Fun With Depth Maps

I’m experimenting more with creating depth maps for my 2D images.

Depth maps can be created manually (using the lasso tool and fill bucket to define areas of different depth), with AI, stereographic images or a combination of techniques. The one below was created using a combination of Google Collab and manual lasso, gaussian blur and fill tool in Affinity Photo. There are other AI methods around which look very promising, but generally they work best on photographic subjects, so don’t always work well.

depth map for wolf and hood

I’ve been making silly wiggle pictures with depth maps using Wiggle Maker as well.

In VFX depth maps are commonly used to create depth of field effects, volumetric and fog effects and other uses. I found a good article about that here by Xavier Martin VFX :

Here I added a foggy / atmospheric perspective look by using the depth map as an additive mode layer 50% opacity. You can also use lens blur filter and add the depth map as a layer mask to create DOF.


I’m somewhat limited in my 2D editing programs at the moment because I don’t use Photoshop, After Effects or Nuke which have a Z Depth channel you can do more with, however with different filter effects and layer masks depth maps are still useful in Affinity Photo and Krita.

I am still experimenting with this technique so I will leave this short and perhaps work on a longer article for another day.

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