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Graphics Design for Beginners - Blur Filters

A filter is a complex mathematical algorithm that is applied to the pixel data in an image. There are filters to modify the color of an image, to enhance an image, to distort an image, and to create many other effects. The blur filter, as its name implies, is used to make an image more blurry. Why would you want to make an image blurry?

Blurring the background for an artistic effect

To add artistic effects. For example to add the impression of a hazy autumn afternoon to a scenery picture, or to soften a shadow.

To hide information. For example to hide an address or license plate number in a picture.

To highlight part of an image. For example to highlight a foreground object in a picture, you can blur the background. In an image used for educational purposes, you can blur a picture of an object - except for the feature you are referring to in the instruction.

For legal reasons. For example if a trademark appears in a picture. You can blur the trademark to make it unrecognizable and avoid infringement issues. If your picture shows a person in the background and it's use might infer that the person endorses a particular product. You can blur the persons face to make them unrecognizable to avoid a law suet based upon using their likeness for profit.

In this article I show you how to use the various blur filters on your images. I'll use the GIMP image editing program. GIMP stands for "GNU Image Manipulation Program", GNU standing for GNU General Public License. GIMP is an image editing program on the level of Photoshop but without the $800.00 price tag, in fact it's totally free. GIMP was originally created for Linux, but is now available for Windows.

Download GIMP for Windows from: GIMP for Windows.

Similar to most open-source software, you can't just install GIMP by executing a single setup program, you need to download three files and install them separately.

  • GIMP for Windows (7.8 MB)
  • GTK+ 2 Runtime Environment (3.7 MB)
  • GIMP Help (22 MB)

Extract the three zip files into a new folder under Program Files (for example named "GIMP"), then double-click each setup file, starting with the GTK (GIMP Tool Kit), then GIMP, and then Help. This is the order in which the components look for each other as you install and use them.

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