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.

YouTube is another great source for GIMP tutorials.

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:

LAYER: Background

However, it is up to you to make sure that you are working on the correct layer.

Layers window

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.

Preview box

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!