Have you noticed how many blurs effects and presets options are available After Effects and Premiere ūüôā intimidating right ?¬† You might be wondering what blur you should be using for your motion graphic project and what each after effects blur does…

My objectives on this blog is to show and explain in easy term what are the difference between all the After Effects blurs effects and presets. Of course you can visit the Adobe website and read the blur technical specifications but if you hate reading long wordy text like me, it might be challenging.


Before we go over all the After Effects blur effects and presets, let’s start by the standard,default blur you can use in the After Effects timeline window.

To enable the overall motion blur of your composition just click on the first 3 circles icon (check first red arrow below)

To enable motion blur on your layer make sure the 3 circles icon (Motion blur – Simulates shutter duration) is turn on where the switches are (check second red arrow below)

enable motion blur after-effects

Now your layer need to move in order to see the blur check the demo below

List of After Effects Blur Effects

After Effects has a long list of blur effects when it come to make your videos blurry, below is the list of blur effects you can find in the Effects & Presets panel I will go over in alphabetic order just click on the one your are interested in or jump in to the preview area.

  • Bilateral Blur
  • Camera Lens Blur
  • Camera-Shake Deblur
  • CC Cross Blur
  • CC Radial Blur
  • CC Radial Fast Blur
  • CC Vector Blur
  • Channel blur
  • Compound blur
  • Directional Blur
  • Fast Box Blur
  • Gaussian Blur
  • Radial Blur
  • Smart Blur
  • VR Blur
  • Fast Blur (Legacy)
  • Gaussian Blur (Legacy)
  • CC Force Motion Blur
  • Pixel Motion Blur

 Quick Definition of each After Effects Blur Effects

Below are my own brief definition of each AE blur effects, feel free to go on the adobe website is you are looking for specific information.

Bilateral Blur

The bilateral blur effects, blur selectively blur some edges and areas of an image and preserve detail of other area. Depending on high contrast and low contrast the bilateral blur can be stronger in some area or not noticeable. Overall the bilateral blur give a dreamy look to your footage or images.

Camera Lens Blur

The camera Lens Blur Effects, is a replacement for the old lens blur plug in. It is a new effect that can be use in conjunction with the after effects camera if the depth of field is turned on. It create a look of a defocused camera lens. This camera lens blur effects is often use with bokeh it re-create a realistic camera lens.

Camera-Shake Deblur

The Camera Shake deblur is self explanatory, it allows to recover a blurry video from camera shake. Basically the Camera-Shake Deblur effect reduces the unwanted artifacts to produce better results.

CC Cross Blur

The CC Cross blur effects create streaks on X and Y axis, The larger the radius the longer the streaks crosses are.

CC Radial Blur

The CC Radial Blur Effects create a nice blur trail with an image/video, it has 5 options if you can use
– Rotate
– Fading Zoom
– Rotate Fading
– Straight Zoom
– Center Zoom
– Scratch

CC Radial Fast Blur

The CC radial fast blur is similar to the regular CC Radial blur, the difference is that you can apply the radial blur to specific dark and light area of your image.

CC Vector Blur

Vector blur uses maps to define a vector field along which the blur will take place.There are various ways to define the vector field. Vector Blur can blur in multiple directions, based on the values of another layer. (Definition from Cycorefx)

Channel Blur

The Channel Blur effect allow you to selectively blur and enhance the red,green,blue or the Alpha channel of your layer. The channel blur effect is also very handy when your footage need color mixing and color correction.

Compound blur

At some point you will probably wonder how to do a gradient blur in after effects, well the compound blur effects help you achieve it.
You need to create first a shape layer with color gradient going from white to black, then add the compound blur effects to the image or the footage.
Then in the effect control window just select you shape layer gradient, and hide you shape layer on your timeline. The compound blur is also great when you need to create a customized depth of field shape.

Directional Blur

The directional blur effects give the illusion of motion, you can easily change the degree direction of the blur and its blur intensity.

Fast Box Blur

Th Fast Box Blur effect can replicate the rendering result of Fast Blur (Legacy), but at a faster speed. To apply the effect, select Effect > Blur & Sharpen > Fast Box Blur. The Fast Box Blur effect is rendered using the GPU of your computer. The fast box blur is often used to simulate a story goes in the past or memory scene.

Gaussian Blur

Gaussian blur is probably the most known blur effects, however it doesn’t mean it is the best.¬†The Gaussian Blur effect blurs and softens the footage or image and eliminates noise.

Radial Blur

The radial blur is another commonly use effects it has 2 options, a spin blur effects and a zoom blur effect.
The spin option simulate a fast rotating camera and the zoom option simulate a camera zooming to a long distance
The radial blur effects is also often use as transition to the next scene,

Smart Blur

The Smart Blur effect blurs an image while preserving lines and edges within the image. For example, you can use the Smart Blur effect to smoothly blur shaded areas while retaining crisp outlines of text and vector graphics. (Description from Adobe)

VR Blur

The VR blur effects is a brand new effect addition from Adobe and obviously should be used only for VR footage.
The VR blur effects has 2 main option.
– Monoscopic
– Stereoscopic

VR Blur accurately blurs content while adjusting for the distortion in Equirectangular content.
Blurriness: You can adjust the convolution kernel radius.
For more detail go here.

Fast Blur (Legacy)

This is the older version of the regular fast blur effects, this effects is slower than the regular fast blur so think twice before you use it

Gaussian Blur (Legacy)

This is the older version of the regular Gaussian blur effects, the Gaussian blur legacy effect is slower than the regular Gaussian blur so think twice before you use it.

CC Force Motion Blur

The CC Force Motion Blur effects is mostly use for moving objects and animation. A couple of options such has
– Motion Blur Sample
– Shutter Angle
– Native Motion Blur

CC Force Motion Blur effects basically help you achieve a nice blur effect for your fast moving footage.

Pixel Motion Blur

The Pixel Motion Blur effect analyzes a movie to determine what parts are in motion, creates a set of motion vectors, and then uses that information to add motion blur within the image. Pixel motion blur effects is also ideal if you don’t want to render blur in your 3D program.

After Effects Blur Previews

Gaussian blur vs radial blur vs motion blur what are the difference between each one ? Well I have created preview galleries that should help you figure out which blur works best for your video project.

 Bilateral Blur Camera Lens Blur  Camera-Shake Deblur
Bilateral Blur Camera Lens Blur