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Sharpening has a clear purpose. It makes a photo appear more sharply focused. But what good are the many blurring and averaging filters? Blur is something you typically avoid; averaging makes an image look like you melted it. Why would you want to take an image with nicely focused details and mess it up? Because details are not always good, especially when they are unflattering. Flaws that are ingrained into every square inch of exposed flesh. Entire multi-bullion dollar industries, cosmetics, dermatology, plastic surgery are founded on the principle that we'd just as soon withhold such details from public scrutiny.
Photography only makes matters worse. Film adds grain, print adds textures, scanners add dust, digital cameras add noise. None of those unfortunate artifacts accurately represent the real world. Which is why selective applications of blurring and averaging are so very useful. First, I'll show you the specific filters, there's lots of them, and then I'll show you what they can do.
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