Easy-to-follow video tutorials help you learn software, creative, and business skills.Become a member
The most important thing to know before you start working with filters is that if you simply select the filter from the list, Photoshop is going to apply that filter and make a permanent change to your image. For example, if I select the Filter menu and then we just add something like noise. When I click OK, we can see that Photoshop has changed the information in the image. Unless, I undo it right now, if I were to save this file, I would actually be saving the changed pixels and I couldn't get back to my original if I change my mind.
Let's go ahead and use Cmd+Z or Ctrl+Z in order to undo that. In order to make this flexible and nondestructive, before I add my filter, I'm going to select the Layer menu, and then choose Smart Objects, and Convert to Smart Object. Now that I have a smart object, I can add my filter as a smart filter. Now it doesn't look any different when I go into the Filter menu, but these will be added as smart filters. Instead of just adding noise, let's go ahead and take a look at how the filter gallery works.
You can see on the left-hand side we get a large preview of our image, and by default, it zooms into 100%. But we can use the minus or plus icons or we can select a different percentage to view from the pop-up menu. Or we can use those same keyboard shortcuts that we have in Photoshop. Cmd on the Mac or Ctrl on Windows, and then zero will fit in window. If I quickly want to zoom to 100% then it's Cmd or Ctrl+1. Let's go back to fit in window, and take a look at the filters on the right-hand side.
All the filters are listed here, and we can use the disclosure triangles in order to see more of them. We can also use this icon to the right, if we wanted to hide those to get a bigger preview area. When they're hidden, you can then select them from this drop-down menu here. But we'll go ahead and show them for now. And then, let's navigate down and select a filter. Now if your distort filters aren't showing, just use the disclosure triangle and you can see that the last time I was in this dialog and I ran a filter, I selected Glass.
But right now I'm going to choose Ocean Ripple, and when I select that, we get all of the different options for that specific filter over here on the right. So if I wanted to make a larger or a smaller ripple size, I can use the slider, and I can also change the ripple magnitude or the amount of distortion. I'll go ahead and leave that around ten. We can see down below that this is the filter that's been applied. And if I want to toggle on and off its visibility, I can click on the eye icon. When I'm ready to apply the filter, we'll click OK, and let's take a look at our layers panel.
When we first opened this file it was a flattened file, so we just had a background. Then, when I converted it into a smart object, Photoshop converted the background into a layer. And, now that we've added a smart filter, you can see that it has a smart filter mask. And here's the name of the filter with an eye icon that we can toggle on and off to hide or show the filter. To the right of that, if I double-click on this icon, we can actually change, not only the blend mode but also the opacity for the filter.
I'll leave them at their default for now but it's good to know that we change these things. We also have a mask icon right here. If I wanted to paint in or paint out my filter selectively to my image. But let's return to the filter gallery in order to make some changes. To do this, I'm going to double-click where it says Filter Gallery in the layers panel. If I want to add or stack another filter on top of this, instead of just selecting another filter because that changes my active filter.
So, we'll go back to Ocean Ripple. Instead of just selecting another filter I'm going to click on the New icon down at the bottom of the filter gallery. That will add a duplicate of whatever filter I have selected, but now I can change that. So maybe we'll go up to the Brush Stroke area. And then I'll select Crosshatch. Again, we have all the different parameters so I could change the stroke length, the sharpness, which will add some edge contrast, and I can also change the strength.
I can even change the stacking order by clicking on one of the filters and then just dragging it down. Very similar to how you change the stacking order in the layers panel. If we don't like it, we can simply click and drag back up in order to reorder them again. We'll click OK, and that'll take us back to Photoshop where I just want to show you an example of actually painting in that filter. So, I'll tap the g key, that will give me the gradient. And I'll tap my d key to give me my default black and white colors.
I'm going to select the second gradient, that's the radial gradient here, and then I need to make sure that in my layers panel, I have the Smart Filter targeted. This is going to target the smart filter's mask. Then, I'll click in the center of this daisy. And drag out, and you can see that I have hidden the filter because I am dragging from black to white, and we know that black hides, so it's hiding the filter in that area. It didn't hide the layer in that area.
If I wanted to hide the layer, I would have to add a layer mask to the actual layer. So this smart filter mask, controls the visibility of the filter, not the layer. So now that you know about smart objects and the basic way that filters work, we'll take a look at a number of different filters in the following videos to find out when and why you would use them.
Get unlimited access to all courses for just $25/month.Become a member
164 Video lessons · 56250 Viewers
64 Video lessons · 87347 Viewers
86 Video lessons · 56498 Viewers
148 Video lessons · 93953 Viewers
Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.
Search within course videos and transcripts, and jump right to the results.
Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.
Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.
Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.
Your file was successfully uploaded.