Monday, August 26, 2013

How to Use Photoshop Filters

Photoshop filters are a lot like Disney Land. They're wonderful, awesome, and excitingly fabulous, but they can be super overwhelming. [Please don't tell me I'm the only one who has a mini anxiety attack over the pure joy of Disneyland combined with the sheer overwhelmingness of riding all the rides and seeing all the characters...I love them all. So I have to see them all. The end.]

Image Source
Do you copy?

Don't worry! The good news is Photoshop filters are free [very much unlike Disneyland], so you can experiment with all of them as much as you'd like.

Today I'm going to show you some of my favorites and how I make them work for my photos.

Drumroll please..... [That's way too boring. Hmm..."Gong and bell choir, please!" There, that's better.]

Let's start with the basics: What is a Filter? Put simply, it's a combination of many setting changes that automatically make adjustments to your photo in one easy click. In that way, I guess they are pretty similar to a Photoshop action. [Read my post on actions, here] But it gets better! You can adjust and fine tune filters much easier than you can actions, they come pre-loaded on your software, and they make your photos look like they were hand drawn! Sweetness!

This is my original. Cool, but it lacks pizzazz. We can fix that!

1. Click Filter --> Artistic --> Colored Pencil [You can choose any one, I'm just starting here].

Check it out! As soon as your photo preview loads [it may take a minute or so] you'll get an awesome, artsy effect. 

Use the sliders on the right hand side of the pop-out to fine tun it to your liking. I like to keep my brightness at 100% as well as change the pencil width. It's fun to try each filter with lots of different settings on different photos. [Note: Make sure your foreground/background colors are set at the default black and white or your pics will end up super funky. Or you can leave them awesomely colored. That's cool, too. :D]

That's all! When you find what you like, click "ok" and continue editing in Photoshop and then save your pics as normal. 

Before I run away, as promised here are some of my favorite filters in action:

ACCENT EDGE: This filter is really fun. It boosts the highlights around the edges in your photo and adds a fun, bright pop. It's hard to see from far away, so I included a close-up.

 WATERCOLOR: This is pretty much the opposite of the Accent Edges filter. Basically, it adds shadows to your edges and texture throughout the photo. It doesn't look too hot on this grass photo, but look how it makes that zinnia pop!

And look what it did to this robin!

CUTOUT: I love the simplified look of this filter. It makes the individual colors pop and can create a really fun clip art/pop art feel.

SPONGE: It sounds weird, but it's really pretty cool. This one adds awesome texture throughout your photo.

You can do some fun graphic design stuff with this filter, too.

Last but not least...

CHALK AND CHARCOAL: This one is legit. It makes your photos look like they were drawn by some super talented art major for billions of dollars. [Okay, maybe not the billions of dollars part, but it's awesome]. This one reminds me of some Asian watercolors I've seen. Love it!

See? That wasn't scary and it was almost as much fun as Disneyland. [Well, only sort of, but it was cool].

Have fun with filters! Don't be afraid to mix, match, and experiment!


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