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This chapter is from the book

Combining Filters

Some people like things plain. I'm not one of them. I want the whipped cream, marshmallow, nuts, and cherry on my ice cream, and I'm seldom satisfied with using just one Photoshop filter. And with an arsenal of 99 different Photoshop filters (plus dozens of third-party add-ons), why shouldn't we take advantage of as many as possible? In the remaining few minutes of this hour, let's look at some interesting combinations.

Texturizer

You can add a texture to any photo, no matter what you have already done to it. The Texturizer filter (Filter→Texture→Texturizer) places a pattern resembling canvas, burlap, brick, or sandstone over your image, making it look as if it's on paper with that texture. The canvas texture is particularly nice if reduced in scale. Figure 16.23 shows a photo of a seascape, first treated with the Dry Brush filter and then texturized. Look for it in the color section.

Figure 16.23 Dry Brush on Sandstone applied.

Rough Pastels and Film Grain

The Rough Pastels filter adds a strong directional quality to Figure 16.24, another view of the Portland lighthouse. A single filter is applied to it.

Figure 16.24 Pastel lighthouse.

In Figure 16.25, I added Film Grain over the pastels, which lightened the image, and came up with what I think is an even more interesting result. Both lighthouse pictures are in the color plate section.

Figure 16.25 The lighthouse with added Film Grain.

The possibilities are endless. If you can imagine a style or treatment for a picture, chances are excellent that Photoshop can do it. As a final picture and final filter combination, here's how you can turn a photo into an instant mosaic. Start with any picture that has reasonably large areas of flat color. Figure 16.26 shows my original picture, a pile of watermelons.

Figure 16.26 Unfiltered watermelons.

To Do: Convert a Photo to a Tile Mosaic

To turn this picture into stained glass:

  1. Apply the Crystallize filter (Filter→Pixelate→Crystallize) with a moderate Cell Size. I used 26 as the Cell Size in Figure 16.27.

  2. Figure 16.27 Crystallized melons.

  3. Next, apply the Ink Outlines filter (Filter→Brush Strokes→Ink Outline) with the Stroke length set to approximately 9, and the light and dark intensity differing at 3 and 42, respectively. Figure 16.28 and its color plate show the result: a reasonable rendering of a glass tile mosaic. You can, of course, draw in any lines that Photoshop didn't trace completely, and you can go over the glass panels and change their colors if you want.

  4. Figure 16.28 Watermelon mosaic.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, let me leave you with a final reminder to keep experimenting. You never know what a filter or combination can do to a particular picture until you try it. The way that Photoshop calculates the filter effects means that some filters can look very different, according to the kind of picture to which they are applied. You can't always predict what will happen, but the unexpected effects are frequently wonderful.

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