According to this meta post questions in the general form of how do I do X are frowned upon because they tend to be brainstorming questions without a solid or clear answer.

Conversely, this meta post states the questions asking for tutorials about achieving a certain effect get useful answers (about the effect, not the tutorial):

I think that they get reasonable answers, with suggestions on how to achieve the effect, rather than pointers to tutorials

This makes me think that a clear question about a clear effect should be on topic even though it is essentially a "How-To" question. What is less clear is if I can ask for help on how to achieve an effect with a certain program.

The reason I ask is because I am starting a blog, and my graphic design skills are quite poor. I recognize that blogs with images are more interesting than those without images. I don't have the extra cash to actually hire a designer or pay for a graphics design software license. This means I need to use a free tool like Gimp and generate my own images. I would like to ask for help here if the question is on-topic and not considered too localized.

For context my current question would be:

How can I achieve the effect in the picture below when starting from a screenshot, using Gimp or another free software package. I would also like to know what the effect is called if it has a name.

code picture for effect sample

  • this question has been asked and answered if i recall correctly
    – joojaa
    Mar 18, 2016 at 20:27
  • Just to note.. That very much looks like a photograph of a screen—not an effect. The depth-of-field/focus blur would be easy enough to replicate but if you zoom in you can clearly see the actual 'pixels' of the screen. If it was an effect you wanted to replicate you would probably need to search for photography terms to replicate as opposed to a design style or effect.
    – Cai
    Mar 18, 2016 at 20:27
  • @CAI lol now that I looked closer you're right it does look like a picture of a screen. I thought it might be easier to recreate with a good camera, but I didn't immediately recognize that it was a picture taken with a camera.
    – Erik
    Mar 18, 2016 at 20:36
  • 2
    Related post on photography.se: What's the best way to take a picture of an LCD or CRT screen?
    – Cai
    Mar 18, 2016 at 20:37

2 Answers 2


The issue with your question is you do not show what you've tried. We do not mind software based questions but effort is required and your question would be closed with:

enter image description here

Reference: New close reason “What have you tried”.

The purpose of the Q&A is to ask questions that can in fact be answered with certainty. Not to create a tutorial for someone. In this case, you're asking for a tutorial and that isn't in scope with the site. If you do show effort with screenshots but have issues in a particular area you are welcome to ask your questions and you will get answers. However, before asking I encourage you to view the tag Gimp.

  • I'll check out the tag for sure. You are correct that I'm in affect asking for a tutorial. Part of that is because I don't even know where to start. I suppose that just means that I probably don't have the domain knowledge needed to understand an answer. Which in turn means I'm not really your target audience.
    – Erik
    Mar 18, 2016 at 19:34
  • Well we would encourage you to review the tag Gimp. Look and see what the topic discusses. If you have a question because that particular Q&A isn't descriptive you can create a new question but reference the old Q&A and why you dont think it will work or what the issue is. We do not mind assisting but the problem with tutorials is they are in fact doing one's work. You can even ask a question from a tutorial you're doing, cite the tutorial's location and say Im at step X but it says do this and I've tried this but not getting the result, why?
    – user9447
    Mar 18, 2016 at 19:40
  • That all makes great sense. I'll try to tackle the problem from the order of what seems least complex to most complex. I'm sure I can figure out how to how to get some sort of soft focus mask applied. Once I get that done then I'll start trying to figure out the tilt without deforming the text.
    – Erik
    Mar 18, 2016 at 19:52

As I just posted on the question you linked, I will convey some of the same message here:

There are two types of classification: style identification and how to.

If someone doesn't know what the style is, they cannot find how to create such an effect, thus they use a question to find that out what the style is in order to look up more about it. Also note we have some requirements for them as well.

How to's, on the other hand, seek for help with implementation creating a particular effect. We have requirements for them, but they are of a different nature than simply identifying a style. They involve steps of how to attain the desired effect.

Thus, in your case you can either ask, "What is this effect called?" and provide additional examples and description of the effect OR you can ask something like "How to create a blurred screenshot in Gimp?" and include your attempt at it thus far. Since the name isn't something particularly distinct, the second would likely be what you want to post.

Thanks for taking the time to post to meta and caring for what is on and off topic here! We hope you stick around.

  • Thank you for your input and those links. I'll be sure to study those posts when it is time for me to post my question.
    – Erik
    Mar 18, 2016 at 20:38

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