Glowing text with a little motion blur

glowing text with a little motion blur preview

In this tutorial we’ll have a look at making some glowing text, and also applying a little motion blur to it.

Step 1

Make a new image, size 600×400 with a black background.

Set your FG color to white and select the Text tool. You should use a bold and preferably a round font. I used the font called FreeSans Bold size 100.

Write “I can”, then select the Move tool and position the text in the upper left corner.

I can

Step 2

Select the Text tool again, and click on the text we just wrote so it becomes active. Click the button that says Path from Text in the toolbox. Now delete the layer with text on.

Gimp Path from text

Create a new layer. Go to the Paths Dialog and doubleclick on the path called โ€œI canโ€. This will make the path active so we can stroke it.

Paths Dialog and stroke path

Stroke path, set the line width to 3px, our image will look like this:

I can path

Step 3

Now let’s write the rest of the text. Grab the Text tool, same settings as before (FreeSans Bold, size 100). Write the word “has” in the upper right corner, then write the word “glow” in the lower part of the image. Use the Move tool to position them perfectly.

Position the text

Step 4

Merge all those layers together except for the Background layer. (select the top layer in the layer dialog, then right-click->Merge Down)

Now we should have all the text on one layer. Do a Gaussian blur of 3 on that layer. Filters->Blur->Gaussian Blur

Gaussian blur the layer with text on

Step 5

Select the Fuzzy Select tool (the one that looks like a magic wand). Hold the Shift button and click on each letter, make sure you click on the white part of each letter and not the holes in them. Now we have a selection of all the letters like this:

Selected text

Now grow the selection so it becomes larger, Right-click->Select->Grow.
Grow the selection by 3 pixels. The more you grow it the larger the glow will be.

Gimp Select options

Time to use that selection for something. Create a new layer and choose a color for your glow, I chose a bright red (fd4000). Select the Bucket Fill tool, and color the selection.

Filled with fd4000

Now get rid of that selection, Select->None.

Step 6

Do a Gaussian blur of 24 on the layer with those red letters we just made.
Then move the layer with the white text to the top.

Merge those two layers together.

I can has glow

Step 7

Duplicate the layer, and select the layer that’s in the middle.

Gimp Layer Dialog

Find Filters->Blur->Motion Blur.
Set the Blur Type to Zoom.
Untick the box that says Blur outward.
Set the Length to 150.

Untick Blur outward

That should give us this result:

Step 8

The colors on that motion blur looks a bit too bright and it also looks a little too weak if you ask me, let me show you how to fix that in simple way.

First, duplicate the layer with the motion blurred text on it, then lock transparent pixels on the duplicate layer.

Gimp lock transparent pixels

Now click and drag that red color from the toolbox into your image.

Drag the color from the toolbox

That should give us this result:

Motion blur colored red

Now we can easily control how much red we want by adjusting the opacity of the layer. I set the opacity to 50 for the final image.

Glowing text with a little motion blur

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


  1. gbl

    July 26th, 2010

    awesome, i made some cool looking text, now i would like to fade the text with a background pic, not sure how though, maybe if i decrease the opacity, any hints?

  2. yay

    July 26th, 2010

    Yeah opacity is the easiest way, but it may also look good, or even better, if you play around with the layer modes of the text, “overlay” might look good. You probably want to merge the text layers together first though (except for the black background layer).

  3. Inona

    November 5th, 2011

    I love your tutorials ๐Ÿ™‚
    But I just have one problem…when I click “path from text” nothing happens. The text is active. Any tips?

  4. yay

    November 6th, 2011

    It looks like nothing happens, but check your paths dialog, it should now contain the path from the text.

Leave a Reply