Gimp Tips Part 5: Plugins a Plenty - Adding Light

Posted: 18 May 2005

One of the features I enjoy most about The Gimp is the array of filters and script-fu plugins which are available.

There's almost always something in one of those menus which can enhance your images. Take the following image, for example:

This image doesn't look bad. It's just a nice scenery shot. But what if I wanted the sun in the picture? Is that possible? After looking at the available plugins, I'd have to answer yes.

As of the writing of this article, 3 plugins exist to add a light source to an image. The first one is called "FlareFX" and can be found by following Filters -> Light Effects -> Flare FX. When you click on it, a menu will appear.

It doesn't have too many options, but the results are okay.

For a plugin that requires little or no manipulation, this one does its job nicely.

So what if you want to play with the plugin a little bit? What if the results from Flare FX aren't good enough for your image?

This is where GFlare comes in. It is really quite impressive. GFlare is probably the best filter to immitate a sun-like source of light and can be found in the same menu as Flare FX: Filters -> Light Effects -> GFlare. The following menu will result:

This one has all sorts of settings you can manipulate to get the light source to fit your image. With the settings seen above, these results will follow:

To the average eye, that is a very convincing photo of the sun shining through that tree. Not bad for a stock plugin, if you ask me.

Now if you're looking for an out-of-the-ordinary light source, the supernova plugin provides some interesting effects.

You can load the plugin by following Filters -> Light Effects -> SuperNova.

With these settings, I get an image that looks like this:

If blue doesn't work for ya, you can change it to any color you wish.

Seeing a blue sun sparked my creativity, and I wondered if I could change the colors of everything in the image. I found I could do it by using the Alien Map 2 filter found by navigating Filters -> Colors -> Map -> Alien Map 2.

The settings above provided me the following image:

Now that is some seriously green grass! I thought I'd spice it up a bit by adding a red supernova effect to the new extreme color scheme.

And this is what I got:

So, with just a few plugins from The Gimp, and a little creativity, I took this image:

and turned it into this:

I did so using just two plugins from two menus full of plugins.

The possibilities are endless... Let the creativity begin.

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