Two Basic Tips For Using Digital Lighting Effects In “GIMP” (GNU Image Manipulation Program)

Well, it’s been a while since I wrote an art-related article. So, I thought that I’d offer a few tips about using the digital lighting effects in a free, open-source image editing program called “GIMP” (GNU Image Manipulation Program). This free open-source program is also compatible with pretty much every major operating system too.

For this article, I’ll be using version 2.8.22 of GIMP, since I had to re-download GIMP following some technical problems with my computer. However, the process is pretty much the same for slightly older versions of GIMP and is probably similar or identical for newer versions too.

Anyway, I’ve decided to write about digital lighting effects since I seem to have used them in a few of my more recent paintings, like this one:

“1999” By C. A. Brown

So, here are two tips/tutorials for using the digital lighting effects in GIMP.

In both tutorials, I’ll be adding artificial lighting (and then making it look more realistic) to this old “1980s cyberpunk”-style painting of mine from a few months ago.

1) The basics: First of all, open your image in GIMP and then look in the “filters” menu at the top of the screen. Look for the option called “Light and Shadow” and then select “lighting effects”. Like this:

How to get to the lighting effects menu in GIMP 2.8.22

Once you’ve done this, you’ll end up with a menu that shows your image with a blue dot that represents the new light source. Click and drag the dot until the light source is where you want it to be:

Click and drag the blue dot (in the small picture) until the light source is where you want it to be.

Once you’ve done this, then click the tab at the top of the menu called “Light”. From here you can fine tune the light’s position (by altering the X, Y and Z values), alter the type of light, alter the intensity of the light and also change the colour of the light (by clicking on the bar next to the “color” option, like this):

You can change the colour of the light by clicking on the bar next to the “color” option.

After this, you can also select the “Material” tab and alter the properties of the light in more detail (eg: how bright you want it to be, how much you want it to glow, shine etc..).

Messing around with the “Material” settings in order to give the new light source more of a glow.

Although there are a couple of more advanced options (eg: bump mapping, environment mapping etc..) available, we’ll ignore these. So, click “ok” and your new lighting effect should be applied to your image – like this:

Voila! Atmospheric red lighting 🙂 But, we aren’t finished yet….

2) Making it look more realistic: Although the digital lighting effects in GIMP do a good job at simulating how a new light source affects everything else in the picture, they can only apply these effects to the image in a two-dimensional space (since all images are 2D).

The way that the effect works also means that a lot of your image will be darkened too (to make the new light source look brighter by comparison). So, if you want to make your new lighting look more realistic (eg: 3D), then you are going to have to do this manually.

There are two ways to do this. One is to to have a good grasp of realistic lighting and shading, and to add the required shadows etc… to your art before you apply the effects. But, if you haven’t done this, then there is an easier way to do this. So, let’s get started…

Use the “free select” tool (the icon looks like a loop of rope) to select an area of your picture that is facing towards the light source:

Using the free select tool from the menu, I’ve selected part of the picture (one side of the TV aerial and one side of the crow) that is facing towards the light source.

Once you’ve done this, go into the “colors” menu at the top of the screen and select “Brightness – Contrast”, like this:

The brightness & contrast option.

Once you’ve done this, move the sliders until the area you have selected is lighter than it previously was. Like this:

Notice how the side of the TV aerial facing the light source now looks brighter than it used to.

If you are using coloured light (like the red light in this example), then you can make your picture more realistic by going into the “colors” menu again and selecting the option called ‘Colorize’.

Once you’ve done this, increase the saturation level and then keep moving the “hue” slider until the selected colour is the same colour as the light source. Like this:

Adding some colour to the brighter area, by altering the “hue” and “saturation” settings.

After this, just repeat the process where necessary and your picture will look a little bit more “3D”. Like this:

Voila!

—————-

Anyway, I hope that this was useful 🙂

Three Very Basic Ways To Improve Digital Photos/Scans Of Your (Non-Commercial) Traditional Art

2017-artwork-quick-ways-to-improve-art-with-digital-editing

I’m sure I’ve given a similar tutorial to this at least once before but, if you’ve got a scanner or a digital camera, then you can use image editing programs to improve the scans/photos of your traditional art before posting them online (Note: If you’re actually selling the originals, then don’t do this – because it may be considered false advertising).

I’ve also written this tutorial in a program-neutral way, so that it will hopefully be useful regardless of which editing program you choose to use. However, for the example images, I’ll mostly be using a totally free editing program called “GIMP” [GNU Image Manipuation Program]. This program is completely open-source too, which also means that you can find a version that will work on pretty much any computer.

If you’re new to image editing and don’t have an editing program, then “GIMP” might be worth experimenting with. Likewise, if you’re new to image editing, make a backup copy of your digital image before you try any of these techniques.

So, what are some quick and basic things you can do to improve the digital copies of your artwork?

1) Brightness/contrast: Most image editing programs have a brightness/contrast adjustment feature. Usually, this can be accessed from one of the menus at the top of the screen.

For example, in GIMP 2.6 (a slightly old version of GIMP I downloaded a couple of years ago), it can be found in the “Colours” menu:

 This is how to find the brightness/contrast option in GIMP 2.6 (and probably in more modern versions of the program too)

This is how to find the brightness/contrast option in GIMP 2.6 (and probably in more modern versions of the program too)

This feature can come in handy if, after scanning or photographing your artwork, it looks slightly “faded”. To make your art look a bit more vivid (or to make line art look bolder), just lower the brightness level and increase the contrast level.

Most programs will allow you to experiment with this until you get it right (by showing you a preview of your changes, or having an “undo” function), but a good rule is to lower the brightness by about 20-30 % and increase the contrast by about 60-80%. However, every picture is different. So, be sure to experiment to find the right levels for your picture.

2) Cropping tools: One problem with scanning or photographing traditional artwork is that the digitisation process usually adds a lot of needless background details. After all, you probably just want to show off your painting or drawing, and not the scanner bed or the surface that your picture is resting on.

A simple way to get rid of all or most of these pointless background details is to use a cropping tool. This allows you to select a square or rectangular area using the mouse. Once this area is selected, you can click on it to remove anything outside of the area.

The icon for the cropping tool varies slightly from program to program (eg: in GIMP 2.6, it looks like a scalpel) but, in many programs, it will look like two diagonal halves of a square placed on top of each other. But, just hover your mouse over the icons until you find the right one. Here’s an example.

As you can see, different programs sometimes use different icons for the same tool.

A simple crop without any other alterations (provided it shows the whole painting or drawing [unless you are also showing close-up details]) is probably the only one of these techniques you can use if you are selling the originals of your art commercially.

Since any digital images of commercial artwork should be an accurate representation of the painting or drawing that is being sold, merely removing pointless background details (that have nothing to do with the artwork itself) probably doesn’t count as misrepresenting the product.

However, background details in photos can probably be useful to help potential customers gauge the size of the artwork quickly by comparing it to nearby objects (but, if you’re selling art, you should also state the size/dimensions of your picture in the description too).

3) Hue/Saturation: If you can find the brightness/contrast options in the program that you’re using, then the hue/saturation options will probably be somewhere on the same menu.

This option allows you to control both the intensity (saturation) of the colours in your artwork, as well as allowing you to change all of the colours by a particular amount (eg: the “hue” option).

You’ll probably also find a “lightness” option, which allows you to alter the brightness of the image too. Most programs also allow you to change these levels using user-friendly sliders.

These are the hue/satuation options in GIMP 2.6. Ignore the colour chart at the top of the picture, you'll probably just be using the three sliders at the bottom - which can also be found in many other programs.

These are the hue/satuation options in GIMP 2.6. Ignore the colour chart at the top of the picture, you’ll probably just be using the three sliders at the bottom – which can also be found in many other programs.

A good general rule is to only make very small adjustments to the hue levels in your picture, if you feel that it improves the picture. Of course, if you’ve completely messed up the colours in your picture, then making larger adjustments to the hue level can be one way to salvage your picture. However, it might also make it look slightly surreal.

To show you what I mean, here is a chart. The top picture has no hue adjustments. The middle picture has the kind of small, subtle hue adjustment that you should probably use. The bottom picture contains a very large hue adjustment.

Click on the chart, or open it in a new tab, to see a full-size version.

Click on the chart, or open it in a new tab, to see a full-size version.

One other ultra-basic way to salvage your picture is just to lower the saturation as much as possible, which will turn your picture into a greyscale image (Note: Once you’ve clicked “ok”, this may not be easily reversible, depending on whether you save the greyscale image and/or whether your program has an “undo” function. So, make a backup first). Like this:

Lowering the saturation levels drastically is one simple way to convert your image into a greyscale picture, which can be a useful thing to do if you've messed up the colours. But, MAKE A BACKUP COPY before you press "ok"! I cannot emphasise this enough!

Lowering the saturation levels drastically is one simple way to convert your image into a greyscale picture, which can be a useful thing to do if you’ve messed up the colours. But, MAKE A BACKUP COPY before you press “ok”! I cannot emphasise this enough!

Some images look a lot more dramatic in greyscale than they do in colour. Plus, a basic greyscale image will often look better than a badly-made colour image.

I won’t cover it in this tutorial but, if you’ve got a greyscale image, then you can often also use other features in your program (like the selection tools, colourisation tools, the “RGB levels” feature, image effects etc..) to re-do the colours in your picture in a better way. This is a bit more advanced than anything in this tutorial but, it’s worth experimenting with, given that you can also use it to create digital-style artwork like the picture at the top of this article, or this larger picture:

"1990s Office Awesomeness" By C. A. Brown

“1990s Office Awesomeness” By C. A. Brown

So, yes, these are three quick, ultra-basic things (brightness/contrast, cropping and hue/saturation) you can do to improve the digital copies of your traditional artwork. Just remember that, if you’re selling the originals of you art, you shouldn’t digitally alter the actual content of the art itself (although cropping an image to the correct size is probably ok).

———-

Anyway, I hope that this was useful 🙂

One Simple Way To Add Depth To Rainfall (Or Snowfall) In Digital Art/ Digitally-Edited Art

2017-artwork-adding-depth-to-rain-in-digital-art

Well, for today, I thought that I’d quickly explain one of the many image editing techniques that I use on a regular basis.

For this technique, you’ll need a simple image editing program that is capable of adding lines (of varying thickness) and/or dots (of varying thickness) to an image. I’ll be using an old version MS Paint, but any other simple programs will do for this technique.

One common problem when digitally adding rain or snow to images is that the rain or snow can look a bit “flat”. It can look like a single “sheet” of rain or snow is falling over the image. This usually happens if you just add random white/grey lines or dots to the image without thinking about things like distance and perspective.

However, if you follow a couple of simple rules, then the rainfall in your digitally-edited artwork will look a lot more voluminous and realistic. Firstly, here’s an example image of a city which I’ll be adding rainfall to in this tutorial (to add snowfall, just do the same thing, but use dots instead of lines).

This is the example image (taken from one of my older paintings) that I'll be adding rain to.

This is the example image (taken from one of my older paintings) that I’ll be adding rain to.

First of all, identify the deep background. This is the sky above the outdoor areas in your picture and/or any distant buildings. Here’s another version of the example image, with the deep background highlighted in green:

The deep background.

The deep background.

Now, find the line tool in your image program. Choose the thinnest possible line width (and change the line colour to either white or pale grey) and add thin vertical lines of varying lengths to the deep background, like this:

This is the first step in adding more realistic rain.

This is the first step in adding more realistic rain.

Once you’ve done this, find the mid-background. These are the parts of the background that are between the deep background and the foreground. Here’s another highlighted version of the example picture, with the mid-background in green.

The mid-background.

The mid-background.

Now, select the second-thinnest line width in your editing program and add these slightly thicker lines to both the mid-background and the deep background, like this:

As you can see, the thicker lines are used on both the mid-background and the deep background.

As you can see, the thicker lines are used on both the mid-background and the deep background.

Finally, look for any non-covered areas (eg: anything or anyone that isn’t directly underneath the roof in the foreground of the example image) in the close background and/or foreground and then add even thicker lines to these areas, and to both the mid and deep background areas, like this:

Voila! The rainfall has much more depth! Sorry if the mid-background lines look different to the previous example, I accidentally overwrote a saved file and had to make the previous example again.

Voila! The rainfall has much more depth! Sorry if the mid-background lines look different to the previous example, I accidentally overwrote a saved file and had to make the previous example again.

….And that’s how to add more depth to the rain in your digital art/ digitally-edited art.

———-

Anyway, I hope that this was useful 🙂

Salvaging A Painting With Digital Editing (Plus, An Art Preview)

2017 Artwork Salvaging a painting with digital editing

Well, for today, I thought that I’d show you what the digital editing process (at it’s most extensive) can involve for my paintings. In fact, I’ll be showing you how I managed to salvage a fairly mediocre painting using digital tools.

I’ll try to keep my descriptions of the editing processes I used fairly general – so that they can be applied to any editing software, rather than just the really old editing programs I use. At the least, virtually everything in this article should also be possible with free open-source software, like “GIMP“. Likewise, many of the examples used here will be re-creations of my original editing process, so they may not look exactly like the finished painting at the end of the article.

Anyway, when I was making a “1990s stuff/ awesome stuff”-themed art series that I’ll be posting later this month, I found myself in a bit of a rush one day. I had to think of an idea for a painting and make that painting in less than an hour and a half. Since the paintings in this series have involved more planning than usual, I went with an idea that wouldn’t require too much planning – a “film noir” sci-fi painting. This is, after all, one of my favourite genres of art.

The painting certainly wasn’t a “bad” painting, but it looked fairly mediocre when compared to the other more detailed and distinctive paintings in the series that I’ve made so far. Here’s a cropped, but otherwise unprocessed, scan of the original painting:

When I re-scanned this painting for this article, it accidentally ended up being tilted slightly. So, yes, there are spaces at the edges of this re-scan. They'll be edited out later..

When I re-scanned this painting for this article, it accidentally ended up being tilted slightly. So, yes, there are spaces at the edges of this re-scan. They’ll be edited out later..

Still, since I had more time than I expected to edit it, I thought that I’d do a fairly extensive edit. This is a re-creation of what I did.

First of all, I opened the image up in an editing program from the late 1990s called “Paint Shop Pro 6” and cropped out the blank space on the rest of the page (you can do this in any graphics program, since virtually all editing programs have cropping tools).

After this, I did what I normally do to give my paintings their characteristic “vivid” look – I lowered the brightness levels and increased the contrast levels (again, you can do this on virtually any program). In some paintings, I also increase the colour saturation level, but I didn’t do this here.

Choosing the right levels can take a bit of trial-and-error for each painting, and the best I was able to get for this particular painting was to lower the brightness to “-7″ and increase the contrast to ” 79″. This is what the painting looked like after I’d done this:

Here's the re-scanned painting, with altered brightness and contrast levels. Sometimes, this is all the editing that I do to a painting.

Here’s the re-scanned painting, with altered brightness and contrast levels. Sometimes, this is all the editing that I do to a painting.

As you can probably see, one initial problem with this technique is that some of the characters’ skin tones can look fairly washed out. I don’t always have time etc.. to correct this in all of my artwork (which is why they can sometimes vary significantly) but, since I had more time and motivation to edit this picture extensively, I decided to correct this problem digitally.

For the woman in the foreground, I selected the relevant areas in Paint Shop Pro 6 and manually changed the RGB levels to “+18%” red, “-4%” green and “-36%” blue. Again, you can do something similar to this in almost any image editing program.

For the man and the woman in the background, I opened up MS Paint 5.1 and used both a basic “brush” tool and the “pick color” tool. This tool, and other tools like it in graphics editing programs (eg: the icon usually looks like a dropper or a pipette) allows you to change the brush colour to the exact colour of the pixel that you click on when using the tool. This allows for a level of visual consistency that you won’t get if you use your paint program’s stock colours.

This is the result. As you can see, the three characters' skin tones look slightly more realistic when compared to the previous example.

This is the result. As you can see, the three characters’ skin tones look slightly more realistic when compared to the previous example.

But, after this, the painting still didn’t look quite “right”. For a ‘film noir’ painting, it just looked too… bright. So, what I decided to do was to use the “colorize” option in Paint Shop Pro 6 (most image editing programs have something like this) to alter the hue and saturation levels of different selected parts of the foreground and background. This option allows you to change the colour and the intensity of selected parts of the picture.

In general, I made most of the foreground area stand out more by not changing the colours. Instead, I changed the colours of most of the buildings in the background to various muted colours (by lowering the saturation levels of these areas of the image and altering the hue).

In addition to this, I thought that the woman in the foreground’s red outfit blended into the pillar behind her slightly, so I changed this to a dark purple using the same tools. Here’s a rough re-creation of what these changes looked like:

As you can see, most of the background is now more muted shades of blue and green. Likewise, the woman in the foreground is now wearing a purple jacket. I've also quickly airbrushed out the white spaces at the edges of the picture too.

As you can see, most of the background is now more muted shades of blue and green. Likewise, the woman in the foreground is now wearing a purple jacket. I’ve also quickly airbrushed out the white spaces at the edges of the picture too.

Even after this, the painting still felt a bit too “empty”. The sky in the background just looked far too empty for a bustling, futuristic city.

So, I started by adding the red headlights of flying cars to the background using the airbrush tool from Paint Shop Pro 6 for the larger ones and the brushes and pencils from MS Paint for the smaller ones. I also added some yellow lights to the laser gun in the foreground (using MS Paint) to make it stand out more against the dark background.

This is a rough recreation of the headlight pairs (of varying sizes) that I added to the background and the high-contrast markings I added to the laser gun.

This is a rough recreation of the headlight pairs (of varying sizes) that I added to the background and the high-contrast markings I added to the laser gun.

Finally, to add more drama and depth to the background, I opened the image in MS Paint and selected the “line” tool. After changing the line colour to light grey, I painstakingly added lots of thin diagonal lines of varying lengths (to signify rain) to the background. To add more depth to the background, I added larger vertical grey droplets of water falling from the edges of the roof in the foreground.

Here’s a close-up of what it looks like in the original version of the painting:

The rain from the original version of the picture. As you can see, the diagonal raindrops are of varying lengths (to give the rain more depth), I've also added water droplets falling from the windows and rooftop at the top of the painting. Plus, I totally forgot, I also made some small changes to both of the foreground characters' eyes, using MS Paint.

The rain from the original version of the picture. As you can see, the diagonal raindrops are of varying lengths (to give the rain more depth), I’ve also added water droplets falling from the windows and rooftop at the top of the painting. Plus, I totally forgot, I also made some small changes to both of the foreground characters’ eyes, using MS Paint.

And, there it is! That’s how I salvaged a mediocre painting using digital editing techniques. Although the final painting will “formally” appear here closer to the end of the month – since you’ve bothered to read this far, I thought it only fair to give you a full-size preview of the final painting…..

"1990s Sci-fi Noir Awesomeness" By C. A. Brown

“1990s Sci-fi Noir Awesomeness” By C. A. Brown

—————–

Anyway, I hope that this was interesting 🙂

How To Create A Corkboard Effect In Your Art Using GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program)

2016 Artwork Corkboard effect tutorial article sketch

If you’ve never heard of it before, “GIMP” is a freeware open source image editing program, which is an alternative to more well-known and expensive image editing programs.

Anyway, when I was editing one of my upcoming paintings in another editing program (an old one called “Paint Shop Pro 6”), I worked out how to create a corkboard-style surface in the lower part of the painting and I was curious to see if I could re-create this effect in GIMP 2.6.

After some experimentation, I succeeded at this (hence this tutorial), although the effect is slightly less intense when created in GIMP 2.6 than it is in PSP6, due to feature differences between the two programs.

Note: I should also point out that this effect looks best (and only works properly) when used in darker areas of your picture. A plain black background is absolutely ideal for this effect.

I know that there are more recent versions of GIMP out there, but I doubt that they are missing any of the basic features I’ll use in this tutorial.

Likewise, if you’re new to image editing, then it’s probably worth saving a backup copy of your original picture before you start editing.

Anyway, let’s get started:

1) Select An Area To Edit: For the sake of ease, this tutorial will show you how to add the effect to the whole picture, but if you don’t want to do this, then select an area to edit using the tool on the icon menu that looks like a lasso or a loop of rope. You can also use the two tools to the left of this icon too.

This is the free select tool, which you can use if you only want to add this effect to part of your image. The square icon and circular icon next to it can also be used for selecting areas of your image too.

This is the free select tool, which you can use if you only want to add this effect to part of your image. The square icon and circular icon next to it can also be used for selecting areas of your image too.

2) Turn up the noise: After you’ve selected the area you want to edit. Go into the “Filters” menu at the top of the screen and select “Noise”, then select “RGB Noise” from the sub-menu.

Like this.

Like this.

Once you’ve done this, a small window that looks like this should appear in one corner of the screen:

This is the RGB noise menu.

This is the RGB noise menu.

Once this menu appears, push all three colour sliders towards the right-hand side of the window (eg: the value of each colour should be at least 0.8 or more, preferably more), since you’ll need a fairly intense noise effect if you want to create a corkboard texture. Once you’ve done this, click “ok”.

All of the values have been increased to 0.8, creating a static-like pattern.

All of the values have been increased to 0.8, creating a static-like pattern.

3) Colourise: Once you’ve raised the RGB noise levels to 0.8 or higher, go into the “Colours” menu at the top of the screen and select “colourise”.

This is the "colourise" option.

This is the “colourise” option.

A menu should appear, allowing you to select the hue, saturation and lightness levels. Don’t worry if your picture suddenly turns a different colour when this menu appears.

This is the "colourise" menu. Don't worry if your picture suddenly changes colour when this menu appears.

This is the “colourise” menu. Don’t worry if your picture suddenly changes colour when this menu appears.

Once you’ve got this menu, you will need to mess around with the three levels until your picture becomes an orange/ light brown colour.

The settings I found worked best for the example image were a hue level of 32, a saturation level of 84 and a lightness level of 3. But, these levels may vary depending on how bright your picture is (my picture was slightly gloomy). So, be sure to experiment.

These are the hue/saturation/ lightness levels that worked well in the example picture. But, be sure to experiment until your picture looks right.

These are the hue/saturation/ lightness levels that worked well in the example picture. But, be sure to experiment until your picture looks right.

Once your picture looks like a corkboard. Just click “ok” and…

Congratulations! You've done it!

Congratulations! You’ve done it!

———————-

Anyway, I hope that this was useful 🙂

How To Turn Ordinary Pictures Into “3D” Stereoscopic Images Using MS Paint

Just cross your eyes until you see three dots at the bottom of the drawing.

Just cross your eyes until you see three dots at the bottom of the drawing.

A stereoscopic picture is a fairly clever optical illusion which uses two slightly different pictures to create the illusion of a proper 3D image. This works because we see the world in 3D because each eye sees things from a slightly different perspective and our brain combines these two perspectives in order to create a 3D image.

Looking at a stereoscopic image is fairly similar to looking at a “magic eye” picture – you just cross your eyes until the dots below the two pictures merge together. When this happens you’ll see three dots and three pictures, the picture in the middle will be in 3D.

Although stereoscopic pictures don’t give you a “proper” 3D image (they make the image look like a series of paper cut-outs/ layers placed at various distances away from you), they’re still quite fun to make. Not to mention that they’re a really cool thing to show other people too.

If you want a more detailed explanation of the mechanics (and history) of stereoscopic “3D” pictures, then check out Wikipedia.

But, whilst most old stereoscopic pictures are photographs taken using a special camera with two lenses, it’s surprisingly easy (although slightly time-consuming) to create them from any digital image using nothing more than good old MS Paint.

It’s probably best to use a graphics tablet for making stereoscopic images, but I used a mouse when I was making this guide since the shapes in it are fairly simple.

I’ll include a copyright-free template which you can download and use if you want to (although you might have to resize it, since it’s fairly small. It’s also only in portrait too.)

This template is released without copyright.

This template is released without copyright.

It’s fairly easy to make a template in MS Paint too – just remember that the dots should be below the exact same point in the middle of your picture and they should be the same size and the same height. The advantage of making your own template is that it’s a lot easier to make it the right size for your picture (since you don’t have to re-size it to fit into the template)

This guide will be using a fairly simple drawing from one of my “How To Draw” guides and it will show you how to make a very basic stereoscopic image with two “layers”. I’m using version 5.1 of MS Paint, but I guess that the fairly basic features I’m using are probably in more modern versions of Paint too.

I’ve also set the basic “background” colour of MS Paint to bright pink in this tutorial, so it’ll be easy to see what I’ve moved. Anyway, let’s get started….

Firstly, copy your picture in the left side of the template…

Stereoscopic image tutorial step 1

Once you’ve done that, copy it into the right side of the template. If you’ve re-sized the image to fit it into the template, then select the image from the left side of the template using the “select” tool and make a copy of that. This is because it is extremely important that both images are exactly the same size.

Once you’ve done that, you’ll end up with something like this:

Stereoscopic image tutorial step 2

You only need to alter the picture on the right side of the template in order to make a stereoscopic image.

In this guide, I’ll be showing you how to make everything inside the window appear further away than the wall in front of it.

Click on the “Free-Form Select” tool and draw around the area inside the window. In this guide, I’ll be leaving a large margin on the right-hand side of the window (for reasons I’ll explain later).

Notice how I've left a gap between the right side of the area I've selected and the edge of the window.

Notice how I’ve left a gap between the right side of the area I’ve selected and the edge of the window.

Once the area is selected, you can move it to the right in order to make it look further away (this is why the margin on the right-hand side of the window is so useful – since it allows you to move it without covering up any of the window frame).

As a general rule, if you want things to be further away from the viewer, move them further to the right. If you want things to be closer to the viewer, then either leave them where they are or move them to the left (and leave a margin on the left side rather than the right side).

Once you’ve moved the window to the right, you should have something like this (again, I’ve used bright pink for the “background” behind the drawing).

I've moved the selected area to the right.

I’ve moved the selected area to the right.

Now all you have to do is to colour over the space where the selected area used to be. The best way to do this is to zoom in and use the “Pick Colour” tool on the area next to the space in order to get the colours exactly right (when you click on an area with this tool, it automatically changes the primary colour to the same colour as the area you clicked on), then use either the pencil or the brush to colour over it.

You’ll probably have to use the “Pick Color” tool several times. But, eventually you’ll end up with something like this:

Fantastic!

Fantastic!

Well done! You’ve just made a stereoscopic image! Go on, try it out (just cross your eyes until you can see three dots below the pictures instead of two or four).

Although this guide is fairly basic, this technique can be used to turn pretty much any image into a stereoscopic image.

Anyway, have fun 🙂