Fading a Filter in Photoshop Elements

By Barbara Obermeier, Ted Padova

Sometimes you don’t want the full effect of a filter applied to your image in Photoshop Elements. Fading a filter a bit softens the effect and can make it look less “computerish.” Here’s what you can do:

  1. Choose Layer→Duplicate Layer.

    The Duplicate Layer dialog box appears.

  2. Click OK.

  3. Apply your desired filter to the duplicate layer.

    Applying your filter to a duplicate layer enables you to blend the filtered layer with the unfiltered and gives you much more control over the result (see Step 4).

  4. Use the blend modes and opacity settings located on the Layers panel to merge the filtered layer with the original unfiltered image.

  5. (Optional) With the Eraser tool, selectively erase portions of your filtered image to enable the unfiltered image to show through.

    For example, if you applied a Gaussian Blur filter to soften a harshly lit portrait, try erasing the blurred portion that covers the subject’s eyes to let the unblurred eyes of the layer below show through. The sharply focused eyes provide a natural focal point.

Instead of erasing, you can also apply a layer mask to selectively show and hide portions of your filtered image.