Special Effects 2

blurred layer screencapture

The screencapture to the left shows Altena talking to Cloe. Notice how Altena is blurry because she is standing closer to the camera. Anyone who has ever taken a photograph will be familiar with this effect. It can be difficult for cameras to show a nearby object clearly while focusing on something else further away. In this case, the artists and photographer intentionally created this blur to give the scene a greater sense of realism.

When cels are normally filmed, the layers are placed right on top of each other. If they had done that for the above shot then both characters would be in focus. After all, they really are right next to each other. The photographer had to raise the Altena layer off of the Cloe layer so they were far enough apart to cause the blurring effect. This creates a few potential problems. The first is the amount of light that is going to occur between the two layers. Most cels sit directly on top of the backgrounds and do not have light shining up behind them. If they did, then all the irregularities of the different paint colors and thicknesses would be visible. To solve this problem, the artist added a thick layer of black paint to the back of the Altena layer. Now it is impossible for any light to show through the cel itself. Below are the backs of both cel layers. The Altena layer is black and the Cloe layer is multicolored since there is no need to protect it from backlighting.

back of altena cel
back of cloe cel
head added

The second issue has to do with size. Since the Altena layer is much closer to the camera, a smaller proportion of her body will be visible. To avoid being wasteful of both their materials and time, the artists did not bother to paint her as large. You can see the result when the two layers are scanned on top of each other.