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Creative Filters and Smart Objects

Lesson 47 from: Adobe Photoshop 101

Ben Willmore

Creative Filters and Smart Objects

Lesson 47 from: Adobe Photoshop 101

Ben Willmore

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Lesson Info

47. Creative Filters and Smart Objects


Class Trailer

Day 1


Adobe Bridge Basics


Sorting Images in Adobe Bridge


Processing Images in Adobe Camera Raw Part 1


Processing Images in Adobe Camera Raw Part 2


Image Processing Q&A


Contrast and Color


Adjustment Brush and Auto Mask


Lesson Info

Creative Filters and Smart Objects

Let's look at other things we could do with filters sometimes I want to really exaggerate the detail in an image really get the detail to pop out and I can do that sometimes through sharpening but sometimes I wanted to just look different and have a different feel so in order to do that here's the techniques you can use if I duplicate a layer I'm going to do that by typing command j I can then apply a filter in the filter I'm going to use is called high pass when I do high pass look at what we end up getting if I bring this setting called radius all the way down that is exactly fifty percent gray throughout the entire picture but then when I start bringing it up you start seeing some detail showing up but still the majority of the images fifty percent greg, why don't if you remember when we applied texture to an image we use um blending modes and I described how a certain category of bloody modes worked by saying that fifty percent grade goes away in anything brighter than fifty percen...

t gray would brighten my picture anything darker than fifty percent right would would darken my picture and so if we use one of those blending modes we could get this to apply to my picture and you see these little details any of the areas of detail or where we have little areas of brightness and so uh let's see what it could look like I'm just going to set it to overlay mode now if I turn off this layer you'll see what it looks like without it and then I'll turn it back on you'll see what it looks like with it when you see a difference in the detail the only thing is it was hard to judge what setting to use when I was in overlay because I wasn't looking at this and resolved and it looks to me like I could get away with being maura gress sit in that filter had I have been looking at this end result so let's do it one more time where I can actually see it at the time that I'm applying throw this away so here's what I do I duplicate the layer I said it toe overlay mode now before applying the filter but that's going to make the picture look weird because right now this layer does not primarily contained fifty percent gray which would go away instead it contains all this so it's gonna look weird but it's only going to go look weird for a moment until I get over here to the choice called high pass and then it'll go back to looking normal if I bring this radius all the way down it will look completely normal no change happening whatsoever and as I bring it up I can see that exaggerated detail coming in and I can see if I got too high that it just starts looking weird so I can more easily judge what I'm getting there and if I want hyper hyper detail I can duplicate this layer that already has high pass applied and so here's what it looks like with hyper detail if I turn off these two layers there's the original and turn them back on and there's our end result you see now that's hyper hyper detail what I was going for there is more where it might even look like a painting you know how some hyper realistic painters would go in and paint like detail looks like you wouldn't even see in a photo but if I want something that looks hyper detailed often times using high pass we'll end up giving me a lot of that in this case I did a double pass and did it really strong so it is more obvious than you would want to have on a lot of images but usually the grunge era the images meaning the mohr mega detail there is in the image the more appropriate this technique is so duplicate layer overlay mode high pass filter then sometimes I just want to make something where doesn't quite look like a photograph I wanted to look more like a piece of art something that looks like a painting looks like a drawing or just looks like something other than photo and if that's the case, I might experiment with something called the filter gallery if I go to the filter gallery it shows me my image on the left itjust happened to zoom up one hundred percent, but the whole image is there you can zoom out using standard keyboard shortcuts or there's a plus and minus but on the lower left and then there is a list of categories over here I can say I want something to do with texture applied I want to do something that style ises or whatever, but I'm going to stick with the artistic ones and I'm gonna choose one of these in this case I'm going to go a dry brush and on the right side once I've chosen the effect that I want over here, it lets me modify the settings and for now I'm only looking at the sky I'm going to adjust this and see if I can get it where I like the sky have already rather like phoenix, it looks kind of painterly I just might want a little less detail in there okay can't see if I want any texture and I'd like it without okay? So anyway, I like the way these clouds are starting to look because they remind me of more of a painting like when I put things in and so what I'm going to do is then scroll down though and when I look at the bottom though the bottom is too simple this down here I need more detail down there the clouds look great like this but it's the bottom where I want something different so let me show you a different way of applying this and then show you how we can, uh, choose different settings and very easily changed them all clicked cancel for now or actually click okay hoping it might remember these settings because I like them and then I can always chews on do here get rid of it uh I'm gonna turn this layer into something called a smart object to turn it into a smart object he go to the filter menu there's a choice called convert for smart filters convert for smart filters because usually when you apply a filter the filter is generally permanent and if you save and close your image there's no way to get back the original but if you first choose that choice convert for smart filters something's gonna happen to your layer if you look in the layers panel watch this thumb now when I come over here and choose convert for smart filters watch the thumb nail in the layers pound do you see a little icon that just appeared on it that's your indication that you've done something different? That means this layer is a smart object what's a smart object a smart object is like taking what used to be in that layer in sliding into a ziploc bag and sealing the bag shut its in a protective thing that happens to be called a smart object and now whatever I do to that layer cannot penetrate that protective ziploc bag to permanently change what's inside instead whatever I do to it it just added like us an accessory to the bag it's a ziff I took the bag and I did something to make it diffused door to make it some people's frosted on the outside and that's changing my view of what's inside but not actually changing the contents that's inside it's just the bag that's looking distorting my view of it don't make any sense as far as I go so now if I go over here to filter and I go to filter gallery again and when I do I'd dial in what I like for the sky and I click okay look at how it was applied there's my layer and usually there'd be nothing underneath it but since I applied it after khun green this into a smart object we have something here says smart filters and there's this filter gallery if I turn off the eyeball on this if you look over on the edge of my screen you see the picture turn it off and on you see the picture changing so I could disable the filter I can also double click on the name of the filter is called filter gallery and it would send me right back in where I could come in here and modify the settings so that means the settings are not permanent now I can always modify them I can turn off the filter by turn off the eyeball I can change the settings by double clicking over here on where it says filter gallery so let's try something that I'm going to duplicate this layer I'm just gonna type command jay to get another one it also has the filtered gallery on it I'm going to double click on the word filter gallery and I'm going now look at the bottom of the photo and I'm going to adjust the settings until I like the bottom right now the bottom looks to basic it doesn't have enough detail, so I'll bring my brush size down brush size down breast size down until the bottom has enough detail I'll see about it brush detail might help down there as well either higher or lower I'm like an entire and I'll click okay. So now what I have is two versions of my picture one that has maur basic detail, one that has more fine detail and then if I want to use both versions because right now the top version is completely covering up the bottom all that'll air mask and with my layer mask active, I'll grab my paintbrush tool get a smaller bra that's soft and I'm just going to paint with black over the sky and what that is doing is hiding the top one to reveal the bottom one so if I hide the bottom one you see there's a big hole there so that means that I'm using two different settings on this image now so that you see the bottom part of the photo changing when I turn this eyeball often on therefore I can use different sightings in different areas and if I want to find tune it afterwards I double click on the word filter gallery tio get back into the settings so you could stack oppa's many of these as you want you can apply a different filter with different settings on each one and then mask them but it's really nice when you have a smart object because then you could double click on the word filter gallery to be able to modify the settings which I think is nice and then if you want to see the original in this case we have so many pieces making it up what I would have to do is most likely hide the mask and then turn off the filter uh and then you zoom up and you can see here is my original if I turned the filter back on and turn the mask back on I can see more of the creative end result I'm going to revert this image though back to the original and let's try something else with filters I'm you know which convert this into a smart object again because I chose revert it went back to the original and I'm going to try a different filter this time the filter I'm going to use is called find edges there's find edges find edges tries to look for detail in your picture and when it finds detail in your picture it tries to draw black lines around it or just dark line if you have lighter detail yet lighter lines but I think that's somewhat interesting but I lost too much of the photo I can't recognise the photo in that area well here's another feature you'd want to know about them so here is the filter that's been applied who was called find edges I could turn it on or off with this but then I can also do this do you see that thing I'm going to go over there and if I double click on that I can tell it a blinding mode to use so imagine it'sthe same as me duplicating the photo applying the filter on the duplicate that sitting above and then changing it's blending mode so I can try all sorts of things let's try darkened mode and now you've got like little quote a little lines around are clouds or I could come in here and try me divide mode? Just experiment with your modes that one starting tohave interesting effect and I'll zoom out a little bit see what it's doing turn off my filter there it's off there is on, but the main thing I want to share with you there is that there is an extra feature over on the right side. If you double click on this, you can tell it what blending mode should be used to apply this filter, which is unique. One last thing about those I don't like the bottom of the photo up now I like this the clouds I think they look interesting don't like the bottom will this white box that's right here is a mask, and if you paint there, the mask will remove the filtering effect. So if I don't like the filter somewhere, all I gotta do is grab my paint brush and paint with black and say, I don't want it across the bottom of my photo and you see the black paint going into that mask. I did have to click on that mask, though, to make it active in the first place, so if I don't like it at the bottom of the photo, I just paint with black to get it off of there. If there's one spot in the sky where I don't like it, I can see if I can get away with getting rid of it, but sometimes when you paid up in the sky, you might be able to tell where you painted because if the sky gets brighter or darker when the effect is removed, it might be too obvious. But in this case, I think I can I didn't like it in that one spot there because it was just too obvious the bright ning and I might not like it in this one spot, but if I was going for more of a creative look, that was giving me a bit more of a creative look in my sky so it's not that I want you to apply the fine edge is filter in divide mode, which is what I did. I just want youto experiment with filters in general, knowing that you can play a lot mohr when they're not permanent and wagons turn off the eyeball to turn it off on, I can change the blending mode and I can paint on a mask so that's, the main thing to get across this is just I had to pick a filter and to use, so I happened to pick that one you could also apply more than one filter to build up on effect, and you'll just get a longer list here of various effects so I could come over here and let's say, I try one called stylized and boss and it's just taking the result of the last filter and filtering it more there. I see a lot of fifty percent grey, so I might go and double click on the little slider next to the words in boston seat over here and say I could use one of those blending modes that makes fifty percent grey go away so I can use overlay. I can use hard, light, hard, light, stronger. Uh, I can experiment, but each one of those filters, they'll just stack up here, uh, can have a different bloody modem. The only thing is, you only have one mask, and that affects all filters. That's. Why? Yeah. Previously, when I wanted the bottom of the photo id of a different photo than that, her filter, then the top. I did duplicate the layer and mask the top one. So anyway, we could build up effects, then let's show you how you can sometimes make some being that you know is not small. Look small. Well, you know, a city is not a size of a table, but we could make a city look like the size of a table or the size of my laptop. How can we do that? Well, if you think about any time you magnify something let's, say you get a microscope, you ever looked through a microscope and you had to focus it. If you ever try to focus a microscope, you get the narrowest little depth of field possible and there's like next to nothing and focus except for the tiny little slice of whatever it is you're looking at that you happen to be focused on in anything a tiniest bit closer to you or further away in three dimensional space is out of focus unless you turn that little focus wheel on your microscope and get that part in focus. So if you have a three dimensional let's, say iraq under a microscope, you can see the whole thing and focus that's just not how microscope delivers its detail. You have to move the focus wheel on that microscope to decide what level of the rock to view, and so in general, your brain is used to that concept. Even though you might not be mentally aware of it. You just know that any time you see a scene where there's ninety eight percent of the thing is out of focus and only one little part is in focus, there's a good chance that that's something that's being magnified tremendously like through a microscope because that's, when your eye sees that well, if we take a picture of something that it's where it's impossible in general, too, get it out of focus. What happens is the further away something is the closer you when you focus on things, the closer you get to what's known as the infinity point on your lens, and once you're focused at infinity, anything beyond that's in focus, it's just crisp. And whenever you have a scene like this and you're focusing your own infinity, because those things there, if you look at the some lenses you have, ah, distance scale of how far away and focus it maxes out at a little infinity symbol. And if you focus on something like this, you're there. And it means that everything's in focus and that's what you're used to seem when it comes to street scenes of the whole city where something this faraway well, if we come over here and choose blur actually blur gallery there's a choice called till shift. If you go in there to tilt shift, we can these little bar show up, and we can blur parts of our image. If we click in the middle dot, we could move this up or down, I'm going to get it into this little area here we can also grab these the lines and pull on him that controls how soft a transition is, how abrupt transition will be because what happens is anything beyond this line that's here is going to get completely blurry or however blurry I tell it to and then it will fade in and once we get to this little section in between these these two more solid lines that's where it's going to be in focus and we can rotate it tio if you'd like to so we can all sorts of things weaken dio you get near these little dots, the little dots to rotate do that then in the middle there's like a big circle it's not big but it's bigger than the dot that's in the middle that's like a little volume knob and if you grab that and rotate it you khun blur mohr where you khun blur laughs and if you come in there and you blur enough where it looks like an out of focus photo then your brain starts thinking that well, the only time I see things that have that narrow of a range of focus is when it's something mean magnified tremendously and therefore your brain can start to think that, uh this is a miniature but click okay, take a moment for it finish but it can think this looks like a miniature on dh because that's when your brain's used to thinking that you get really shallow depth of field is when you're magnifying and so it can feel like that whole thing is small s o it's called tilt shift it's under the filter uh blur gallery till shift and it works best if you have like a city scene not where there's some how would I say where you see a lot of stuff we could have tio tio to see a wide expanse of the city lots of little details if you see it like a port where you have a little boats and things in it also can work nice and if you end up putting it in there getting a good portion of blurry just keeping one area sharp you can feel more like a miniature for a small version of things all right, then let's try one other thing let's see if we can figure out howto bend a photo let's say I have a picture of a mug like this and I want to look like my photos printed on the mug. How the heck do you do that? Well, we gotta pick a photo first and I don't have one pre picked so I'll have to go grab one why don't we grab one from our men you want are images from the first day open it up and I'm gonna drag that over to the other image let go over there closed the other file it's open and now before I do anything I'm going to actually turn this into a smart object remember that thing convert for smart filters it's not good just for filters it's good for all sorts of other things let's look at one of the things it's good for well bike over here and choose free transform and I transformed this image to make it smaller get it about mug sized like a mug shot then another thing that I can do is if I want a bend this so make it look like it's on the mug I can choose edit transform warp if I choose warp then I can move the four corners of this see how it bends it and if I think about where would the four corners of this be if they were actually printed on this mug I'm going to move them to where I think they might be if printed on mug so all right now I'm just looking at an equal distance from the top edge of mug down here same thing at the bottom here I could grab that come on let me grab they're just get it so it's an equal distance from the bottom edge of the mug and so I need to get this one in equal distance as well then you see those handles that come out you see a handle kind of coming out this way that tells you what direction the edge of the picture is going to go in when it leaves that corner and right now there's a handle sitting here that is pointed up this way and that's why the photos going in that direction? But if I think about what direction it should be going, it should be going down this way so I'm going to grab this and point it down I'm not looking at the picture look at the handle to say it needs to go that way I'm gonna do the same thing there's another handle coming out of this corner it's actually pointed up this way it's kind of hard to see but it's ending right? They're gonna grab it point it down fine to nap then the edge of the photo shin bulge out like that, right? The reason it's bulging out is this handle in this handle pointing outward they should be pointing straight up and down because the edge of the photo should go straight up and down there so I'm going to grab this one I'm gonna point it straight down going to grab this one I'm gonna point it straight up and I'll do the same thing on the other side making sure they're pointed straight up and straight down therefore it doesn't bend the picture there and then at the top I need to adjust those little handles too then you can click within this grid if you click in the middle of the grant, you'll bend the middle of the photo around it'll take a little bit of fussing to get it to look the way you want, but you confined to knit by clicking within the various portions of the grid, but I think I'm getting somewhat close I don't know that you spend the time to get exact, but I'm close I press return or enter when I'm done and you see how we have it bent but you know it's cool we now khun put any photo on that mug because remember, we turned into a smart object before we vented that means we did the equivalent to taking a photo and putting in a protective thing like a ziploc bag and whatever I do after it was put in there cannot permanently change the original contents and so there's a way I can open the bag and slip a different photo in, and when I slip a different photo in, it'll have this effect applied to it. Still interesting, huh? How could I do that? Well, you go to the layer menu, he chews smart object and there's a choice in here called replace contents, layer smart objects replaced contents. It comes up and it's asking me for a file, so I'm going to find a file we got this image, although it might not be the same dimensions it. Nor is that two scene. If there is a, uh file, that would be the same dimensions, meaning a horizontal picture that one, maybe I'ma hit place. This is a raw file suit opening camera, but I click okay and you sound now. That picture is ben, and I could have done the same thing when we applied filters who thie image I could have gone up to the layer menu, chose smart objects, chose, replaced contents and fed it a different picture, and it would have opened a different picture, but the effect would have been still applied, which is pretty interesting. Then I could say, in order printed on the mug change, the blending modus, something like multiply can we might get more of the shading from the mug where it looks a little bit more like it's there, but I'd have to find two in the bending because I can tell this corner's too low, this stuff, it just takes time.

Class Materials

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Course Guide

Ratings and Reviews

a Creativelive Student

Ben, thanks again for this course. I have taken and purchased quite a few of your courses to date. I keep thinking I will only watch to make sure I am on the right track and you always bring more to the table than the last course. Your teaching methods are the best, sorry to all the other instructors from Creative Live, but you are very easy to understand and you speak in layman's terms so we all can understand. I am following your instructions and working along with your files and it is the best! It is hard to keep up with you even when I watch you on one computer and work with the same files on another computer, to do what you are doing...impossible but I gain so much by trying. You provide so much info on each topic, it is amazing. Thanks to Karen for the PDFs, she does a fantastic job and also, for her templates/layout documents. Thanks again and to anyone who thinks this is too much money for all the videos, the exercise files and the instruction PDF, I am sorry to say but you are mistaken.

John Taylor

Like all of the Creative Live courses, excellent training. Ben does a great job of explaining the entry part of Photoshop. A lot of things cleared up in my head and i like his easy pace into this complex program. Thanks Ben.


I had several "lightbulb" moments with this class, after many years of photography and when you think you know it all, you don't :) Ben Willmore is an excellent tutor, with his many years of experience teaching PS, he obviously knows the types of things a lot of us struggle to understand. I learnt a lot about Bridge, and have since implemented these things into my everyday workflow, so much easier to sort out what I want to keep etc.. Thanks so much Ben and Creative Live. Thanks also to Ben's wife for her amazing work creating the Guide etc. Even though being in Australia, I pay more for the courses (the conversion rate, the aussie dollar is low at the moment) it's very worth it to me. I have paid more for courses here, and learnt next to nothing. Thanks again.

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