M for… Motion blur

What we call motion blur appeared in the 90s and cannot be considered as a true effect as it actually applies to an existing effect the way overscan affects the screen size. Indeed objects outlines are displayed several times making them look blurred. You could also say that this effect acts as a filter. But let’s show you a picture to help you see what I am writing about.

Pure and heavy motion blur in full bloom !

The screenshot above comes from 1994 Coreflakes demo by Newcore and truly shows the added value motion blur brought to a wireframe  object with about a dozen delayed lines around it. It is true that most wireframe objects come bundled with motion blur even though you can add it to many other kinds of demo effects as the following picture shows :

Panorama
First a star mapped cube (Faith by Dune 1994), then a wireframe chain like object (Froggies Over the Fence Advert by Legacy 1992) and finally a scroller (Don’t wait for a demo by Dune 1993) these are 3 examples of motion blur among the most common to be found in demos.

Undoubtedly this effect brings a little something more to the whole thing. Yet it should not end up either slowing down objects or making them look messy. Problem is that in order to display the « delayed outlines » you need to use colours and unfortunately the humble Atari ST can only show 16 colours at once ! You have to do the maths before sacrificing a colour but if you do it right then the result proves classy !

That’s maybe the reason why this effect has been seen so much, in addition to a lot of effects already mentioned in this blog :). It has always be around and was even remarkable on a few occasions !

For instance you can see a nice object made of stars in 1993 Ecstasy Part B demo (below) by Inner Circuit Explorers or another one in 1993 Panic!  demo (above) by Chaos. As a matter of fact you can say that motion blur used to be quite fashionable at some point.

Similar effect can also be found in the more recent Drone demo (2012) by Dead Hackers Society but this time it is bigger than ever (refer to the article about overscan) but you will be able to see it by yourself with a video excerpt later on.

Along with the new coding technique, I’m mostly thinking of C2P, motion blur is given a new role. Indeed most impressive effects often use a lower screen resolution and as a consequence they look quite blocky. Motion blur allows to « soften » this blockiness and make all screens look much better as you can see right below :

This snapshot comes from 1999 Suretrip demo by Checkpoint and it was a true shock when it was first released ! Sure it is a « simple » rotozoom but the addition of motion blur instantly boosts it to true awesomeness ! Check out the video at the bottom of this page.

Taken from Second Reality 2013 by Checkpoint.

I could go on like this for hours as you can spot traces of motion blur in so many Atari demos. And I like it as it adds a little something that make things look so classy ! I hope we can meet that effect again in the forthcoming demos :).

Now let’s enjoy a few videos starting with an excerpt from Synergy’s Megademo by Synergy (1993) :

Followed by the mind blowing rotozoom seen in 1999 Suretrip demo by Checkpoint :

Last but not least we conclude with a most modern demo called Drone and brought to us by Dead Hackers Society. Here I have to confess that I really hesitated using this example but I’m pretty sure you can see that blur effect around the star shaped object moving on the screen.

 

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