Fun with Layers

This isn't strictly about cartooning but I wanted to share this great computer graphics technique with you.

billiard balls depth

Look at this image of billiard balls. What makes it different is the strong feeling of depth.

Here is how I did it.

stage 1

On an orange background I drew lots of small billiard balls using Paint Shop Pro's 'Stamp' tool.

stage 2

Next I blurred the image.

stage 3

Then I added some more balls ...

And then blurred the image, so now the smallest balls had been blurred twice. I repeated this cycle of blurring and adding larger balls until I got to the biggest ball which I didn't blur, so it remained in focus.

final step

But supposing I want to focus on the middle size balls, not the ones closest to me?

Well, we can start again with small balls (this time golf balls) in the distance.

As you can see we have blurred them too. So next we add a layer that I want to keep in focus

Ok, but how can I blur a third layer of balls without making the ones below blur again?

Well, the secret is to add a new LAYER to the image. PhotoShop and PaintShopPro both have layers and all good graphics packages have them too.

A later is like a sheet of glass which you place on top of a picture. You can then paint on that layer without anything happening to the picture underneath.

So on my new LAYER I added two big golf balls which I blurred, but the medium sized balls have remained in focus.

Try using layers and blurring for yourself and see what images you can come up with.