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Making a lava picture/texture


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This tutorial is available as a PDF. Click here to view or download it



Hello paint.net users. This is a tutorial on how to create a nice, cool looking lava texture in a simple and easy to follow manner. For this tutorial 3 additional downloaded plug-ins are used and these can be found on the getpaint.net website. (here!):)


 Plug-in links

Essential: Flames (aka Burninate) by Bolt-Bait :  Flames plug-in

Grim Color Reaper (only needed for the smoke effects) by Jotaf:Grim Color Reaper plug-in

Color Filter by Ed Harvey (not essential but it helps): Color filter



This tutorial is in two parts. Part 1: Lava and Part 2: Smoke effects

Part 1:Lava

1.Firstly open paint.net and press Ctrl+N to open a new image. You can choose whatever image resolution you'd like. I am going with 800 x 600.


New New

2. We'll be using the Clouds texture in paint.net (a good old classic). So go ahead and click Effects > Render > Clouds and make sure your colors are black and white

Lava step 1

 3. Set the blend mode to "Difference". The default value of 0.5 for roughness is fine but you change it (Important: Don't set the roughness too low or too high.) A default scale value of 250 is fine, although I used 200. You can experiment with this scale value but I would suggest avoiding very low values for scale (Like 15:D)


Lava step 2

4. Now use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+F to repeat these difference clouds. Do this about six times

Lava step 3


Ooo. Its looks like some gray alien mud. Don't worry, we'll be flaming this up in a bit.

5. Optional: Apply Brightness/Contrast (under Adjustments) and set the increase in brightness by a small value (such as +8). This will just make the lava more 'fiery' and hotter. You may also want to adjust the Contrast slightly but I just left it as it is.

Lava step 4a

6. Now let's start stoking flames here with BoltBait's Flames plug-in. Go to Effects > Render > Flames. (aka the Burninate plug-in)

Lava step 5

7. I went with a roughness of 0.60 and a scale of 150 for the flames. You can try out what suits you. Avoid very low values for scale  and very high roughness values. 

And make sure 'Black and white is off' because you will have really boring 'lava' :D with this on!


Lava step6

 Cool but it just needs a few touches. You will notice a few 'white patches' that you might like to get rid of. Also the lava needs some more 'glow'

8. To fix the patches go to Effects > Color > Color Filter

Hue: 30 to 50

Filter density: 110 to 150

Preserve Highlights : zero (and exact zero or maybe 5)

Lava step 8Lava step 9

9. To make the lava glow. Go to Effects >Photo > Glow and run glow with settings similar to these

Lava step 11Lava step 10

10. You may also want to do another Color Filter

Lava step 12

That finishes off the lava. 

Part 2: Smoke effects

The lava at this stage looks goods but you may want to add some smoke effects. 

11. To do this first add a new layer

Lava step 13

12. On this new layer run Effects > Render > Clouds. We are using normal clouds and not difference clouds. Scale is up to you but keep the roughness in about 0.50 to 0.72. We'll need some 'detail' in the smoke.

Lava step 14

13. So now you have a cloudy blanket. But how does this become smoke? Go to Effects > Color > Grim Color Reaper and experience automatic color destruction. We need to lose all the black, most of the grey and just some of that white. So Color tolerance at 1.00 won't do. Decrease the tolerance to about 0.3. Yes this will make the white more transparent but hey its what we want for smoke.

Lava step 15Lava step 16

14. Neat but we do not want smoke all over the place. Time for the Eraser tool - set its hardness all the way down to zero. Adjust the size to your liking and remove some smoke.

Lava step 17Lava step 18


15. So here is your smoke. (optional) But you may want a more 'transparent' smoke effect. If so follow the images below.

Lava step 19Lava step 20

The Opacity is the value to alter to make the smoke more transparent.

16. Well that's all:). The end-result =

Lava step 21

Thank you very much for reading my tut.

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