Harald Heim’s FilterHub looks like a cool way to run filters (enabling multi-layer application of filters, creation of Smart Objects, and more).
According to the product page, the panel lets you:
- Run filters fast and conveniently (e.g. with a double click) without navigating the Filter menu
- Apply the last effect of any filter (not just the last used one) without displaying its dialog
- Paint or erase filter effects with the brush tool
- Favorites list for quickly running your preferred filters and plugins
- Display either all filters, only third party plugins or filters that match a search string
- Run multiple filters (from the favorites list) with one click
- Apply a filter on multiple layers in one pass
- Even better: Run multiple filters on multiple layers with a single operation
- Apply all filters to smart objects, even those filters that normally do not support it.
- If a filter does not support an image mode, the image is converted to a supported mode.
- Before running a filter it can automatically create a duplicated layer, a merged copy of all layers (stamped layer), a smart object or flatten the image.
- Visit the homepage of a selected filter (only in Photoshop CS5/CS6)
The panel costs $39.95, or $24.95 for students.