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Adobe Photoshop CC Bootcamp

Lesson 64 of 118

Smart Object Basics


Adobe Photoshop CC Bootcamp

Lesson 64 of 118

Smart Object Basics


Lesson Info

Smart Object Basics

Here we are in Adobe Camera Raw, and this is a follow along image that you can open up and follow along with me on this as well. If I were to go ahead and just say, let's change this to auto, and then let's go. I hit the Auto button quite a bit in Adobe Camera Raw, and there's a reason. It used to be horrible, and when you used to press Auto it would just blow your image out and make it really nasty. But now when you press Auto, it's doing a really good job of assessing the dynamic range that is available within your image, and it actually makes a pretty darn good starting point for a photo. So I'm just kind of playing around here. I'm just gonna set this to auto, and then go ahead and maybe increase that clarity a little bit to make it a little bit more grungy, and then bump up that vibrance a little bit. If I go ahead and press Open Image, I'm gonna commit this to go into Photoshop, and become a typical background layer that is essentially rastered, as we've seen before. But if I do ...

this cool little thing and press Shift, you see how it says Open Object? It's not opening an image anymore. It's gonna alter the state of this from being a raster-based photo, and pull it into Photoshop as a Smart Object. So we're gonna go ahead and just press Shift, and open this object into Photoshop. What you're gonna notice here is that instead of this opening up as a regular background layer, it's gonna open up with what looks like a little layer here, like a tearaway layer, with a little box that pops out of it. What that's telling me is that this is a smart object. At any time, if I want to, I can double-click on that picture there, that little preview. I can double-click on it, and it pops me back into Adobe Camera Raw, and allows me to apply any of my settings here, and change them. Let's say I was like, you know what, I really don't like that clarity boost that I did. It's a little bit too much. I can come down here and I can drop that clarity boost, and now if I press Okay, notice how it doesn't say Open Object anymore, 'cause what it's doing, it's just opening up those settings that I had before. If I press okay and commit to that, it's now gonna go ahead and open me up into Photoshop, still have the Smart Object little icon down there, but I don't have that clarity boost that I had before. The thing to understand about using Smart Objects in Adobe Camera Raw, though, is that if I were to go ahead and add, let's say a gradient map, to do a traditional black and white. If this did not get set to black and white on your machine, just go ahead and click up here to your gradient, make sure it's set from black to white, press Okay. So we've got a black and white layer on top of our Smart Object now, right? If I were to go ahead and double-click on the Smart Object, you're gonna notice something. It doesn't bring in that black and white data. So it is smart, it's smart in that it knows what those settings were from before, but it's not necessarily smart enough to calculate all the stuff that's happening above it. So if you do any curves adjustment layers, if you do any gradient maps, it's not gonna calculate that stuff and show you what would happen if you changed the effects here. So if I were to increase the highlights here, and increase the contrasts here, and press Okay, we're just going to see that increased highlight and increase contrast boost underneath those gradient maps. But we're not gonna be able to really see the effect of what we're doing, when we do that. That's really important to understand, because if you do something like this, if you go and add a curves adjustment layer here, and you do some of that contrast boosting to this, which is very similar to what we did before, and we double-click inside here, open this up, and bring that contrast and those highlights down, press Okay, we aren't going to curves adjustment layers. But that curves adjustment layer is altering the state of what's happening on that Smart Object. Because remember, it's a build-up from what's happening on top, and working it's way down. We don't see all the stuff that's happening up here if we double-click and go back into there. So yes, it's smart. You can always go back and re-do your settings, but there's still gonna be some type of intuitive decisions that you're gonna have to make during that process, when you're thinking about, okay, I have that curves adjustment layer that's boosting my contrast. So if I go back into these settings and I boost that contrast, it's gonna make more contrast, and maybe you don't want that. So then you have to go into that curve and maybe just drop this down a little bit, and bring this down a little bit. One thing that we do have to talk about here before we move onto the rest of Smart Objects, is that you would think this is awesome. Everything I do can be saved within that smart object. I'm just going to do Smart Object processing from here on out, that's all I'm gonna do is Smart Objects. Kudos to you if you want to do that. That's awesome. There's two little problems that happen with Smart Objects, and we'll just get this out of the way now, before we go any further. The one problem that happens is Photoshop has to think about everything that's happening on this layer as you're working on it, so Smart Objects tend to slow your machine down. Specifically if you're doing a filter on a Smart Object, those filters will take a lot more time to process, because they're processing on a Smart Object. When you go back and you adjust those settings, it just takes a lot more time. It can be a very time-consuming process. With something like this, not really at all because we've got two layers on top of a regular, Smart Object. It won't take much time to process at all for it to process anything that's happening here. We start getting into layer stacks that might have 15, 20, 30, 40 different layers in them, and now you start adding filters in there, and multiple Smart Objects in there? Forget about it. It's just going to be a very slow, tedious process. The other drawback to having a Smart Object, is that a Smart Object is going to add more data to the saved file. Now, sometimes that data is negligible, but I will tell you this, that data is exponential. The DNG file that we're working on right now is not very big. If I were to go up here and go to File, and go to Save As, and save this as a PSD with all of these layers, and has the Smart Object there. Let's just go ahead and call this Smart Example, and then go over to Lessons, and make sure I save it into the right folder, Smart Objects, and we'll add a new folder here, and we'll call it Test Saves. This is the smart example, we'll even put a, I am still a little psycho about this, 01, so it becomes the first one. Press Okay. So that's basically saving this out as a PSD file, it has these layers in it, plus it also has all the smart capabilities built into it as well. If I don't want this to be a Smart Object anymore, and I want to commit to all the changes that I made, if I click on that layer, and I right-click, I'm now gonna go from a vector-based Smart Object, to a raster-based normal pixel layer, and rasterize that layer, and it no longer has the smart capabilities. Notice how if I try to double-click on this, all it does is bring up my layer styles. It's not gonna bring up Adobe Camera Raw anymore, it's gonna bring up Layer Styles. So if I go to File, I go to Save As, and I save this as a PSD, and we'll call it 02, and then Non-Smart Example, press Okay. And then if we were to look into the actual folder there and look at those file sizes. The non-smart example is 45.8 megabytes. Not very big. This one is 51.3 megabytes. It's 6 megabytes bigger just because of that smart data that's in there. I told you that this seems negligible, because this is a small file size, but let's say you've got your Nikon D810's with the big sensors in them, or your Sony a7R III's, where the file starts out as 42 megapixels, 42 megabytes, I should say. Roughly between 42 and 45 megabytes. Then you start stacking on layers, then you start stacking on Smart Objects. Then you start stacking on multiple Smart Objects, and multiple layers. If it has a Smart Object in it, it could be the difference of a one-gig file, literally, I have some landscape images that are one gig, from my Sony a7R III, that are PSD files that have all the layers in them. It could be the difference of a one-gig file, and a 1.5-gig file. 500 whole megabytes, just because I have a Smart Object or two in there. Because it's such a big file to begin with, it's got a bunch of information in it. That's definitely important to understand, that while these things are great, we do have to kind of take them with a grain of salt, that we can't do everything under the sun with them that we could possibly want to, we're still gonna have to take in mind that there are some drawbacks, and those drawbacks are it's gonna slow down our machine if we don't have a whole lot of RAM in our computer, and number two, it's gonna take up a lot more space on our computer. If you want to commit to those things, you just go ahead and right-click Rasterize, and then save it down so you don't have all of that smart data that's available in there.

Class Description

Adobe® Photoshop CC® is a valuable tool for photographers, but it can also be intimidating. In this all-inclusive 20 lesson course, you’ll go from opening the program for the first time to creating images that really stand out. Join Blake Rudis, Photoshop expert and founder of f64 Academy, as he shows you how to maximize your use of Photoshop. 

Topics covered will include:

  • Class Introduction & Bridge, Adobe Camera Raw, Setup Interface, Cropping and Layers
  • Layer Tools, Masks, Selections, Clean-Up Tools and Shapes & Text
  • Smart Objects, Transforming, Actions, Filters, and Editing Video
  • Custom Creative Effects, Natural Retouching, Portrait Workflow, Landscape Workflow, and Composite Workflow

Don’t let the many aspects of Photoshop prevent you from maximizing your use of this amazing app. Blake will help you develop the confidence to use your imagination and create the images that you will be proud to share with your clients.


Adobe Photoshop CC 2018


  1. Bootcamp Introduction
  2. The Bridge Interface
  3. Setting up Bridge
  4. Overview of Bridge
  5. Practical Application of Bridge
  6. Introduction to Raw Editing
  7. Setting up ACR Preferences & Interface
  8. Global Tools Part 1
  9. Global Tools Part 2
  10. Local Tools
  11. Introduction to the Photoshop Interface
  12. Toolbars, Menus and Windows
  13. Setup and Interface
  14. Adobe Libraries
  15. Saving Files
  16. Introduction to Cropping
  17. Cropping for Composition in ACR
  18. Cropping for Composition in Photoshop
  19. Cropping for the Subject in Post
  20. Cropping for Print
  21. Perspective Cropping in Photoshop
  22. Introduction to Layers
  23. Vector & Raster Layers Basics
  24. Adjustment Layers in Photoshop
  25. Organizing and Managing Layers
  26. Introduction to Layer Tools and Blend Modes
  27. Screen and Multiply and Overlay
  28. Soft Light Blend Mode
  29. Color and Luminosity Blend Modes
  30. Color Burn and Color Dodge Blend Modes
  31. Introduction to Layer Styles
  32. Practical Application: Layer Tools
  33. Introduction to Masks and Brushes
  34. Brush Basics
  35. Custom Brushes
  36. Brush Mask: Vignettes
  37. Brush Mask: Curves Dodge & Burn
  38. Brush Mask: Hue & Saturation
  39. Mask Groups
  40. Clipping Masks
  41. Masking in Adobe Camera Raw
  42. Practical Applications: Masks
  43. Introduction to Selections
  44. Basic Selection Tools
  45. The Pen Tool
  46. Masks from Selections
  47. Selecting Subjects and Masking
  48. Color Range Mask
  49. Luminosity Masks Basics
  50. Introduction to Cleanup Tools
  51. Adobe Camera Raw
  52. Healing and Spot Healing Brush
  53. The Clone Stamp Tool
  54. The Patch Tool
  55. Content Aware Move Tool
  56. Content Aware Fill
  57. Custom Cleanup Selections
  58. Introduction to Shapes and Text
  59. Text Basics
  60. Shape Basics
  61. Adding Text to Pictures
  62. Custom Water Marks
  63. Introduction to Smart Objects
  64. Smart Object Basics
  65. Smart Objects and Filters
  66. Smart Objects and Image Transformation
  67. Smart Objects and Album Layouts
  68. Smart Objects and Composites
  69. Introduction to Image Transforming
  70. ACR and Lens Correction
  71. Photoshop and Lens Correction
  72. The Warp Tool
  73. Perspective Transformations
  74. Introduction to Actions in Photoshop
  75. Introduction to the Actions Panel Interface
  76. Making Your First Action
  77. Modifying Actions After You Record Them
  78. Adding Stops to Actions
  79. Conditional Actions
  80. Actions that Communicate
  81. Introduction to Filters
  82. ACR as a Filter
  83. Helpful Artistic Filters
  84. Helpful Practical Filters
  85. Sharpening with Filters
  86. Rendering Trees
  87. The Oil Paint and Add Noise Filters
  88. Introduction to Editing Video
  89. Timeline for Video
  90. Cropping Video
  91. Adjustment Layers and Video
  92. Building Lookup Tables
  93. Layers, Masking Video & Working with Type
  94. ACR to Edit Video
  95. Animated Gifs
  96. Introduction to Creative Effects
  97. Black, White, and Monochrome
  98. Matte and Cinematic Effects
  99. Gradient Maps and Solid Color Grades
  100. Gradients
  101. Glow and Haze
  102. Introduction to Natural Retouching
  103. Brightening Teeth
  104. Clean Up with the Clone Stamp Tool
  105. Cleaning and Brightening Eyes
  106. Advanced Clean Up Techniques
  107. Introduction to Portrait Workflow & Bridge Organization
  108. ACR for Portraits Pre-Edits
  109. Portrait Workflow Techniques
  110. Introduction to Landscape Workflow & Bridge Organization
  111. Landscape Workflow Techniques
  112. Introduction to Compositing & Bridge
  113. Composite Workflow Techniques
  114. Landscape Composite Projects
  115. Bonus: Rothko and Workspace
  116. Bonus: Adding Textures to Photos
  117. Bonus: The Mask (Extras)
  118. Bonus: The Color Range Mask in ACR


a Creativelive Student

Amazing course, but don't be fooled into thinking this is a beginner's course for photographers. The problem isn't Blake's explanations; they're top. The problem is the vast scope of this course and the order in which the topics are presented. Take layers for example. When I was first learning Photoshop (back when we learned from books), I found I learned little or nothing from, for example, books that covered layers before they covered how to improve/process photographs. These books taught me how to organize, move, and link layers before they showed me what a layer was actually for. Those books tended to teach me everything there is to know about layers (types of layers, how to organize them, how to move them, how to move them two at a time, how to move them two at a time even if there are other layers between the two you're interested in, useful troubleshooting tips, etc. ) all before I even know (from a photographer's point of view) what it is the things actually do. The examples of organizing, linking, and moving mean everything for graphic designers from Day One, but for photographers not so much. Blake does the same thing as those books. Topics he covers extremely early demand a lot of theoretical imagination for a photographer who doesn't already know quite a bit about what he is talking about. Learning about abstract things first and concrete things later only makes PS that much harder to understand. If you AREN'T a beginner, however, this course is amazing. I thought it would be like an Army Bootcamp, taking you from zero and building you into a fit, competent Photoshop grunt. Now I think it's more like Army Bootcamp for high school varsity jocks. It isn't going to take you from the beginning, but the amount you'll get out of it is nonetheless more than your brain can imagine. I've been using PS for years to improve my photographs, and even to create the odd artistic composite or two. The amount I've learned in the first week is amazing, and every day I learn something -- more like many things -- which I immediately implement to improve my productivity and/or widen the horizons of what I can achieve. If you ARE a photographer who's a Photoshop beginner, I'd take very seriously the advice Blake gives in the introduction: Watch one lesson, and practice the skills and principles you learn in that one lesson for two weeks. THEN watch the next lesson. You can't do that of course without buying the course, so it's up to you to decide whether you'd like to learn Photoshop and master Photoshop all from the same course. Learning it first and mastering it later will cost more money, but I think you'll understand everything better and have a much more enjoyable ride in the process. As for me? I'm going to have to find the money to buy this course. There is simply way too much content in each lesson for me to try to take on all at once, but on the other hand I don't want to miss anything at all that he has to share.

Esther Gambrell

WOW!!! I've been purchasing CL classes for several years now and have watched HOURS of "How-To Photoshop" classes, but this is the first one I've actually purchased because of the AWESOME BONUS content!!! SERIOUSLY??!!?!? A PLUG-IN??? But not only that, Blake is SO easy to understand, and he breaks down concepts in different ways to connect with different people's learning styles. I REALLY appreciated this approach because I am a LEFT-BRAINED creative that has an engineering background, so I really connected to what Blake was saying. THANK YOU FOR THAT! There are TONS of Photoshop courses out there, but I found this one to be the most helpful in they way Blake teaches concepts so that you know WHY you're doing what your doing. I feel like he taught me how to fish with Photoshop to feed me for a lifetime instead of just giving me a fish to feed me for one day. This is the BEST overall PS course out there!!! Thank you!!!!

Sonya Messier

I'm been using Bridge, Adobe Raw and Photoshop for 12 years. I thought I knew those programs until I started to follow Blake and do this Photoshop CC Bootcamp. This course is AMAZING. I love the way Blake teach, brakes down concepts and tools... excellent teaching qualities! I'm half way in this course and I change all my workflow already. Much better results and better use of what Adobe offer me. This course is an investment! When I will be done, I will listen it again. Great job and congratulations on your success Blake!