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This chapter is from the book

Creating and editing Smart Filters

When you apply a filter to a Smart Object, it becomes what is called a Smart Filter. You can edit or remove a Smart Filter at any time, apply multiple filters to the same Smart Object, hide individual filters while keeping others visible, and move or copy filters from one Smart Object to another. You can also edit the filter mask (which is created automatically), change the stacking order of the filters, and edit the Smart Object itself. To learn about Smart Objects, see pages 248–255.

The file formats that support Photoshop layers—such as PSD, PDF, and TIFF—also support Smart Filters. Some third-party (non-Adobe) filters can also be applied as Smart Filters.

To apply a Smart Filter

  1. On the Layers panel,layers-panel.jpg do either of the following:

    Click an existing Smart Object.

    Click an image layer, then choose Filter > Convert for Smart Filters (or right-click the layer and choose Convert to Smart Object). If an alert appears, click OK.

  2. Optional: Create a selection to control which area of the image the filter affects. (The selection shape will appear in the filter mask once you apply a filter.)
  3. Apply a filter. A Smart Filters listing, mask thumbnail, and filter listing will appear on the Layers panel.A (Note: Filter > Liquify and Filter > Vanishing Point can’t be applied as Smart Filters.)

A If you apply a Smart Filter by choosing Filter > Filter Gallery, the filter will be listed as “Filter Gallery,” whereas if you apply a Smart Filter by choosing its individual name, it will be listed by its name.

The most significant advantage to using Smart Filters is that you can edit the filter settings at any time.

To edit the settings for a Smart Filter

  1. Do either of the following:

    Double-click on or next to the Smart Filter name on the Layers panel.

    Right-click the Smart Filter name and choose Edit Smart Filter from the context menu.

  2. If any Smart Filters are listed above the one you’re editing, an alert will appear, indicating that those filter effects will be hidden until you exit the Filter Gallery or filter dialog.B Check Don’t Show Again to prevent the warning from appearing again (if desired), then click OK.
  3. Make the desired changes in the filter dialog, then click OK.

Not only can you change the blending mode and opacity of a Smart Object, you can also change the blending mode and Opacity setting of each Smart Filter that is applied to that object. Granted, this can be a lot to keep track of. And unfortunately, there is no indicator on the Layers panel to let you know if those settings have been changed from the defaults.

To edit the blending options for a Smart Filter

  1. Double-click the Blending Options icon blending-options-icon.jpg next to a filter name on the Layers panel,AB then click OK if an alert dialog appears.

    A We applied the Fresco and Dry Brush filters to this image.


    B We double-clicked the Blending Options icon for the Fresco filter on the Layers panel.

  2. The Blending Options dialog opens.C Check Preview and, if desired, lower the zoom level. Change the blending Mode and/or Opacity (use the latter to fade the filter effect), then click OK.D

C Via the Blending Options dialog, we lowered the opacity of the Fresco filter.


D Now more of the Dry Brush filter is showing through.

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