The Wave filter

Now that you've met the ripple family, it's time to ride the Wave. I've come to love this filter — I use it all the time — but it's complex enough to warrant its own book. It wouldn't be a very big book and no one would buy it, but you never know what a freelancer like me will do next. Keep an eye out for Wave Filter Bible at your local bookstore.

In the meantime, choose Filter ^ Distort ^ Wave (that's the easy part) to display the Wave dialog box shown in Figure 11-27. Photoshop presents you with the following options, which make applying a distortion every bit as easy as operating an oscilloscope:

♦ Number of Generators: Right off the bat, the Wave dialog box boggles the brain. A friend of mine likened this option to the number of rocks you throw in the water to start it rippling. One generator means that you throw in one rock to create one set of waves, as demonstrated in Figure 11-28. You can throw in two rocks to create two sets of waves (see Figure 11-29), three rocks to create three sets of waves, and all the way up to a quarryful of 999 rocks to create, well, you get the idea. If you enter a high value, however, be prepared to wait a few years for the preview to update. If you can't wait, press Escape, which turns off the preview until the next time you enter a value in the dialog box.

Figure 11-27: The Wave dialog box lets you wreak scientific havoc on an image. Put on your pocket protector, take out your slide rule, and give it a whirl.

4 Wavelength and Amplitude: Beginning to feel like you're playing with a ham radio? The Wave filter produces random results by varying the number and length of waves (Wavelength) as well as the height of the waves (Amplitude) between minimum and maximum values, which can range from 1 to 999. (The Wavelength and Amplitude options, therefore, correspond in theory to the Size and Amount options in the Ripple dialog box.) Figures 11-28 and 11-29 show examples of representative Wavelength and Amplitude values.

4 Scale: You can scale the effects of the Wave filter between 1 and 100 percent horizontally and vertically. All the effects featured in Figures 11-28 and 11-29 were created by setting both Scale options to 15 percent.

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20, 50 50, 100 100, 200

Figure 11-28: The effect of three sets of Maximum Wavelength (first value) and Amplitude (second value) settings when combined with each of the three Type settings. The Number of Generators value was 1 in all cases.

Figure 11-28: The effect of three sets of Maximum Wavelength (first value) and Amplitude (second value) settings when combined with each of the three Type settings. The Number of Generators value was 1 in all cases.

4 Type: You can select from three kinds of waves. The Sine option produces standard sine waves that rise and fall smoothly in bell-shaped curves, just like real waves. The Triangle option creates zigzags that rise and fall in straight lines, like the edge of a piece of fabric cut with pinking shears. The Square option has nothing to do with waves at all, but rather organizes an image into a series of rectangular groupings, reminiscent of Cubism. You might think of this option as an extension of the Mosaic filter. Figures 11-28 and 11-29 demonstrate all three options.

Figure 11-29: The only difference between these images and their counterparts in Figure 11-28 is that the Number of Generators value used for all images was 2.

Figure 11-29: The only difference between these images and their counterparts in Figure 11-28 is that the Number of Generators value used for all images was 2.

♦ Randomize: The Wave filter is random by nature. If you don't like the effect you see in the preview box, click the Randomize button to stir things up a bit. You can keep clicking the button until you get an effect you like.

♦ Undefined Areas: The Wave filter distorts a selection to the extent that gaps may appear around the edges. You can fill those gaps either by repeating pixels along the edge of the selection, as in the figures, or by wrapping pixels from the left side of the selection onto the right side and pixels from the top edge of the selection onto the bottom.

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