This GIMP (GNU) tutorial demonstrates how to convert an image into a disco ball. To work along, you are welcome to download the UK Flag Start Image I am working with Here. Unzip the file and open the image onto GIMP’s workspace.
You will find a large selection of world flags Here.
Save And Optimise Images And Photographs
Launch GIMP & Organise Its Workspace & Palettes
Every photograph, or image, is unique and will always react differently. Therefore, when utilising your own image, or photograph, you must experiment with settings in this tutorial until you find the right results for your image or photograph. The settings in this tutorials are specific for the UK Flag image I am working with. The UK Flag I am working with measures 960 Pixels Wide X 640 Pixels High.
Open your Start Image onto GIMP’s workspace - File then Open - Ctrl then O.
Ensure the Layers and the Undo History Palettes are visible, and then drag them into position over your workspace - (Windows then Dockable Dialogues - then click Layers and Undo History).
To transform the rectangular shaped flag into a Square Shape: from the top menu, choose Image and then choose Scale. And from the subsequent Scale Image dialogue box, first, left-click over the middle of the Images Size’s linked chained, to break the link - as indicated by the red arrow below. And then change the Width so it equals the Height. In this instance, I have cleared the Width’s value and typed in 640. After you have changed the Width, click the Scale tab.
3/ Mosaic Tile - Optional
Now, from the top menu, choose Filters then choose Distort and then choose
Mosaic. Now, from the subsequent Mosaic dialogue box, enter the following
(exact) settings, and then click OK.
Then from the top menu, choose Filters then choose Map and then choose Map Object. And from the subsequent Map to Object dialogue box, enter the following exact settings.
Don’t click OK until the Options, Light, Material and Orientation settings have been changed to the following.
Now click OK to apply the settings.
Your orb-shaped flag will then open in a second (smaller) dialogue box, as illustrated below.
You can now close (and save if you wish), the square-shaped flag that is open on GIMP’s workspace.
Now, Maximise the Orb-shaped flag by left-clicking its Maximise tab - as illustrated below.
Congratulations, you have created your orb-shaped disco-ball, and you are now ready for the next step.
Now is a good time to save your orb-shaped disco ball as a XCF GIMP File - top
menu, then File then Save As.
From the top menu, choose Filters then choose Enhance and then choose Unsharp Mask. Now, from the subsequent Unsharp Mask dialogue box, enter the following settings, or experiment, and then click OK.
Then open the Sparkle File onto GIMP’s workspace.
And from the Sparkle Image’s top menu, choose Edit and then choose Copy.
Now, navigate to the Orb-shaped Flag’s upper menu bar, and then choose Edit and then choose Paste as and then choose New Layer.
After you have pasted the Sparkle onto the Orb, (as a New Layer), you can safely close the original small Sparkle Image.
From the left-side Toolbox, activate the Move Tool.
And then left-click over the Sparkle Image and drag it onto the Disco-orb - as illustrated below.
Now, from the Layers Palette, right-click over the Sparkle Image (Clipboard) Layer. And then choose Duplicate Layer from the subsequent drop-down list.
Ensuring that the Clipboard Copy Layer remains active. From the top menu, choose Layer and then choose Merge Down. This merges the two Sparkle Layers together - as illustrated below.
Tip: Duplicate The Sparkle
To Duplicate the Sparkle, right-click over the Layer Palette’s Sparkle Layer. And then select Duplicate Layer from the subsequent drop-down menu. Then activate the Move Tool - and drag the Duplicated Sparkle to a different position.
Repeat the Duplication steps until you have enough Sparkles for your needs.
Now, to Resize and Reposition the Sparkles, from the left-side Toolbox, activate the Scale Tool. (Shift then T).
Then left-click inside the Square Shaped Bounding Box. You will then see Nine Square-shaped Repositioning Handles attached to the Bounding Box, as illustrated below.
You can then reduce the Sparkle’s Size by left-clicking and gently tugging the
top-right Repositioning Handle towards the bottom-left, as illustrated below.
To commit the Scale, either click the Scale tab - or tap your Keyboard’s Enter/Return Key.
Tip: Constrain An Image’s Original Dimensions
To retain an image’s dimensions during the scaling (resizing) process: remember to press and keep pressed the Ctrl Key as you Scale your image.
After you have Resized and Repositioned your Sparkles. From the top menu, choose Image and then choose Merge Visible Layers - Ctrl then M.
Tip: Brighten Your Disco Ball
To brighten your Disco Ball, from the top menu, choose Filters then choose Enhance and then choose Unsharp Mask. Now, from the subsequent Unsharp Mask dialogue box, enter the following settings, or experiment, and then click OK.
Tip: Rotate (Tilt) Your Disco Ball
To Rotate the Disco Ball, from the left-side Toolbox, activate the Rotate Tool.
Then hover your cursor over your Disco Ball, and then left-click and gently move your cursor in an upwards or a downwards direction. This rotates the Disco Ball - as illustrated below. To commit the Rotation, either click the Rotate tab, or tap your Keyboard’s Enter/Return Key.
Congratulations, your Disco-orb is complete and is ready to drag onto another image.
Alternatively, save your work to utilise at a later date - top menu, then File then Save As.
Create A Fill Layer Tip
From the top menu, choose Layer and then choose New Layer. And From the subsequent New Layer dialogue box, enter a name for the Layer, and then click OK.
Then left-click and drag the New Layer to the bottom of the Layers Stack - as illustrated below.
Now, from the left-side Options Panel, mark Pattern Fill, and then left-click over the small pattern swatch. And from the subsequent Patterns Library, left-click a pattern of your choice - as illustrated below.
Solid Colour Fill
To create a Solid Colour Fill, change the Foreground Colour or the Background Colour to your choice of Solid Colour. And then mark either Foreground or Background - as illustrated below.
Pattern Fill Settings
Then left-click over your image to fill it with your choice of fill.
Apply A Drop Shadow Or A Perspective Shadow To Your Disco-ball
Ensure the Disco Ball Layer is active. And then from the top menu, choose Filters then choose Light and Shadow and then choose Drop Shadow or Perspective Shadow. If you are applying a Perspective Shadow, you may want to activate the Move Tool.
And then drag the Disco-ball to the left-side of the canvas. Now, from the subsequent Drop Shadow or Perspective Shadow dialogue box, enter settings of your choice, and then click OK.
Wendi E. M. Scarth. Top of Page.