The outer space images on the main page and in the footer were produced by me using the GNU Image Manipulation Program (GIMP) version 2.8.16 on Ubuntu Linux version 16.04.7 LTS (Xenial Xerus). I had quite a bit of fun making them so I am putting together a series of tutorials outlining how to produce these types of images.
Online GIMP tutorials
Here are some of the more useful online tutorials that I have found.
- Beautiful Planet Effect in Gimp by Starlight86 (2008)
- Creating Planets and Planetary Rings in GIMP by Scott Photographics (2010)
- Exploding Planet by devvv (2007)
- Gas Planet Tutorial in GIMP by JCRL (2016)
- How to Create Space Scenes Quickly and Easily in Gimp by Joshua Price (2010)
- How to make a nebula in few steps with Gimp by erika (2010)
- Planet Textures: A Simple Tutorial using GIMP by DunaManiac (2020)
- Pretty (and pretty easy) basic outer space background by Mokonafan (2012)
- Tutorial: Create a cool starfield by devvv (2007)
YouTube is another great source for GIMP tutorials.
- GIMP 2.8 3D Creating Outer Space & Planets by Un4gven (2014)
- GIMP 2.8 Tutorial – Stormy Planet by tutor4u (2012)
- GIMP Tutorial – Create an Awesome Space Background by Aj 1t1 (2009)
- Gimp Tutorial: Custom Heroes Eclipse Logo by DavidWoodFX (2010)
- How to Create a Planet / Nebula Scene with GIMP by Kenneth Dauzat (2012)
- How to create an awesome sci-fi planet a sun in Gimp ~Gimp 2.8 tutorial for 13+ by JiaSenART (2015)
- how to draw gas planet uses GIMP 2.10 fast and easy by kyznectortube (2018)
- how to draw nebula star space uses GIMP 2.10 fast and easy by kyznectortube (2018)
- How to make a space background in GIMP by Cosmic_Wolf (2013)
- How To Make A Space Background in GIMP by HWTutorials (2019)
- How to Paint a Space Scene in Gimp by Stingray Productions (2017)
- Nebula Starfield | GIMP Tutorials by Whix100 (2021)
- Night Sky Tutorial Gimp by IgnitedMountain (2018)
These links were last checked on 12 September 2021.
Note the dates on the tutorials. GIMP has evolved over the years so what you see online may differ from what you have installed on your computer.
My GIMP tutorials
I will use the following convention for describing commands or menu paths:
Window name: Menu name → Sub Menu name → Sub Menu name → … → Item name
For instance, to apply the Supernova filter, you follow the path
Image: Filters → Light and Shadow → Supernova
I will use similar conventions for the Layers and Toolbox windows. I will not use keyboard shortcuts for any of the commands, mostly because I can never remember what they are.
Also, I will always state which layer should be active for a particular instruction. For instance:
However, it is up to you to make sure that you are working on the correct layer.
The images that we create will be composed of multiple layers so you will need to have the Layers window visible. If it does not load automatically when GIMP starts, then you can access it via the Image window.
Image: Windows → Dockable Dialogues → Layers
You should now have three windows visible: Image, Layers and Toolbox.
Many of the dialog boxes have an option called Preview. This should always be checked so that you can see the effect of your changes before you commit to them.
Saving your work
Save your project in GIMP’s native .xcf format. This will preserve all of the layers, transparencies, etc. in your image. Also, since computers are not to be trusted, it is a good idea to save your project from time to time whilst you are working on it, as a safeguard against unexpected crashes or program freezes. When you are finished with your image and want, say, a PNG version of the final picture, use the Export As facility.
Image: File → Export As
I do not use Photoshop but I suspect that these techniques will transfer across readily enough. I leave that as an exercise for you, Gentle Reader.
I am also not a GIMP expert. The techniques outlined in my tutorials are simply what works for me. Caveat emptor and let’s start creating!