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We all know (or at least I hope we do) that in Photoshop, alpha channels are very powerful tools for creating a variety of complex effects by interpreting the greyscale value as a value from 0-255, which gets used to determine transparency/opacity (in a layer mask, for instance), or % of selection (in an alpha channel).

But has anyone come up with a way to use the alpha value as the input value for each pixel of a filter, eg: Gaussian Blur, or Mosaic? For example, an alpha value of 50 might mean a 50 pixel blur, or a Mosaic value of 50 pixels... this would allow truly variable filters... curious if anyone knows of a plugin, script or other technique that would make this possible?

  • Depending on what you're trying to achieve you're probably better off learning scripting and coming up with your own configuration for the given project. That way you could also multiply input values (0 to 255) based on your desired outcome and effect usage. Possibly reusing the same value to a different degree for multiple inputs. But I have no idea on PS scripting or if its possible to do this in a pixel by pixel manner. Once thing is for sure - it would be incredibly processor intense. – Ryan Sep 26 '16 at 20:48
  • Hi Ryan, thanks for the thoughts. I doubt scripting could give me the granularity that an alpha map might, it's remarkable how limited the Photoshop scripting vocabulary actually is. Pixel Bender is probably the only way to go, but I thought I might put it out there... – Tom Auger Sep 27 '16 at 10:17

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