I often blur stuff out in images on my blog or in just quick print screens I create at work sometimes for whatever reasons.
But first I will say I do not use free paint programs like Paint.NET or GIMP. They just don't cut it for me for the following reasons:
- while you may not care about quality in simple print screens for documentation or blog posts, well I do. When I create images for my blog or even for pasting stuff in OneNote for work for remembering how I did stuff, clarity, sharpness, and just overall look matters to me. Don't asky me why, it's just en-grained in me
- The tools are sub par. Sure they attempt to do the same things Adobe does, but again, you end up having to either take a lot of steps to do the same thing or you can do the same thing as in Adobe or the results areis just not that good when you apply effects or filtering I've noticed as compared to Adobe products. Sure sounds stupid but this stuff matters to me
I can't afford Adobe Photoshop. So the next best thing is Adobe Elements and I highly recommend it for developers at least. IMO it's basically a very dumbed-down version of Photoshop probably and it's good enough for me. It's got high quality and advanced tools, just enough for a developer but not over the top which this wouldn't hack it for a designer. So it's perfect. Elements is only $50 people, it's not like it's gonna break the bank. Get it, it'll save you time (efficiencies) and provide you much better and more powerful control over the fine grained stuff as compared to Paint.NET, etc. In fact Costco carries it for even cheaper sometimes. Check there.
Anyway back to how I create that blur effect. It's simply the Gaussian Blur.
Pay attention to the options. You can tweak the transparency (how strong the blur effect is) by moving the transparency bar left or right to get it just how you like it:
Note that in PhotoShop Elements, after you apply the filter once, then you get a nice keyboard shortcut that's activated that you can use from that point on to quickly apply the blur again
So I do this a lot with code to protect sensitive info: