For a project we decided to use a freely available icon set that we could download. However it is now apparant that not all the icons that we need are present in this set and we need to add them ourselves – in the same style.

My question is, what filters do I need to apply to our basic shapes to create the same fading/tearing/wind to replicate effects such as these?

http://hkl.renebokhorst.com/editor/img/blue/blue-document-icon-256.png http://hkl.renebokhorst.com/editor/img/blue/blue-folder-icon-256.png http://hkl.renebokhorst.com/editor/img/blue/blue-home-icon-256.png http://hkl.renebokhorst.com/editor/img/blue/blue-star-icon-256.png

The only tool I am allowed to use is Gimp 2.8.14.

  • Looks to be the Scribble effect in Adobe Illustrator. Not certain if GIMP has anything close to that.
    – Scott
    May 30, 2015 at 8:50
  • 1) What have you tried? 2) Prepare to redo all icons, as you may not exactly match the effect. 3) Whoever created this made a mistake with the hanger/label/flap of the folder; this gives you a hint. 4) Welcome to Graphic Design SE.
    – Wrzlprmft
    May 30, 2015 at 9:03
  • @Wrzlprmft I tried a motion blurring filter, since the effect looked similar to how I used to make metallic looks in photoshop. However there seems to be no blurring in the original icon set, and they looked totally different. The other filters I tried was just stabbing in the dark. I'm not entirely sure what mistake you are referring to. For the sake of icon clarity I'll allow some artistic freedom over correctness.
    – Rene
    May 30, 2015 at 9:14
  • 2
    I'm tellin' ya.. .scribble in Illustrator :) There's a 30 day free trial :)
    – Scott
    May 30, 2015 at 9:19
  • I wote that it is scribble too. Without illustrator you would have to develop a plugin for this.
    – joojaa
    May 30, 2015 at 9:38

2 Answers 2


An effect similar to the one in the examples given can be created with a variation of the Sketch-filter of the G'MIC plugin set for Gimp.

enter image description here

These are steps I took for re-creating this effect:

  • Choose a white background rather than transparent for the source
  • Select the monochrome icon with the select-by-color tool for effect inside of the icon contours only.
  • Apply the GMIC Sketch filter with the following settings:

    Number of orientations 1
    Starting angle 135
    Angle range 180
    Stroke length 130
    Contour threshold 1.00
    Opacity 0.15
    Background intensity 0
    Density 0.60
    Sharpness 0.25
    Anisotropy 0.05
    Smoothness 0.75
    Coherence 1.05
    Untick Boost stroke
    Untick Curved stroke
    Color model White on black
  • Copy the resulting sketch to clipboard

  • Go back to the source image and undo the GMIC effect
  • Paste the clipboard in Screen mode.

Settings from the GMIC sketch plugin are quite versatile to fine tune the sketchy look to our taste. We could also let the strokes come from all angles, and more:

enter image description here


I can't think of a way of doing the uneven line spacing other than creating a sophisticated brush and painting with it.

Given hatched lines, though, I was able, using GIMP to recreate the fading of the lines - final result can get like this - but it does require manual intervention: enter image description here

(To get the even spaced lines - use the grid filter at filters->render->pattern->grid , and set line width to "0". Rotate the layer with the lines)

Afterwards, use the quick mask (click on the icon at the left of the horizontal scroll bar), and paint the region where you'd like the hatched lines to fade with white, using a soft brush and varying degrees of opacity - untoggle the quick mask, and you should have a selection suitable to the effect - the gray representation of the selection I used is this: enter image description here

Then use the `Filters->Distort->Value Propagate" filter, set to propagate transparency. Downsize your image, and you should get the value above.

As I said, I can't think of a way short of painting or scripting to have the unevenly spaced, but parallel lines in GIMP. Scripting could also try to automate the steps of re-sizing the final image, tuning the hatch alpha, and creating the fade mask - effectively making the effect available for GIMP - but it would be a more sophisticated script than I can create for answering a question here, as it should take a some hours to get right.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.