I would find it very useful if Photoshop CC included the ability to add Graduated and Radial Filters on photoshop layers. I would like the features to be similar to what is available in Adobe Camera Raw. I realize that this can be done by making the base photo an active object, then adding the filters there, but there are some clear advantages to being able to put an individual filter on a layer.
Yes, that seems to work and I appreciate you sharing something that I could learn from. On the other hand, it seems less precise than having the filter features available on its own layer because the image layer isn't visible when you select the 50% gray layer. If I were trying to fine tune a small area of the image it would be virtually impossilbe to get the location correct -- at least using what I now know. Then once I've applied the gradient or radial filter to the gray layer, the location information and parameters are no longer available for editing. So if I need to make an adjustment I will have to delete the gray layer and try again. Am I missing something?
Personally, i think that PS does filters better than ACR and LR. There's no LR filter you can't do with an adjustment layer and you can easily switch which parts of the adjustment happen in which order with layer orders.. the named layers mean you can always tell which one's which. And you can more easily fine tune the impact of an adjustment with a layer mask.
Certainly there's an advantage to having a filter applied as a layer. Making the layer a smart object allows the filter properties to be preserved and changed in the future if one needs to. Having multiple filter layers is also an advantage. What I find as a disadvantage of using the ACR graduated or oval filters on a PS smart object layer is that when I open the layer it is displayed as the 50% gray base layer which temporarily obscures the image that it will be applied to. It is the time when I'm constructing the filter layer that it is most important to be able to see the image to which it is applied and how the filter is changing that image.