View Full Version : My Avatar Flag Revamp: a GIMP Howto

Friday, May 1st, 2009, 06:04 PM
Since nationalists and ideologists alike, both of which are numerous on Skadi, are likely to use images of their flags sometime somewhere, I thought it worthwhile to lay out the few easy steps I took to make a flag appear "wavey", as in my new avatar, using GIMP - the GNU Image Manipulation Program.

Take one 2D flag. (Mine is the same "Cape Rebel" flag I used before, only this time with the correct shades of the colours.)

Start by making the size of your image somewhat larger than the flag itself. It doesn't matter how much larger or which colour the surrounding background is - the areas outside the flag boundaries will by cropped out again afterwards. I simply used Image>'Canvas Size' to adjust the size, followed by executing the option Layer>'Layer to Image Size' (At this point there is only the one layer - the one with the flag).

Create a new layer (Shift+Ctrl+N), with Transparent as its background colour. On this layer, draw black strokes with the brush tool (with Circle Fuzzy selected as brush type) over your flag however you'd like the flag to "furl":


With the transparent layer still selected, go to Filters>Blur>'Gaussian Blur'. Blur the layer with a blur radius of 50.


Still on the same layer, emboss the effect by selecting Filters>Distorts>Emboss, with the optional values as in the following screenshot:


Lower the layer opacity. You can leave it at hundred if you'd like the shadows to remain darker than in my example. This step can be done at any stage, so you can play around with it after you're done with the image.


Now, to "furl" the flag, select the flag layer, then select Filter>Map>Displace, with optional values as in the following screenshot:


Take note: the layer selected next to both the X and Y displacements are that of the shadow strokes.

Repeat the displacement procedure by pressing Ctrl+F until you're satisfied with the effect. I applied it only twice in my example. Too few or two many repititions will probably leave it looking unrealistic.

To personalise, painstakingly dig out your trademark symbol from long-forgotten directories, possibly even on another computer. In my case its a perched raven with its head turned to watch over the South African section.

The final result: