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There seems to be an unlimited number of ways to put filter effects to use in your images. For more practical adjustments such as sharpening, to purely creative effects. Applying the creative filter is actually quite simple as you'll see in this lesson. Of course, when it comes to filters there is an issue as it relates to 16 bit per channel images rather than 8 bit per channel images. Here I'm working with a 16 bit per channel image. A 16 bit per channel bit depth helps ensure that I won't have posterization, a loss of smooth gradations of tone and color in the image.
That's beneficial when it comes to applying adjustments, but as you can see if I go to the Filter menu many of the filters are grayed out. These options are not available with 16 bit per channel images. In order to apply some of these creative filters, I'll need to convert my image to 8-bit per channel. But I'd rather not convert my original master image. So the approach I take is to first produce an image that I'm happy with as a straightforward photograph, and then save that as my master image, usually in the Photoshop PSD file format or the TIFF file format. I'll then create another copy of my image.
I can do so by choosing Image Duplicate from the menu. This will bring up the duplicate image dialog, and I can create a new version of my image. The default name is the original file name plus the word copy. I'm going to change this to something more meaningful. I'll call it Pepper's filters, since I'm applying a filter effect here And I also want to turn on the Duplicate Merge Layers Only check box. What the check box actually means is that we will be flattening the image. This will give me a flattened version of the image to work with.
So I will go ahead and click OK, and you can see I now have two copies of my image. There is the original, which I can now close knowing that it is safely saved to my hard drive. And there is this additional version of the image, a flattened image that contains no layers. Of course, it's still in the 16 bit per channel mode, so now I'm going to choose Image > mode and then 8 bits per channel from the menu in order to convert this image to the 8 bit per channel mode. At this point we can look at the Filter menu and see that all of our filters are available.
But rather than apply that filter directly to my background image layer, I'm first going to convert this background image layer into a smart object. So that we can apply smart filters. So I'll chose Filter, Convert for Smart Filters from the menu and click OK when Photoshop asks for confirmation and you can see that my background image layer has now been converted to a smart object. Now if I choose a Filter effect from the menu, that filter will be applied as a smart filter. So for example lets take a look at the artistic options. I might choose for example to use Rough Pastels as my filter effect. There are many filters available and I can choose from a variety of them. As you can see the filter gallery appears here and I have my rough pastels filter applied.
I can fine tune the overall settings over on the right side. For example in this case I can adjust stroke length. The stroke detail, I can apply a texture to the image. There's a variety of options. Let's give burlap a try. I can reduce the scaling if I'd like there, and maybe tone down the relief just a little bit. I can obviously vary the effect as much as I'd like, simply by fine tuning the various adjustments that are available for the individual filter I've selected. Once I'm happy with the result, I can simply click OK. And as you can see the filter effect is applied, and it's applied as a smart filter.
So if I'd ever like to refine my adjustment, refine the filter effect, I can simply double-click on the filter, in this case Rough Pastels And double-clicking will bring up the Filter Gallery once again. And I can fine tune my overall adjustments. That looks a little bit better, so I'll click OK and the adjustment has been applied to my filter effect. At this point I would probably want to save this derivative image as a separate file, so I'll choose File, Save As from the menu. Notice that the default file name is the same file name I typed in the duplicate image dialog.
I'll go ahead and click Save and the new version of my image will be saved. Photoshop includes a wide variety of creative filter effects and most of them include settings that allow you to fine tune the final effect. The result is an ability to produce a unique, creative interpretation of any photo.
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