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pixels, motion, and scripting
david van brink // Tue 2007.11.20 08:33 // {extendscript photoshop}

Progressive Blur

A Photoshop script was composed and executed to perform Gaussian blur. Over and over. And over. Random characters are stamped from time to time. A slightly cool effect is achieved!

The script progressiveBlur.jsx — available here — operates on the selected layer of a photoshop document. It applies a bit of blur, a bit of scaling and rotation, and a few randomly printed characters, and then saves a JPEG frame. The frame has the same name as the document, with a number appended.

To convert the frames to a QuickTime movie, you can import the collection of frames into QuickTime Player, or directly into After Effects. I do it from the command line, with qt_tools like so:

$ qt_export --video=avc1 --sequencerate=30 mypicture_0000.jpg mypicture.mov

This is good clean fun, and suggests many possible variations. The tragedy is that it just seems so slooow! Running this script takes around a second per frame. But looking at it, I know that this is less complicated than many screen savers. There’s a lot of power available. Through ever more complicated scripts one could get very fine-grained and expressive control over these sorts of effects. I just wish it rendered at video-game rates, like it should.

In some ways Photoshop is an excellent tool for this sort of tinkering: scriptable, powerful, and stable. But also in some ways its age is beginning to show.

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