Lens Blur filter in Affinity Photo Tutorial
By Andrew Buckle, Updated : 2022
How to use the lens blur filter in Affinity Photo, how to combine the filter with other filters, layers, use in channels, use with selections and fades etc
1. Where is the lens blur filter in Affinity Photo
The lens blur filter for Affinity Photo can be found in the blur category of the blur menu in Affinity Photo. You can also find the filter via the live filters in the layers menu.
2. Basic use of the lens blur
As with all the filters, Lens Blur requires a layer to work with. Once the panel has appeared, you can modify the radius, blades and curvature as well as the three bloom settings. The lens blur is very much an average blur if you use the top three settings but the bloom adds to image by brightening the brighter parts of the image and to see the additional lighting, set the threshold to less than 100% as well as increase the bloom factor. The color changes the value from white to adding a little color such as greens and yellows into the image.
You can set the radius etc to high values, the only one that works in the opposite way is the threshold and it is more effective as you reduce the value. Set to the maximum, the filter can infuse color throughout the image
3. Use the lens blur on layers
Duplicate the layer and perhaps apply a different effect such as a Gaussian blur filter to the lower layer and then use the lens blur on the top layer and also combining with the blending modes such as color burn etc via the layers panel.
You can also reduce the size of the layer and then apply the filter effect to that
4. Using the lens blur with other filters
The lens blur is great but you can combine it in multiple ways with other filters such as lighting found in the main filter menu.
You can also add noise and other effects and then apply the lens blur filter
5. Recording the lens blur in macros
You can apply the lens blur multiple times to an image as well as combine with other filters but you can also record all these actions via the view menu and studio and macro panel. Click the record button and then record all the steps such as adding a boom to a picture and then stop and playback the result. You can also click the plus button on the macro panel and store this in the library for future use.
6. Using the lens blur filter in channels
You can use the lens blur filter with channels, display the channels panel via the view menu and studio and then select the red channel and apply the lens blur filter with radius etc set to different values from the green and blue channels, go to the green and apply and the blue channel and apply. You can, of course, combine this with other filters as well so instead of applying the lens blur filter to the blue channel, use the Gaussian blur filter instead. Once you are happy with the color changes, click the little return to RGB at the top of the panel. The navigator is useful to see the changes to the images while using the channels.
You can create a selection in a number of ways in Affinity Photo, you can apply the lens blur filter to the selection or perhaps the invert of the selection. You can also add feathering etc to the selection and apply the effect.
8. Using the lens blur with the live filter layer
The live filter layer features means you can apply a lens blur to the image with out it being a destructive effect. You can apply the effect and then change your mind and go back to it later and tweak the settings by double clicking the entry in the layers panel and changing the radius, bloom etc settings.
You can also combine multiple live filter layers as well as combining the layers with adjustments that also can be modified in the same way. You can also modify the result by changing the opacity and blending mode
9. Using fade command with the lens blur
The lens blur filter can be modified by using the layer menu and fade command. The fade allows for you to reduce the effect as well as how it blends so you can set the effect to a difference or darken blend.
10. Re-apply of the lens blur
You can apply the lens blur multiple times with the same setting or change the settings, the end result will end up filling the image with white though the speed of the change depends on the settings.. You can apply the lens blur with low settings as well. If you want to just use the same settings over and over, use the repeat feature at the top of the filters menu
11. Using the lens blur with the pattern layers
With the most recent release of Affinity Photo, you can now add pattern layers and you can use the lens blur before you generate the pattern layer from the current selection but you can also apply the lens blur filter afterwards, you can also add on top of the pattern layer, the live filter layer version.
12. Using it with shape layers
Create a shape using the rectangle tool or ellipse etc and then apply the lens blur filter to that shape. If you are using a solid color then the blur will have no highlights etc so the bloom will have no use. You can always fill the layer with patterns and also gradients and that will generate intense lighting effects based on the filter.
If you have an even more colorful shape as well as a slightly more interesting shape than a rectangle, all kinds of colorful effects can be generated from the shape
13. Using the filter with text
You can do exactly the same with text shapes in Affinity Photo. You can fill the text with gradients or patterns via a selection and then use the filter on that text (remove the selection)