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One of the filter effects in Photoshop that is very simple and yet quite intriguing is the Crystallize filter. Let's take a look at how we can use this filter which includes only one option for changing it's behavior to create a variety of different effects in the photo. I'll go ahead and start by creating a Background Copy layer in order to protect my original Background Image layer, and so I'll drag the thumbnail. For the Background layer down to the Create New Layer button, down at the bottom of the Layers panel. That will create a background copy. But I also want to convert this Background Copy layer into a Smart Object.
So that the filter I apply will be applied as a Smart filter, and therefore I can always go back and fine-tune the result. So I'll choose Filter, followed by Convert for Smart Filters from the menu, and then I'll click OK in the confirmation dialog. And now, my Background Copy layer is a Smart Object. And that means I can apply Smart filters, and let's take a look at that Crystallize filter applied as a smart filter. I'll go to the Filter menu and then I'll choose Pixellate. And then from the Pixellate submenu, I'll choose Crystallize. That will bring up the Crystallize dialog.
And as you can see, there's only one option available to us, and that is the Cell Size. If I use a small cell size that crystal structure will be very fine, very small crystals in effect will make up the mosaic for the image. And if I increase the value for crystal size, you can see that I can a very different result. I'll go ahead and zoom out a bit so that we can see more of the image. And you'll see that now the image is not really an image, but more of just a texture or a pattern. I'll go ahead and use a relatively low setting, initially for that cell size. And then I'll click OK.
You can see the effect in the image. But because I'm working with Crystallize as a Smart filter, if I decided that this isn't exactly what I was going for, I can change the effect. I'll go ahead and double-click the Crystallize filter under Smart filters on the Layers panel. And then, for example, I might increase that cell size a little and then click OK and review the result in the image. And in this way, I can continue fine-tuning the result until I'm happy with it. That looks rather interesting, but I can also take things a bit further in a variety of different ways. I could reduce the Opacity if I want to allow the underlying water to show through just a little bit.
I can also apply adjustments. For example, in this case, I might add a vibrance adjustment and increase the vibrance in order to increase the, sort of graphic quality of the effect here. I can also apply a Hue Saturation Adjustment perhaps, in order to shift those colors around to a variety of different possibilities. The bottom line is that the Crystalize filter could be just the beginning of creating a variety of different for an image. And as you can see, it can be a very interesting effect when you want to create some sort of background texture that you might use in a variety of different projects. So, a very simple filter as far as the controls that are available. But we still have quite a bit of flexibility, a variety of different ways we could interpret the image using this filter.
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