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How to Use Filters in Adobe Photoshop

Lesson 11 from: Adobe Photoshop CC: The Complete Guide

Ben Willmore

How to Use Filters in Adobe Photoshop

Lesson 11 from: Adobe Photoshop CC: The Complete Guide

Ben Willmore

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Lesson Info

11. How to Use Filters in Adobe Photoshop

Learn how to use filters in Adobe Photoshop so you can fix problem areas, heighten contrast and detail, and create special effects, such as making your photos look like paintings.
Summary (Generated from Transcript)

In this lesson, the instructor demonstrates how to use filters in Adobe Photoshop CC. He demonstrates how to stitch together images to create a panorama, how to correct distortion using the Adaptive Wide Angle filter, how to create a painterly effect using the Oil Paint filter, how to add detail using the High Pass filter, how to create a soft, contrast-y look using blending modes and blur, and how to create a tilt-shift effect using the Tilt Shift filter. He also explains how to add grain to the image to make it look more realistic.


  1. How do you stitch together images to create a panorama in Photoshop?

    Go to Tools > Photoshop > Photomerge and choose the images you want to stitch together.

  2. How can you correct distortion in a panoramic image using the Adaptive Wide Angle filter?

    Convert the layer into a smart object, go to the Filter menu, choose Adaptive Wide Angle, and use the tools to correct the distortion.

  3. How can you create a painterly effect using the Oil Paint filter?

    Convert the layer into a smart object, go to the Filter menu, choose Oil Paint, and adjust the settings to achieve the desired effect.

  4. How can you add detail to an image using the High Pass filter?

    Convert the layer into a smart object, go to the Filter menu, choose High Pass, and adjust the settings to bring out the desired level of detail.

  5. How can you create a soft, contrast-y look using blending modes and blur?

    Duplicate the image layer, change the blending mode to Overlay, and apply the Gaussian Blur filter to the duplicate layer.

  6. How can you create a tilt-shift effect using the Tilt Shift filter?

    Go to the Blur Gallery, choose Tilt Shift, and adjust the lines to define the area of focus and the area of blur.

  7. How can you add grain to the image to make it look more realistic?

    Use the Grain settings in the Blur Gallery to add grain to the image, matching the amount of grain in the rest of the picture. The lesson discusses the use of tilt-shift filters in Photoshop and how they can be used to create the effect of a miniature model. It also explains how certain filters can create detail out of nothing and how foreground and background colors can affect the results of filters. The lesson ends by mentioning that the next lesson will cover advanced masking techniques.


  1. What is the Blurred Gallery in Photoshop?

    The Blurred Gallery in Photoshop is a collection of filters that can be applied to create the tilt-shift effect.

  2. How does the tilt-shift effect create the appearance of a miniature model?

    The tilt-shift effect creates a narrow depth of field, similar to what is seen when looking at something up close or under a microscope, which makes objects appear smaller and more like miniatures.

  3. Can filters in Photoshop create detail out of nothing?

    Yes, there are certain filters in Photoshop that can create detail even in documents with no existing detail or texture.

  4. How can foreground and background colors affect the results of filters?

    Some filters in Photoshop incorporate the foreground and background colors into their end results, so changing these colors can affect how the filter behaves.

  5. What is the next topic covered in the lesson series?

    The next topic covered in the lesson series is advanced masking techniques in Photoshop.

Lesson Info

How to Use Filters in Adobe Photoshop

We're back, with another session, in Photoshop CC, the complete guide! If we take a look back, at what we've done, thus far, in the first week, we covered some essentials. Things, like selections, layers, camera raw. Then, we headed into week two. And in week two, we really talked a lot about adjustments, getting total adjustments, and color adjustments going, and some great features, such as Blending modes. Well now, we're heading into week three. And we're gonna start off, with filters today. But here, you can get a preview of what's coming up, for the rest of the week. But, today, we're gonna be halfway done here! We are halfway done. That was up, until just before this. Now, we're moving beyond our halfway point, and we're gonna be getting into filters. Let's drop into Photoshop, and see what we can learn. We're gonna start off, by doing something, where we stitch a panorama, and then fix some distortion, that might happen, due to stitching that panorama. So, what I have here, is a...

series of images, looks like this. I wanna combine these together, into a single photograph. But, anytime they pan that far across things, and I'm really going, from my almost 180 degree view, of what I captured there, there is usually gonna be some distortion in the end result. So, I'm gonna select these images, and in order to stitch them together, I would usually choose Tools, Photoshop, Photomerge. And if I were to do so, it would send me in, to this dialogue. I'm just gonna leave it set to auto, and I'll click OK. So, all it's doing, is stitching together those photos. Once it's done, I'll end up with one layer, for each image, and each of those layers will have a layer mask. Then, you can see that here, in my Layers panel. Now, I don't need to work with the individual layers, that I delivered, so I'm gonna merge those layers together. I wanna keep the areas, that are empty, still being empty, so I'm not gonna choose the choice, called Flatten Image, because that would fill the empty areas, with my background color. Instead, I will choose Merge Visible, which will combine together, all those layers, that have the eyeballs turned on, and I'll end up with just a single layer. Then, I don't need to look at my Layers panel. We'll just look at the image itself, and let's see if there are any issues with it. Well, when I look at these buildings, I notice, that the rooftop over here, on the left side... Looks like it's bent. Can you see a bend, to that rooftop? And if I were to inspect other areas, down in here, I might notice a bend, to this rooftop as well. And I would like to correct for that. In order to do so, I first merge those layers together, by choosing Layer, Merge Visible. And next, what I'll do, is go to the Filter menu, and I'm gonna choose Adaptive Wide Angle. Now, I know we haven't, I don't think, talked about... Smart objects, yet. But, it would be best, if I choose this choice first. That will convert this layer, into what's known as a smart object, and what that'll allow me to do, is the changes I make, with the filter, will not be permanent. And if I happen to need to come back in, and make additional changes, I can easily do so. Whereas, if I don't choose this choice first, after I'm done applying the filter, it will be permanent, and it'll be difficult, to make further changes in the filter. So, I'm gonna choose, Convert for Smart Filters... Before I choose the filter I actually wanna use, which is called Adaptive Wide Angle. When I'm in Adaptive Wide Angle, I'll get a preview, and I can zoom in, and zoom out, on this preview, using standard keyboard shortcuts, the same ones that work in Photoshop. So, if you happen to know of things, like command, plus and minus, or control, plus and minus, or command-zero, to fit in window, they all work in here. And the first thing I noticed, is it seems to have cropped in, on the picture, a bit. Before, I could see empty space over here, on the right side, and this railing-like thing, this is an edge of a balcony-like area... Extended further. And so, on the right side, there is a choice, called Scale, and if it happened to crop into your image, you could reduce the scale, until you can see your whole picture, if you need to. And now, on the upper left, we have some tools we can use, for correcting the picture. The top-most tool, is active by default, and we're gonna use that, for the majority of changes we're gonna make. With that tool, I'm supposed to click, and drag across, any area, that should look like a straight line, but is, instead, currently bent. In order to do that, with precision, you would usually need to zoom up, on your picture, and there is a quick way, to do so. First, on the right side of my screen, is an area, called Detail. In there, I can see a zoomed up area, that is centered on where my mouse is, right now. So there, I could get this to line up, with the edge of that roof. I'm looking in the Detail area. I click my mouse, and then I drag across the roof, like this, and once I get to the other side, I, again, go and look at that little Detail area, on the right, and make sure that I'm still lining up with things. Now, this particular feature, this filter, is aware of how the stitching of my panorama caused distortion. And so, when I draw that line, the line actually has a bend to it, that matches the bend of the building. And when I let go, watch what happens to the rooftop, on the left side. Do you see it straighten? So, let's try that again, in some other areas. Down here, I believe I see this roof, bending a little bit, as we go across it. I'll you a slightly different way of zooming in, on your picture, 'cause it's not always communing it, to be looking at that little Detail area. I'm gonna move my mouse, over here, and get close to where I need to be, and then, on my keyboard, I'm gonna hold down the X key. I'm not sure why they chose X, I would've chosen Z, for zoom, 'cause I can remember it. But, what I do, is just hold down every key, in your keyboard, until it zooms in, and then you can remember what key it is, but it's the letter, X. As long as you hold the letter X down, you're gonna be zoomed in. If you let go of the letter X, it'll zoom you out. So, it's like a temporary zoom in. What's nice, is it's just a larger area, than what you see, in that little Detail spot. So there, I'm gonna get this to line up, with the edge of that part of the... Building. And then, I'm gonna drag, like this, until I get to the other end. Try to get it, so that line lines up with it. And where I let go, it straightens it. Then, I can let go of the letter X, to zoom back out, and see the rest of the picture. And I just need to decide, how many of those areas, do I notice that distortion on, and need to change? Now, this area here, to me, looks like it curves a little bit, 'cause it goes across. So, I'll get near one end, I'll hold down the letter X, and I'm gonna click right on that edge. Then, I could let go of X, and move over, to the other side, so I can see it, and just press X again, to zoom up, and get that right on the edge, let go, and now that's straight. And here, if I want this to not have distortion, I can... Get right on the edge, come down there, and as long as this line lines up with the edge, meaning that it curves with the same curvature, then this works fine. If it deviates, from that edge, then I either need to do it in multiple sections, that can only go halfway across, and then do the other half, separate. Or, it's just outside of the capabilities of this particular filter. Remember, this filter's called Adaptive Wide Angle. That was the name of it. So, I can look at all sorts of other areas in here. Let's try something else. Over here, we have a tower. To me, the tower looks like it's leaning a little bit. It just doesn't look like it's quite straight. Does it feel like the top is going a little bit towards the left there? So, what I'm gonna do there, is click on the very tip of the building... I'm gonna drag, straight down, and I'm gonna see, if I can figure out, where exactly I should place this. I'm gonna see, if that's the center of the building. Maybe, if I put it down the center of these sides... Now, here's a special feature. If, before I release the mouse button, I hold shift... Shift means, make this perfectly horizontal, or perfectly vertical. So, when I let go... See if it'll do it. Whoops, hold on. It didn't like me zooming in and out, the way I did, in that, it repositioned the line. And we try that, again, and I'll just do it without zooming back out. Poke here, come down to about there, and I'm gonna hold shift. The line changes color, when I hold shift, to indicate somethin' else is gonna happen. And when I do, do you see how it just rotated that, to make it vertical. So, I can do that, for various parts of these buildings, if there's any parts, that should be vertical, and are currently not. Let's see, on this side of the building, I can try to do it, if it seems to be bending. Sometimes, you have to just guesstimate where it is, but the more precise you are, the better. Click here, I'll drag up, to where I think that corner would be, while I get some more in here. I'm looking at the detail here. I'll hold shift. See how I just straightened that out? So now, it's a vertical line. And so, this little guy, in the middle, I'm not sure if he's straight, or not. This thing. But, I click on the very tip of it... I come down here, and just make sure I'm not over, like this, to the side, not over that, to the side, but I'm centered, at the base. So, if I'm centered at the base of it, and I hold shift, I need to make that straight. So, if it wasn't, it will become perfectly vertical. And it just looks at how close is this already, to being perfectly vertical, or perfectly horizontal, when it figures out what direction it should become. And there is a choice in here, called Show Mesh, and that'll show you a grid, that kinda shows you, gives you an idea, of how its distorting the picture, to get these things to happen. You see that... Mesh. You can see where... It's bending the image. This choice, called Show Constraints, is going to show you all those little things, that you drew. I just turned it off, so we don't see them, therefore, we can see a cleaner version of the picture. Turn Show Constraints back on, and you can have that. Also, there is another tool up here, that's a polygon tool. So, if you have a rectangular object, that looks like it's distorted, you could click on the four corners of it, so you don't have to do the sides all separate. You could do all four, at the same time. It works with any polygonal shape, anything that's made outta straight lines. You can just sit there, and continually click, to do it. I don't know, that I have a great example, in this picture. But, just so you know, it is available. And on the other tools, that are up there, mainly we have a move tool, if I need to move one of the pieces around, a hand tool, and a zoom tool, for just navigating around the document. When I'm done, I might adjust the scale again, to get it close to filling the screen here, and do you see all the empty space that's around it, that I don't need? Well, if I bring scale up, it'll bring that up, and I'll get it close to filling the screen, maybe somewhere around there. And then, I'm just gonna click OK. And if I choose Undo, you'll see before, and after, and there are many other areas, I could've corrected. I probably should've done a little bit, in the middle, 'cause it did bend a little bit, in the middle there. And... If I wanna make further changes, I can go back up to the filter menu. Or, actually, I don't need to go back up there. I can just go in my layers. And since I turned that into a smart object first, that means the filter that I applied, is what's known as a smart filter, it means it's not permanent. It means, that if I were to double click, right here, on this name of the filter, it would send me right back, into the filter dialogue, as if I never left it. And that's what's really nice about converting to a smart object first, before you end up applying this, 'cause now, I can come in here, and decide, well maybe this little terrace looks like it's curved. Hopefully, it wasn't supposed to be curved. (chuckles) And I can come in here, and try to correct, for that, and maybe this little edge here looks a little curved. After that, I can do all sorts of areas, if need be, and tell that I get this to be as nice as I'd like it. But, I clicked OK, and I turn as many times as I want, as long as it was on Smart Object. Remember what I did, right before applying the filter. I went to the Filter menu, and there was a choice, right here, called Convert for Smart Filters. And that turns it into a smart object. We have an entire separate session about smart objects. So, if you haven't seen that session, then you wouldn't know too many details about them quite yet, but I wanted to make sure to mention them, before I ended up getting into this particular filter. So, let's close that image. And let's experiment with other filters. I wanna show you how to turn your picture into a painting, without having to know how to paint. If you like to see an example, this one is somewhat painterly. A different look. Or, this one, you'd have to look rather close at, to see that it does have little paint strokes within it. So, let's see if we can figure out how that can be accomplished. In... So, I'll open an image. And usually, I would turn it into a smart object first, so that the change that I make, with the filter, is not permanent. Instead, it's like an accessory attached to the layer, it's something I could throw away, or double click on, to go back in, and change the settings on. Then, I'm gonna choose Filter, Stylize, Oil Paint. Now, Oil Paint is a filter, that Adobe added to Photoshop a while ago, not all that long ago, but then they removed it, in a version of Photoshop, and then they put it back in later. So, depending on what version of Photoshop you have, you may, or may not have it available, if you haven't updated it to the current version. Choose Oil Paint, and... I have a little preview here, but there's also a Preview checkbox. And if I turn on the Preview checkbox, we'll see it on the main image. And... Might zoom up there, so you can get an idea of it. With Oil Paint, we have just general sliders here, to fine tune our end result, and let's see what some of them do. If I adjust the top slider, you can see how we go, from finer, little changes in the image, to more wavy-looking changes. And so, I gotta decide, what I think would look best. Then, we can go with Cleanliness, to determine how much of the detail is reproduced within it. And if I get that out, so it's relatively clean, it can look nice. You can also make it, for larger strokes, or smaller, with this scale. And then, Bristle Detail. If I bring that down, I can simplify this a bit. Bring it up, and it'll be much more finely detailed. Then, at the bottom, it thinks that this has a three dimensional quality to it, and it wants to know, where should the light source be. And that's really gonna determine where our little highlights, within the image. Here, is a little circle here, you can move around, and you'll find, it will change the end result a little bit. Like that, but... You don't usually have to mess with it too much, and the shine, the higher you bring that up, the more you'll notice those highlights, and in this case, they're becoming way too much. When you're done, you can click OK. And you can see, how we really gotten a stylistic look to this image. But, I find, that most of the time, it looks too generic. It looks like you ran a Photoshop filter. So, let me show you how you can make it look... The way, I think, it'll make it look much better. Once you go into the filter the first time, think about just the general detail, like the sky, and the big expanses of the image, and ignore the fine details, like the detail on the license plate, or the detail on the tiny wheel, that's over here. Ignore those things, to begin with. Then... In the Layer menu, go up to Layer, choose Smart Objects, and choose New Smart Object via Copy. New Smart Object via Copy. That is going to duplicate your layer. You got your duplicate. It also has Oil Paint on it, with the exact same things, and in fact, you might be able to get away, with just a command-J, to duplicate it. I don't know that it's critical, that I used the command, that I just did. But anyway, the main thing, is you wanna duplicate the layer. When you duplicate the layer, you have the Oil Paint filter right here. Double click on it, to send you back, into Oil Paint, once again. And this time... Instead of looking at the big detail, like the sky, and the car itself, start looking at the more small, subtle details. And so, now try to optimize the settings, for those small details, so I can easily see the car windows, that are out here, and I can easily see the wheels, and I can see the detail, in the taillight, possibly. So, I might come in here, and bring the scale down a bit. I might bring down the stylization a bit. And I'm startin' to be able to see the detail, in that entire wheel, a little bit more. And a little more, in the windows. Maybe, I bring up the Cleanliness, or actually that might be too much, let's see. But, whatever it is, look at the finer details, now. Okay. And then, click OK. And we're gonna have two of these, sitting here. And what I wanna do to it, is now add a layer mask, and paint this version in, where we need the fine detail. So, when I add my layer mask, I want it to start off, as a black mask, so that we don't have this version anymore. So, I'll hold down the option key, I'll click on the layer mask icon, the bottom of my Layers panel, so that version disappears. Then, I grab my brush... And with a soft edge... Let's see what we have here. Yeah, with a soft edge. I'm gonna see, where do I need that additional detail. I'll come over here, to these cars. Do you see, how they almost blur together? And I'll paint with my soft brush here, to bring in that more detailed version, where we needed the detail. Where those windows were, down here, where the wheels were... Because, it just feels like that deserved more detail, because we're getting a little bit too generic with our detail. Maybe over here, where the trees are, and we needed a little bit more. And sometimes, I end up using more than two applications. I'll use three, over here, where the license plate is. I can actually read the license plate now, whereas before, it was a generic concept. Can you see that difference, where you can read the numbers, versus... That's one application. There, I can read the numbers. So, it would be places, like these taillights I painted in. Now, let me show you an end result, where I actually spent a good amount of time doing now. It'll take a while, for this image to open, 'cause it is quite large. But... In this particular case, I probably did, at least three different applications of the filter, which means three different versions, and then I further worked the image, to create an end result, that I really liked. And so, once this image opens, we'll just look at what it was made out of, so you get an idea of how using it, with more than one application, really makes a big difference. Alright, let's explore the image a little bit! If we come over here, to this chair, you see the very painterly feeling to it. But, we come over here, to the flowers, and you can actually see the detail, in the petals! If I had this amount of painterly-ness stuff, this, you wouldn't even be able to tell they're flowers, because they'd have such generic amount of detail. But then, if you come over here, to the trailer, do you notice, when you get to this little control thing, that, I think that's the door holder. It clips into here. You can actually see those little details, like the rivets, that are here. That's because, I used one setting, that used really, really fine control, and I masked it in, so the areas that need that fine detail, are using a different setting, than this area, that didn't need the fine detail. Make sense? So, let's take a look at my layers. This is a complex image, because I was actually hired, by a company, to make this. And so, you spend a lotta time, when you get hired, to do stuff. So, I'm gonna turn off a good amount of what it was made out of... And I will show you... First, let me show you the original picture. There's my original picture. Then, let's see... What I ended up doing with it. So, I'm gonna come in here to, the one called Trailer Siding, and I'm just gonna turn off a mask. Okay. Here, is the trailer, and you see the painterly look to it. But, do you see what it's doing, to the fine details, like the doorknob? Can you see the lock? No. Can you even see the rivets, holding this on, or this badge, that tells people what the model of the trailer is? No, you can't, and that's why, down here, I have another version, called Fine Details. And do you see how that brings all those details into play? And I also have another area down here, at the bottom, for flowers, because those flowers, if I didn't know they were flowers, I'd couldn't tell. So, I used a different amount, for that particular area. And if I turn that on, you can now see the detail on the flowers. And I also wanted the chair to be very painterly. So, I had another... Version of it, for just the chair. That really made it jump out. So, that makes this look, the document, look somewhat complicated, but let's take a look at what I did, with the rest of the image, just to get it to the end result I liked. I did put a different version of the picture in, for the background. And you'll see that filling in here. And on the background, I performed some retouching. So, if you look at the background, here is the background retouch. What I'll do, to let you see it... Is, I'll Revert. Revert will open the final version. And then, you can see it. But, the background, I retouched our trailer, did the same on the other side, and I applied a texture to it. And you learned how to apply textures, when we had the session on Blending modes. And so, by applying the texture, so it only did it to the background, it made it, so that background could stand out, from the subject, the trailer itself. And so... Just a moment here. Hopefully, you will... Now... So, if I darken the background, added that texture, and did some retouching, you can see how it became a much more refined end result. So, just because a filter does a effect, doesn't mean we're stuck, with that effect. We can often duplicate it, multiple times, by duplicating the layer, applying it various amounts, and masking it. And by doing so, we can get it very refined, so when I come in close, where we need the detail, where the little rivets are, and the lock is, we have it. Where we don't need it, we don't have it, and so on. Makes sense? And that's where, with this picture, we didn't get to that point. And therefore, the rocks, down here at the bottom, feels exactly the same as the car. I might get more detail in there, so that it feels like it just belongs more. And then, let's look at a method, for bringing out detail in an image. We have many different choices, for that, and one of your bonuses videos is about sharpening, and that would get into the more professional choices, for sharpening. Here, I'm looking at the more, I don't know if I'd say creative, but somewhat creative uses of the filters. I'm gonna duplicate this layer, by typing command-J. Control-J, in Windows. So, if you look at my Layers panel, you'll see the duplicate. Then, I will end up using a filter... That is called, High Pass. When I use High Pass, it'll ask me for an amount, and that will control how much I'm gonna exaggerate what's happening, in the picture. You notice, when I apply this filter, there's an awful lot of gray, in the end result. Well, when we talked about Blending modes, I believe we learned, that there was an entire category, of Blending modes, that made gray disappear... At least, if it was 50 percent gray. In the gray you see here, in the majority of the image, is exactly 50 percent gray. So, if I were to click OK, then I could go to the top of my Layers panel, and change this, to any of the choices in this section, 'cause those are the ones, that make 50 percent gray disappear. I'm gonna use the one, called Overlay. And now, let's see what that's doing, to this image. I'll zoom up on it... And I'll turn this layer off, and back on again. Do you see the detail poppin' out? And I wanna get that kind of end result, but I want it to look like this, at the time I'm in the filter, choosing the amount, 'cause it's really difficult, to figure out the amount to use, when you're lookin' at a bunch of gray stuff. So, let's try this one more time, and we'll do it in a slightly different way, to end up with the same result, but I think with more convenience. So, I will choose Filter, Convert for Smart Filters. That way, when I apply a filter, it's just gonna be attached to the layer. You'll see it as a name, right below the layer. It's called a Smart Filter then. And I'll come over here, and choose Filter, Other, High Pass. Now, with High Pass, if you turn it all the way down, all you get, is 50 percent gray. Just solid 50 percent gray. And that's fine to start with. Click OK. So now, if you look in my Layers panel, I did Filter, Other, High Pass. Here's my layer. There's the filter being applied. And do you see this little symbol, on the right? I'm gonna double click on that symbol. And it will allow me, to choose a Blending mode. And this means, how does this Smart Filter affect the layer? And I'm gonna set it to a choice, called Overlay. How did I get to this? I... Right after applying a filter, to a smart object, I double clicked, right there, and that's what got me in. If I do it again, I can still see it, and I change this, to Overlay. So now, we're seeing that end result, that I was hoping for, as far as not seeing all the gray stuff. And now, I wanna be able to choose, how... Much High Pass we get, meaning the slider, that we had available, in High Pass, I wanna go adjust it. And so now, I will simply double click right here, on the word, High Pass. That'll send me right back into the High Pass filter, and I can fine tune my result. I can bring this up, and say, what does it look like? And instead of seeing gray, I'm seeing our end result. Exactly what I wanted. So, if you didn't quite get how I did it, what I did, was the first thing, is I said, Convert for Smart Filters. That was the first one. Second thing, was I applied the filter, called High Pass. And I happened to set it as low as it can go, but it's not critical. You set it as low as you can go. And then, after applying High Pass, I double clicked, right here, in my Layers panel... And I told it, to use Overlay mode. At that point, I have everything set up, the way I want to. And the only thing I need to do, is actually choose what settings to use, with High Pass. So, to get back into High Pass, I double clicked, right there, on the words, High Pass. And now, I'm in High Pass, and I can fine tune my settings... And decide, how high the setting can I get, before this looks too obvious? And how much of that detail, do I wanna exaggerate, and experiment? It depends on the image. It totally depends on the content of that picture. As far as what you can get away with. Some images, you have to use really low settings. Other ones, you can get away with, quite a bit higher. But, if I turn it off and on, this little Preview checkbox, you see the difference of the detail. Then, we have a mask. So, if this picture contained a person's face, doing High Pass sharpening, on somebody's face, can make them look a lot older, because every little change in their face, will be exaggerated, so I could click on the mask, that's already here. And if I were to paint with black, I'm going to prevent the filter from applying, in whatever area I paint. And so, I just need to paint with black, and possibly, I didn't want it on the sky, that's in this building. And if that's the case, I just need to paint, where the sky is. And I don't think you'll be able to notice. I can notice. If you look at the edge of this cloud, before, after I'm choosing Undo, I can see it changing. See the difference? And so, I can come in there, and paint wherever it is, I didn't want the sharpening to be applied. Usually, it would be faces. But, sometimes, it's just some areas, where you see an odd halo, and you just need to tone it down, in that particular area. So, High Pass sharpening is something that's very common, in Photoshop. It's just that, oftentimes, it's not applied in an intelligent way, like this, where you use Smart Filters, so you can easily change it later. You can mask it, and you can see it, at the time that you are choosing the settings. Now, the same thing can be used, with filters, like... Emboss. I think I showed, before, when we talked about Blending modes, how you can duplicate a layer, apply Emboss to it, and you could then change the Blending mode of that layer. Well, we could do the exact same thing, with that. So here, if I wanna pull out some of the texture in this trailer that's here, I would convert it to a Smart Filter. I would choose Emboss. It's under Stylize. And it's another one of those filters, that ends up giving you a lotta gray. And it's always 50 percent gray. So, you double click on that symbol, on the right side, or the same symbol I got to before. And this time, I'm gonna set it to Hard Light. Any one of these modes would give me some more result. Can experiment with which one, I think, looks best. You also have an Opacity, so if it's too strong, you can tone it down. And then, you can double click now, in the word, Emboss, and you're back in Emboss, and now you're actually seeing the end result, instead of all that gray stuff. So, it's much easier, to figure out what settings you think could be appropriate, for the image. Because you're in that mode, in where it's too much, which is probably down, on the ground down here, you just need to click on the mask, make sure its corners are highlighted. Before you grab your paintbrush tool, and you can paint with black, just say no, I don't want the ground with all that Emboss on it. I don't want my sky... I don't think you'll see it much on the sky, but the ground, I noticed it quite a bit. Alright, let's create a... Soft look, to an image, that adds contrast to it. And we'll also do some things, that will give us an antique-y feel, color-wise. We'll try both. I'm gonna duplicate this image, twice. That means, I'm gonna type command-J, twice. When I do, I'll have a total of three versions, of the picture up here. I'll turn off the top layer, for now, and work only on the middle. I'm gonna take that middle one, and try to get it, so it adds contrast to the picture. To add contrast, that means I'll go to one of these contrast modes. When we talked about Blending modes, I thought these were the contrast modes. I'll try Overlay, and that gives me some of it. Or, I can experiment with the others. But, I think Overlay was looking okay. Then, to get this, to have a soft, contrast-y look. I'm gonna come here, and blur it. Gaussian Blur is the standard adjustable blur filter. If you look at Average, Blur, Blur More, do you notice, that they don't have three periods after them? Three periods means, it'll ask you for settings. So, these Blur filters won't ask you for any settings. This one will, and that's the main adjustable Blur filter. I don't like its name. There's a guy, name Gauss, that designed some of, created some of the technology used behind it, and it should just be called Adjustable Blur. I'm gonna use that, and bring this up. Get me a softer feeling, to the image. And then, the top layer, I can use, if I don't like the color changes, that are happening. Or, if I don't like some of the brightness changes, that are happening, what I can do, is turn on that top layer, and I can change it to Blending mode. If I wanna use the brightness of that image, I can set it to Luminosity. And now, we're just getting the color changes, that are happening. Or, I can set it to Color, and now the color, in the image, should be closer to what we had, but we still have that soft feeling, and that's what I was looking for, is a soft... Almost glow-y feeling, to the image. So, this is a blurred image, in the middle. It's in Overlay mode. And a copy of the original sharp image, on top, in Color mode. And therefore, the colors stay sharp and consistent. They don't become too colorful. If I didn't have that top layer, they'd be too colorful. Then, oftentimes, this will be a little bit too much, so I can click on the middle layer, 'cause that's where most of the change is happening. If I turn off the middle layer, you'll see, there's more of the original picture. Here is our softer look. And if it's too much, I just lower the Opacity, of the middle layer. Let's try an alternative technique, one that'll give us different-looking color. The first thing I'm gonna do, is an adjustment layer. Where I'm gonna pull out all the color. I'll choose a choice, called Black & White. And I can fine tune the image, if I want, by clicking on it, and dragging, to brighten or darken... Various areas. But then, I'm gonna take the original picture, what's underneath, and I'm gonna duplicate it. Just type command-J. I'm gonna put it on top... And we're gonna tell it, to take the colors from the original, and apply it, to that black and white version that's underneath, and we'll do it, using something, like Overlay mode. And that gives us a different look, to our color. If you wanna see it, compared to the original image, here's the original. It looks more like a normal photo. Here's the after. It just has a little bit more of a vintage feeling to it. Once we get into... Advance features, with Layers, I could prevent the dark part of the picture, becoming too dark. If you look at this, compared to the original, do you see the trees, that are there? And when we're done, do you see how dark they get? Well, there's a way, to make it so, that this doesn't affect the darkest part of the picture so much. And so, since this is... The layer, that's controlling it, I can do it quickly, without describing the technology, that's behind it. Just know, that later on, when we get into Advanced Layers, you'll learn exactly how this works, instead of just using it, without the detailed description. With the top layer active... I can limit, where that layer shows up, and just prevent it, from affecting the darkest part of the picture. The way I do it, is I double click, not on the name of the layer, 'cause that would change the name. I double click out here, where it's empty. This comes up, and this slider right here, where it says, this layer, if I were to bring that over, if I bring it over far enough, you'll find, that that layer's disappearing, in the dark part of the picture. So, do you see the trees coming back, to having their detail? The only thing is, this creates an abrupt transition. We need it to be one, that is soft, otherwise you'll literally see the transition. I can see it right now, right there. Can you see there, where it's abrupt? To get a smooth transition, you need to hold down Option, Alt, to Windows, and pull on one side of the slider, to split it in half. The further you split it in half, the more gradual the... The transition. So, I could do that. How did I get to this? I double clicked, not on the name of the layer, but out here, beyond the name. When I did, this came up, and I could pull both sides in. We will describe exactly how that feature works, in detail, in the Advanced Layers session. So, you'll know how it works, so you can use it for all sorts of things. And that brought back some of the detail in my trees. So now, this is what I'm calling my anti-color look. So, here's the original. We see all the vivid colors. Doesn't look like a antique-y feeling to me. And here, we're gettin' a much more muted colors, more interesting look. You can take it further, if you want. A lot of antique pictures, old ones, were actually hand-painted the color in. And if you want more of that look, just blur the top layer. And therefore, the transition between the colors will not be crisp, but they'll fade out a little bit more, between them. So, you could... Go to Gaussian Blur... And get a little bit more of the... The feeling, where they are not so crisp. Alright, there are so many filters in Photoshop. Some of them do... Things that, all by themselves, don't feel useful. It's when you combine them, with things, like Blending modes, where I take my original picture, I put a copy of it on top, run a filter on it, and then play with Blending modes, and that's some of what we been doing here. It's when you combine more than one feature, in Photoshop, together, that to become much more popular. Very popular, more useful. And... Also, using them, with... Layer masks, so that it doesn't have to affect your whole picture. Now, let's do some more straightforward things, so you might be able to do, on general photographs. Here, I would like to make it look more like I used, either a narrow depth of field, or just a tilt shift lens. I don't know, if you've ever used a tilt shift lens before, but with a tilt shift lens, you can get areas of your own, to be very much outta focus, easily. Because, what happens is, the front element of the lens, usually is straight up and down, when you take a picture, and the depth of field, the depth of things are sharp, is parallel with that. When you tilt the front of the lens, you can get it, so it's at an angle, that that depth of field is happening, and it makes it, so it's easier, to get just a slice of focus. And you don't have to know about the lens. So, if you don't own one, then it doesn't matter. But, I just wanna make it, so this area here, is sharp. And much of the rest of the image, is not. And so, first, I'd usually Convert for Smart Filters, because then, whatever it is I apply, is not permanent, and then I can come down here, and choose Blur Gallery. Here, we have all sorts of different ways, of blurring our pictures. We have Spin Blur, which can be useful, if you have a car, that was not in motion, and you want it to look, as if it was. You can spin the wheels. We have Path Blur, where you can draw a path, and that's gonna blur things, in the direction of a path. So, if you have something, that is supposed to look like it's quickly going around a corner, well you could blur. Instead of blurring in a straight line or anything, you could make it bend around a corner, as it blurs. We're gonna choose something, called Tilt Shift. With Tilt Shift, we get these little lines on top of our picture, and... I can click, and move this around. I'm just clicking in the center here. I'm gonna move this, so that center portion is on the area of the picture, that I would like to... Keep. And then, we have a little wheel, in the middle, that I can move around. And if I'm moving that wheel around, all it's doing, is changing a setting, on the right side of my screen, called Blur. It's just a more convenient way of doing it, than having to move your mouse to the right side of your screen. So, when I use this, the area between the middle two lines, will remain sharp. Then, the area between that line, and the dotted line, is where it's gonna fade out. And then, anything beyond the dotted line, is gonna get the full blur. And I can come in here, and pull on these lines, to determine how abruptly should it fade out, or should it fade out more over a larger area. And if I wanna get this, just to have a really narrow area, that's sharp, I can pull these lines closer together. And you get the other line, at the top. How quickly should it fade out there? So, just remember, between the two main lines, it stays sharp. Between this line, and the next, is where it slowly fades out, getting blurrier, and blurrier, and blurrier, as it goes across. And once you get to the dashed line, anything beyond that, gets the full blur. Yes, question? Is there anything, to turn the slides off? To do them on and off, yes, I'm assuming I can type command-H. Yes. Command-H means Hide, that's control-H, in Windows, 'cause it would be a little distracting, to have them always sitting there. And so, I can do that. The one issue though, is when you blur something, if the picture had any noise in it, or any grain in it, the blurred areas won't have that noise, or grain in it, and therefore, can look rather artificial, because if you had a true tilt shift lens, and you tilted it, to give you that narrow range of focus, you're still gonna have the noise, don't really have the grain in those blurry areas. So, you're gonna find that, down here, we have some options, for adding grain to our picture. So, I can bring up this. And on this particular image, I'm not gonna notice it much, because this is a low resolution picture. If it was a large, high resolution picture, and when I zoomed up on it, I noticed in the sharp areas, I can see some grain to it, I would wanna zoom up into the blurry areas, and bring up the amount slider, until we seem to have a similar amount of grain within it. And therefore, it won't look as computer generated. And that's why you also have some other settings to try to match the grain, in the rest of the picture. We have size, roughness, and so on, to try to match it. But, this is tilt shift. And this whole thing is known as the Blurred Gallery, meaning that it's combining more than one filter over here. Do you remember, when I went to the menu, called the Blur Gallery. It gave me a side menu, with many choices. Well, here are those other choices, and I could expand those, to apply another one of those blurs, at the same time, one that spins, or does other things. So, it is the same kind of interface, for each of the filters. You'll find a similar thing, where there'll be a little ring in the middle, that you can turn, to control the blurring, and you always have the noise control, at the bottom. And what this will usually do, is it will make it look, as if things look like a model. Have you ever seen a picture of a downtown city, or oftentimes, they do it with videos, and you see a video of a port city, where you see little boats come in, and everything, but it looks like a model. You don't know why, that it doesn't look real. And that's because, usually, you cannot get a narrow depth of field, like this, with a wide angle lens, where you can see an entire city. The way, that you get a narrow range of focus, or sharpness, is you magnify something. And that means, that you put telephoto lens on, where you can only see a small area of the scene, then it's easy to get the background, to go out of focus. Or, you get really close to something, and that's why your brain thinks, that what it is, looks like a model, because the only time you're used to seeing a wide range of things, with very narrow focus, is when it's really close to your head, or under a microscope. And so, it... It fools your brain, into thinking that something often looks like a little model. And if you ever see it in real video, where they didn't use Photoshop, to produce it, they had a tilt shift lens, where the front of the lens can be tilted. There are all sorts of other things we can do with Photoshop's filters. What I wanna do, though, is give you a little bit of extra info, and that is, some filters, in Photoshop, can create detail out of nothing, and those are these particular filters. What I mean by that, is you can have a document, that's just full of white, and many filters wouldn't give you any result, whatsoever, if you had a document, full of no detail, whatsoever, like Emboss, for instance. It finds the detail in your image. It puts little highlights and shadows on it. Well, in a white document, there is no detail, right? If I use a filter, called Find Edges, it draws black lines around the edges of objects. If you have a document, full of white, it won't find any detail. It won't be able to do anything. But, these specific filters can create detail out of nothing. So, what does that mean? That means, that we could start, with a brand-new document. And in that brand-new document, we can run one of those filters, one of which was called, Clouds, and we get something. Then, we could experiment, with other filters, and create our own textures. So, instead of having to, here, I'll do Clouds, and then I'll do a... Motion Blur. And then, in the end, I'll Emboss. But, we can create our own textures. So, we don't have to... Always photograph them. Let's see what kind of texture I get. Oftentimes, if you do a subtle texture, you'll have to adjust it, with levels, or curves afterwards. Or, if I do... I do, Add Noise, Add Noise will add specks. And then, I Motion Blur one direction, 'cause there's a filter, called Motion Blur, and it does interaction to it. I Motion Blur the other direction. And then, Emboss, it'll look like fabric. It looks like you wove 'em together. But, if you use one of the filters, that is listed, in this list, you'll start with some sort of content, even though you started with an empty document. Then, you can distort that contest, that content, as much as you want. When you're completely done, Emboss it. And by doing so, you can create an unlimited variety of textures. Some other filters, that are special... These filters. These particular filters, just so you know, they look at, and incorporate your foreground, or background colors, in their end results. So here, if you see the letter B, it means that you only uses your background color. If you see the letter F, it means foreground. And if you see both, it's gonna incorporate both. So, one of the choices in here, is Clouds. So now, I can see, that it uses both my foreground, and background colors. So, if you ever use the Clouds filter, and it doesn't produce what you expect, look at your foreground and background color, 'cause it's affecting the way that particular filter works. I just wanted to give you that kinda insight, because if you don't know it, then you can get confused about using those filters, where you're just like, I don't know why every time I use, those filters give me a different result, and that's because, every time you use the filter, your foreground or background color is slightly different. The other thing, that's nice about these foreground and background colors, is when you combine filters, with Blending modes, then this is really useful. Because, there are certain Blending modes, where white disappears, like Darken mode, and Multiply mode. So, why not set your foreground color to white, and apply one of these filters? Then, wherever the white is applied, you can make it disappear, by using one of those modes. Or, in the Contrast modes, 50 percent gray goes away. So, set your foreground and background color to 50 percent gray, and you know it will be incorporated, within these particular filters, so those are areas that you could make disappear. So, experiment with that, to see what you can come up with. But here, we have just looked at, just scratching the surface of what you can do with filters, and... There is so much more you could do. We could do an entire month-long class, and what to do with filters. I just picked some of the common things, that I do, with filters. Tomorrow, we're gonna get into Advanced Masking. Advanced Masking, I find to be pretty exciting, 'cause this is where we can learn how to isolate, and possibly remove the background, on things, like glass, fire, hair, really complex trees, and other things. Things, that would usually take hours and hours to do, we can do, oftentimes, in minutes, once we learn about the features, related to advanced masking. But, before we get to that, why don't you head over to Facebook? On Facebook, we got our Facebook group, and if you're not in it yet, here is the website you need to go to, to get in. You just need to ask, to be added, and it might take us a day, to notice that you've asked, and approve you. But, once you get there, this is where you can ask all your questions, this is where you can post your pictures you've been working on, ask for feedback, from other people, that are taking the class, and if you wanna find me on social media, here are the various areas you can go to, to find me. But, this has been another session, in Photoshop CC, the complete guide. Hope to see ya next time.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Color Palettes
Edges and Textures
Hand-drawn Frames
Hand-drawn Graphics
Layout Templates
Practice Images - Lesson 18: Tips and Tricks
Practice Images - Lesson 19: Actions and Automation
Practice Images - Lesson 17: Advanced Layers
Practice Images - Lesson 12: Advanced Masking
Practice Images - Lesson 15: Advanced Retouching
Practice Images - Lesson 10: Blending Modes
Practice Images - Lesson 2: Camera Raw
Practice Images - Lesson 8: Color Adjustments
Practice Images - Lesson 5: Layer Masks
Practice Images - Lesson 4: Layers
Practice Images - Lesson 9: Retouching Essentials
Practice Images - Lesson 3: Selection Essentials
Practice Images - Lesson 14: Shooting for Photoshop
Practice Images - Lesson 13: Smart Objects
Practice Images - Lesson 1: Starting from Zero
Practice Images - Lesson 7: Tonal Adjustments
Practice Images - Lesson 6: Tools and Panels
Practice Images - Lesson 20: Troubleshooting and Advice
Practice Images - Lesson 16: Warp Bend Liquify
Practice Images - Lesson 11: Filters
Script Elements
Week 1 - Day 1 Homework
Week 1 - Day 2 Homework
Week 1 - Day 3 Homework
Week 1 - Day 4 Homework
Week 1 - Day 5 Homework
Week 1 - Photoshop CC Workbook
Bit Depth
Color Modes
Color Spaces
Logic of Keyboard Shortcuts
Pen Tool
Week 2 - Day 6 Homework
Week 2 - Day 7 Homework
Week 2 - Day 8 Homework
Week 2 - Day 9 Homework
Week 2 - Day 10 Homework
Week 2 - Photoshop CC Workbook
Homework - Shooting for Photoshop in Adobe Photoshop CC
Homework - Smart Objects in Adobe Photoshop CC
Homework - Filters in Adobe Photoshop CC
Homework - Advanced Masking in Adobe Photoshop CC
Homework - Advanced Retouching in Adobe Photoshop CC
Week 3 - Photoshop CC Workbook
Homework - Warp, Bend, Liquify, in Adobe Photoshop CC
Homework - Tips & Tricks in Adobe Photoshop CC
Homework - Actions & Automation in Adobe Photoshop CC
Homework - Troubleshooting & Advice in Adobe Photoshop CC
Homework - Advanced Layers in Adobe Photoshop CC
Week 4 - Photoshop CC Workbook
Bens Actions Sampler ReadMe
Bens Actions Sampler
Bens Styles Sampler ReadMe
Bens Styles Sampler
Texture Sampler
Save for Web
Facebook Q&A #1
Facebook Q&A #2
Q&A #3
PSD Preferences
File Formats
Customizing PSD

Ratings and Reviews


Ben Willmore is exceptionally and intimately knowledgeable about Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom, including Bridge and Camera Raw, and how they work together. He's also a wonderful photographer. That's great, but what's even better for us is that he's an incredible and generous teacher. He shares his knowledge and experience in an organized, thorough, thoughtful and relatable way. I envy his efficiency with words and ideas! He isolates hard-to-understand concepts - things we'd be unlikely to figure out on our own - and explains them in simple terms and with on point and memorable examples. I completely enjoy Ben's teaching methods and his personality. His admiration and appreciation of his wife, Karen, are telling of what a good guy he must be, and he's got just an overall pleasant personality. I love his amusement when something "ridiculous" happens during an edit! This bootcamp is fantastic and just what I need. It's only one of Ben's many CL classes that I've watched and learned from - they are all excellent. Thank you, Ben Willmore. (And Karen!)

Lynn Buente

I purchased this course ---SMART MOVE!--because, at 74, I learn more slowly and need more practice. While I've had some "novice" experience with PS, this course is moving me along in a totally different way. Most tutorials just tell you what to do. Ben tells you not only WHAT to do, but WHY (--or why not) and HOW. Understanding better can lead to using the practices in PS more fluently AND to greater freedom to be creative. I find Ben's approach to be kind of a "come as you are" session. No matter where you are on the learning spectrum, there is something to review, something new, or a brand new challenge. The relaxed manner of presentation is great, but doesn't minimize the content of the class. I appreciate the additional explanations and theory. These help to make total sense of the tools and practices of good editing. I would really recommend that, if possible, you purchase the course. The practice images, the homework, and the evolving workbook are great review and reference points. Personally, I have downloaded the classes by week so I can view, re-view, and stop, start, and repeat segments as often as I need to --which is often! Also, sometimes I like to view and work on one segment of the class at a time. My study of this course will be a LOT LONGER than four weeks, and I know I'll be referring to it as long as I'm a Photoshop user. Thanks, Ben! (And thanks to your wife for her contribution as well.)

Carol Senske

I've used PS for about five years in many of it's various versions. Learning on your won is a tough proposition, and I've struggled the whole time. Seeing work I admired and that inspired me to strive for great er things then not being ablr to figure out how to do them was a major frustration. The jargon was sometimes foreign, the complexity of the program overwhelming but I soldiered on and learned bits and pieces. A friend recommended Ben's course and I immediately came to CL to see what she was so thrilled about - I was amazed! Ben is down-to-earth, explains each step, gives shortcuts, defines terms, and shows how to accomplish what he's teaching. After two weeks I bought the class. I not only bought the Photoshop course but I added the Lightroom course as well. I'll do that, on my own, when things slow down a bit, and I have no doubt that course will help me even more than the PS course. I'm totally at sea with LR. I like Ben's teaching style, appreciate all the homework and extras included, and greatly appreciate the magnificent, easy to use, workbook by Ben's wife. I give my wholehearted endorsement for this course!

Student Work