How to Make Things Grungy or Faded with Plasma Cloud Masks in Gimp

Your rating: None Average: 4.2 (6 votes)

Recently, I've made some artwork with some grunge and faded looks and some people have asked me how I did it. My answer is that I used the plasma clouds rendering filter in Gimp to do most of it. I was surprised that many people do not think to use procedural or rendering tools inside the masks themselves for layers to get some neat effects. It is really easy, so here is a quick how-to on making anything you could possible want appear grungy or faded. First off, here is an example piece of art I did that uses a ton of it:

Too Many Suns Art Piece

Let's start with a basic image of a couple circles I drew. Boring right? Yes, so let's make them look dingy! Here's my fantastic circles:

My Boring Circles

What I am going to do is duplicate a few layers of the circles and make them slightly different colors. This will help give you some different layers and colors to play with how you want things to look. Create a layer mask for the first layer you want to do. With the layer mask selected, navigate to Filters - Render - Clouds - Plasma. You will get a dialog box:

Plasma Dialog

In the dialog, you can adjust the Random Seed and Turbulence. Sliding turbulence to the left smooths out your result where sliding to the right will make things much more rougher. Slide it around to the look you want to achieve. You can click the New Seed button to re-randomize the filter's output to give you different looking clouds. Click Ok when done:

Circles with Some Plasma Cloud Masking

We now have our layer mask a greyscale plasma cloud generated in it. What is going on is the black areas in the mask are transparent and the white areas are not, so the mask with the plasma cloud in it is giving your layer a very rough appearance by showing some here and hiding some there. Let's do it again to another layer of our blue circles, this time a slightly different blue color so some of the different blue shows through:

More Plasma Cloud Masks!

Here is how your layers will appear, notice the plasma cloud outputs in the layer masks:

Plasma Cloud Mask Layer View

Lets add a layer mask with a plasma cloud in it to the background as well! That will spice things up a little bit:

Finished with our Grungy Circles!

There are many other rendering and cloud filters besides plasma, but I think it's my favorite to quickly do things like this. Photoshop has very similar plugin filters, but once again I have chosen Gimp to do this... I will leave you with another piece of art where you can see how heavily I used layers of things with plasma clouded masks:

Spilt Art Piece

Rate This!

Your rating: None Average: 4.2 (6 votes)
FeeBeeDee's picture

Thank-you for this wonderful

Thank-you for this wonderful tutorial! This is the first time I've ever used a layer mask, and I've been using Gimp for years! Thank-you, thank-you, thank-you. Here is a link to my first attempt:

Bill's picture

You are welcome! You will

You are welcome! You will continue to see how useful masks are to show and hide what you want without erasing the layer itself! I've got some more guides to add soon that use them as well.

FeeBeeDee's picture

Great! I can't wait to see

Great! I can't wait to see them.

Anonymous's picture

one of the best, most

one of the best, most no-nonsense guides I have found on the subject. thanks very much!

Share This!

Latest Free Brushes for Photoshop or Gimp

Latest Free Patterns for Photoshop or Gimp

Latest Free Texture Packs

Latest Articles

Posted: Sunday, May 21 2017
I've happened to stumble across the style of art called cubism unknowingly while I was working on...
Posted: Sunday, April 20 2014
Lately, I've been involved in a 2D Zombie Platform Shooter that is now available on online and in...
Posted: Sunday, March 23 2014
Comments: 5
Sorensen Leather, a high quality leather company in Denmark, has been kind enough to share 300 of...
Posted: Friday, February 21 2014
Comments: 1
I've been getting asked more often lately on how to take a high quality texture photograph so I...
Posted: Tuesday, February 11 2014
Vector art in the form of SVG files has become more and more popular. Web browsers typically can...
Posted: Monday, March 26 2012
Comments: 2
Well, I finally got around to creating a Google+ page for texturemate! If you are on Google+ and...
Posted: Tuesday, January 18 2011
Comments: 26
The latest version of abrMate now allows you to convert any newer Photoshop CS brush set that can...
Posted: Thursday, December 23 2010
Comments: 8
You can export as many brushes as you want to .png files in one step with abrMate. First, open all...
Posted: Monday, December 20 2010
Comments: 2
Exporting Adobe Photoshop brushes to .png's in abrMate is very easy. First, you must have one or...
Posted: Monday, December 20 2010
Comments: 2
Well I want to apologize for not releasing as many textures, brushes, and patterns lately. It's...

Latest News

Posted: Saturday, February 25 2017
Posted: Monday, July 25 2016
Posted: Sunday, March 20 2016
Posted: Sunday, February 21 2016
Posted: Sunday, March 29 2015
Posted: Monday, October 27 2014
Posted: Friday, March 07 2014

Share With Others!

Legal Stuff

Every resource provided on texturemate is considered completely royalty free! The stock textures, texture packs, brush packs, and any other resources available for download on this site are completely free and may be used in commercial or non-commercial applications. Credit to texturemate for use of available textures or brushes is appreciated, but not required. These textures may be used in 3D modeling software packages where their appearance is altered, such as Blender, 3DS Max, Solidworks, CAD, or Second Life. They may also be used in scrapbooking applications. The only exception is that they cannot be redistributed commercially in their unedited form. These textures cannot be re-packaged and resold without significant modifications to their appearance. Brush packs may be used to create unique images in Gimp or Adobe Photoshop, but they cannot be redistributed without being significantly edited. Any resource on texturemate may be linked to when sharing information or resources to others.