorial are quite easy, and just some few things will need a workaround to get it working with gimp. We’ll start duplicating the original layer. Then desaturate it, and adjust brightness/contrast.

Step 3:

Next thing to do is apply gaussian blur to our layer. The author of the original tutorial used 2px for this blur, however, after trying some different settings, I’ve settled up to use 5px for it, as I’ve thought it looked more like the original one. This value can be quite different depending on the image you’re using.

Step 4:

Now is time to change the layer mode to ‘overlay’ and opacity 50% . You can find the reason for this at the original text. I’ll just add that knowing how layer modes work opened a new world of possibilities for me.


Now we’ll create a new layer and fill it with the paint bucket, using a shade of pink. Then erase some of the pink as you see fit. For this step, as the original author states, you can use the eraser or a layer mask.


This is our picture so far, after changing the pink layer mode to ‘color’ and opacity 20% .


Now for the sun rays. We’ll duplicate the original layer and move it to the top. Then go to filters–edge detect– edge. I used default values for this. As I thought the image needed a bit more black, I’ve changed its brightness/contrast (notice this is the first extra step we’ve had to take) a bit.


This step may be somehow confusing to do; as the ‘radial’ blur we can find inside the movement blur filter in gimp, doesn’t behave like the photoshop one. We’ll use ‘zoom’ blur instead.

Tip about ‘zoom’ blur copied from gimp’s documentation.

“You have to set the blur center coordinates. Unfortunately, you can’t do that by clicking on the image. But, by moving mouse pointer on the image, you can see its coordinates in the lower left corner of the image window. Only copy them out into the input boxes. “


Next set layer mode to ‘screen’.


As said in the photoshop tutorial, we want the rays to look more like sunlight. To do so you’re told to adjust hue/saturation using ‘colourize’ option on. However gimp’s hue/saturation tool does not have this option, so we’ll need an extra previous step that can be done in a couple of ways. I used ‘colorify’, choosing a shade of red, then adjusted ‘hue/saturation’; on the other hand, you can use ‘colourize’ and then ‘hue/saturation’, which would be quite the same procedure as used in photoshop.


Now just repeat the previous 3 steps a couple of times to get more light. Remember to change the ‘zoom’ blur center and color of light a bit from layer to layer.

This will add some undesired colors and rays that you’ll have to get rid of, using the eraser tool, or layer masks.

(both the author of the photoshop tutorial and me have used more than three layers for getting the light right, so feel free to add layers until you’re happy with it.)


Next use a large, soft brush to paint a blob of white over the silhouette.


For this step, photoshop users have layer styles; which is a fast way to get some good effects applied to whatever layer you’re using. we’ve got no layer styles in gimp, which is a pity, but not a problem, at least not a big one.

If you look at the way i described layer styles you’ll notice the word ‘fast’, and the reason for this is that the effects you can create with layer styles can be replicated quite easily if you look close at what they do. I can’t go on each one of the styles now, but we’ll use the ‘outer glow’ one used here as an example.

We want the same shape our blob has but with a different color and bigger size. To get this, just duplicate the white blob layer. Select the one that’s below and ‘colorify’ it chosing yellow. Then just apply gaussian blur to it, so it will ‘sort of’ grow a bit bigger, getting the effect right. To finish with this you can set the layer mode to overlay and merge it with the white light layer.


Now select the ‘smudge’ tool and smudge the light outwards. You may want to duplicate the layer before smudging and do the process twice for a better result.


n this step we’re creating a lens flare. I tried the way this is explained at the original tutorial, but ended up trying something a bit different.

We’re going to use a big, round, hard brush with 100% opacity. First, create a new layer and paint a big circle in there, then set the layer opacity to 10%. Create a couple more layers and paint two smaller dots. You can use a bit more opacity with the smaller ones.

Once you’re done with this, merge the three layers of our lens flare. Set its layer mode to overlay and opacity to 30%.


Now we’ve got to import the vectors we’re using in the picture. There are some ways to do this. for this tutorial I’ve just opened the sample .psd file and dragged the layers to my file.

If you’re using the original vectors, you’ll have to duplicate the swirly wing layer, then go to layer–transform–flip horizontally and SHIFT-T to scale it down.


Now fit the vectors together as shown.


If you’re not using the vectors provided with the sample file, you’ll have to go to colors–value invert, so they become white. Now we want to add some outer glow again; make sure the layers with the shapes are expanded to fit the image size, then just duplicate them and apply guassian blur set to 30 px. (this value may not be correct, I used a different value each time i tried the tutorial, just try and decide yourself)


Let’s just add the text, dragging the layers from the sample file, or just typing them.This is what we’ve done up ’til now.

Step 20:

The only thing left are final touches. I’ve added some extra layers set to color and overlay.

I’ve tried to follow the photoshop tutorial as close as I’ve been able to, however, I haven’t been able to get the image to look exactly as intended, but that’s my fault, not gimp’s.

Final Image:

Video tutorial

There is also two set of videos for this gimp tutorial that can be found here

Download XCF file

Here is the download link to the GIMP source file Click here

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