Join Nigel French for an in-depth discussion in this video The importance of Smart Filters, part of Photoshop for Designers: Filters.
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To keep your work editable and your workflow transparent, it's best wherever possible to use Smart Filters. This means first converting the layer to which you're applying the filter to a Smart Object. Now, the layer I have here that's called Original is already a Smart Object. We can see that it has a badge in it's bottom right-hand corner of the thumbnail. But if we wanted to recreate this, I will go now to the layer above, which is how this image began. And to convert this to a Smart Object, I can either Right-click to the right of its layer name, choose Convert to Smart Object.
I can go the layer's panel menu and choose Convert to Smart Object, or I can from the Filter menu chose Convert Small Filters. When you do that, you will see this message to enable re-editable small filters. The selected layer will be converted into a small object. It's nice to know, but we do not need to keep seeing that, so check Don't Show Again. Smart Objects mean that a copy of the layer is stored outside the document and can be edited independently. The relationship of a Smart Object to the document is similar to the other linked image in InDesign.
When the Smart Object is changed, it updates within the context of the document. So for example, If I double-click on the thumbnail of the Smart Object, I open up a separate document that is just that one layer. And if I make a change to it, I'm just going to invert the values by pressing Cmd or Ctrl+I. And then save those changes. We now return to the original document. We see them update in place.
Smart filters mean that the effect of the filter remains continuously editable. So, for example, here I have applied the Chrome Filter. If I want to change the amount of that Chrome Filter, I could double-click on it. I'm returned to the Filter Gallery with the exact values that I used to apply the effect. And let's say that we just wanted to vary that a bit. And the effect is now updated. Along with layer masks and adjustment layers, this makes smart filters an important component of a non-destructive workflow.
Prior to smart filters, which were introduced in Photoshop CS3. Filters had to be applied directly to the layer which made it harder to retrace your steps if you went wrong. And also much harder to recreate those effects that were the result of a happy accident which is quite a common occurrence in Photoshop.
- Understanding the importance of Smart Filters
- Sharpening with filters
- Creative use of filter blend modes
- Painting in the effect of a filter using filter masks
- Combining filters
Skill Level Intermediate
2. Sharpening: What Every Designer Needs to Know
3. Blurring for Effect
4. Artistic Filters
5. Brush Strokes Filters
6. Working with the Distort Filters
7. Effective Use of the Pixelate Filters
8. Using the Render Filters
9. Creative Use of the Sketch Filters
10. Working with the Stylize Filters
11. Using the Texture Filters
13. Applying Camera Raw as a Filter
12. Creative Use of the "Big" Filters
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