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by Lars Kotthoff

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I like using Smart Filters because they let me adjust things later, and because I get a mask to control where the filters are applied.

The problem is that this mask applies to all the smart filters present on a given object.

Suppose I've got a photo and I want to apply the Lens Correction filter to the whole photo. On the same photo, I want to apply the Smart Sharpen filter. But I want to apply a mask to this filter. Can I do that?

Right now I've been duplicating the smart object and applying the filter I want to mask individually on to the top copy, and then masking the top copy. But this is a pain, and it takes incredible amounts of memory and disk space.

Is there a good way to apply a mask to a single smart filter?

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This question falls into a gray area on the site. Generally, "how do I get a specific post-processing effect using software" questions have been considered on topic, while "how do I use a feature of a certain software package" questions not, even when that feature can be used in photo processing. I'm not complaining, just noting. (That lack of a focus on software operation is why there aren't existing tags to match your question.) –  mattdm Jul 4 '11 at 17:56
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@mattdm: You FAQs state that questions on "photographic processing or retouching" are on-topic. They also say that questions about "Image Manipulation (outside of the Photography context)" are off-topic. Mine falls into the first category and not the second (I want to use this in a photography context). If questions like mine are not allowed or not appreciated on the site, you should probably update your FAQs :P. –  Nathan G. Jul 4 '11 at 18:03
    
Like I said, gray area. There's plenty of room to disagree about what "In a photographic context" means. (Is just saying "I want to use this on a photo" enough? Maybe it is!) This discussion probably should be continued on meta.photo.stackexchange.com — as far as I am aware, the distinction has been fairly squishy over the past year. –  mattdm Jul 4 '11 at 18:12
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While I think this is on topic for us since its being used in a photographic context - I do think you'd get better answers at graphics.stackexchange.com or maybe even super user. We toss many of the photoshop questions that way because they're not in a strictly photographic sense. If there isn't any reasonable answers in a day or so, we may want to flag it to migrate. –  rfusca Jul 4 '11 at 19:08
    
@rfusca That sounds quite reasonable. We'll see how it goes. –  Nathan G. Jul 4 '11 at 19:20

1 Answer 1

up vote 1 down vote accepted

The layer mask applies to all the filters for the smart object. However there is a workaround I've seen in a video. The below link, an article by Deke McClelland, seems to use the same trick (you create a smart object within the original smart object, so they are nested, and you then get additional layer masks). This doesn't use up a lot of additional memory or disk space

http://layersmagazine.com/nesting-smart-objects-for-multimask-effects-in-photoshop.html

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Nice, that's clever! Thanks for the link. –  Nathan G. Jul 4 '11 at 22:22

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