A million wacky effects

Oh heck, I guess I can't just go and ignore half of the commands on the Filter menu — they're not completely useless, after all. It's just that you aren't likely to use them more than once every lunar eclipse. So here are the briefest of all possible descriptions of these filters:

♦ Color Halftone: Located under the Filter ^ Pixelate submenu, this command turns an image into a piece of Roy Lichtenstein artwork, with big, comic-book halftone dots. Although scads of fun, the filter is ultimately a novelty that takes about a year and a half to apply.

In This Chapter

Capsule descriptions of Photoshop's special effects filters

Clever ways to use the Pixelate filters

Putting the Mezzotint filter to good use

Applying the edge-enhancement filters, including Emboss and Find Edges

Creating metallic effects with Bas Relief, Plastic Wrap, and Chrome

Exploring new worlds with the help of the distortion filters

Tugging at images with the Liquify filter

Designing specialized gradations and other abstractions

Transforming images in 3D space

Changing a picture's atmosphere using Clouds

The complete inner workings of Lighting

4 Fragment: Ooh, it's an earthquake! This lame filter repeats an image four times in a square formation and lowers the opacity of each to create a sort of jiggly effect. You don't even have any options to control it. It's quite possible I'm missing the genius behind Filter ^ Pixelate ^ Fragment. Then again, maybe not.

4 Lens Flare: Found in the Render submenu, this filter adds sparkles and halos to an image to suggest light bouncing off the camera lens. Even though photographers work their behinds off trying to make sure that these sorts of reflections don't occur, you can add them after the fact. You can select from one of three Lens Type options, adjust the Brightness slider between 10 and 300 percent (though somewhere around 100 is bound to deliver the best results), and move the center of the reflection by dragging a point around inside the Flare Center box.

Ij-1 In addition, you now can Alt click inside the preview to position the center point numerically.

Tip If you want to add a flare to a grayscale image, first convert it to the RGB

mode. Then apply the filter and convert the image back to grayscale. The Lens Flare filter is applicable to RGB images only.

Here's another great tip for using Lens Flare. Before choosing the filter, create a new layer, fill it with black, and apply the Screen blend mode (Shift+Alt+S with a non-painting tool selected). Now apply Lens Flare. You get the same effect as you would otherwise, but the effect floats above the background image, protecting your original image from harm. You can even move the lens flare around and vary the Opacity value, giving you more control over the final effect.

4 Diffuse: Located in the Stylize submenu — as are the three filters that follow — Diffuse dithers the edges of color, much like the Dissolve brush mode dithers the edges of a soft brush. Diffuse is moderately useful but not likely to gain a place among your treasured few.

4 Solarize: This single-shot command is easily Photoshop's worst filter. It's really just a color-correction effect that changes all medium grays in the image to 50 percent gray, all blacks and whites to black, and remaps the other colors to shades in between. (If you're familiar with the Curves command, the map for Solarize looks like a pyramid.) It really belongs in the Image ^ Adjust submenu or, better yet, on the cutting room floor.

4 Tiles: This filter breaks an image up into a bunch of regularly sized but randomly spaced rectangular tiles. You specify how many tiles fit across the width and height of the image — a value of 10, for example, creates 100 tiles — and the maximum distance each tile can shift. You can fill the gaps between tiles with foreground color, background color, or an inverted or normal version of the original image. A highly intrusive and not particularly stimulating effect.

4 Extrude: The more capable cousin of the Tiles filter, Extrude breaks an image into tiles and forces them toward the viewer in three-dimensional space. The Pyramid option is a lot of fun, devolving an image into a collection of spikes.

When using the Blocks option, you can select a Solid Front Faces option that renders the image as a true 3D mosaic. The Mask Incomplete Blocks option simply leaves the image untouched around the perimeter of the selection where the filter can't draw complete tiles.

Actually, I kind of like Extrude. For the sheer heck of it, Color Plate 11-1 shows an example of Extrude applied to what was once a red rose. I set the Type to Blocks, the Size to 10, the Depth to 30 and Random, with both the Solid Front Faces and Mask Incomplete Blocks radio buttons selected. Pretty great, huh? I only wish that the filter would generate a selection outline around the masked areas of the image so that I could get rid of anything that hadn't been extruded It's a wonderful effect, but it's not one that lends itself to many occasions.

* Diffuse Glow: The first of the Gallery Effects that I mostly ignore, Filter ^ Distort ^ Diffuse Glow sprays a coat of dithered, background-colored pixels onto your image. Yowsa, let me at it.

* The Artistic filters: As a rule, the effects under the Filter ^ Artistic submenu add a painterly quality to your image. Colored Pencil, Rough Pastels, and Watercolor are examples of filters that successfully emulate traditional mediums. Other filters — Fresco, Smudge Stick, and Palette Knife — couldn't pass for their intended mediums in a dim room filled with dry ice.

* The Brush Strokes filters: I could argue that the Brush Strokes submenu contains filters that create strokes of color. This is true of some of the filters — including Angled Strokes, Crosshatch, and Sprayed Strokes. Others — Dark Strokes and Ink Outlines — generally smear colors, while still others — Accented Edges and Sumi-e — belong in the Artistic submenu. Whatever.

* The Sketch filters: In Gallery Effects parlance, Sketch means color sucker. Beware, every one of these filters replaces the colors in your image with the current foreground and background colors. If the foreground and background colors are black and white, the Sketch filter results in a grayscale image. Charcoal and Conte Crayon create artistic effects, Bas Relief and Note Paper add texture, and Photocopy and Stamp are stupid effects that you can produce better and with more flexibility using High Pass.

Tip To retrieve some of the original colors from your image after applying a

Sketch filter, press Ctrl+Shift+F to display the Fade dialog box and try out a few different Mode settings. Overlay and Luminosity are particularly good choices. In Color Plate 11-2, I applied the Charcoal filter with the foreground and background colors set to light blue and dark green. Then I used the Fade command to select the Overlay mode.

* The Texture filters: As a group, the commands in the Filter ^ Texture submenu are my favorite effects filters. Craquelure, Mosaic Tiles, and Patchwork apply interesting depth textures to the image. Texturizer provides access to several scalable textures and permits you to load your own (as long as the pattern is saved in the Photoshop format), as demonstrated in Figure 11-1. The one dud is Stained Glass, which creates polygon tiles like Photoshop's own Crystallize filter, only with black lines around the tiles.

Random Strokes

Figure 11-1: Filter^ Texture ^Texturizer lets you select from four built-in patterns — including the first three shown here — and load your own. In the last example, I loaded the Random Strokes pattern included with Photoshop.

Random Strokes

Figure 11-1: Filter^ Texture ^Texturizer lets you select from four built-in patterns — including the first three shown here — and load your own. In the last example, I loaded the Random Strokes pattern included with Photoshop.

Certainly, there is room for disagreement about which filters are good and which are awful. After I wrote a two-star Macworld review about the first Gallery Effects collection back in 1992 — I must admit, I've never been a big fan — a gentleman showed me page after page of excellent artwork he created with them. Recently, a woman showed me her collection of amazing Lens Flare imagery. I mean, here's a filter that just creates a bunch of bright spots, and yet this talented person was able to go absolutely nuts with it.

The moral is that just because I consider a filter or other piece of software to be a squalid pile of unspeakably bad code doesn't mean that a creative artist can't come along and put it to remarkable use. But that's because you are good, not the filter. So if you're feeling particularly creative today, give the preceding filters a try. Otherwise, skip them with a clear conscience.

Photoshop Secrets

Photoshop Secrets

Are You Frustrated Because Your Graphics Are Not Looking Professional? Have You Been Slaving Over Your Projects, But Find Yourself Not Getting What You Want From Your Generic Graphic Software? Well, youre about to learn some of the secrets and tips to enhance your images, photos and other projects that you are trying to create and make look professional.

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