Understanding Filter Interfaces

Some filters have no user interface; for example, Blur More and Despeckle. These limited filters will quickly fall off your favorites list. Most filters will have some form of a user interface. When you launch, ensure that the Preview box option is checked; I know very few people who can make artistic decisions without previewing the edit.

Here are some general tips regarding standard filter interfaces that contain preview boxes:

• Hold down (^0) while dragging a slider for a real-time preview of the effect.

• Click in the Preview window and pull your view around. The size and quality of the preview image has been significantly improved in recent versions of Photoshop.

• Use the + or - button under the preview window to zoom in or out. You can also zoom in to the Preview window using fx+8 (L+8) and zoom out with (X+0 (L + 0 ).

• Click in the image window to adjust the center point of the preview window. (This may not work in all cases.)

Once in the dialog box, make the most of it. If there's a variable, change it. If there's a Load button, try loading presets that shipped with the product. Many manufacturers and Web sites offer additional presets that you can download. The support of textures or bump maps allows you to load grayscale images as textures. There are many of these included on the Photoshop Install CD, and I've included an assortment on this book's DVD as well.

Chapter 8 DEFINING THE AREA TO BE AFFECTED BY A FILTER 177

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