iOS, Titanium

Titanium Live Blur, well kind of…

Since the release of iOS7, the Live Blur effect has been extremely popular.  Since Apple doesn’t yet provide this effect natively the community has come up with a few different approaches to achieve this effect.

Toolbar Layer

One common approach to achieving a live blur is to use a layer from the UIToolbar.  This allows you to use the same live blur effect that a IUToolbar has, but with the same functionality of a UIView.  This approach is reliable with good performance.  The downside, is you have no control over the Blur and in iOS 7.1 the blur was made softer making it difficult to see when used in come color schemes. Adrian  Opaladini has created an excellent Titanium module called Live BlurView which implements this approach. If you are looking at implementing a light live blur I highly recommend checking out this module.

Timer Driven

The next approach to implementing a live blur effect is to use a timer and a blur algorithm or library such as GPUImage.  Typically this is implemented using a timer which at a specific duration takes a snapshot of the source view and applies a blur effect.  As you can imagine the downside to this approach is you need to implement the refresh code yourself.   This usually requires managing the processes of a timer, view snapshot, and image processing.  Not a ton of code, but you don’t get anything out of the box. The upside, is complete control over the process.  This allows you to use the blur effect that looks best in your app, at a frequency that makes sense. There is an example of how to do this using the Ti.BlurView module here.

Another Option…

I really wasn’t happy with either the Toolbar or Timer approaches.  I wanted more control then I had with the Toolbar approach, but the idea of firing a timer when it wasn’t needed wasn’t appealing, especially considering the performance impact.  This got me thinking, that for many Titanium apps, the UI fires all types of events when the application state has changed.  Why not hook into these events. Out of this came the Scroll Blur example for the Ti.BlurView module.

See it in action


The Code

var mod = require('bencoding.blur');
exports.createWindow = function(){	

	var win = Ti.UI.createWindow({
		barColor:"#999", title:"Blur on Scroll"

	function createRows() {
	    function buildRow(el) {
	        var row = Ti.UI.createTableViewRow({
	            width:150, height:120
	        var headerImage = Ti.UI.createImageView({
	            image: el.image, 
	            width:Ti.UI.FILL, height:Ti.UI.FILL
	        var titleLabel = Ti.UI.createLabel({
	            text: el.title,
	            width: Ti.UI.FILL, height: '30dp', 
	            horizontalWrap: false, bottom: '5dp', 
	            left: '5dp', right: '5dp',
	            font: {
	                fontSize: '20dp', fontWeight:'bold'
	        return row;
	    var rows=[];
	    for (var iLoop=0;iLoop<100;iLoop++){
	        rows.push(buildRow({ title: 'Test Row '+iLoop, 
	        					image: 'cat.jpg'}));
	    return rows;

	var list = Ti.UI.createTableView({
	    width:Ti.UI.FILL,  height:Ti.UI.FILL, data:createRows()

	var imgView = mod.createGPUBlurImageView({
		height:250, width:Ti.UI.FILL, zIndex:500,top:0,
			type:mod.IOS_BLUR, radiusInPixels:1

	var w = Ti.Platform.displayCaps.platformWidth;
	var blur = {
		timerId: null,
		apply : function(){
			Ti.API.debug("Taking screenshot");
			var screenshot = list.toImage();
			Ti.API.debug("applyBlur : Cropping screenshot");
			screenshot.imageAsCropped({x:0,y:0, height:250,
			Ti.API.debug("set screenshot as image to ImageView");
			imgView.image = screenshot;
			Ti.API.debug("set blur so we will update");
				type:mod.BOX_BLUR, radiusInPixels:5
			Ti.API.debug(" Done with Blur");				
		Ti.API.debug("action fired : scroll");
			Ti.API.debug("Timer already set, returning");
		blur.timerId = setTimeout(function(){
			blur.timerId = null;	

		Ti.API.debug("action fired : scrollend");
			Ti.API.debug("Clearing Interval");
			blur.timerId = null;

	return win;