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Choosing a filter effect

    The built-in filters are grouped into 14 submenus. In addition, any third-party filters installed appear at the bottom of the Filter menu.

    Artistic filters

    Achieve a painterly or special effect for a fine arts or commercial project. For example, use the Cutout filter for collages or type treatment. These filters replicate natural or traditional media effects. For more information about Artistic filters, see Artistic filters. For more on the Rough Pastels and Underpainting filters, see Using texture and glass surface controls.

    Blur filters

    Soften a selection or an image. Blur filters are useful for retouching. They smooth transitions by averaging the pixels next to the hard edges of defined lines and shaded areas in an image. For more information about Blur filters, see Blur filters.

    Note: To apply a Blur filter to the edges of a layer, be sure to deselect the Preserve Transparency option in the Layers palette.

    Brush Stroke filters

    Like the Artistic filters, the Brush Stroke filters give a painterly or fine-arts look using different brush and ink stroke effects. Some of the filters add grain, paint, noise, edge detail, or texture to an image for a pointillist effect. For more information about Brush Stroke filters, see Brush Stroke filters.

    Distort filters

    Geometrically distort an image, creating 3D or other reshaping effects. Note that these filters can be very memory intensive. For more information about Distort filters, see Distort filters. For  more about the Displace filter, see Defining undistorted areas. For more on Glass filter controls, see Using texture and glass surface controls.

    Noise filters (Photoshop)

    Add or remove noise, or pixels with randomly distributed color levels. This helps to blend a selection into the surrounding pixels. Noise filters can create unusual textures or remove problem areas, such as dust and scratches, from an image. The Add Noise filter can be used to reduce banding in feathered selections or graduated fills or to give a more realistic look to heavily retouched areas. For more information on Noise filters, see Noise filters (Photoshop).

    Pixelate filters

    Sharply define a selection by clumping pixels of similar color values in cells. For more information on Pixelate filters, see Pixelate filters.

    Render filters

    Create 3D shapes, cloud patterns, refraction patterns, and simulated light reflections in an image. You can also manipulate objects in 3D space, create 3D objects (cubes, spheres, and cylinders), and create texture fills from grayscale files to produce 3D-like effects for lighting. For more information on the Render filters, see Render filters. For information on the 3D Transform filter, see Transforming objects in three dimensions.

    TipWhen using the Clouds filter, generate a more stark cloud pattern by holding down Alt (Windows) or Option (Mac OS) as you choose Filter> Render > Clouds.

    Sharpen filters

    Focus blurry images by increasing the contrast of adjacent pixels. They include the Sharpen Edges (Photoshop) and Unsharp Mask filters, which find and sharpen areas where significant color changes occur (such as the edges). The Unsharp Mask filter is commonly used for high-end color correction. (See Sharpening images.) For more information on the Sharpen filters, see Sharpen filters.

    Sketch filters

    Add texture to images, often for a 3D effect. The filters also are useful for creating a fine-arts or hand-drawn look. Many of the Sketch filters use the foreground and background color as they redraw the image. For more information on Sketch filters, see Sketch filters. For information on the Conté Crayon filter, see Using texture and glass surface controls.

    TipFor a truer effect, change the foreground color to one of the common Conté Crayon colors (black, sepia, sanguine) before applying the filter.

    Stylize filters

    Produce a painted or impressionistic effect on a selection by displacing pixels and by finding and heightening contrast in an image. After using filters such as Find Edges and Trace Contour (Photoshop) that highlight edges, you can apply the Invert command to outline the edges of a color image with colored lines or to outline the edges of a grayscale image with white lines. (See Using the Invert command.) For more information on Stylize filters, see Stylize filters.

    Texture filters

    Give images the appearance of depth or substance, or add an organic look. (See Using texture and glass surface controls.) For more information on Texture filters, see Texture filters.

    Video filters

    Include the NTSC (National Television Standards Committee) Color filter, which restricts the gamut of colors to those acceptable for television reproduction, and the De-Interlace filter, which smooths moving images captured on video. For more information on Video filters, see Video filters.

    Other filters

    Let you create your own filters, use filters to modify masks, offset a selection within an image, and make quick color adjustments. For more information about Other filters, see Other filters. For more on the Offset filter, see Defining undistorted areas.

    Digimarc filters

    Embed a digital watermark into an image to store copyright information. For more information about Digimarc filters, see Digimarc filters.