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?

  • 1
    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

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



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