• How to apply a Russian Doll effect on pictures

    Article by Ey@el

    Original en français

    Ever seen that effect where frames are embedded within frames ad infinitum — or multiple mirror reflections? Why don't you do that with your pictures... well, at least with those that contain a frame or mirror. For this very basic yet a rather tedious tutorial, I've used GIMP but you may easily do it with any other image editor.


    - a picture featuring a frame (or mirror) large enough to add other frames


    1. Open a copy of the image you wish to manipulate and add alpha layer (with Paint Shop Pro: convert to raster layer) so as to be able to create a transparent zone.

    2. Selection the area inside the frame with the appropriate tool which depends on the zone to detour (magic wand, freehand or selection tool) then press suppress to get a transparent zone.

    3. Duplicate layer several times according to the size of your original frame and the depth you wish to create. Hide all layers except the second one from the bottom.

    4. Use the Scale tool (with Paint Shop Pro : Deform tool in Scale mode) to resize the layer so that it can fit into the transparent frame in the layer below.

    5. Move the resized layer under the original one and reposition into the transparent zone. To prevent moving layers inadvertly, you should link them.

    6. Unhide third layer and apply step 4 and 5, adjusting tho the smaller transparent zone.

    7. Repeat with each remaining layer.

    NOTE: For the above example, I've added an extra frame to place over the cardboard shape as you can see, and after step 2, applied a drop shadow on a separate (unmerged) layer. Finally, I enhanced the output with a series of effects (Levels, Refocus, and several GMIC filters) to improve sharpness, contrast and colours.

    For this second example, I had fun experimenting Perspective and Shear tools to turn and skew layers. I had to cheat using the Clone and Smudge brushes to fill the empty spaces.

    For this final example, I've applied several GMIC filters (forgotten which ones) to boost the colours of the original picture and create a psychedelic efect. I've also colourised each frame  using the Hue-Saturation settings from the Colours menu. Then, in each layer I had to select hands to recolour them to original flesh tone (using Colours - Map - Swap colours).

    Cool, isn't it? Fancy losing yourself in the maze of your imagination? What's holding you back? Have a try!


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