Comic Talk, Tips and Tricks

Question about layers
CharleyHorse at 8:16AM, April 24, 2009
posts: 627
joined: 12-7-2006
I use The GIMP for artwork manipulation and those finishing touches that I can never resist adding. But it's sometimes very difficult to track down fundamental information. I know that The GIMP and Photoshop share a lot in common and so maybe a Photoshop user can set me straight on this.

Here is the set up and my question: one layer shows the interior shot of a living room complete with furniture. Another layer shows one or two characters on a white background. Can I super impose those two characters on the living room layer and have both the furnishings and characters show up just as if I had drawn them together to begin with?

Does that make sense? Does one use one of the commands such as multiply? Something like that? Is it even possible?

I'm willing to blindly experiment, but I's rather have a vague clue as to what I am doing before I begin.

Here is another example of what I am talking about. I want to be able to overlay one image over another separate image, such as a starship over a background of stars, so that it looks as if the starship and starfield belong together with no bleed through in either regard. Again, is this possible?
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:40AM
bravo1102 at 8:32AM, April 24, 2009
posts: 3,952
joined: 1-21-2008
This is how my entire comic is done except I use bluescreen for the plain background as it's easier to select and eliminate. I use the wand tool to select the background then delete it. Then select the remaining foreground image and feather it to blend it into the background. Move the foreground onto the background or vice versa. Adjust the size of either to get the scale right. Then add splashes of black or dark grey under the characters' feet if they are visible to make them look like they are interacting ad occupying the background where the two intersect.

Having the foreground figures cast shadows also helps cement the illusion. If they standing on carpet or in grass making the very bottom of the feet disappear behind the grass or in the shag of the carpet is also effective.

For ships superimposed in another background the effects are the same though for space or night time changing the brightness/contrast to blend the item in helps the illusion.

If you need examples just look at my comic; the whole thing is done this way (except for the wood paneled room, but even that has another figure replacing the one that was originally in the picture)
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:33AM
mattchee at 11:05AM, April 24, 2009
posts: 347
joined: 1-18-2008
I've got little to no experience with GIMP, but I think the concept is the same.

Put the layer with the figures (or in the other picture, the ship) on top.

Make sure you're working on that layer. Select the the area you don't want to see (IE - the background) and delete it. You can select the area a number of ways, magic wand, lasso (i'd suggest the polygonal, the regular will drive you nuts). OR you could just use the eraser and erase the stuff you don't want.

The deleted/erased area SHOULD be transparent, and so now you figures (or ship) will be super imposed on the background.

A more advanced and less destructive way to accomplish this would be to make a layer mask, but I think the instructions for doing that would be more specific to GIMP, so I won't even attempt telling you that one. Try just deleting the background for now.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:55PM
CharleyHorse at 7:23PM, April 24, 2009
posts: 627
joined: 12-7-2006
bravo1102 and mattchee thank both of you very much. Your information helped me tremendously because now I have an idea of how to start!

It's much appreciated. :spin:
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:40AM

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