How to Make Fragments & Fireworks on GIMP

GIMP's Gradient Flare can make realistic CGI fireworks images.
... Design Pics/Design Pics/Getty Images

In addition to basic photo editing, GIMP, the free Gnu Image Manipulation Program, can be used for all sorts of effects that may not be obvious at first. For example, using GIMP's Mosaic distortion filter, you can fragment any image into pieces of different shapes and sizes. Properly configured, GIMP's Gradient Flare can make some great fireworks. In themselves, both effects can be useful for transforming photos into works of art. Together, with fireworks over a dark fragmented image, the design can be quite spectacular.

1 Fragmenting an Image

2 Open the image

Open the image you want to fragment in GIMP. Select the "Free Selection" or lasso tool from the Toolbox if you want to fragment only a portion of the image. If you want to fragment the entire image, you don't need this tool. Drag the cursor around the portion of the image you want to fragment.

3 Click the Filters'' menu

Click the "Filters" menu, select "Distorts" and then click "Mosaic." The Mosaic panel opens. Click the "Tiling primitives" drop-down menu to select the geometric pattern you want to use in the fragmentation effect. If you're using this in combination with a fireworks effect, consider using hexagons or triangles; however, you can use any shape you wish.

4 Drag the sliders in the Mosaic panel

Drag the sliders in the Mosaic panel while watching the preview window in its corner to achieve the proper amount of fragmentation you want to achieve. These sliders let you specify the tile size, height, spacing and neatness, as well as the light direction and variations in color. If you are planning to put fireworks in front of the fragmented image, remember to keep the mosaics colors dark rather than light, so the fireworks will stand out.

5 Click to see the fragmentation effect

Click "OK" to see how the fragmentation effect appears on the full-sized image. If you don't like what you see, press "Ctrl-Z" on the keyboard and try again.

6 Making Fireworks

7 Click the Filters menu

Click the "Filters" menu, select "Light and Shadow" and click "Gradient Flare." The Gradient Flare panel opens.

8 Click the Selector tab

Click the "Selector" tab in the Gradient Flare panel and select "New." Type "Fireworks" in the Name text field and click the "Edit" button.

9 Drag the Glow Paint Options Opacity

Drag the Glow Paint Options "Opacity" to the left until it reaches "0." Drag the Secondary Flares Paint Options "Opacity" slider to "0" as well.

10 Select the Rays tab

Select the "Rays" tab in the Gradient Flare Editor panel. Click the "Angular Size Gradient" menu and select "%random."

11 Drag each

Drag each of the sliders in the Parameters section of the Gradient Flare Editor panel while watching the flares in the preview window. These sliders adjust the size of the rays, rotation, the number of flare spikes and the thickness of the spikes. Click "OK" when you are satisfied with the preview to check out the effect on the full-size image.

  • Information in this article applies to GIMP version 2.8.10. It may vary slightly or significantly with other versions or products.

A published author and professional speaker, David Weedmark has advised businesses and governments on technology, media and marketing for more than 20 years. He has taught computer science at Algonquin College, has started three successful businesses, and has written hundreds of articles for newspapers and magazines throughout Canada and the United States.