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Making a realistic candle flame in The Gimp

Author: Locke21

Tools Needed

  • The Gimp
  • Studio
  • Poser


Do you like spooky, candle-lit pictures, but don't have a candle flame? Well here is how to make one with The Gimp.


Step 1 - Step One


Create a picture with the candle, and then place a point light just above it. Arrange the color and shadow levels to your likeing and then save it. You should already have a background, but I'll just paint mine black in the next step so everything will be easy to see.

Step 2 - Step two

Open your picture with Gimp and create a new layer. This is where the magic happens.

Step 3 - Step three

If you will look at the sides of the Picture Window, you will note rulers, and as your cursor moves over the picture, lines show you the position of the cursor tip. Place it where you want the candle flame and remember the X, Y coordinates. Its best to pick a point just above the candle top, to give the illusion of a burning wick.

Step 4 - Step four


Now go to the “Filters” menu, scroll to “Light Effects” and choose “SuperNova.” Using the coordinates you got before, place the supernova at the correct spot. Now is the time to choose a color for the flame that you would like, usually a deep yellow or very light orange works the best. While it depends on the size of your picture, set the “Radius” and “Spokes at around 10. Once you have it the way you like, click “Ok.”

Step 5 - Step five


Now we make the dot of light a candle flame. This is done by using the smudge tool. Set the opacity at about 50 and choose the smallest “Fuzzy Brush” that you have. Slowly work the top one-third of the light dot up into a wavery point.

Step 6 - Step six

Now its simply a matter of merging the layers, flattening the image and saving. Congratulations, you just made a candle flame that will impress everyone!