Hide Unwanted Elements in a Photo

There are times when you want to share a photograph but you won’t want to share some of the information in it.

For example you might take a photograph of your car but you may not want to publicize your number plate. Or you may have a photograph of your child playing with another child and, while you’re happy to share the photograph you may not want the other child to be identifiable. The easiest way to hide information like this is to pixelate the information by replacing it with an overlay of colored squares which blend into the photograph and hide the information that you don’t want to show.
In other situations you may simply want to blur the edges of a photo because the edges contain no interesting content. Blurring the edges will draw the viewer’s eye to the subject of the photo. While both these effects allow you to remove or hide some part of a photo they differ in how you achieve each of them. Here we’ll show you how to create each of these effects using Paint.net.
If you haven’t downloaded and installed Paint.net then visit issue 1 of this newsletter to see how to get hold of this program and install it. We’ll assume that that’s all taken care of and we’ll start with our pixilation effect.

Open your photo in Paint.net by choosing File > Open, browse to find the photo, click it and click Open. In the Tools panel click the Rectangle Select tool and drag over the item to hide. If your photo is of a person then use the Ellipse Select tool instead to draw an elliptical shape.

Choose Effects > Distort > Pixelate and adjust the Cell Size slider until the element you want to hide is sufficiently disguised for your purposes. Click Ok and then choose Edit > Deselect to deselect the selection.

To blur the outer edges of a photo first open the photo in Paint.net and select the Ellipse Select tool. Drag over the subject of the photo to highlight the area of the image that you want to keep unaltered. Choose Edit > Invert Selection to invert the selection.

Choose Effects > Blurs > and select Gaussian Blur, drag the Radius slider to a value that sufficiently blurs the background and click Ok. Click Edit > Deselect to deselect the selection. You will now have your subject in focus and the background nicely blurred. If desired you can choose a different blur option and Fragment and Zoom Blur both give interesting effects when applied to the edges of the image. When you’re done choose File > Save As and make sure to save the image giving it a new name so that you do not overwrite the original.