UIVisualEffects in 10mins

Slides from a talk I gave at Boulder iOS October Meetup


With iOS 8, Apple has provided a new technology which makes it very easy to create frosted, translucent overlays. These overlays are interactive and will reflect the state of activity beneath. This is an upgrade from previous technigues which involved creating static images and applying blur effects.


Instantiate an instance of UIVisualEffectView and hand it an effect. Presently, the only effects available are instances of either UIBlurEffect or UIVibrancyEffect.

UIBlurEffects can be configured for dark, light, or extra light. Apply a tintColor to UIVisualEffectView to make it fit properly in a colorscheme.

    UIBlurEffect *blur = [UIBlurEffect effectWithStyle:UIBlurEffectStyleDark];
    UIVisualEffectView *blurView = [[UIVisualEffectView alloc] initWithEffect:blur];
    blurView.frame = self.hudView.bounds;
    [self.view addSubview:blurView];

UIVibrancyEffect is best used with text, or other controls that need to remain readable, as frosted overlays can obscure important details in the foreground.

Apply Vibrancy

To apply vibrancy, create another UIVisualEffectView with an instance of UIVibrancyEffect. note Vibrancy needs to know about the current UIBlurEffect settings. Add the second UIVisualEffectView configured for vibrancy as a subview of the first. Just like UITableViewCell, the UIVisualEffectView has a contentView property for subviews.

UIVisualEffectView *vibrantView = [[UIVisualEffectView alloc] initWithEffect:[UIVibrancyEffect effectForBlurEffect:blur]];
vibrantView.frame = blurView.bounds;
UILabel *label = [[UILabel alloc] init];
[label setFont:[UIFont fontWithName:@"HelveticaNeue" size:33]];
label.frame = CGRectMake(8, 30, 400, 500);
label.numberOfLines = 0;
label.text = @"THIS IS VIBRANT TEXT!";
[vibrantView.contentView addSubview:label];

// add vibrantView to first blurView
[blurView.contentView addSubview:vibrantView];

Working Example

A working example complete with animations, blur and vibrancy effects is available here : UISpookyEffects on Github