Abstract Glass Art

Abstract Glass Art preview

In this one we’ll have a look at how we can create some abstract art using the Blend tool in Difference mode. We will create a symmetrical glass-like design which will teach you the basics of this technique.


This is what we’ll be making, you might also be interested in seeing examples of other works created with this technique.


First of all, let me say that this is a technique that is easy to learn, but hard to master due to the great amount of randomness involved. The technique is hard to control, and you will have to practice before you get the hang of it. I would not recommend this to absolute beginners.

Step 1

Create a new image, size 1024×768, make sure the background is white.

Select the Blend tool and set Mode to Difference, Gradient to Land1, and the Shape to Radial.

Blend tool settings

Step 2

Now create a gradient from the top left corner to the bottom right corner.

Gradient from top left to bottom right

Our image should look like this:

difference gradient

Step 3

Now create another gradient the opposite way, from the bottom right corner to the top left corner.
It will look like this afterwards:

2 difference gradients

Create one from the top right corner to the bottom left one so it looks like this:

3 difference gradients

Create another one from the bottom left one to the top right corner.

4 difference gradients

Step 4

We need four more gradients, one from each corner to the middle of the image.
So let’s do the first one, create a gradient like in the image below:

Gradient from corner to middle

It should look like this now:

Now create the three other gradients, one from each corner to the middle.
After you’re done the image should look somewhat like this (it might be a little different):

Green glass-like thing

Step 5

The colors in the image you have might be different from mine depending on the order you did your corners,
but don’t worry, it doesn’t really matter.

We’re going to adjust the brightness in some areas of the image.
The partial circle in my top left corner is too bright, to fix that we first need to create a selection around it.

Grab the Fuzzy Select tool, set the threshold to 45, also enable Feather edges and set them to 5.

Now hold in Shift and click once in the corner:

Part of corner is selected

Keep holding Shift and click on all the areas inside the partial circle that are not selected until you have a selection like this:

Entire corner is selected

Then go to Colors->Brightness-Contrast. Set Brightness to -60 and Contrast to 20.

Adjust Brightness and Contrast

Get rid of the selection. Select->None.

Step 6

You might not have this in your image, but I also have a corner that is too dark. Use the Fuzzy Select tool again, but this time set the threshold to 30. Just like in the previous step, hold Shift and click until you have a selection like the one below:

Fuzzy select settings

Set brightness to 70 and Contrast to 45.

Adjust Brightness and Contrast

Get rid of the selection. Select->None.

Step 7

The image has some rough edges in a couple places, so we need to soften
it a little with a Gaussian Blur. (Filters->Blur->Gaussian-Blur).
Set the blur to 2.

Gaussian Blur settings

Our image should look somewhat like this by now:

Abstract art blurred

Step 8

Now we’re going to color the image, first of all we need to duplicate the layer.

Duplicate layer in Gimp

Next, make sure you have the top layer selected, then go to Colors->Desaturate.

Desaturate the duplicate layer

Then select Colors->Colorize.
Set the Hue to 100, and the Saturation to 60.

Colorize the image

Step 9

A final little detail that you can do is to lower the opacity of the top layer to 75,
this will give the colors more variation since the Background layer will shine through.

Reduce the opacity to 75

Our image is done:

(Click to enlarge)

Abstract Art with Gradient Difference

Examples of other works created with this technique:

Here are some other works created using this technique:

This one has a lot of circles on top of each other so that the ones in the background fade away, in the top left corner you can see a lot of faded circles that create a water-like pattern. In this one the gradient is reversed, and it uses a different shade of green than we did in the tutorial.
This image is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution license and can be downloaded at Gnome-look.org.

Abstract art with fading radial gradients

This image has Conical shaped gradients in the back and some squares and circles on top of that. This one also has lower opacity than the other images to make it more colorful. Those squares are made by setting the gradient shape to Square. This one also uses reversed gradients.

Abstract art with conical shaped gradients

Click here to go back to the top of the tutorial

A couple things to keep in mind when you create your own images:
  • The first circles/squares you create will fade if you create a lot them, the last one you created will always be the “strongest” one. (At least when using the Land1 gradient).
  • Don’t be afraid to change the brightness and contrast of the whole image, especially if the image seems “flat”.
  • A lot of times you will have to adjust the contrast, color, and sharpness of the image.
  • Experiment with different gradients and gradient shapes. Also try reversing the gradient.
  • Remember to create selections first if you want to change just one area of the image.

That’s it, this is the end of the tutorial, tell us what you think in the comments.

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  1. gbl

    July 26th, 2010

    thumbs up.

  2. Muhammad Anas

    August 25th, 2010

    wow … you achieved such a great effect so easily. I hardly stopped myself from saving a jpeg version of the image after each step because the result of each was equally beautiful.

    Thank you very much for such a nice tutorial!!!!!!!!!

  3. Result of the Abstract Glass Art GIMP Tutorial | Muhammad Anas

    August 25th, 2010

    […] Art GIMP Tutorial VN:F [1.9.3_1094]please wait…Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)I just followed the Abstract Glass Art Tutorial on mygimptutorial.com. The tutorial is extremely easy and simple to do but the result produced is […]

  4. davem

    September 26th, 2010

    Very nice. Thanks.

  5. Lozdi

    January 15th, 2011

    Lovely tut, easy to follow, sweet results! Ty 🙂

  6. My experiment with glass | gimpowiec

    January 22nd, 2011

    […] found excellent tutorial on obtaining wonderful glass effect.It’s called Abstract Glass Art. I tried to do something different with similar methods,but I use different shapes and color,which […]

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    April 28th, 2011

    […] http://mygimptutorial.com […]

  8. Nena

    November 2nd, 2011

    I love your tutorial on the glass. Very nicely done and easy to understand step by step instructions. Well done.

  9. Dave

    May 10th, 2012

    Very nice tut, loved it. Gave me some great ideas thank you so much.

  10. The guy who questions stuff

    January 10th, 2013

    STUNNINGLY gorgeous. Congees on this won.

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