I've got a 2D image and I want to transform it into something that looks like a single frame from an animation of that logo on fabric catching just a bit of breeze. I'm not an artist so don't have Photoshop or Illustrator, just free stuff like GIMP and Inkscape (under Windows)

I know it's some kind 3D transform (or a cheap simulation using filters) - but I don't know the technique. Honestly, I don't know what keywords to use to search Google/YouTube to find what I need.

Ideally, something like this (though less drastic) from a flat image:enter image description here

But something even more fake/subtle like this would be OK: enter image description here

Perhaps techniques for both?

Update Here's a photo with some of my results using the water simulator mentioned in the selected answer:

Iron Circle flags on The Iron Keep

  • 1
    if possible post a image of your desired output, it would be easy to guess or give you something duplicate with gimp.
    – Jack
    Commented Jun 23, 2011 at 6:30
  • Done. Is that what you had in mind? Commented Jun 23, 2011 at 6:50

2 Answers 2


From stock.xchng:

  1. open up a flat image of a flag in GIMP. Make sure that there is either transparency showing around it, or that it is on it's own layer and it does not cover the entire screen.

  2. Select the layer with the flag on it and open Filters->Distorts->Curve Bend Check 'Automatic Preview' In the modify curve box, play with the curve until it looks right. Switch the Curve for Border to Lower, and basically make the lines align. Click OK

  3. Duplicate the Layer

  4. Draw black lines on where the flag curves up the most

  5. Apply Filters->Blur->Gaussian Blur

    The default setting of 5 horizontal and 5 vertical should be good unless the image is really high quality. Then you would need to increase it.

  6. Lower the opacity until it looks right (In the layers dialog box)

And your done...

running out of time if possible i'll show you with screenshots in my next edit

see this also :

hope it will help...

  • I was able to duplicate both the manual technique and to quickly find a setting for the wave plugin that produced awesome results! Great answer! Thanks! Commented Jun 23, 2011 at 16:11

Try using the Dodge/Burn tools. You can see a video tutorial here that explains how to use it, though not with a flag. You should be able to figure it out fairly quickly, though.

  • I'm not getting that video - I don't understand what "dodge" and "burn" mean and how I would use those to get the effect desired. Commented Jun 23, 2011 at 15:46

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