beanz Magazine

Image Filters

John Fowler on Flickr

Learn the secrets behind pixels, image blurs, and all your favourite Instagram filters!

Thanks to micro-chips and mobile phones, it only takes a few seconds to snap a photo, pop on a snazzy filter, and share your masterpiece with people all over the world. As easy as breathing! So easy, in fact, that we sometimes forget how remarkable this technology is. Let’s take a look at on one of the many juicy pieces of this puzzle: image filters. Specifically: brightness, saturation, and blur filters.

Breaking Down a Digital Photo

Every digital image is divided into a grid of tiny squares — often thousands and thousands of squares — called pixels. Open any picture you want and zoom in really close. Sooner or later, even the smoothest of lines become blocky and chunk-like.

Original image by John Fowler on Flickr

In a black and white (greyscale) photo, computers typically represent each pixel with a single number between 0 and 255, where “0” is pure black while “255” is pure white, and every other number is a shade in between. Take a look at the values extracted from this black & white picture of a kitty, downsized to be 15×15 pixels:

Become a subscriber and get access to the rest of this article. Plus all our magazine articles.

Stories also include numerous links to help parents, kids, and teachers learn more. Get access today at just $15 per year for online magazine only or $29.99/year for print + online ($35/year outside US)!

Subscribe Today!

Also In The August 2018 Issue

Use SketchUp to recreate the famous optical illusion that grows and shrinks people around the room.

Learn what makes a good rogue-like game and how to make one yourself.

Unleash your inner digital chef through this simple (but mouth-watering) Python activity.

Dinosaur fossils, STEM podcasts, and a day in the life of a paleontologist.

A fun introduction to programming games with fantasy computers. The 70s and 80s are back in style!

Real life treasure hunts are a way to get outdoors, learn map skills, and have fun finding hidden caches near you.

Tips & trips to help you have a great time on the Internet, even when others don’t behave well.

How scientists finally cracked the code behind the mysterious language of Ancient Egypt.

Two small projects introducing you to Edublocks, a language that bridges the gap between Scratch and Python.

Take your CLI skills to the next level as you combine, redirect, and script commands.

It looks like JavaScript, has a Python aesthetic, and integrates easily with C/C++. Meet Lua: a scripting language for fantasy computers.

How the high-tech LIGO made a huge discovery and won its three founders a Nobel Prize.

An introduction to the devices that’ll make your robots zoom, skitter, and spin.

Learn the secrets behind pixels, image blurs, and all your favourite Instagram filters!

Links from the bottom of all the August 2018 articles, collected in one place for you to print, share, or bookmark.

Interesting stories about computer science, software programming, and technology for August 2018.