Easy-to-follow video tutorials help you learn software, creative, and business skills.Become a member
Did you know that Photoshop ships with over a hundred different filters that you can use, in creative ways, on your images? These filters are located under the Filter menu, of course, and you can see this big long list. Again, there's over a hundred that come with the product. These are also called sometimes plug-ins, and there's third-party companies that ship plug-ins that you can add to Photoshop to give yourself even more filters. Companies like onOne Software or Alien Skin are some popular ones. But the ones that are built into Photoshop, I kind of break those up into two categories.
There is the utilitarian type filters, and there is the creative set. There are three subsets in that utilitarian category, at least in my mind. There is the Sharpen filters, the Blur filters and the Noise filters. Then I put everything else into this Creative set over here on the right. So, if we take a look at the Filter menu up at the top, you can see they're all alphabetized, so there's Artistic blur, Brush Strokes and so forth as you go down the list. When I say Sharpen, I'm talking about the various sharpening filters under the Sharpen menu with a Sharpen submenu there.
The two that you'll use most often are Unsharp Mask or Smart Sharpen. Then these, you don't really use all that often because they don't have any control. They just do what they do. Under the Blur submenu, there is quite a few different blurs, but the blurs you'll use most often are Gaussian blur, Motion blur, Radial blur, and then there is something called Lens blur as well. In the Noise category, there is Add Noise and Reduce Noise, and there are some other special features in here as well, but the two that you'll use the most are Add Noise to either add some grain back into a digital image or to reduce color noise to get rid of those distracting red, green and blue pixels that can show up in shadow areas.
Everything else is pretty much what I call a Creative filter for turning your images into paintings, or drawings, or making them look like they were brush-stroked, or whatever. The one exception is that there is an additional Sharpen filter in this Other menu called High Pass. There's an actual separate video in this course that talks about how do that in the Blend mode chapter, so I won't cover that now. In terms of how filters work, you need to have a layer selected, and then you just simply choose the particular filter that you want to apply.
So, if I choose this Dahlia layer, you can see I've got two groups, the Before group - I'll just turn the visibility on and off - and the After group. So, this After folder of images have already had some filters applied to them. But if I want to apply a filter to the Dahlia layer, I just select that layer and I go to the Filter menu, and let's go to Sharpen > Unsharp Mask. This typically brings up a dialog box. The dialog box has a Preview area. Right now, the Preview is blank because it's viewing a transparent part of this particular layer.
If you want to put the Preview on a particular region in your image, just move your mouse outside the dialog box and you get a little cursor, showing you where you can click. So, if I click right there, it puts that in the center of the Preview window, and then you can just pan around there to see what you want to see. The other thing you might notice is when you click and hold, you see the before image in this little dialog, and when you let go, you see the after image. Each filter will have its various bells and whistles, its knobs and sliders to choose from, to adjust the overall appearance, or effect, of that particular filter.
When you're happy with the results, you just click the OK button, and that filter has now been applied. Now this is a destructive action. When you run a filter on just a normal layer like this, you are permanently changing those pixels, but you can always undo, of course, Command+Z or Ctrl+Z. But if you're not using something called Smart filters, which we'll cover separately, filters applied to a layer are actually changing those pixels in a destructive manner. In the remaining videos in this chapter, what I'll do is cover an example of each one of these categories of filter.
So, I'll show you Unsharp Mask. I'll show you a use for Gaussian Blur. I'll show you a use for Add Noise, and then we'll do a texture of how to make something look like it's been printed on canvas, so to speak. So, join me in the next videos, and we'll continue on with this topic.
Get unlimited access to all courses for just $25/month.Become a member
120 Video lessons · 64543 Viewers
119 Video lessons · 71853 Viewers
125 Video lessons · 32475 Viewers
103 Video lessons · 31671 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.