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Most Adobe Photoshop artists don't make use of Smart Objects, and thus miss out on a potentially very powerful tool. With Smart Objects you can create a complex transformation once and then swap out the contents for any artwork you choose. In this workshop, Photoshop artist and author Steve Caplin shows you how you can use Smart Objects to enhance almost all your Photoshop work. Learn to simplify and speed up repetitive tasks, and create templates that can be repurposed as many times as you wish.
Here's our space in which with the crew members beaming down to the planet, thanks to Smart Filter. In this lesson, we'll do something little unusual. We'll see how we can apply a filter not to the layer itself but to the mask which hides the Filter effect. So, here's our Smart Object and if we click on the Mask, we can see the foreground and background colors set to white and black, the two colors we used to paint on a mask and let's Zoom in a little. What we're going to do here is to apply a filter to this mask to roughen it and to produce a more random beaming effect, and we're going to use the Ocean Ripple filter.
We do this by going to Filter > Distort > and Ocean Ripple. Now, because we're working on the Layer Mask, we're not going to see the layer itself so we have to guess at what we're going to get. We could try increasing the ripple size and increasing the magnitude, so we get a very strong version of the effect, and we can see how that looks. Let's click OK. Well, there's the effect. Black areas are hiding the filter, the white areas are revealing it, as with any Layer Mask. So, when we apply our Ocean Ripple distortion to it, the same thing happens. And that produces this rippling effect.
Now, in fact, this is rather too strong. We don't want it to be nearly as pronounced as that. Because we've applied the filter to the mask, we can't simply treat it like a regular Smart Filter, and adjust it in the normal way. What we have to do instead is Undo and choose the filter again. And because it's the last filter we chose, it will appear at the top of the list. Now, if we select that simply by picking it from the Filter list, it'll apply the filter with the previous settings. If on the other hand, we hold down the Option key on a Mac, Alt key on a PC, it'll bring up the dialog for that filter.
So now, let's reduce the magnitude and reduce the size, so we get a very tight effect, and apply it again. And now, we can see the faint rippling effect that's been produced here, and that's much more what we want. So, we compare with the Undo key, this is before we apply that effect, and here it is afterwards. And it just adds a little more interest to the whole beaming down effect. That concludes the chapter on using Smart Filters to enhance layers in Photoshop. Smart Filters are an enormously powerful technology that can revolutionize the way we work with Photoshop, giving us a flexibility and editability that was previously unheard of.
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