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Photoshop has plenty of powerful built-in Filters.
Apply special visual effect to your images using Filters. Look at the
long list in the drop down menu sample to the left.
A very effective way to learn Filters is to play
with them. Start with a few that sound familiar to you.
Before you use any of the filters, create an image
in your mind's eye of what you expect to see. This is important for
building your skills and your mental reference library.
I have Zip disks labeled Graphics Library 1 and 2.
They contain numerous sub-folders. One of the sub-folders is labeled
I suggest that you might do something similar.
Save some of your key test images and related text files into that
folder. Review these files periodically for insight, or their value
will become meaningless.
Start your testing and play by using the default
settings or create your own starting points when necessary. Use the
same filter and settings on several other images with differing range
and characteristics such as:
Also try out filters on various size images;
value settings are influenced by image size. A larger image will
require higher value settings.
Always start with a duplicate image on a new
layer. This will keep your reference image handy and unaltered.
Relabel the Background Copy layer to something relevant.
I may label the layer GusBlur_5 if my major
action on this layer is the use of the Filter Gaussian Blur set
to the value 5.
Renaming A Layer
Double clicking on a layer opens the Layers
Options dialog box where the layer can be easily relabeled.
Blur Of Choice
The plain Blur and Blur More have no controls.
Use Gaussian Blur, it has controls and a real-time preview.
In Windows "..." after a menu
selection indicate further options such as a dialog box or controls.
The following options all launch control windows.
- Motion Blur...
- Radial Blur...
- Smart Blur...
Try these functions on your own. They will
probably help solve some graphic conundrum in the near future.
Expectation and Predictability
Start with a mental image or some other
measurable expectation. Play and experiment based on those
expectations. Review the result in comparison to the original
Play with the Filters as you would with a new
lens or color films. Get to know their characteristics. After you
gain an inner sense through trial and error, you can select the right
tool and use it "just so" to give birth to your inner ideas.
Save and Review
Write down your expectations and insights.
Write down the results and discoveries. Be sure to write down your
conclusions gained from matching the mental image with the concreate
results. Save the text file, along with the image files, to your
Review these files periodically for insight,
or their value will become meaningless.
Anything That Works
For some people, this method may be a turn-off
or a waste of time. Do whatever it takes to keep your inspiration
Plug-ins: Fun Just Got Turbo-charged
Photoshop, like most other
professional tools, supports Plug-ins. This allows the use of Filters
developed by other software developers.
Once installed, they appear at the bottom of the
Filters drop down list as shown above. I use Kai's Power Tool 3.0 and
Extensis Photo Tools because they work for my needs. There are many
other Plug-ins such as:
- Digital Frontiers
- Picture Man Collection
- The Flux Collection
- Visual Manipulation
- And more...
There is a tendency among many photographers
to become overly fixated with the gear. They can end up with so
much new unfamiliar gear that their reaction time becomes snail slow. Some have even given up on picture taking altogether because they are
too tired of lugging their technical burdens.
Do not let your photograph or the message get
lost behind fancy or cool tricks. I use Filters to create an effect
that adds to the message. I also use Filters that logically combine
effects to save me production time.
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