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Photoshop is a very powerful tool for editing images and altering their appearance. One of the quickest and easiest ways to drastically change how an image looks is to apply a “filter”. Photoshop comes preloaded with several different filters to choose from, some better than others. While these filters are easy to apply and manipulate, it is also easy to go overboard quickly and create something completely unrecognizable. It is also worth noting that not all filters will always provide desirable results, and often a filter alone is not enough to make a great image. Results will vary with the images you choose to edit.
First, open up the image of your choosing in Photoshop.
Second, select the tab titled “Filter”, normally to the right of “Select”. From this tab you can select a number of different options, all with their own different effects to apply to the image. For now, we will just use filters in the “Filter Gallery” for examples.
Third, go into the Filter Gallery and choose one of the filters that best suits your needs. Once a filter is selected there will be additional sliders to the right that allow tweaking of the filter’s parameters and settings.
You can apply additional filters on top of ones you’ve already set up, but this is very easy to overdo.
Also, if you wish to only apply a filter to part of the image, you can make a custom selection using the “Quick Selection Tool”. Once a selection is made just follow the same steps as above.
Personal Favorite – Cutout
Cutout is one of my most used filters whenever I feel like making an interesting yet simplistic desktop wallpaper or even poster design. It reminds me of some of the poster designs from the early 20th century and World War 2 era. Those images used large sections of a single color to distinguish light from shadow and still presented an immediately recognizable image while catching people’s attention. Above is an example of a photo that has the Cutout filter applied to it, with manipulated Curves. The image is simplified but at the same time made more visually interesting because it stands out against what the eye expects.