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The most important thing to know when working with filters is that if you simply select the filter from the menu, this is going to be a permanent change. If I select something like Noise and Add Noise to my image, Photoshop is going to permanently change the pixels in my image. Since I don't want that, I want a non-destructive workflow, I'm going to first change my layer, in this case, the Background into a Smart Object. Once I've changed it into a Smart Object, then we can apply Smart Filters.
We can change our image to a smart object by selecting Layer>Smart Objects> Convert to Smart Object, or in the Layers panel, right mouse click and choose Convert to Smart Object. Now when I return to the Filter menu, the filters aren't going to look any different, but because I've already converted my layer or my background into a Smart Object, these are going to be applied as Smart Filters. So let's start with some of the more artistic filters in the filter gallery. The first thing that I'll want to do is I'll want to change this to Fit in View so that I can see my whole image.
On the right-hand side I see folders full of all the different filters that I can apply. And if I just click on one of these previews, Photoshop will update my image and we can see what that filter would look like. One of the filters that I like is the Distort Filter, so let's scroll down and use the Diffuse Glow. Now the Diffuse Glow filter actually works with your foreground and your background color that you had selected in the Color panel. So if your image looks different, it might be because you didn't have black and white as your foreground and background colors.
If you're getting a green tint or something, it might be because that was your foreground color. So some of these filters actually do depend on your foreground and background colors, and unfortunately, when you're in the dialog box, you can't change them. So you'd have to hit Cancel, change your default colors, just tap the D key, and then come back in here. When you select a filter, all of the options for that filter will be found in the far right side here, so we could change the amount of Graininess making it more or less grainy. We can change the Glow Amount as well as the Clear Amount.
So moving the Glow Amount to the left will take off the glow, moving it to the right adds to the glow. And the Clear Amount is the opposite, moving the Clear Amount to the right will remove some of the glow, moving it to the left will actually make it appear like there is more of a glow. When we click OK and we look at our Layers panel, we can see that we have our Smart Layer and now we have a Smart Filter underneath that. To the left of Smart Filters is the mask that we can use to hide and show the Smart Filter. Below that is the Filter Gallery, it's the filter's name.
If I want to toggle this on and off, we can click on the Eye icon. If I want to make a change to the filter, we can double-click where it says Filter Gallery. If I wanted to add a secondary filter on top of this Diffuse Glow, I need to first click the New Icon. Otherwise, if I just select another filter, Photoshop will change from Diffuse Glow to whatever I select. So I'll go back to Diffuse Glow and then click on the New Icon. It gives me a second Diffuse Glow right on top.
It's the one that's darker, the highlighted one. So now if I select another filter, you can see that it's automatically been updated. Whatever filter you have targeted, you'll see the options right above that. So if I wanted to make this a little bit bigger distortion but make it a little bit smoother, I can do so. If I want to see my whole image, we can fit that in view. If I wanted to change the stacking order of the filters, all I need to do is click on the Glass Filter and drag it down below the Diffuse Glow.
That probably didn't make too much of a change, but sometimes when you have multiple layers stacked on top of each other, there is a dramatic difference when you change their order. If you like this effect, click OK and we can see that our image has been updated. If we want to use the mask, we need to click on the mask in the Layers panel. Then I'll tap the G key to get my Gradient, and I'll click from the upper left to the lower right in order to draw a gradient for my foreground to my background color, which happens to be white to black.
So where the mask is white, we're seeing the filter, and where the mask is black, we're hiding the filter. We can also go one step further. There's an icon to the right of the name of the filter, the one that looks like the two lines with the triangles under it. If we double-click on that, we can change not only the Blend mode or the way that the filter is applied to the layer, but we could also change the Opacity if we wanted to decrease it a little bit. I'll click OK and I just don't want you to be confused.
This mask right here is controlling the opacity, its hiding or showing the filter. I don't want you to confuse that with adding a layer mask to the layer. If we add a layer mask to the layer, it will hide or show that layer with the filter on it. But you just should be careful because there is a big difference there. So now that you know about Smart Objects and the basic way that filters work, in the next lessons we'll take a look at some specific filters and why and when you would use them.
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