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The first step in the process of using a Smart Filter is to first convert a layer to a Smart Object. There are a couple of different ways that you can do that. You can either go to the layer and then right-click or Ctrl+Click it and choose Convert for Smart Object. Or you can also navigate to your Filter pulldown menu and then select Convert for Smart Filters. Either technique will work. Well, let's go ahead and select one of those. This will then give us a message that says To enable re-editable, in other words nondestructive, Smart Filters this layer will be converted into a Smart Object. We say sure fine.
Go ahead and click OK. Well, now that this is a Smart Object. You can see there is an icon next to a layer thumbnail or on top of the layer thumbnail, indicating that this is a Smart Object. Well, the next step is going to be to apply a filter. Here we are going to select from our Filter pulldown menu something that perhaps isn't a very good filter, but perhaps we can make it look interesting. We will go to Brush Strokes and then choose Crosshatch. Now, when I do this it will open up the Filter dialog. I am going to go ahead and increase the Stroke Length or the Sharpness.
I'll dial this in however I see fit for this particular photograph. All right. Well, once I've done that I'll click OK. Now one of the main problems with this filter is that it's really identifiable. In other words if someone were to see this image they'd say, oh yeah! You used the old Crosshatch filter. And you don't ever want anyone to get hung up on your Photoshop work. You want them to think about the image not how the image was created. So in this case, what we need to do is perhaps add some blending or change the filter amount.
Well, we can do so by simply double-clicking on this icon here. I could then choose a blending option like Soft Light. And now what's happening is if we click OK, we can see this filter is now blended into the image. It's just adding a little bit of texture. Click on the eye icon. Here is our before and then after with that texture. I also of course added some density. If we want to change the filter or the amount of the filter, double-click the word Crosshatch here. And then what we can do is we can change the overall effect.
I'll click OK in order to apply that in a new way. And once again, if I don't like the blend mode, double-click this icon here. At this point, I can take this back to Normal and click OK, and there we can see how it'll look in this context. The other thing that we can do is we can click in this built-in mask, select our Brush tool, and here what I am going to do is simply paint this effect away in a particular area of the image. The mask is then limiting where that filter is being affected. Now, this mask works like any other mask.
For example, open up the Mask panel and here we can feather the edges of that mask. You can see it is softening that. We can control the density. We can invert this. And we can also take this back to Normal by simply navigating to Edit and choosing Fill and then fill the entire mask with white, which would then say hey, reveal all of this effect across the entirety of the photograph. All right. Well, to finish this image off, what I am going to do is double-click this icon here and choose a blending mode say of Soft Light. Lower the Opacity a little bit on that.
It was too dense for me, and click OK. And there we can see we have a really subtle texture to this image. If you click on this eye icon, here is our before and then after. It's adding contrast with a little bit of this Brush Stroke effect, which sometimes can actually look really good. And one of the things that you want to try to do a lot of times with filters is disguise them, bury them a little bit. So that people look at the image. They get interested in that. And they don't get distracted or overpowered by the filter.
And one of the things that's nice about Smart Filters is it kind of empowers and enables us to come to places like this, where we can modify either the mask or the actual filter or the blending of the filter itself.
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