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Filters, effects, and layer styles -- all covered in this chapter -- offer lots of choices for making your images look special. In this movie, we will look at filters. There are scores of filters in the Editor. Some are for photo correction, like the Reduce Noise filter that I covered earlier in the course, and many are creative, for making artistic changes to an image. Filters do make direct and permanent changes to a layer, so you may want to duplicate a photo layer before applying filters. I will do that by dragging this Background layer down to the Create new layer icon at the bottom of the Layers panel.
When you apply a filter, it affects only the selected layer, so if you have multiple layers, make sure that the one you want filtered is selected. You can apply filters from the Filter menu at the top of the screen, or from the Effects panel. To access filters in the Effects panel, click the first icon, the one with the three circles, and then choose a category of filters from this menu. I will choose the Brush Strokes category. The thumbnails here are meant to give you a sense of what the filter will do. If you want to see the names of the thumbnails, go to the panel list icon on the right side of the Effects panel, and from that menu, choose Show Names, and you can see at least part of each filter name under the thumbnails.
Applying a filter from here is really quick; you just double-click the filter. These filters are cumulative, so if I click another one, it's added on top of the first. If you want to undo a filter you've applied, click the Undo button at the top of the screen, or if you want to go all the way back to the beginning without any filters, you can use the Undo History panel, or you can go to the Edit menu, and choose Revert. Applying a filter from the Effects panel is quick and easy, but it has a couple of drawbacks, as compared to the Filter menu at the top of the screen.
The Effects panel doesn't give you access to sliders, and it doesn't give you a preview; it just immediately applies a filter to the image. And the Effects menu doesn't give you all the filters that the Filter menu does; particularly, the photo correction type filters. So let's take a look at the Filter menu. Here, you see a long list of filters divided into categories. When you click on one of the filters here, one of three things happens. With a few filters, they are applied automatically to the image. Some of the filters, like the Photo Correction filters, open a dialog box, where you will find some Filter settings that you can control. Or, when you apply one of the many creative filters, you get this large filter gallery window.
Here, you can preview and apply multiple filters at once. There is a large preview over here on the left, and in the center of this window, you will see thumbnails for each of the available filters organized into categories. Over on the right are controls for whichever filter is the active one at the moment. Each filter has different controls. For example, with this filter, I can change the number of levels of cutout, and as I do that, the live preview updates. The big advantage of the filter gallery is that it's the only place you can preview a combination of filters on your photo.
As you click through the thumbnails, each filter I apply replaces the one before it over here in the preview, but I can stack additional filters one on top of the other in the preview. To do that, I'm going to go down to open another category of filters -- the Brush Strokes category -- and scroll up so you can see those. And here, I'm going to apply the Crosshatch filter by clicking on it. The area over here on the right is called the filter layer area. Here you will see a bar for each filter that's currently being previewed on the image. Right now, there's just one bar for the Crosshatch filter.
If I want to add another filter on top of that, I will go down and click the Create New Filter icon at the bottom of this filter layer area. That duplicates the Crosshatch filter, and now the filter looks different on the preview, because it's twice as strong. I can replace this second copy of the Crosshatch filter by just clicking on another thumbnail. I am going to open another category -- the Distort category -- and scroll up again, and there I'm going to click on the Diffuse Glow filter. And now you can see that there are two layers in the filter layers area: one for the Crosshatch filter, and one for the Diffuse Glow filter.
I'll add one more by, again, clicking the Create New Filter icon at the bottom of this area, and then clicking on another filter thumbnail. I will go with this Spatter filter. There are other things that I can do in the filter layer area. I can make a layer temporarily invisible here by clicking its eye icon like this, and if I decide I don't want that filter at all, I can delete it by making sure it's selected by clicking on it, and then going down, and clicking the Trash icon at the bottom of the filter layer area. When I like what I see in the preview area, I can apply all the filters that show up over here in the filter layer area by clicking OK. And that applies the one or more filters that I previewed in the filter gallery directly and permanently to whatever layer is selected in the Layers panel.
Because I duplicated the original layer first, I still have the option to delete the filters by deleting this layer, or to lower the Opacity of the filtered layer, so I can see more of the unfiltered layer beneath it, or I could add a layer mask to the filtered layer, and use black paint on the layer mask to hide some of the filter, so we can see down through to the non-filtered layer below, and that's a great way to target filters to just part of a photo. The many filters available in Elements' Editor are a great way to make unique art from a photo, or to adjust photo qualities, like noise or color.
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