Photoshop Smart Object

How Photoshop Smart Objects and plug-ins can work together

04 Color Efex Pro filter

Photoshop Smart Object

Now I’m adding a second filter in Color Efex Pro. You’ll see that the effect I applied in Alien Skin Exposure 5 is now visible. I’ll keep this simple with an Image Border effect, and then click the OK button.

05 Smart Object filters

Photoshop Smart Object

Back in Photoshop, you can see that the Smart Object (Layer 0) now has a layer mask and, below that, the two filters I’ve just applied.

If I click on either of these, the relevant filter window re-opens, displaying the same settings I used to create the effect – and I can change these settings and re-save the effect.

I can use the layer mask to blend the filter effects with the original image, masking the areas I want left unaffected.

06 The finished image

Photoshop Smart Object

Photoshop Smart Objects let you combine filters from different plug-ins in a non-destructive way. Previously, applying filters was a one-way process, but now it can be almost as simple as using adjustment layers.

I am slowly warming to Photoshop CC. Adobe UK has recently been offering some very attractive cut-price subscription offers, and hopefully there will be more to follow.

Like I said at the start, I’m not anti-Photoshop. It’s an excellent tool to have on hand as part of a modern digital imaging workflow, but I still think it’s no longer the only tool you’ll need.

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