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Photoshop CS4 offers an abundance of helpful shortcuts and hidden tricks that allow designers and photographers to get more done in less time. In Photoshop CS4 Power Shortcuts, Michael Ninness reveals hundreds of tips to boost productivity, including the top 20 power shortcuts every Photoshop user must know. He covers strategies for better document and panel management, and offers techniques for becoming quicker and more nimble when using layers, adjustment layers, and layer masks. Exercise files accompany the course.
Download the keyboard shortcut guide from the Exercise Files tab.
Every once in a while, you might actually want to run a special effect filter on your text layer here. So let's go try that. If I go to the Filter menu and choose, I don't know, let's start with Add Noise. I'm going to get intercepted. Photoshop is going to say hey, well wait a minute, filters only work on pixel layers. So do you want me to rasterize this type and convert it into pixels? I don't really want to do that because I want my text to remain editable. So I'm going to go ahead and hit Cancel on that. And instead what we are going to do is we are going to go to our Layers panel and we are going to right-click on the layer name or Ctrl-click with a one-button mouse, and choose Convert to Smart Object. This now embeds a copy of that text layer inside this Smart Object, and now I can run a filter on top of that Smart Object. Basically converting this so I can run a Smart Filter.
I go to Filter > Noise > Add Noise. I can add some noise to my text, just to kind of give me a base building block to run other filters on top of. Just add a little bit of content inside those letterforms. So I'm just choosing Monochromatic, Gaussian, now it doesn't really matter just do it to taste, go ahead and click OK here. Now because this is a Smart Object, this Add Noise filter shows up as a Smart Filter. Both the text and the filter remain editable. So if I need to go back and change anything about the noise filter, I just double-click on Add Noise and go change its parameters. I'm going to go run another filter. Maybe we'll do something artistic, maybe Paint Daubs. Let's go see what that looks like. So I bring up the Filter dialog and I can choose all these little different special effect filters, there is Sponge, Poster Edges, Paint Daubs, and Film Grain, and whatever.
I am just looking for one that looks kind of interesting. I'm going to go with Paint Daubs here, just to give this text a little bit of a textured appearance. I can change the Brush Size and change some of the other attributes here, but for demo purposes it really doesn't matter. I'm going to go ahead and click OK. Now this text is actually still editable, I'm going to go ahead and throw a Drop Shadow on this one. I'm going to go down to the bottom of the Layers panel and just choose Drop Shadow to make that text pop. And this is little bit of a tangent, but did you know you can actually grab that shadow? When you have the Layer Style dialog box open, you can mouse out of the dialog box and just actually grab that shadow and put it exactly where you want it. Makes it little bit easier than dealing with the Angle and Distance sliders.
I am going to make the Size just a little bit harder and maybe lower the Opacity, just a touch. And there you go. All right, so that's good. And if I want to edit my text, you simply double-click on the Smart Object. So if I double-click on this, it says hey, you sure you want to do this? This is a Smart Object. Yes, I'm going to ignore this for now, brings up your text in a separate document and I had so much fun feeding the ducks. Wow, let's say birds, just to make some sort of change here. I am going to go ahead and apply that change. Save the document, either File > Save, or Command+S or Ctrl+S, and close it, Command+W or Ctrl+W. And you see that when I'm done doing that edit, that text now updates.
So it is possible to run filters on type layers, you just need to convert them to Smart Objects first.
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