I am using Affinity Designer and it lacks an acrylic blur feature. Is there any way to create an acrylic blur using a gaussian blur?

The first one is Acrylic blur and second is Gaussian blur

In simple, the first one is a background blur and the second is an object blur but this is same for acrylic and gaussian blur in Affinity. Background blur is available but in the brush tool. Adobe XD has one click to switch between background blur to object blur. Is there way to make the first effect in Affinity?

  • 1
    No clue what an "Acrylic blur" is.....
    – Scott
    Commented Jun 22, 2017 at 7:33
  • @metis Windows10 new design language is all about acrylic blur, if you use Adobe Xd then you can view this feature in it
    – Kartik
    Commented Jun 22, 2017 at 7:42
  • Ahh okay.. not a Windows user here. You might consider posting some sample images. I'm sure I'm not the only one who will have no idea about Acrylic Blur. Google results are just confusing and unclear as to any specific visuals.
    – Scott
    Commented Jun 22, 2017 at 7:56
  • Yes please post an example - I am a windows user and designer but have never come across this term. Nor does a search come up with anything. Commented Jun 22, 2017 at 8:11
  • After some digging, this appears to be the effect in question: docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/uwp/style/acrylic - Does Gaussian blur not yield a similar result? Commented Jun 22, 2017 at 8:18

3 Answers 3


In Affinity Designer one must often jump from vector domain to pixels. This is not an exception.

The basic idea is already told in comments and other answers. It's to make heavily gaussian blurred copy of your image and crop it. Unfortunately in vector domain the cropping also reduces the area where the blur is calculated. You wouldn't get full blur at the edges of the wanted area. You must

  • make a copy of your image, all layers in the copy merged to the top layer
  • add layer effect Gaussian Blur
  • add a layer effect "color overlay". With low opacity it gives to your acrylic plate some plausibility. In the following example the color overlay is white and its opacity is 13%
  • rasterize the layer, do not copy the layer effects (=apply the effects destructively, not any more editable)
  • crop the layer to wanted size or make a pixel selection of the wanted area and copy&paste it as a new layer

EDIT: this is based on quessed original. it's much too dark. I have used the right original (by Microsoft) in the addendum. To get the same result the highlights in the right original should be flattened by the curves tool in a photo editor.

enter image description here

ADDENDUM: The questioner wanted a video. Unfortunately my screen recording system makes too large files to upload here. It also has a limited color palette, so the result is inferior for teaching image editing. Hopefully the workflow is understandable. Here's the link

Workflow demo video

As separate screenshot the result is the following:

enter image description here

  • please make a gif or video tutorial
    – Kartik
    Commented Jun 23, 2017 at 7:17
  • @ShantnuChaubey The workflow video is added. Sorry for bad quality.
    – user82991
    Commented Jun 23, 2017 at 16:48

Edit: I answered this for Photoshop before realising that the OP had asked for Affinity Designer. I'll leave this answer in any case, since it might be useful to someone.

As far as I have been able to ascertain, you seem to be talking about a gaussian blur with a semi-transparent overlay of solid colour. I found this image of the effect.

Image of the Effect

Anyhoo, here's how I would recreate such an effect in Photoshop:

  1. Open an image to use as the background.

  2. Duplicate the layer, and turn it into a Smart Object using Filter > Convert for Smart Filters

  3. In the layers panel, double click the Smart Object to enter it. Apply a guassian blur using Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur

  4. While still in the Smart Object, add a new layer above, fill it white, and reduce the layer opacity to something like 20%. Close and save the Smart Object.

  5. Below the Smart Object layer, create a shape using the Rectangle Tool, or any of the shape tools, filled solid - the colour of fill doesn't matter.

  6. Select the Smart Object layer and click Layer > Create Clipping mask.

  7. You could also add a drop shadow layer effect to the rectangle.


Example screenshot

  1. Now you can drag the rectangle layer around the image, and the Smart Object will be revealed wherever you drag it.


Example screenshot, moving the rectangle

  • 1
    +1 this is my take as well but... "Affinity Designer" not Photoshop.
    – Scott
    Commented Jun 22, 2017 at 8:59
  • @Metis Oops, I missed that. I've leave it anyway, could be useful for someone.
    – Billy Kerr
    Commented Jun 22, 2017 at 9:00

enter image description here

We can achieve this effect in Affinity Designer in 6 simple steps without leaving the design persona.

  1. Duplicate the background layer with Ctrl + j
  2. Create a shape you want to mask it (in this example a rectangle).
  3. Move the duplicate layer into the rectangle shape to create a layer mask.
  4. Apply Gaussian blur to the duplicate layer from the fx option.
  5. Select the rectangle mask layer and select "Lock Children" checkbox from the context menu at the top.
  6. Now you can even change the shape and size of the rectangle mask without affecting the background layer position.

enter image description here

By checking the preserve alpha option, we can retain the blur effect at the edges too.

Hope this helps!

  • 1
    @Shantnu Chaubey This, altough a little late, utilizes the possiblities of the program better than my answer. The trick is how to keep the edges also blurred. and still keep the filter easily movable. Consider to change the selection. This also can be made milky by adding a thin overlay.
    – user82991
    Commented Jul 28, 2017 at 23:19

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