My *nix world

Create Matrix effect image in Gimp


I wanted to create my own header background image for this blog, starting right from the name of the blog: "My *nix world".

I want it to be clear and simple. First time I've created a large character map made up of ordinary screen characters, using a tool like FIGlet:

create matrix effect

I was happy with it for about one minute and half then I've looked for a better version. Because of the green-black colours I've decided to use a Matrix alike effect. But how?

I have Gimp so I've started from there. There is no default Matrix-effect that ships with Gimp so I've searched the Google for a how-to page. The best I've found is this:

As of 02.01.2014 the mentioned link above does not point anymore to the original tutorial. I think I should explain here step by step what I have done in order to create my blog header logo because now I have the logo but I forgot entirely all the involved steps.

You can, however, browse the WaybackMachine Internet Archive for the archived version of that page here and here. It seems that they moved the whole thing at You might check out some matrix art here.

Meanwhile you can also check out this Java-script matrix effect. You can actually do a mixture between the Gimp/Photoshop matrix effect and the DHTML effect named earlier.

Note: For the title I have used a plain text with Neon filter (Filters->Alpha to Logo->Neon).

Create Matrix Effect

Edit: I would not take my chances with the Internet Archive so I will reiterate all the steps below. Just in case.
  • Step 1
    • Create a new image and fill it with white
  • Step 2
    • Go to Filters > Noise > RGB Noise and add some noise using settings similar to those shown below (as always, though, experiment with the settings)
  • Step 3
    • Grain Effect
    • Next, run the displace tool to create some vertical line noise. Go to Filters > Map > Displace and use settings something like ...well, you have to find yourself
    • The x value isn't really critical in this situation, but I suggest you use something, as the result doesn't quite look right without it. However, the y value needs to be the highest amount possible. Which is 2 times the image height. In my case, the image is 110 pixels high, so the displace y value is 220
  • Step 4
    • Next, run the Dilate Filter (You can also use Erode. The results will be similar, but different.)
    • The result (The Dilate filter will make it be rather light)
  • Step 5
    • Run Edge Detect
    • Here's the settings, I used, but play around and see if you find something you like better
  • Step 6 - Optional
    • This step isn't really necessary, but you might like to try it out.
    • Duplicate your background layer (Shift+Ctrl+D)
    • Then, on the duplicate layer, run the Tileable Blur Filter....
    • Why tileable blur? Well, if you use this step (remember, it's optional) and then later you decide to create an animation with it, tileable blur is your best bet. Gaussian blur will generally leave a noticeable line because it's not meant to "tile."
    • Now, set your blend mode to one of your liking. I set mine to "Addition" as shown below, but there are others you might like.
    • Let's merge the two layers together now.....
  • Step 7
    • Create a new layer above your background layer....I renamed mine Color Layer
    • Click on your foreground color swatch (mine is green as shown below)
    • Now, set the color to something you like. I've used this color (#00ff24)
    • Fill your Color Layer with the foreground color and set the upper blend mode to "Multiply" (or choose another blend mode)
  • Step 8
    • Merge the Color Layer and Background Layer together

Now, if you think that this article was interesting don't forget to rate it. It shows me that you care and thus I will continue write about these things.

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Create Matrix effect image in Gimp

Eugen Mihailescu

Founder/programmer/one-man-show at Cubique Software
Always looking to learn more about *nix world, about the fundamental concepts of math, physics, electronics. I am also passionate about programming, database and systems administration. 16+ yrs experience in software development, designing enterprise systems, IT support and troubleshooting.
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