Convert For Smart Filters Greyed Out

By | 20/08/2022

In my part equally moderator of the member forums over at the National Clan of Photoshop Professionals Website, I routinely help struggling users to come up to grips with the powerful, yet temperamental program we all love. Some of the near common bug are the easiest to solve, only like many technical problems, the answer often lies in knowing how to ask the question. Only, over on the forums, we get the questions asked almost every manner yous can imagine, and over the next few weeks I’ll be bringing y’all a series of problem-solving tips aimed at overcoming the most bothersome and mutual Photoshop annoyances.

If you lot’ve got a problem that’south stumped yous, or an annoyance you’d like to see resolved, add a comment at the terminate of this article, and nosotros’ll see if we can piece of work it in! That’s what we do here at TipSquirrel!

So let’southward kickoff with that all-as well-common ailment:

Problem: “
I want to use the Photoshop Filter XXXXX, merely it’southward greyed out! Is in that location something incorrect? Do I need to reinstall Photoshop?


The good news is, at that place most probable isn’t annihilation incorrect – we only demand to make a few adjustments to the file with which we’re working.

In fact, the answer almost likely is staring us in the face, right beside the menu:


Yep indeed, nosotros are working with a file that has 16 $.25 per channel, conspicuously displayed as “RGB/16” in the caption bar of the image. This is the single almost common reason for the filters to be greyed out. You run into, a great number of filters are from an one-time batch of filter effects Adobe acquired many versions dorsum, and those filters haven’t been updated to modern standards. Then, while they will work with 8-scrap files, they won’t work with 16-bit files.

Another related trouble shows itself with the Clouds filter (Filter > Render > Clouds). Normally you would expect the clouds to be rendered in the foreground and background colors, merely with a 16-fleck file y’all always get black and white:


Here’s how to solve both of these problems very chop-chop: change the scrap depth of your file from 16 bits per channel to 8 $.25 per channel by selecting
Image > Fashion > 8 $.25/Channel.


In one case you’ve fabricated this change, all the filters go available:


Problem solved, right?

Well, maybe not exactly. Irresolute a file from 16 bits per channel to viii bits per aqueduct tin exist a hindrance, in that viii bits per aqueduct has fewer colors available – 256 shades of colour in each of the three channels, equally compared to 65,536 shades of colour per channel in a 16 fleck file. You may notice a deposition if the image, especially in subtle gradients such every bit skies, skin and clothing. So, is there a workaround?

Yous bet there is. At that place are several workarounds, in fact.


Brand a copy

of your certificate, and

convert the re-create

to 8 bits per channel. Run the filter at that place, and copy and paste the result back into your 16 bit file.


Convert your critical layer or layers to a Smart Object

(select the layer or multiple layers, and choose
Layer > Smart Objects > Convert to Smart Object. Then, alter the bit depth of your file by choosing
Image > Mode > 8 Bits/Aqueduct
every bit we saw above. In this case, two important things happen:

  • The contents of the smart object remain at sixteen bits/Channel!
  • All the filters at present piece of work, and as a benefit, they are applied equally Smart Filters (see below

We covered Smart Filters and Smart Objects in some detail awhile back – if you demand a refresher, please run across my earlier tutorials:

Smarter Editing with Smart Objects
Smart Objects, Raw Flexibility
Smart Objects, Smarter Filters (
this tutorial describes Smart Filters and how they piece of work)

And, for even more in-depth studies of Smart Objects:

Picture Package with Smart Objects
Exposure Blending with Smart Objects
Nested Smart Objects – (Part one) – (Role two)
Max Stacks with Photoshop
Noise Reduction with Smart Object Stack Modes
Creative Stacking Diversions

Stay tuned side by side week as nosotros continue to assail common bug in Photoshop.