If my layer is rasterized and I select something (say with the marquees ellipse), the filters apply only to that selection - moreover - they apply centered on the selection.

For example, using the Spherize filter on rasterized layer with a portion selected with the marquees ellipse, then the center of the sphere would be the center of the ellipse made with the marquees.

If my layer is a smart object, it doesn't work this way. All filters are centered on the entire layer.

For the sake of avoiding the xy problem, here's what I'm trying to do: A have a text layer wherein I want the text to look like it's going to burst open like a balloon. So I want to select some of the text to spherize so it looks like it's bursting or blowing up.

1 Answer 1


The Smart Filters thumbnail in the Layers Panel is a mask. Treat it like any other mask and it will hide/reveal areas of the filter.

enter image description here

  • Add the smart Filter,
  • Fill the Smart Filter thumbnail with black
  • Make your selection
  • Fill that area on the Smart Filter with white.

This does not assist with distortion filters such as Spherize. You will need to separate pieces to apply the spherize filter to a specific area. You simply can't use those type of filters on part of a layer.

You can mask a protion of the filter, but the result isn't quite the same:

enter image description here

Much like CMYK/RGB and filters.. some things only work one way if the image itself meets requirements. Smart object are seen as a whole layer for smart filters.... you can only mask the filter, not restrict it to a specific area. Raster content is required if you wish to restrict a filter to a selection.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.