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[java] Image Filtering Efficiency

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I was wondering what is the most efficient/fastest way of applying a 'fading' effect on a BufferedImage or Image. I implemented my own method to fade a bufferedImage by using two loops to cycle through each pixel, changing its Alpha value to a lower value. This method worked great, but for a bufferedImage with a large area it proved to be very very slow. I then implemented RescaleOp and used it instead to fade my bufferedImage, it worked slightly faster but still ran at a snails pace when used on a large bufferedImage.. The image I am fading is a particle generated image, I draw a number of particles (Ovals) to the bufferedImage, then fade the bufferedImage, then re-draw the particles in a new position, etc. Thus giving the effect of the particles having trails. I can think of a few different ways around this problem, but my initial question still stands. What is the most efficient way of creating a fading effect on a bufferedImage or Image. Any help is appreciated.

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