by Julieanne Kost

 Comments (11)


January 17, 2013

To apply multiple filters to a single layer – each with its own filter mask – convert the layer into a smart object (Layer > Smart Objects > Convert to Smart Objects). Apply the first smart filter and paint in the mask as desired. To apply the second filter, choose Layer > Smart Objects > Convert to Smart Object (essentially “nesting” one smart filter within another), apply the second filter and paint in the mask as desired. If you need to edit the settings or mask for the first filter, choose Layer > Smart Object > Edit Contents. This technique is also an excellent way to selectively sharpen and blur an image.


In the illustration above, the High Pass filter was applied to the Smart Object (Layer 0) and then masked  so that it is limited to sharpening the cactus. Note: If you use the High Pass filter to sharpen an image, you can double-click the small icon to the right of the filter name in the Layers panel and set the blend mode to Overlay or Soft Light to remove the grayish look of the filter.)

03_JKOST_SmartFilter2After applying the first smart filter, choosing Layer > Smart Objects > Convert to Smart Object nests the first smart filter and allows the addition of another filter (in this example Oil Paint) with its own Smart Filter mask. 


  • By sinhalablog - 7:06 AM on January 17, 2013  

    wow.. amazing tute..thankyou!

  • By BobB - 2:59 PM on January 19, 2013  

    Works good the first time, I get two filters and two masks. Shows the last filter under the smart object as it normal would and I can edit it. But when I try to open the first filter (Layer > Smart Object > Edit Contents) it opens a copy of the picture with just the first filter under the smart object, which I can edit but it isn’t linked to the original picture which still has both filters applied. Any thoughts about what is wrong?
    Thanks for all your wonderful postings, I’ve learned a lot.

  • By BobB - 7:52 PM on January 20, 2013  

    I got it now, thanks so much for your help.

  • By Dynamic Web Training - 8:17 PM on January 20, 2013  

    Thanks Julianne…Great tutorial.

    I have forwarded this to all of our Photoshop Trainers.

    • By Julieanne Kost - 7:12 AM on January 21, 2013  

      Thanks! I’m glad that you found it helpful!

  • By Warren - 7:12 PM on February 18, 2013  

    Quite a long time ago I learned how to nest one smart object in another by double clicking on the smart object layer thumbnail. However I discovered this method did not work on a smart object that was newly opened from camera raw as double clicking on the thumbnail would take me back to camera raw. It took me 2 hours tonight to find the solution. Thank you for your problem solving tutorial.

  • By Martin - 7:28 AM on August 9, 2013  

    Everything works fine in my standalone photoshop cs6 installation on my MacPro but try as I might I just cannot get my smart filter/s masked by painting in them in photoshop cc which is installed on the same machine.
    Is there a switch or setting somewhere that I’m missing? Checked everywhere I can think of. Any tips?