How can I create a solar flares effect using GIMP or Inkscape?
Something like this image:
Edit: first of all thanks for all the great comments and suggestions. My initial idea was to create the image based on real surface features of the sun, as seen in this image. My steps were
sun disk: create circle, create granule-like structure using GIMP's plasma effect, then perform desaturation, Gaussian filtering, colorization, and bloom effect
corona: copy sun disk layer and apply Gaussian filter with large radius (1/3 of image width maybe), overlay layer additively
transition region: in principle the same steps as for corona, but with a smaller Gaussian filter radius and added bloom
flares: for this step I did not have any good results, I tried some brushes, but nothing looked acceptable
Here is my intermediate result (without flares):