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#29 Exploring Filter Combinations

If you're experimenting with an assortment of filters in Photoshop, trying to find just the right filter to do the trick, you may be inadvertently limiting your search. Perhaps the effect you're looking for isn't actually the result of a single filter but a combination of filters applied in a certain order. So let me direct your attention to the Filter Gallery.

The Filter Gallery is one of those nice gems like the File Browser that was carried over from Photoshop Elements. This tool allows you to selectively audition filter effects in Photoshop in any combination or order. Once you've discovered the winning combination, Photoshop applies the filters all at once to your image. This potentially could provide you with a higher-quality result than if you applied the filters over time.

To use the Filter Gallery, choose Filter > Filter Gallery. The filter opens a window that fills your screen with a large preview on the left ( Figure 29a ).


Figure 29a The Filter Gallery is your one-stop shop for exploring several filter effect combinations at once.

To the right of this is a folder listing of the available effect categories. Expand any of these folders to view the set of filters along with thumbnails illustrating each filter's effect. Click a filter thumbnail to preview its effect on your image. The settings for the selected filter will display in the top right of the window. To apply another filter on top of this filter, click the New Effect Layer button effectlayer.jpg located in the bottom right of the window, and then select another effect. For a faster method, hold down Option/Alt as you select subsequent effects. As your effects get layered on one another, you can reorder them by dragging them in the effects layer panel ( Figure 29b ). Changing the order of the filters can really impact the overall effect. In the effects layer panel you can toggle an effect on and off, select them to apply a different effect in their place, or eliminate them by clicking the Delete Effect button effectbutton.jpg . When you're happy with your combination of filter effects, click OK to have Photoshop apply them all at once.


Figure 29b The effects layer panel lets you reorder your effects to see in the preview panel just how each effect interacts with another.

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