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Xenon Headlights on a Car Using Gimp

After a while I decided to make a new tutorial for all you awesome Gimp users out there. This time we are going to turn on the Xenon headlights on a random car. Enjoy!

  Author: mat | Version: 2.8.0 | 8th October 2013 |  

Open a frontal image of a car you want to turn on the xenon lights on.

I'm going with the Tesla Model X.

Also recommended:


Press D to set a black/white color.

In the menu above click Layer and choose New Layer... (Shift + Ctrl + N for a keyboard shortcut).

In the New Layer dialog window, choose Foreground color and click OK.


Now again, click the car layer (see picture).

Don't mind if your layer isn't called Pasted Layer, it depends on how you opened/pasted the image.

If you can't see your layer's press Ctrl + L.


In the menu above click Filters, Light and Shadow and choose Lens Flare...

In the Lens Flare dialog window move the lens flare over the headlight of the car (see picture).

You don't need to be to precise, we will adjust the position in one of the following steps.

Click OK.


Now press Ctrl + Z to undo the Lens Flare filter.

Select the black layer again and set its Mode to Screen (see picture).

Now press Ctrl + F to apply the last used filter (Lens Flare in our case)


Great, one of your headlights should now be on. Let's adjust the position now.

Choose the Move Tool.


Now move the light so it will fit your car just perfectly.


In the menu above, click Layer and choose Duplicate Layer (Shift + Ctrl + D for a keyboard shortcut).

You should now have a new copy of your headlights layer.


Again choose the move tool (if not already selected) and move the duplicated light layer to the other headlight and adjust it the way you adjusted the first one.


With the top layer selected, in the menu above, click Layer and choose Merge Down.

You should now have a single layer with two lights. Set the layer's Mode to Screen (see picture).


This is how it should look like at this point. Already pretty good, we do need to get rid of the flares and heavy transition between the two merged layers.


Choose the Eraser Tool.


Set a large Brush size (see mine in the image bellow) and set the brush Hardness to 000.

You can simply enter 0's after the Hardness (see picture).


Now start deleting the flare only to leave the lights.

Be careful around the lights so yo don't erase too much of the light. You might want to click repeatedly at some areas. If you delete a bit too much, simply press Ctrl + Z to redo.


This is how it should look like after the eraser job.

We have our lights turned on now, but the color isn't realistic to appear as the true xenon lights. Let's do this.


In the menu above, click Colors and choose Hue-Saturation...

Drag the Hue slider to the left until you get that Xenon lights color.

Click OK when done.


And you are done! If you're working with a darker image similar to mine, let's make it even darker for a more dramatic effect.


Select the car layer.

In the menu above, click Colors and choose Levels...

Drag the grey slider to the right, to make the image darker.


Much better right?

Also recommended:

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