I think it would be quite simple to add a smart filter mask that would prevent smart filters adjusting the smart objects edges. Before you add the first smart filter. Select the smart Object layers Pixels then contract the selection a pixels or two. With that selection active add the first smart filter. The selection should be added as a smart filter mask that will mask all smart filters applied the the smart object layer. If you apply filters to the document composite the sharp edges will be blurred. Take control blur only what you want blurred. It you add adjustment layer above smart object layers and do not clip them to layers above the smart object layers the document's composite will be blurred including your sharp smart image layer sharp edges the are in the document composite. You need to control where filters are applied.
The bug of being able to get a sharp-edge only occurs when working with a layer that reaches all edges of the canvas.
Hardly a bug but probably an economical decision (likely owed to »old« code from the time when the common PC processing power was smaller) that apparently applies to regular pixel Layers just the same. Similarly if one paints across the Canvas border on a pixel Layer.
1: Turn flattened image into Smart Object.
2: Apply Gaussian Blur filter – layer has sharp edges.
3: Move layer away from the canvas edges – layer still has sharp edges.
4: Temporarily turn off ALL Smart Filters – blur effect disappears.
5: Turn back on all Smart Filters – layer still has sharp edges.
6: Temporarily turn off SINGLE Gaussian Blur – blur effect disappears.
7: Turn back on single Gaussian Blur – layer now has BLURRY edges!
That seems to be as expected as turning off the visibility off/on all Smart Filters does not necessitate a re-application of the Filters whereas turning off/on one single Filter causes a new calculation.
A work-around could be Clipping Masking to an unfiltered instance of the SO set to 0% Fill and with »Blend Clipped Layers as Group« unchecked.
Thank you both JJJMack and c.pfaffenbichler for replying, but unfortunately both your suggestions do not achieve the desired / shown result.
In both examples you mention, all I am doing is masking or clipping the blurred edge within the confines of the original shape. But crucially, because the edge of a blurred object gets blurred both inwards AND outwards, all I am doing is hiding the OUTER blurred edges but I am still keeping the unwanted blurred INNER portion.
Look at the screenshot you posted above c.pfaffenbichler and see how you can still see the checkerboard underneath the edges of the blurred layer, particularly under the black areas where it is really obvious. This is because the edge is still being blurred, but I am just hiding the outer part of it.
And now look at the screen-recording video I posted in the first link, around the 20-second mark. At this point, the whole Smart Object / layer has been blurred with no masking or clipping or blurry edges. That's the effect I want to achieve and clearly Photoshop *CAN* do this, as evidenced by the recording, but I want it to also do this on other smaller layers.
Clearly I can't do it just by following my original steps outlined above – unless Adobe adds a "Preserve Layer Transparency" checkbox in a future update. But until that happens, what I am after is to learn some kind of hack or trick to get my desired effect of *completely* sharp edges, no inner OR outer blurring.
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I suspect you might be able to achieve that with a Smart Object in Smart Object approach where you filter the SO and then convert it to a SO.
Naturally to edit the Filters you’d have to do so inside the SO, though …
Aah, I like that idea! I often have Smart Objects within Smart Objects within Smart Objects for other things, but annoyingly I hadn't thought of applying that idea here.
A quick test with a very simple dummy file I just mocked up seems to indicate that this DOES work, now I just have to hope that this continues to work with my more complex real-world files.
Thanks for the tip!