What is Motion Blur in Games and Should You Turn it On or Off?

The improvement in Graphic Cards has opened up new doors for Game Developers. A lot of new features like Motion Blur, Shadow effects, Depth of Field, Anti-Aliasing, VSync, etc. are being used to make the game more realistic and addictive.

In this article, I’ll go through a particular feature called Motion Blur, its usefulness, and whether gamers should use this setting at all. Let’s dive right in.

What is Motion Blur and What Causes Motion Blur?

Motion Blur is an effect in which the surroundings appear blurry to our eyes when either we or the surroundings are moving at some speed. Let us understand this with a simple example.

Example – Stand in a normal position and keep your body stationary. Now, move your head from left to right and vice versa rapidly. What do you find?

The surroundings appear blurry, right? But why is that?

This is because our eyes cannot focus on a single object due to the rapid movement of our head. Since our eyes cannot focus on a particular object, everything appears blurry(unfocused) to us.

Similarly, if you take a picture of a fast-moving car with a camera, the camera lens is unable to focus due to the high speed of the car and the photo appears blurry. This effect is known as Motion Blur.

In Games, Motion Blur is available as a graphic feature and the effect is exactly like in real life except that it is portrayed differently depending on the genre of the game.

In Racing Games like Forza Horizon 3, both the car you’re driving and the surroundings appear blurry when the car is moving at a fast pace.

In FPS games like Battlefield V, only the surroundings appear blurry, but the main character never appears blurry.

Two main causes of Motion Blur are:

(a) The main object moves rapidly while the camera remains focused on the object.

This means that the camera cannot focus on the surrounding areas at the same time, which leads to blurred surroundings, and sometimes the main object may also appear blurred.

Example – Racing games like NFS, Forza Horizon, MotoGP.

(b) The surroundings are moving rapidly, but the main character moves slowly or remains stationary.

In this case, the camera cannot focus on a particular surrounding as it is changing constantly and the surroundings appear to be blurry.

Example – First-Person Shooter games like Fortnite, Battlefield V. Try this by moving your Mouse rapidly while keeping your character stationary.

You will find that the camera cannot focus on the surroundings, and the nearby areas appear blurred.

Does Motion Blur Affect FPS?

Motion Blur was originally introduced to make games appear more realistic, for which it requires more resources like RAM, Graphics VRAM and CPU Processing power.

If you run a game with motion blur enabled, then your fps(frame rate) will be lower than when it was disabled.

This means that games will run slower and the performance won’t be up to the mark. This applies to most genre of games excluding racing games.

Also, the blurriness of the surroundings reduces the visual quality of the game. The game appears unattractive.

In some games, Motion Blur can increase the frames per second(fps) by a small margin if you’re running the game on a low end computer, but this rarely is the case with most games.

Should You Turn Motion Blur On or Off?

If you’re a Pro gamer who believes in Performance over Quality then you should turn it Off.

Motion Blur is also not advised for competitive multiplayer FPS or RPG games like Fortnite, Borderlands 3, GTA V, etc.

Turning it on while playing these games can seriously decrease your fps thereby decreasing your in-game performance.

While playing Racing Games, you can turn Motion Blur On because the surroundings matter little and the only focus is the road ahead.

However, if you notice a considerable drop in fps then turn it Off instantly.

If you don’t own a gaming laptop or desktop with decent hardware, then you should definitely turn this option Off.

If you own a gaming console like Xbox One or PS4, then you can turn it On.

If you’re a type of gamer who prefers Quality over Performance, then you can turn it on for sure. Make sure that your computer has the recommended hardware for running the game.

Motion Blur vs No Motion Blur – Which is better?

There has been a lot of debate around Motion Blur, and whether they are useful in games.

Although this is a personal choice that depends on many factors, I definitely recommend turning Motion Blur Off for games because of the following reasons.

(a) Turning it off increases your frame rate and you won’t suffer any noticeable lag provided your computer has the recommended hardware to run the game.

(b) In competitive FPS games like Fortnite, you will find it difficult to locate your enemies while moving because of the blurriness of the surroundings.

(c) Aiming at enemies while moving becomes a lot tougher because of the blurriness. You will need to stay stationary and get the aim right. This will make you a sitting duck and trust me, you’ll definitely get smoked.

(d) Visual Quality of the game will be much better and the game won’t appear as unattractive as that with Motion Blur turned On.

(e) Motion Blur may cause dizziness and nausea in certain people who are more sensitive to it.

Motion Blur vs No Motion Blur comparison in Fortnite

How to Turn Motion Blur Off in Games?

You can turn Motion Blur Off by following this simple guide. Sometimes there may be a slight change in Menu Navigation for some games, but this should give you the general idea.

Step 1 – Open Main Menu of the Game by pressing the “esc” button.

Step 2 – Go to Settings and then navigate to Graphic Settings.

Step 3 – Inside Graphic Settings, you’ll see an option for Motion Blur. In some games like Fortnite, this option is inside Advanced Graphic Settings or Video Settings.

Step 4 – Turn Motion Blur On or Off.

In some games, you’ll find a percentage bar which you can increase or decrease. Make it 0 if you want to completely turn motion blur Off. You can adjust the amount of Motion Blur by varying the percentage.

Conclusion

Motion Blur in games has a lot of disadvantages, and I recommend my readers to turn this graphic feature off if you want to enjoy gaming at a decent frame rate.

If you’re only a racing game fan, then turning this feature on will give you that realistic feel but the frame rates may drop considerably.

Competitive gamers should definitely disable this feature.

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