I'm new on Gimp and i would like to know if there is a way to use multiple canvas used as layer.

I have a background layer where the canvas is. I created a new transparent layer which is 5% larger over the background layer but I can't draw outside of the canvas, but I would need to.

Is there a way to use a transparent canvas per layer?

i need it to make a game screen using layers to create deepness like the video game Dust: An Elysian Tail.

Here what i need to do:

1) When the character arrive from the left side of the screen, all layers re alligned to the left.

enter image description here

2) when the character move to the right(or the left from the other side), every layers move but at different speed to create some kind of distance.

enter image description here enter image description here enter image description here enter image description here

So I need layer of different format to get that distance effect.

For now im using Gimp to create pictures and overlay them in Inkscape, hard to make proportional objects.

  • 1
    I don't really understand the desire to draw outside of the canvas. Shouldn't you just make the one canvas you have bigger? I'm also pretty confused about what you mean with "Transparent canvas per layer". --- There are some drawing applications that have an infinite canvas... Also, sometimes applications that don't have an infinite canvas have different ways to expand the canvas. I'm not a Gimp user, but in Photoshop for instance, if I need more room to work in, I'd use the Crop tool to just basically drag the canvas bigger where I need it to be bigger.
    – Joonas
    Commented Sep 15, 2018 at 23:11
  • I'm working on a 2d game system where i need different size of pictures. In order to create deep effect, i need to create wider pictures from deepest layer to the front one. Deepest picture : like a sky, layer over it : Dunes, over the last one : more dunes with oasis, main field: the path the caracter will be on, front layer : anything that the caracter will pass by behind. In order to make deepth effect, the front layer will move faster than the first background, so i need it to be larger to show more details. Commented Sep 15, 2018 at 23:17
  • I mostly use Inkscape (Illustrator free alternative) but i can't really draw directly. Commented Sep 15, 2018 at 23:21
  • 1
    I wonder if there's another way for you to to explain your need. I'm not getting it at all... Maybe there's someone else here who gets it, but the description so far is fairly incomprehensible to me and I can't quite understand why, what you describe in the comment, would require you to draw outside of the canvas or why you'd need more than one canvas. Could you say why making the canvas big enough to fit everything is not a viable solution? I wonder if you mean something completely different by the word canvas than what I take it to mean.
    – Joonas
    Commented Sep 16, 2018 at 0:34
  • I updated my topic with an exemple of what im looking to do. Commented Sep 16, 2018 at 1:06

1 Answer 1


Yes, you can draw on a layer which is bigger than the canvas. There is one restriction: the selection is clipped to the canvas, so this is a case where Select>None and Select>Allare different, with None you can draw everywhere, and with All the selection restricts you to the visible part of the layer.

But IMHO it would be better to work on a canvas big enough for everything, and use Image>Canvas size to create an adequate viewport when exporting (you can create a temporary viewport with an opaque layer at the top in which you cut a rectangle).

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