These Free Photoshop Enhanced Filters Put the Default Ones to Shame

Enhanced Photoshop Filters

Unsatisfied with the default selection of filters in Photoshop, developer Terry Johnson has created a set of enhanced filters that greatly improve on Adobe’s and can be downloaded as a set of free actions for Photoshop and Photoshop Elements.

Johnson, aged 71 and from the United Kingdom, is one of the two developers responsible for Image Color Transfer, a browser-based application that allows a photo to be color graded to match the color of another photo, similar to the “Match Color” feature found in standalone photo editing applications. After the success of that launch, he did not rest on his laurels and got to work on his next project: improving Photoshop filters.

“Photoshop offers a wide range of filters for processing images. Some are very good but some are, shall we say, a little underwhelming,” Johnson says.

For example, he points to Photoshop’s Graphic Ink filter.

“My first reaction when I saw this was, ‘Couldn’t the draughtsman afford colored ink?’ Fortunately, this question has now been addressed by the provision of an enhanced filter in the form of a Photoshop Action.”

Enhanced Graphic Ink Filter

Improving on the Graphic Ink filter is just one of several Johnson has created that he calls an “enhanced filter” take the form of free-to-use Photoshop Actions.

“Whereas Photoshop Actions normally offer new graphic elements or a means of modifying images to produce a particular look and feel, the Actions I have developed are different in that they genuinely extend the processing range of the basic Photoshop offering,” he explains.

The Actions he has created fall into four basic classes: Enhanced Black and White filters, Enhanced Grey Shade filters, Modified Colored Filters, and Auxiliary Filters.

Johnson explains that some Photoshop filters produce images that have areas of pure black and areas of pure white, but do not allow for intermediate shades of gray. The Enhanced Black and White filters improve upon Adobe’s and introduce a colored variant. This set includes the aforementioned enhanced graphic ink filter and also a better stamp and torn edge filter.

Modified Stamp Filter

The Enhanced Grey Shade filters take the result of Photoshop’s originals and modify them to integrate color. Johnson showcases eight improved filters, three of which can be seen below:

Enhanced Chalk and Charcoal

enhanced plastic

enhanced reticulation

The Modified Colored Filters are called such, and not “enhanced,” because they offer an alternative to the existing filter but Johnson says there is no guarantee the output will be an improvement. This set of filters encompasses eight more filters, from Radial Blur and Solarize, to Trace Contour, the Palette Knife, and Glowing Edges.

Modified Glowing Edges

Modified Cutout

The final category is called Auxiliary Filters which give depth to an image or enhance the color — or do both. These, like the Colored Filters above, are what Johnson considers to be modified filters.

“The basis of the modified filters is that the subject image is split into separate monochrome and chromatic layers. This allows the possibility that an original Photoshop filter can be applied to one layer or both layers and then blended together using an appropriate blending mode,” he explains.

Auxiliary Filters

“The separation of an image into two layers is affected by the Split filter. Further details are provided in this article. Once you have split the image the possibilities are endless but I have tried here to collate an interesting set of filters with fairly wide applicability. I hope you find them useful.”

Those interested in reading detailed descriptions of each of the filter categories can peruse Johnsons’s blog post on Medium. The full enhanced filter pack and instructions on how to use it can be downloaded for free from Johnson’s website.

Image credits: Terry Johnson