Category: graphics

HOWTO Gimp: seamless textures

A seamless texture

A seamless texture

Have you ever used a background texture in your projects, presentations, wep pages, etc.? Most of us did.

If you’re in a rush, and you need something quick, you can easily google it and find online some great resources for textures and patterns.
One for all, I could suggest where there’s an incredible amount of high quality  tilable textured patterns, and best of all they are free to use (as long as you keep the proper credits!! Pretty fair, I’d say)

But you have another option: GIMP.
Yes, using this great free software you can have your own textures in just a few simple steps, and furthermore, making your textures seamless is just a click away!

Want to know how? Check this excellent tutorial from Vicki Wenderlich: she explains all the steps in a clear way, and she’ll easily lead you to your first seamless texture.

In the process of exploring GIMP, trying to create new background textures for some future works, I came up with the following steps that usually give satisfying results (to me!):

1. first of all, create a new image with a solid colored background;

2. add some noise, using any of the following Filters:
-> Noise -> Casual (set a 5-6%)
-> HSV Noise (Holdness=2; Hue=3; Saturation=20; Value=20);

3. apply Filters -> Artistic -> Apply canvas (depth 3-5);

4. at this point, you can add some other Artistic filters, such as Oilify (mask dim.<8) or GIMPressionist (Paper=defaultpaper;  Scale=30;  Relief=6);

5. now create a new level;

6. choose a non-solid brush, set its opacity at 50% and start drawing casually on the new layer using a white color;


7. repeat pt. 5 and 6, this time using a black color;

8. now set these two last levels mode to overlay with an opacity of 50-60%.

There you go. Play with the settings of each filter, and you’ll probably come up with an interesting texture on which you can start creating your content.



First of all, let me start by saying I am not a professional graphics editor or such, so this how-to might be total nonsense to a pro. But it works for my goals.

That being stated, let me show you how to create a fancy background using GIMP and some simple techniques.

1. Let’s start with an empty image. Since we’re going to have a filled background, I usually start with a white layer

File > New… > 800×400 (or whatever size you need)

2. Now we can start and fill the layer using the blend tool.

Tools > Drawing > Blend

Set the mode to “Difference“, choose a multicolored gradient (anyone you like, as long as it has more than 2 colors; I’m going to use the “Shadow 3” preset in this example), set any form you like (linear, radial or else) and start filling freely, changing directions each time. This is what I get after drawing about 10-15 gradient lines.

using only linear gradients

using just radial gradients

When you’re happy with the result, you can jump to the next step.

3. Turn everything to black and white using the Desaturate tool.

Colors > Desaturate

Choose the options that give you the result you prefer (I have been using the Lightness option)

desaturated image

4. Now you can apply a last finishing touch using the blend tool again. This time change the mode to “Soft light” and use a gradient with a combination of soft colors.

Check the examples below.

example 1

example 2

example 3

example 4