I like to work procedurally in photoshop via smart-objects and smart-filters, but I encountered a problem. In Premiere it is possible to Matte Key the video and then to apply other effects on top of if it.

So I want to do is to remove the dark areas and gaussian blur the smart-object then, because if I do not remove the dark areas, they will affect the result negatively by darkening the highlights. For example, small light spots surrounded by dark pixels get dark after the blur and the effect would only work with big light sources.

Any ideas how to do this? :)

Edit: What I mean with procedually is that if I edit the smart-object the filters will update accordingly

Edited version with a non-procedual glow (I removed all dark areas and gaussian blurred it then)

Image from unsplash with non-procedual glow

Original image by unsplash

Original cropped image from unsplash

  • 1
    Please post a screenshots of an effect you're trying to achieve: it's much easier to look at an image than try to understand what result you're looking for from a text description Sep 19, 2019 at 19:04
  • @SergeyKritskiy Updated :)
    – Woww
    Sep 20, 2019 at 12:08

1 Answer 1


You can use layer blending options to change dark areas to transparent. The treshold is adjustable. An example:

A portrait which contains much darkness, it (the layer in Photoshop) is converted to Smart Object:

enter image description here

Gaussian blur filter is applied, a smart filter is generated automatically after clicking OK in the blurring dialog:

enter image description here

Editing the Smart filter content opens the original image in a new window. There Layer > Layer style > Blending options gives a possibility to make a tresholded mix with underlying layer:

enter image description here

Here's no underlying layer, the treshold slider leaves only the bright parts visible, everything else is turned to transparent.

When the content image is saved, the edit is updated to the blurred image:

enter image description here

If Transparency isn't the wanted replacement for the darkness, you can insert a new background layer (here it's grey) to the image in smart filter edit window or under the smart filter layer. In the first case also the new background is blurred, but the difference is invisible if the new background is uniformly colored. Here the new BG is inserted in the Smart filter edit window. The result is this:

enter image description here

Inserting the same BG under the smart filter layer gives this:

enter image description here

Not asked: 1) Gaussian blur doesn't keep your highlights intact. They are blurred too and if they are close enough a transparent area they become weaker (=partially transparent).

2) This was complex. To make it simpler get another program. Krita (freeware) allows you to insert effects as filtering masks to a layer for non-destructive edits. In this case you want to insert Color to Alpha and Gaussian Blur as filtering masks to the same layer.

  • Sorry, this answer is good but I would need to create a separate smart-object for this and this would not be much more efficient than working destructively :/
    – Woww
    Sep 20, 2019 at 12:06
  • You don't need to create a separate layer. Screenshot with your file: prntscr.com/p8one3 Sep 20, 2019 at 12:21
  • @SergeyKritskiy This does not work with small lightspots surrounded by dark pixels. They will be blurred dark when the gaussian blur is applied. Thats why I want to remove the dark pixels first
    – Woww
    Sep 20, 2019 at 16:30
  • @Woww Small white spots surrounded by transparency will become partially transparent when blurred. I guess you expect something else than gaussian blur, something which keeps small bright spots, at least their midpoints.
    – user82991
    Sep 20, 2019 at 16:40
  • @user287001 no thats what I am looking for. They should still be bright, the fact that they become transparent is desirable, because the effect looks more real then. When Blending options are used, the dark areas still affect the small white spots
    – Woww
    Sep 20, 2019 at 17:08

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