How To: Making ‘Flame’ Backgrounds in Gimp

I’ve had a few questions about how I make my current background. It was a trick passed on to me by a friend in IRC, and I’m more than happy to pass it on to anyone else who is interested. You don’t need any artistic skill, just Gimp.

A minimalistic look with Embedded Terminals

A Screenshot showing my Homemade Background

To start with, open Gimp, and set the background colour to the colour you want to use for your image background. Then start a new image. Set the image size to your monitor resolution, and under ‘Advanced Options’ change ‘Fill with:’ to ‘Background colour’

Now make a new layer, and choose ‘transparency’ as the Layer Fill Type.

Next, <right-click> on the image and select ‘Filters –> Render –> Nature –> Flame’.

The 'Flame' Render in Gimp

The'Flame' Render in Gimp

First, go to the ‘Camera’ tab and choose a zoom level. We’ve found that 3.00 works pretty well. Then hit ‘Edit’. Here is where you have the fun. At the bottom, the option ‘Variation’ can be changed to create a wide variety of effects. I chose ‘Linear’ but you can use any of them. Have a flick through them, and hit ‘randomise’ ever so often, to see the options. You can also adjust ‘speed’ to get different effects. Keep playing until you find one you like.

Choosing a Flame Effect

Choosing a Flame Effect

Once you’ve chosen and hit ‘okay’ you go back to the original Flame window. Now play with the zoom some more, and the ‘X’ and ‘Y’ coordinates, until you’ve got things just right. Don’t worry about colours for now, just hit okay. It will take quite a long time to render the effect.

Once it’s done, we can play with colours. <right-click> on the image and choose ‘Colours –> Colourise’. This will give you a window you can use to play with the hue, saturation, and lightness, until you get the colour effect you want.

This shows you how to get one layer of flame. However, you can also superimpose different layers with different colours very easily. Just add a new layer, and proceed as above. The possibilities are almost endless!

Below is a marble-like example I made with one layer, using these methods.

A Pink Marble Effect

A Pink Marble Effect

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