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Quick Gimp Tip

If you're a frequent reader of this column, you know that I use Gimp for all my cartoon work. And sometimes, when I need to create a cartoon that has an added visual effect, I turn to the Gimp and its many filters. One of the most fun filters I use is Gaussian Blur. You can find it in Gimp's menu by going to Filters>Blur>Gaussian Blur. Here's the way I used Gaussian Blur in the cartoon below.

I like to sometimes have the foreground cartoon stand out a bit more than the background so I scan it at a high resolution in order to keep it as crisp as possible. Then, I create a background using Gimp. In this case, I added a gradient sky and then used the cloud brush to add clouds. I did this all on a separate layer. For the last step, I merely used Gaussian Blur to blur the entire background layer. This softens the clouds and sky, especailly around the edges. I'm left with a very hard foreground image atop a nice soft blurred image. It gives a nice 3D effect of sorts.

­Mark Szorady is a nationally syndicated cartoonist with He blogs at