NX2:Gen - Commands - Applying Gaussian Blur with the Linear Gradient Tool

Discussion in 'Nikon Capture and View NX' started by Mike Buckley, Jun 29, 2008.

  1. I mentioned to a friend and fellow Cafe member today that I like using the Linear Gradient Tool (remember that NX2 now also has a Radial Gradient Tool) to apply Gaussian blur to enhance a 3-dimensional effect. He liked seeing how easy it is to do and liked the results so much that I thought other folks might enjoy thinking about it too.

    I showed him a grab shot I recently took, which unfortunately involved too much grabbing and too little thinking. Nearly everything in the image is detrimentally in focus, including the distracting background.

    I also showed him the same grab shot with Guassian blur applied using the Linear Gradient Tool. The reason I chose that tool rather than one of the other selection tools is that it allows me to easily apply gradually more and more blur to the part of the image that is further and further away from the subject. That's particularly easy to do now that NX2 provides control of the graduated portion of the gradient. The resulting look resembles the gradually increasing blur that occurs in the area of an image that is out of focus when the depth of field is intentionally limited.

    The "before" and "after" images are shown immediately below.

    All of the background is too sharp.

    The grass on the left side of the image that is a few feet away from the road
    is blurred but intentionally not as much as the objects that are farther away.

    View attachment 216393

    Notice that I mention that Gaussian blur applied with the Linear Gradient Tool resembles the ideal look, not that it perfectly replicates it. Certainly the best thing to do is to get the shot right by capturing the ideal depth of field. However, if that doesn't happen and the shot is reasonably salvageable, the Linear Gradient Tool can come in very handy.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 29, 2008
  2. TomaS


    Aug 3, 2006
    Corrales, NM
    nice job mike. did you use the 'minus' brush to unblur his head?

    i have also used 'noise reduction' for this kind of thing because it gives a softer blur effect, but the performance penalty is pretty steep compared to Gausian Blur.
  3. Yes, Tomas, I did use the minus brush. Imagine a line that is parallel to the top of the image and is drawn through the horse's nose. That's about the end point of the gradient. Everything above that line that wasn't part of the background had to be erased.

    If I showed you the image at 100%, you would see that I would need to spend more time accurately erasing precisely around the horse, driver and wagon. However, in my mind the picture is not so good that I would ever present it really large.

    For purposes of displaying such a small image on the Internet, it took me just a couple minutes to apply the Gaussian blur and erase as needed. That was well worth my time to salvage an otherwise unacceptable image.

    I have never thought of using noise reduction for similar purposes. That's really a great idea. Thanks for mentioning it!