Cool Glow Effects

Cool Glow Effects Preview

In this Gimp tutorial we will create a cool glow effect, with a bit of spacey feel to it. This kind of glow effect is pretty quick and easy to create, and definitively useful to know.


Cool Glow Effects

Step 1

Create a new image size 1024×768 with a black background.

Create a new layer and name it “gradient”.
Then select the Blend tool, set the gradient to “Deep Sea”, reverse the gradient, and set the shape to “Radial”.

Now create a gradient from the bottom left corner to the top right corner like this:

create gradient

Add a layer mask to the gradient layer. (Right click on the layer, select Add layer mask, set it to White (full opacity))

Now set the gradient to “Default” (Yes there is actually a gradient named Default). It should still be reversed and shape set to “Radial”.

Make sure you have the mask selected, then create a gradient from the bottom left corner to the top right corner.

Our image should look like this now:

gradient inside mask

Step 2

We need some brushes, the ones we’re going to use can be found here. (opens in a new window) The brushes are created by the wonderful Hawksmont.

If you don’t know how to install a brush, have a look here. (opens in a new window)

Step 3

Create a new layer, name it “small brush”.

Now choose the Brush tool, set the scale to 0.5, and set the color to white (ffffff).
Choose the brush called “glow1_brushes_by_hawksmont.abr-003”.

Now paint that brush once in the bottom left corner, somewhat outside the image. See image below:

small glow brush

Duplicate the layer named “small brush”. (click the duplicate button in the layer dialog).

There will now be a layer named “small brush copy” in the layer dialog. Change the mode of that layer to “Overlay”.

Next, go to Colors -> Colorize. Set Hue to 200, Saturation to 100, and lightness to -50.


Step 4

Create a new layer and name it “large brush”.
Set the mode to “Overlay”.

Select the Brush tool, set the scale to 1.
Choose the brush called “glow1_brushes_by_hawksmont.abr-001”.

Paint that brush once in the bottom left corner, with some of the brush outside the image.

large brush placement

Step 5

Create a new layer and name it “stripes”.

We’re going to use a little trick here, select the Brush tool.
Set the scale to 0.8, and choose the brush called “glow1_brushes_by_hawksmont.abr-004”.

Now paint that brush once like showed in the image below:

brush placement

Go to Filters -> Blur -> Motion Blur
If you have a slow computer, untick the box that says preview.
Set length to 200, and angle to 135.
Then click OK.
This will take a minute or two on most computers.

The image should look like this afterwards:

white mess

Now change the layer mode to “Overlay”.

layer mode overlay

Step 6 (optional)

If you think the glow is too intense, you can reduce the brightness of the layer named “small brush”.
To do that, select the layer in the layer dialog, then go to Colors -> Brightness-Contrast.
Here you can reduce the brightness, I reduced it by 35, but it’s up to you how much you want to reduce (or increase it). You can safely reduce it all the way to -60 if you want to.

reduce brightness

Step 7 (also optional)

We’re actually finished, but I thought the image was a little large, so I cropped it.
To do that, choose the Rectangle Select tool, draw a rectangle selection around the part of the image you want to keep. Then go to Image -> Crop to Selection.

The final image looks like this:

Cool Glow Effects

That’s it, the end of the tutorial, I hope you enjoyed it πŸ™‚

Share this tutorial:
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on Google+Email this to someone


  1. Keir64

    September 14th, 2010

    Absolutely phenomenal (:
    Thats all i have to say! =D

  2. gimpaholic

    October 5th, 2010

    thank you very much ^^

    brilliant tutorial πŸ˜€

  3. claudius

    February 5th, 2011

    thanks for sharing.. Tried it, so easy n yet amazing…

  4. omari

    March 10th, 2011

    ummmm well wen i try 2 download it,it comes in a rar and then it syas copy to clip board r break open and wen i try 2 break open it never works wtf is goin on?

  5. yay

    March 10th, 2011

    It’s a zip file. Save it to your desktop, then Unpack/Extract it by right clicking on it and choosing Extract/Unpack/Unzip or something like that. Then open the xcf file inside. If the file produces an error while unzipping, try downloading the file again.

  6. GimpFanGirl

    June 20th, 2011

    Quick, fun and wonderful results! I love it! (Although it took me around 30-40 minutes to figure out how to download the brushes :/)

  7. Cole

    August 7th, 2011

    Very nice. I like the effect you used on the stripes layer. If you turn all of the other layers off it looks like water.

  8. Inona

    November 3rd, 2011

    My computer can’t open the file for some reason. πŸ™ Also I have no idea how to save the file anywhere else other than a weird documents page I’ve never seen before. And apparently I get a 40 day free trial before it’s removed from my computer :/

  9. yay

    November 3rd, 2011

    That sounds like Winrar, a program some people use to unpack files. First locate the actual file on your computer, then right-click on it and choose Extract here or Unpack or something similar. Then you will see the unpacked file, which should be the file your looking for.

  10. RandomPeep

    December 26th, 2011

    These tutorials are the best! You certainly give a lot of effort in each one :]

    I love how you have a lot of screenshots and pics in each one. Keep up the great work!

  11. bibou

    January 2nd, 2012

    Very simple to do, but very nice result.
    Thank you for sharing this tutorial

  12. ladybug

    June 21st, 2012

    The best tutorial I’ve seen. A little different in ver.2.8 but I got the hang of it great job.I love how you have a lot of screenshots and pics in each one. Keep up the great work!

  13. Luke

    January 4th, 2013


  14. zilog32

    January 19th, 2013

    Thank you. Excellent tutorial. So useful in the fact that you take us on a journey introducing new methods which would be normally overlooked or missed.
    I can now use this as a base for further effects.
    Also a thank you to your friend/s Hawksmont for providing those wonderful brushes

  15. KateF

    October 28th, 2013

    Beautiful! πŸ˜€ Thanks!

Leave a Reply