• Animated Foul Weather

    Article by Ey@el

    Original en français

    Having recently encountered some bugs (now sorted out) with Wine, I've decided to look for alternative solutions to create animations without recourse to Windows software. After all, I didn't shift to Linux only because it's free, but because I wanted to embrace the whole philosphy behind it in alignment with my principles. So I found another way to create animated rain effects without using Sqirlz Water Reflections nor Animation Shop (see Related articles) which might not even work with further versions of Windows anyway. This tutorial is the result of my experimenting to fit with the mood of the season.



    - a picture to add rain to (for this example, I've used a snapshot I took with my phone in a local park)

    GIMP 2.10 (free and open source for Linux/Windows/OSX)


    1. Open a copy of the image you wish to animate in GIMP and if necessary, resize it to avoid getting a bulgy output file.

    2. Add a new white layer on top of your existing image layer.

    3. Apply noise with Filters - Noise - Hurl menu using the following settings:

    - Repeat = 2
    - Randomisation = 50
    - Click on New seed to generate new random pattern of pixels

    4. Turn layer to greyscale using Colors - Desaturate - Colour to grey menu.

    5. Set layer blend mode to Screen.

    NOTE: I'm using the new blend modes introduced in version 2.10 which have a different render than previous ones (still available when you click on the switch button on top of the layer palette toolbar).

    6. Apply motion blur with Filters - Blur - Linear Motion Blur menu using the following settings:

    - Length = 14,68
    - Angle = 115

    NOTE: You may need different settings according to the picture you're using, but keep in mind that a smaller length may produce a snow effect. The angle depends on the direction you wish to give to the rain.

    7. Modify the output of your layer accordingly using the Colours - Levels menu.  Here are the settings I have used:

    - Input levels (on the left) = 197
    - Other settings left as default

    8. You may need to reduce layer opacity (79%).

    9. In order to get a softer more natural effect, apply gaussian blur with Filters - Blur - Gaussian Blur menu using the following settings:

    - Size X = 0,50
    - Size Y = 0.50
    - Other settings left as default

    10. Duplicate bottom image layer and move it on top of the layer palette. Then repeat steps 2 to 9. Don't forget to click on New seed on step 3 (very important).

    11. Repeat step 10.

    12. You now have 3 image layers each with a different rain layer on top. Merge down each rain layer with the image layer below. You should now have 3 different layers.

    13. Change colour mode for an optimised GIF using Image - Mode - Indexed menu:

    - Generate optimum palette
    - Colour dithering = Floyd-Steinberg (reduced colour bleeding)

    14. Now you can export your animation via the File - Export as menu, choosing Image GIF Image as File Type. Another dialog opens to adjust the settings of you output file:

    - Check As animation
    - Check Loop forever
    - Delay between frames where unspecified = 100 ms
    - Other settings left as default

    Tada ! Your animated GIF is ready to use.

    NOTE: Right after step 1, I've applied an unsharp mask to enhance my picture and before exporting I have increased the saturation of each frame.


    On top of the rain, I wanted to find out whether I would manage to scare this courageous snail on a blade of grass (apparently his shell acts as a Faraday cage).


    - a picture to add lightning to (for this example, I've used a picture I found on Pinterest)

    Lightning brushes for GIMP


    1. In order to use the brushes with GIMP, unzip the file you've downloaded on DeviantArt and copy the Lightning folder into the Brushes directory within your GIMP config folder.

    - On Linux:
    home/User Name/.config/GIMP/2.10 (or earlier version)
    NOTE: Config is a hidden folder, so in order to access it you need to activate the display of hidden files.

    - On Windows:
    C:\Users\User Name\GIMP\2.10 (or earlier version)

    - On Mac OSX:
    Sorry, I couldn't test on MaC OSX, but you may find it using the Edit - Preferences - Folders - Brushes menu in GIMP. You may also add another location (whatever your operating system) to store your additonal brushes, which I find much more convenient.

    Restart GIMP to load your new brushes.

    The approach for adding lightnind effects is similar to rain effects, though with less manipulations:

    2. Duplicate the layer of your original picture 3 times in order to have 4 identical layers.

    3. Add a new transparent layer above each picture layer (except the first one at the bottom of the layer palette) set to Vivid light mode (only available as from version 2.10).

    4. On each transparent layer, apply a different lightning brush using the brush tool  (with white colour) on different places using the following settings:

    - Size = you need to adapt to the brush you're using and the size of your picture
    - Aspect ratio = 0
    - Angle = 0
    - Spacing = 25
    - Hardness = 100
    - Strength = 50
    - Dynamics = Dynamics Off

    5. As for the rain effect, merge down each lightning layer with the image layer below to get a total of 4 different layers.

    6. Repeat indexed mode.

    7. Instruct animation by renaming the frames as follows and in the same order:

    4 (200ms)
    3 (200ms)
    2 (200ms)
    1 (600ms)

    8. Export as GIF image using previous settings.

    The Foul Monty

    After electrifying the snail, I wanted to wash the Trocadero Plaza clean of all those intrusive tourists with mucho rain and thunder.


    - lightning brushes
    - a picture to add rain and lightning to (for this last example, I have used a picture I also took with my phone)


    The last effect is a combination of both rain and lightning. The only complexity lays in  the laying out and merging of layers.

    1. Create a rain effect using 3 layers as explained above.

    2. Rename the three merged layers starting from the bottom of the layer palette:

    rain 3 (100ms)
    rain 2 (100ms)
    rain 1 (100ms)

    3. Add 2 new different lightning layers (blend mode set to Addition) on top of existing layer and DO NOT merge.

    lightning 2
    lightning 1
    rain 3 (100ms)

    rain 2 (100ms)
    rain 1 (100ms)

    4. Then duplicate each of the rain layers and arrange them as follows:

    lightning 2
    lightning 1
    + rain 3#2 (100ms)
    + rain 2#2 (100ms)
    + rain 1#2 (100ms)
    rain 3 (100ms)
    rain 2 (100ms)
    rain 1 (100ms)

    We now have a 600ms rain cycle.

    Let me explain how it works: for the rain effect, each frame will be displayed for 100ms for a 300ms cycle; for the lightning effect, we need two 300ms cycles of rain frames, that is 600ms plus 200ms for each lightning frame. We shall have to combine both effects (rain only, rain + lightning) by duplicating and merging a lot of layers.

    5. Now, duplicate each lightning layer (on the top of the layer palette) once and arrange as follows:

    + lightning 2#2
    lightning 2
    + lightning 1#2
    lightning 1
    rain 3#2 (100ms)
    rain 2#2 (100ms)
    rain 1#2 (100ms)
    rain 3 (100ms)
    rain 2 (100ms)
    rain 1 (100ms)

    6. Duplicate and place a different rain layer under each lightning layer de so as to merge them down:

    lightning 2#2
    + rain 1#4 (100ms)

    lightning 2
    + rain 3#3 (100ms)

      lightning 1#2
    + rain 2#3 (100ms)

    lightning 1
    + rain 1#3 (100ms)

    rain 3#2 (100ms)
    rain 2#2 (100ms)
    rain 1#2 (100ms)
    rain 3 (100ms)
    rain 2 (100ms)
    rain 1 (100ms)

    7. Merge down each lightning layer with the rain layer below. You should have this:

    lightning 2 + pluie 1 (100ms)
    lightning 2 + pluie 3 (100ms)
    lightning 1 + pluie 2 (100ms)
    lightning 1+ pluie 1 (100ms)
    rain 3#2 (100ms)
    rain 2#2 (100ms)
    rain 1#2 (100ms)
    rain 3 (100ms)
    rain 2 (100ms)
    rain 1 (100ms)

    We now have a 600ms rain cycle, and two different 200ms lightning- rain cycles while the rain cycle within the lightning cycle is still 100ms  (sorry if I lost you on the way).

    8. Apply indexed mode.

    9. Export as GIF image using previous settings.

    That's it. I hope you enjoyed these lengthy tutorials and that you won't find them too complicated to try.

    Best of luck!


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