Putting a twist on it using the GIMP

I used the GIMP to turn a photo of an amaryllis into a swirling abstract.
An abstract of my amaryllis.

I admire the work of both Bren of Brashley Photography and Julie Powell. I’ve learned a lot from them. This morning Bren posted a “Twirling Tuesday Challenge”. It intrigued me, but the directions (written by Julie Powell) were for Photoshop.

Being an amateur on a fixed income I haven’t sprung for the Adobe Photoshop software. I wondered if I could create a similar effect in the GIMP. GIMP stands for Gnu Image Manipulation Program. It is shareware, which means the price right.

A bit of internet research and experimentation today led me to this process:

Step 1: Load my photo.

My bright red amaryllis in full bloom is cheering on a chilly, gray March day.
This picture seems to radiate out from the center of the flower. I thought it might make an interesting twirl.

Step not taken:

Both Julie Powell’s directions and the video on Brashley photos post use a Photoshop filter in the pixelate menu called “mezzotint”. The GIMP doesn’t have that choice near that in its pixelize filter. There is a GIMP plug in to get the effect, but I decided to see what would happen without that step. I was in the mood to play with pretty things, not be a computer geek..maybe next week.

Step 2: Zoom Motion Blur

Filters>Blur>Zoom motion blur. I moved the center to the middle of the flower and cranked the blurring factor up to 0.515 and left the other parameters at default.

Amaryllis with the GIMP's Zoom motion blur applied.

Step 3: Repeat step 2

Amaryllis photo with the GIMP's Zoom mothion bur filter applied twice.
Same settings as for step 2 were used.

If you wanted you could repeat this again.

Step 4: A positive spin on it

I made a copy of the step 3 layer and applied Filters>Distorts>Whirl and Pinch using the default settings to get this:

Amaryllis photo with zoom motion blurring and a whirl and pinch distort added using the GIMP.
Whirled and pinched.

Step 5: A negative spin on it

I mad another duplicate of the step 3 image, moved it above the layer from step 4, and again used the Filter>Distorts>Whirl and Pinch, but for this layer I made the angle negative (I forgot to jot down the exact number, but I think it was around -200).

A negative spin on it.

Step 6: Experiment with blend modes

Not much to say about this, I just tested all of the various blend modes on the layer made in step 5 until I found ones I liked. Here are my two favorites:

Lighten only blend mode.
Addition blend mode.

Summary

It was fun to give this a try and the GIMP was quite easy to use to get the twirled effect. So much so that I may become addicted to abstraction.

29 thoughts on “Putting a twist on it using the GIMP”

  1. I love what you came up with and enjoyed your final creation – the final outcome reminded me of glass art! Was shocked to see it come from that flower – good work!
    And side note – for years my hubs offered to teach me photoshop but I never wanted to spend the time learning – the intro lessons I did have were just too complicated for my mood and interest – feel a little lazy to say that – but oh well.
    Anyhow – was wondering how much time and effort was spent using the software you chose for this creation?

    Liked by 1 person

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