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More filter techniques

If you apply filters to a Smart Object, you can easily change the settings—and will feel more free to experiment. If you come up with a filter formula that you like, record your steps in an action. Here are a few more suggestions:

  • Filters tend to make an image more abstract, reducing recognizable elements to line work, or to fewer or flatter areas of color. Start with an image that has a strong composition. Look for shapes that contrast in scale and have interesting contours, which will carry more weight once you apply filters.
  • Use an adjustment layer above the filtered layer to fine-tune the resulting luminosity levels or colors.AD

    B We applied Filter > Filter Gallery > Diffuse Glow.


    C We created a Black & White adjustment, then lowered the opacity of the adjustment layer to 52%.


    D This is the final image.

  • Apply filters separately to a Smart Object one by one, then via the Blending Options dialog, lower the opacity of the topmost filter and/or change its blending mode. You can also apply filters to separate layers, then change the layer opacity or blending mode of any layer (AE, next page).
  • For less predictable and “machine made” results, apply two or more filters that have contrasting or complementary effects. For instance, you could apply one filter that reduces shapes to line work (such as Poster Edges) and another filter that changes the color or applies an overall texture, such as Grain > Texturizer.
  • For a personal touch, apply some paint strokes (AC, page 351).

Filters, an Adjustment Layer, and Blending Modes


A We converted a duplicate of the Background to a Smart Object.


B We applied Filter > Other > Minimum (Radius 1), then Filter > Stylize > Find Edges.


C We changed the blending mode of the Smart Object to Linear Burn.


D We created a second duplicate of the Background, moved the duplicate to the top of the Layers panel, changed the blending mode of that layer to Divide, and lowered its Opacity to 50%. Finally, we used a Vibrance adjustment to boost the colors slightly.


E This is the final image.

A Texture Filter and Paint Strokes


A This is the original image.


B This is the Layers panel for the final image.

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