Should you avoid using Photoshop filters?
It’s a question that many digital artists pose and it’s likely that you will have received a discouraging response at least once, maybe twice. Some of which will be very convincing.
Filter use is seen by many as a crutch that leads to bad execution, which in turn leads to unpleasant design. To make matters worse, many filters have very recognisable effects, which can trigger a viewer’s immediate distaste.
That’s why many professional designers avoid them at all costs, because of the worry that viewers will be able to identify the software used to create their design. That last concern is telling, and addresses the real issue with filter application.
It’s less about if you should use them, more about how and where to use them. With careful consideration, many digital artists are finding successful ways to integrate filters into their workflow – merging them with other techniques and combining them in groups to perfect their commercial projects.
Adverse reaction to the existing filter sets has also made Adobe think again. We’re now seeing far more prolific filter types introduced in the brand-new Photoshop CC.
These are more suited to certain creative phases, rather than being an inclusive effect. They offer you advanced ways to treat your graphics and photos, improving detail, focus, lighting and colour.
With Adobe talking up Photoshop CC as its most pro-level version to date, surely its filter sets can be classified in the same ilk? Professionals looking for high-quality results in pre and postproduction should be very excited.
The improved Smart Sharpen filter is particularly useful, performing with a greater degree of control. Digital illustrator Adam Spizak (www.spizak.com) certainly agrees, as he explains: “This update in Photoshop CC is great.
To achieve similar effects in previous software versions, I would have had to use an external plug-in.” Spizak’s illustration is all about delivering vibrant lighting, extreme colour and crisp outlines.
Now, being able to specify detail and noise so meticulously is a massive bonus to designers and illustrators alike. “I can control sharpening in the spectrum of my images, holding maximum detail in my highlights,” he explains.