One Four Challenge – March Week 2…

When I was trying to figure out which image to work on this month I started to flip through a book called The Artist’s Guide to GIMP – Creative Techniques for Photographers, Artists, and Designers by Michael J. Hammel (O’Reilly, Amazon).  I found myself putting post-its on several pages.  There were so many interesting things I didn’t know how to do that I wanted to learn.  Slowly I started putting together an idea of how this month might go in terms of which photo I could use and which four versions I could come up with using the seeds of ideas from this book.

Last week I actually was trying out the Foreground Selection tool but ended up using the Paths tool instead.  Last week I ended up learning all kinds of things out of necessity, not necessarily from the book.  But I had an end result in mind so that I could do some of the other things I found interesting from the book.

Which brings us to this week’s edits… STEAM!


There is a Cloud filter that you can manipulate and make steam!  I thought it was so neat that that is all I did to my image this week.  Keep reading for the How-To at the end of this post.

Kind thoughts and comments are welcome!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I have joined a month-long photo post-processing challenge called One Four Challenge, hosted by Robyn at Captivate Me. “This challenge is about processing 1 image in 4 different ways over 4 weeks.” Every Monday Robyn posts a new version of her photo and challenges us to do the same each week.

How To Make Steam using GIMP

The main idea for this came from the book The Artist’s Guide to GIMP, then I added some extra filters to my version.

  1. Add a new layer using the new-layer tool, choose transparency… new-layer
  2. Add a cloud filter by going to Filters->Render->Clouds->Solid Noise, choose Y: 1.0 and X: 4.0…cloud-filterGiving you this…cloud-layer
  3. Add a white mask to the cloud layer by going to Layer->Mask->Add Layer Mask, and choosing white…white-maskThen using the Gradient (Blend) tool gradient-tool, set the shape to Bi-linear and set the blend mode to Multiplygradient-optionsMaking sure the Mask is selected, starting from the center and dragging to the right, create a gradient… gradient-1The mask will look something like this…g-1-maskDrag again from the near right edge to the right edge…gradient-2Changing the mask to something like this…g-2-maskAnd one more time drag from the near left edge to the left edge…gradient-3And your mask will look something like this…g-3-mask
  4. Apply the layer mask by going to Layer->Mask->Apply Layer Mask (or by right clicking on your mask and choosing Apply Layer Mask).  Then invert this layer Colors->Invertinverted
  5. OK, now we can start having some fun with this… First we need to scale this down to the size of our image’s steam by going to Layer->Scale Layer, I reduced mine to 50% and then increased it 20% more…scale-layer-optionsUsing the move move-tool tool, I placed the ‘steam’ over my mug…scale+20%+move
  6. The rest is all an artistic choice.  There are several Distort filters (Filters->Distorts)…distort-optionsI played with Whirl and Pitchwhirl-pitch-optionswhirl-pitchThen iWarpiWarp-optionsiWarpAnd then Erase Every Other RowEEOR-optionsEEOR
  7. Then once I was happy with my steam, I added a Black Mask by going to Layer->Mask->Add Layer Mask and selecting Black.  Then using the Ellipse Selection ellipse-tooltool I selected around the mug…ellipse-selectedMaking sure the mask is selected I filled the selection with White by going to Edit->Fill with BG Colorfill-with-colorShift-Ctrl-A will remove the marching ants of the selection…steam-masked
  8. Finally change the blend mode to Screen or Grain Merge (I chose Screen)…screen-bmode
  9. Voilà Steam…steam

I hope you learned something from today’s tutorial, please let me know if you tried any of it and how it went. 🙂

Until next time…

** Last week I made a tutorial in GIMP, but said that I did one edit in Photoshop that would require a separate tutorial, I have been super busy and then I got sick, so I haven’t had the opportunity to write that tutorial yet.  I will try to write it this week, sorry for the delay. **

12 thoughts on “One Four Challenge – March Week 2…

    • Thanks, Lore! I’ll admit that a lot of my skills were learned while I was in school and I am now applying that knowledge to GIMP. It is my hope that these skills can be taught to people who don’t have access to Photoshop, GIMP is available to everyone (and all platforms) and I want to show that you can use GIMP for many of the things you’d hope to do in Photoshop. 😀 A lot of the ‘wow’ stuff I do does take time, though, so that might be an issue. :/

  1. Well I like it too Nic – great work!!
    I love what youve done and that youre working with GIMP. So much you can do with it 😃😃
    Love the steam – I wonder, is it possible to duplicate the steam layer, so its not quite so subtle for viewing. I do agree with you btw about it being subtle.
    Great work as always and thanks for the step by step!! ☕️

  2. Oops… I think my comment got lost… so if you have already got it, delete! Subtle effect… it is not until I read your step by step process that I actually saw the steam. Interesting tutorial as usual, Nic.

    • Thanks, Chris! I didn’t get another comment so I guess it got lost. The effect is pretty subtle, but you know sometimes steam is subtle, I didn’t want to make it too obvious because I didn’t want it to look fake. 🙂 Like I told Ben, I’m going to add a slideshow with last week’s image, perhaps that will help.

  3. For the life of me at first I couldn’t see the steam, I had to jump back to last weeks photo to compare. It could be my monitor as the steam effect it really subtle. I think it is a great idea and addition the image.

    • Thanks, Ben! Yes, it is subtle, but if I made it too overt then it would definitely look fake. I’ll add a slideshow with last week’s image, I forgot and ran out of time.

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