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Understanding Smart Blur

From: Painter 12 Essential Training

Video: Understanding Smart Blur

We took a look at Smart Blur earlier as it exists in the Underpainting palette, but in Painter 12 they've actually brought this out as its own filter outside of Underpainting. And I just want to explain a little bit more in depth exactly what it's useful for. And it's really a simple filter, you'll find it under Focus, it's right here at the top, Smart Blur, and we can kind of move this out of the way as we work.

Understanding Smart Blur

We took a look at Smart Blur earlier as it exists in the Underpainting palette, but in Painter 12 they've actually brought this out as its own filter outside of Underpainting. And I just want to explain a little bit more in depth exactly what it's useful for. And it's really a simple filter, you'll find it under Focus, it's right here at the top, Smart Blur, and we can kind of move this out of the way as we work.

What it does is it basically looks at and analyzes an image, finds edges, or areas of high contrast and protects them. And then areas that are not high contrast, it softens. So an ideal area of high contrast would be this flower up against these darker elements. And an area of low contrast would be like in here, except for where this frog happens to be I guess. There's not much change going on in here. So, that area doesn't have a lot of dramatic change in it, and so Smart Blur will affect those areas much more than it's going to areas that have high contrast boundaries associated with them.

And when you start to use it, even at a low-level, I'll just take it up here a little bit, there we go. You can see now this doesn't seem very affected at all, whereas this already is starting to get softened out. And the more you turn this up, the more aggressive its action is. So as I keep going up here, see that by this point it's already starting to look a bit like a painting. Because, one concept that I sometimes try to get across is, you can look at any visual information and it can be looked at as a set of frequencies.

High-frequency information is sharp detail, grain, edges; those are all part of the domain of frequency that is high-frequency. Then you get down to where things don't change very often and that's where you have low frequencies. And what's happening here is, as we continue to increase this, we are removing the high frequencies from the image and one reason this looks more like a painting than a photograph is because photographs have a lot of high frequency detail in it.

And when we use a filter like Smart Blur, that intelligently protects high-frequency and removes low-frequency detail, well we are kind of draining this image of some of its photographic nature. And you crank it all the way up and it gets very simplified, and yet all of the hard edges within it remain. You've got this environment where you've still got sharp edges, but now a lot of it is very simplified down. So, you can still read this as reflections and this as lily pads on a pond, but it's a little bit more for the reader to kind of connect the dots to figure out that image. It's getting a little bit more abstract, whereas you know, now I can start to take it down, I can start to play with it for my taste, you know, what may constitutes a nice balance between both.

So Smart Blur really gives you a very nice tool for initially draining a photograph of its high-frequency information. And I just want to show you this too, you can repeatedly apply this. So if I take this up all the way and apply it, okay that's pretty simple. Now let's go back to Effects, we'll reapply it, and let's even go, well a third time, let's see what happens. So each time, it's applying it more and more and you can see, some people might find this to be actually a very nice start to a painting project.

And that's exactly where I find it very useful. Now you've got all of the photographic high-detail drained out of it, you can go in and start using this as a basis to paint on. And because you've already bled that high-frequency out of the image, it's highly unlikely that as you start painting this, it's going to stay too close to a photographic image. And the result will be a painting that looks much more as if it were painted from a blank canvas onward, rather than, oh I started with a photograph and I ended up with this painting.

So be sure you take advantage of Smart Blur's capability for draining that high-frequency information out of an image, particularly a photograph.

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This video is part of

Image for Painter 12 Essential Training
Painter 12 Essential Training

63 video lessons · 8629 viewers

John Derry
Author

 
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  1. 1m 20s
    1. Introduction
      44s
    2. Using the exercise files
      36s
  2. 5m 4s
    1. Understanding what Painter 12 can do
      1m 45s
    2. Let's paint!
      3m 19s
  3. 11m 52s
    1. Starting Painter 12 for the first time
      4m 4s
    2. Creating, opening, and saving files
      4m 36s
    3. Working with templates
      3m 12s
  4. 30m 37s
    1. Painter's shiny new interface
      6m 43s
    2. Understanding the Tool palette and property bar
      4m 12s
    3. Using media selectors
      3m 43s
    4. Working with the Brush Selector
      7m 17s
    5. Configuring panels and palettes
      3m 41s
    6. Navigating Painter
      5m 1s
  5. 22m 41s
    1. Setting preferences
      6m 59s
    2. Arranging palettes
      1m 28s
    3. Creating custom palettes
      6m 30s
    4. Customizing keyboard shortcuts
      3m 52s
    5. Understanding workspaces
      3m 52s
  6. 28m 37s
    1. Controlling color with the Color palette
      7m 12s
    2. Working with the Temporal Color palette
      3m 0s
    3. Mixing color with the Mixer palette
      11m 3s
    4. Working with color sets
      7m 22s
  7. 56m 31s
    1. Introduction to brushes in Painter 12
      41s
    2. Understanding brush size adjustment
      2m 46s
    3. Exploring brush controls
      17m 44s
    4. Using the Computed Circular palette and stroke attribute brushes
      4m 13s
    5. Painting with Real Watercolor brushes
      7m 34s
    6. Painting with Real Wet Oil brushes
      3m 20s
    7. Working with Impasto
      8m 10s
    8. Working with texture-aware media
      12m 3s
  8. 13m 38s
    1. Understanding Quick Clone
      3m 58s
    2. Working with the Clone Source panel
      7m 22s
    3. Tracing a clone's source using Tracing Paper
      2m 18s
  9. 22m 56s
    1. Understanding the Underpainting palette
      9m 25s
    2. Exploring the Auto-Painting and Smart Stroke palettes
      7m 26s
    3. Working with the Restoration palette
      6m 5s
  10. 22m 15s
    1. Working with the Rectangular Selection tool
      3m 25s
    2. Using the Lasso tool
      3m 26s
    3. Selecting items with the Polygon tool
      2m 39s
    4. Understanding the Magic Wand tool
      7m 55s
    5. The Channels palette
      4m 50s
  11. 29m 1s
    1. Understanding the flexibility of layers
      7m 25s
    2. Preserving transparency in layers
      5m 37s
    3. Picking up underlying color in layers
      5m 13s
    4. Using the Free Transform tool
      2m 52s
    5. Working with layer masks
      7m 54s
  12. 24m 3s
    1. Painting with symmetry
      9m 6s
    2. Understanding Smart Blur
      4m 43s
    3. Working with seamless patterns
      10m 14s
  13. 25m 10s
    1. Introduction to the Image Hose
      2m 13s
    2. Understanding Image Hose controls
      9m 58s
    3. Working with nozzle files
      12m 59s
  14. 14m 32s
    1. Using each application for its strengths
      4m 59s
    2. The PSD format: what's compatible and what's not
      5m 3s
    3. Color management compatibility
      4m 30s
  15. 7m 0s
    1. Your best friend: Undo
      1m 50s
    2. Painting on layers
      1m 55s
    3. Save often, save early
      3m 15s
  16. 9m 48s
    1. The panic button
      2m 13s
    2. Using the Shift key restart
      2m 1s
    3. Re-importing a workspace
      4m 4s
    4. Troubleshooting: My brush won't paint
      1m 30s
  17. 3m 20s
    1. Goodbye
      3m 20s

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