As I’ve mentioned in the blog before, I use The Gimp for all my photo editing.  I use it exclusively when creating/editing all my cartoon features.

The Gimp is every bit as powerful as other graphics applications and absolutely free!  You can download Gimp for Windows or Mac.  If you decide to give Linux a try, The Gimp, in most cases, is already installed.  If not, it’s an easy matter of downloading and installing via the particular Linux distribution’s repository.

Each month, I contribute a “Gimp Tip” to PCLinuxOS Magazine. I though I’d share one of those Gimp tips with you here in the blog.

Here’s an example of what The Gimp can do.

The Gimp and The Force help me celebrate my birthday!

The Gimp and The Force help me celebrate my birthday!

Thanks to Gimp’s creative community and its ability to add plug-ins, a Star Wars lightsaber effect is easily created with a single mouse click!  First, download the lightsaber plug-in from Gimp’s plug-in registry at  Drop the script into /.gimp-2.6/scripts (if you run Windows or Mac, the location is going to be a bit different).  Next, open Gimp and open an image.  Create a new layer with transparent background on top of the original image.  Make sure this new layer has an alpha channel.   Now, simply draw a white line.  It’s helpful if you already have a reference in the photo such as a sword blade, pole, stick or other prop to draw over.  Select Filters>RED STORM FX>LXSE v1.0. In the new dialog box, select your core size, glow size, glow color, etc. Click OK and the plug-in does the rest!  You can see an example (above) of how well the plug-in works.  That’s me using a double lightsaber to cut my birthday cake! Again, the plug-in did all the work!  After creating a new layer and drawing the white lines, The effect was achieved with one mouse click in less than ten seconds!

Want to see more Gimp tips?  Simply download PCLinuxOS Magazine each month.


Discussion (4) ¬

  1. mechatotoro

    Very cool info! I’ve been trying to do this for ages. Thank you for sharing your great tutorial!

    • Mark

      My pleasure.:) The great thing about Linux and The Gimp (as I’m sure you are well aware of), I can move my native Gimp files (.xcf) from PCLinuxOS to Mandriva to Ubuntu, to Linux Mint, etc. and it’ll will open and work.:) I can also take a plug-in/script for something like the Laser effect and drop it on the new system and use it. I archive the various Gimp brushes, plug-ins, etc. on a storage drive and, when needed, move them to a new laptop or other system. I even move files and plug-ins to Window systems. It all works.

  2. mechatotoro

    No, I didn’t know that. I’m rather new to Linux and I’ve just started working with The Gimp. Again, thanks for the helpful tip; I’m following your lead.

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