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The Types of Image-Editing Filters

If your image editor offers filters, you can apply those filters to your digital photos for a wide range of uses. Whether you want to correct your digital photo or manipulate it for effect, filters can offer you the means to do so:

  • Corrective filters: Improve the quality of the image without distorting it, changing the content significantly, or applying any stylized effect. The three kinds of corrective filters that work best with digital photos deal with blurring, sharpening, and noise. This figure shows a before-and-after that used a noise filter.

  • Artistic filters: If you want to make a digital photo look like a drawing done with pastels (like in this figure) or a painting created with oils, look to the artistic filters.

    Make your photo look like a pastel drawing by using an artistic filter.
    Make your photo look like a pastel drawing by using an artistic filter.

    You can also use artistic filters if your image is simply beyond repair to hide a multitude of sins. This way, you create something entirely new while still preserving the content and history of the original image.

  • Special effects filters: You can probably find filters — such as texturizing, distorting, or stylizing filters — in your image editor that change the appearance of some (or all) of your image. This figure shows an image with a distortion filter applied.

    Warp your photo with a distortion filter.
    Warp your photo with a distortion filter.
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