Chapter 15. The Wide World of Filters

Photoshop’s filters let you create a multitude of special effects that you can apply to images or use to conjure interesting backgrounds. You can run filters on image layers, masks, channels, Smart Objects, Shape layers, and even Type layers (provided you convert them into Smart Objects or rasterize ’em first). The list of special effects you can create by applying filters once, twice, or even 10 times is a mile long. There are a bunch of the little critters too, each with its own special brand of pixel wrangling. While Photoshop CS6’s Filter menu appears to have fewer items than in previous versions—the result of a filter reorganization that you’ll either love or loathe—it also includes several new filters sure to delight designers and photographers alike.

You’ve already seen a few filters in action, like the ones for sharpening, blurring, adding texture to text, mapping one image to the contours of another, and so on. But that’s just a tiny sliver of what’s available. In this chapter, you’ll be immersed in the realm of filters and discover how you can use ’em to do all kinds of fun and useful stuff. But before you start plowing through the Filter menu, you need to know how to use filters in ways that won’t harm your original images. That means learning to use Smart Filters. Onward, ho!


To rerun the last filter you used with the same settings, press ⌘-F (Ctrl+F on a PC). (To summon the filter’s dialog box so you can adjust its settings before ...

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