Friday, June 15, 2012

Flag Ripples step by step

Yesterday was Flag Day here in the US, so it probably would have been more appropriate to post this yesterday. But I figured I'd put my jet lag insomnia to use and work on this today.

How I textured Ray's Boissleau Flag

  1. Open the image in GIMP (download here)
  2. I used rectangle select to crop it to one of the flags from the image.

  3. In the video I did this in two steps, cut to the chase and from the image menu hit crop to selection.

  4. I increased the zoom to 200%, then created a new transparent layer. You can name it if you like.

  5. Make another rectangle selection. In the video I typed in values to get a perfect square. The size at this point is irrelevant as the ripples will need to be re-sized after the rotation step.

  6. Render Clouds. The menu tree is Filter > Render > Clouds > Solid Noise. The settings are all boxes checked. Detail 5; X size 16, Y size 0.7.

  7. Add motion blur to the clouds layer (these are your ripples). Menu tree is Filter > Blur > Motion Blur. Settings Blur Type: Linear; Length 256; Angle 90.

  8. Rotate the ripple/noise layer (we never named it so it's just New Layer). Set it to -30 degrees.

  9. Move the layer to position it over the flag better.

  10. Scale it to cover the half of the flag we're working on. In the video I chose 600 by 504 and then repositioned it. You could just do it large enough to cover the half you are working on or even the whole thing.

  11. Not necessary but I copied the layer to do the next steps. This is so I don't ruin all the previous work with the following steps.

  12. Rectangle select your copied layer. Adjust the size to half of the complete image (in this case 197) and then crop the layer to selection (Layer > Crop to Selection). Don't forget to make the original layer invisible by clicking on the eyeball next to it in the layers dialog box. Otherwise it will look like you didn't crop.

  13. Copy the cropped layer (New Layer copy in our example).

  14. Then flip and move the copy (New Layer copy #1) to the other side.

  15. Next I hid the ripple layers and copied the background layer (which is the image of the flag itself). Again I'm just covering my ass, probably unnecessary but I like to play it safe.
  16. Bump map ripples onto the flag copy. Filters > Map > Bump Map. For the settings it is important to have the correct layer selected in the Bump Map box, Map Type: Linear, All check boxes selected (I only did the first one in the video, not sure what difference it makes), Azimuth 135, Elevation 45, Depth 3 (Azimuth is direction of light source, Elevation I think selects the point at which the map is made so can effect the contrast of the map, Depth is the darkness of the shadows.) The X and Y offsets are set by the position of the layer you are bump mapping with (don't change them).

  17. Repeat bump map of the other side with the other ripple layer. The only change besides the bump map layer is the azimuth. You want it from the opposite side. so -90 degrees is 45.

  18. Save your work and export it to a file format you like to work with.
So there you have it. I hope that this will enable interested parties to achieve the desired effect. I would like to make mention of some other flag makers (Besides Ray of Don't Throw a 1), Monty had a nice Flag making tutorial here and Paul put the Grimsby Wargames Society Flags to good use here. The reson I mention them is that they have some quite nice flags and a pretty good ripple effect. The only critique that I have of it is that the ripple looks like it is caused from hanging from the top corners, not from a pole to the side.

Welcome to Samwise of Sam's Minis World. 1/72 figures and paper modelling. What could be better.


  1. Nice work Sean, I've managed to find a free copy of Gimp, I'll be giving this a go pretty soon.
    Thanks for all your help!!!

    1. Never pay! It is supposed to be free. That is the main reason I stuck with it. It may not be quite as good as Photoshop, but at $699 that software is out of my price range. GIMP takes some time to learn, but I think it's worth it. Feel free to email me if you have questions.

  2. THis is very cool Sean. Might give it a go too. Thanks.



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