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This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

How to Apply Filters

There are a wide variety of Photoshop filters, and in addition to those available in the program, you can download many more. Here we explain the different ways you can apply the filters, and the difference between applying them to an image in the RGB or CMYK color mode. The filters can be applied to images, layers, or selections.

Applying a Filter

It’s very straightforward to apply a filter to your image.

  1. Go the Filter menu and choose the filter you want to apply from the menu.
  2. You might need to choose from a submenu, as with the example shown here. The filter is then applied.



    Left: After applying the Find Edges filter.


    After applying the Find Edges filter.

  3. Alternatively, your chosen filter may take you to the settings. These take various forms to give you the control you need over the effect. Generally, sliders and percentage boxes will give you options on size of marks, tone, depth of edges, and background textures. Some filters have preview boxes to help you visualize the effect and the range of options within it. A selection of the settings you’ll come across are shown here. The example to the right—one of the most complex—shows the Wave filter (Filter > Distort > Wave). The settings control a wave generator, the distance between wave peaks, the height of the waves, and the wave shape—see pages 364–365.

Settings for the Wave filter, as applied to the image below.

Settings for the Conté Crayon filter.

Settings for the Ripple filter.


Settings for the Extrude filter.


Rgb and Cmyk Color Modes

You may be confused by the fact that if you’re working with an image that is CMYK, some of the filters appear to be unavailable. They are! These are the filters (shown right) that are dimmed.

The main difference between CMYK and RGB options is that the filters from the Filter Gallery, and Lens Correction and Vanishing Point, are not available for CMYK.

The easiest way to deal with the lack of available filters for CMYK files is to temporarily convert your file to an RGB file, and then convert it back to a CMYK file once you have applied the filter you want.

To convert your file:

  1. Go to Image > Mode > RGB. Your image will change to an RGB file.

  2. Turn it back to a CMYK file by going to Image > Mode > CMYK.
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