Motion Blur

Motion blur is a streaking motion effect that happens in still images, videos, and animations because the object is moving quickly through the frame or due to long exposure. Unless the object is being tracked with the exact same speed, you will notice motion blur as your eyes move past the object or vice versa. Even though in photography and videography it is often used as an artistic effect, many gamers actually prefer to turn this effect off as motion blur can be naturally found in human eyes as well.

How does Motion Blur work in computer graphics and games?

In images and video, motion blur is a product of the latency between frames, and the exposure frame. However, in computer games, the motion blur is a weighted blend of neighboring pixels that lead in a straight line that goes in a specific direction. Some games do the motion blur when the objects themselves are being rendered, while others opt for a full-screen pass.

Whereas in images and videos it often gives you a sense of realism, in computer games motion blur often has a negative effect. It leads your brain into perceiving a static image as one that has fluid motion, thus making the lack of sharp details less noticeable. It’s often used to hide low framerates and make the experience bearable.

Advantages of Motion Blur

In the world of computer graphics in general, simulating motion blur is useful in static images, when it is used to create an illusion of movement, or speed, among the objects that are on the scene. In animated sequences, motion blur often removes aliasing effects, thus disguising artifacts in the image.

In gaming, motion blur amplifies the sense of movement in the image, making everything look less static. Without it, 3D visuals such as characters or motion in the 3D world would seem less natural and choppy.

Disadvantages of Motion Blur

The main issue with motion blur is that it is often “too much”. Our eyes already blur moving objects by themselves, and some monitors do that as well. By activating simulated motion blur in games, you’re adding a third layer of blur, which can lead to headaches, eye strain, or an unpleasant visual experience. This is why many gamers prefer to turn it off.

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