In order to apply Smart Filters in Photoshop, first turn the layer(s) into a Smart Object using one of the following methods:
- Select the layer(s) and choose Layer > Smart Object > Convert to Smart Object.
- Select the layer(s) and choose Filter > Convert for Smart Filters.
- Control -click (Mac) | Right -click (Win) on the layer (s) in the Layers panel and choose Convert to Smart Object.
1) Smart Filters are non-destructive and re-editable
- Double click the name of the Smart Filter (on the Layers panel) to change the Smart Filter parameters.
- Double click the Filter Blending icon to change Opacity and/or Blend mode of the Smart Filter.
2) Multiple Smart Filters can be added to a Smart Object
- You can apply multiple Smart Filters to a Smart Object. If needed, drag the filter name (in the Layers panel) to change the order in which the filters are applied.
3) Smart Filters can be selectively applied using the Smart Filter Mask
- Painting with black in the Smart filter mask will hide the filter. Painting with white will reveal the filter. This is an excellent way to apply selective sharpening to an image.
4) Each Smart Filter can have it’s own mask
- To use a different filter mask for each Smart Filter, nest the Smart Objects/Filters:
- Apply the first Smart Filter and paint in the mask as desired.
- Then, choose Layer > Smart Objects > Convert to Smart Object (essentially “nesting” the smart filter and the mask).
- Apply another Smart Filter and paint in the mask as needed.
This video demonstrates this technique:
5) Smart Filter can easily be moved or duplicated to other Smart Objects
- Drag the name of the Smart Filter to move it from one layer to another.
- Option -dragging (Mac) | Alt -dragging (Win) a Smart Filter from one layer to another will behave differently based on where you click and drag:
- Dragging the “Smart Filters” text (next to the mask) will duplicate the Smart Filter and it’s layer mask.
- Dragging the name of the Smart Filter (Blur Gallery in this example) duplicates the Smart filter without copying the mask.