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Ideally, you'll stick with the Adjustments panel because its effects are very, very fast. However, most of Photoshop's filters will also be available to you if you take advantage of the Smart Filter command. I am going to choose this particular shot here that's a tad dark; it needs the skin tone softened a bit. Let's begin with the Curves Adjustment and just lift up the faces a bit so they are a little easier to see. We'll pull down the highlights as well, here we go. Now in order to filter this shot, I need to select it in the timeline and then I can go ahead and choose Filter > Convert for Smart Filters. Doing this will make the object a Smart Object, and you notice, it does actually get rid of the transitions that were on the shot.
So if you decide to use a Smart Filter, you may lose your transitions and need to reapply them, like so. There we go, I put it back into place and I'll do a Cross Fade here as well, and everything adjusts just fine. Let's go and throw away the Curves adjustment, and with the layer selected, I could take advantage of the Shadows/Highlights command, and you see the basic sliders there for Shadows and Highlights--does a nice job there of covering the sky. I can use the Show More Options there to refine what's a highlight and what's a shadow, as well as give it more falloff with the Radius command, and that does a nice job of recovering some details in that shot, bringing the sky out.
Additionally, I could take advantage of most other filters, such as the Gaussian Blur and crank that up. You might be wondering why use a blur? Well, if you double-click on the Blending icon there, you can actually change that to something like Soft Light, and this does a really nice job of hiding some of the noise in the skin tones. This particular shot was a little grainy, and by taking a blurred copy and blending it with itself, we've popped the saturation, as well as hid some of that noise in the shadowy areas that was getting produced by the lower quality camera.
That works well, we've taken advantage of both a Shadow/Highlights adjustment and a filter using Smart Filters command, and all the great things about Smart Filters and Smart Objects are still in play, including the ability to mask, tweak the filters with a quick double-click, reorder them, or blend them, until you're absolutely happy with the results.
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