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Adobe Photoshop CC Bootcamp

Lesson 68 of 118

Smart Objects and Composites


Adobe Photoshop CC Bootcamp

Lesson 68 of 118

Smart Objects and Composites


Lesson Info

Smart Objects and Composites

What you're gonna notice that happened to this, and the reason why I'm showing you this is because you know what happened to this one over here, how the edges got blurry when I did that Gaussian blur? I wanna show you how to fix that before. So we'll go ahead and close this down, open this up. Okay. So what we have here is basically just a regular gallery-style look. We can fill these in with whatever pictures we want, so let's say you're trying to showcase your work on your website in a clever way that's not necessarily just some slideshows, and you wanna make it look like your work is in a gallery. We can go ahead and fill these blocks in with our work, and you're gonna see that these ones, that's kinda easy, okay we could do that pretty easily. That's kinda easy, that's kinda easy, but look at these ones, they have perspective attached to them. So the reason why that last smart object layer kinda failed us and got blurry on the edges was because we made that shape a smart object at ...

the wrong time. There's a workflow to this and when you want to make that shape and turn that shape into a smart object. So if I were to go ahead and make a shape on here, so let's go ahead and zoom in here. I'll make a shape, just like this. If I wanted to make this fit exactly into this space, and I started pulling these handles now, at this point, and then turned it into a smart object, it's not gonna remember that at one point this was a perfect square. It's just gonna remember what you told it to remember when you told it to remember it. So if I go ahead and right-click on this, and Convert to a Smart Object, and then I zoom in here, notice how it wasn't a perfect selection for that area. If I press Command or Control + T, and I press Control on these handles and move this to here, and move this down to here, and then move this here, and then here, Didn't seem like there was a whole lot of perspective going on with that area, did it, but there was. And I'll press Enter and commit to that. What happens is because we've converted that to a smart object before we did the transforming, so Photoshop remembers that. Photoshop remembers that at one point, that was a square. Now, with this one it might not be easy to wrap our head around, but let's do this. Let's do this on this one right here. Let's make a shape, any size shape will actually do at this point, that'll be fine, right-click, Convert to Smart Object, Command or Control + T, and then, as I press Control, I can fix that box there, Control and fix that box there, Control and fix that box there, Control + click down here, move this up, and fix that box there. Now, this frame does go on, doesn't it? Goes on a little bit further, so we can even do that to, if we zoom out here, if we press Control and space bar, and then Fit on Screen, and then Control and space bar and pull to the left, I can even drag this out a little bit, to there, and then press Enter. Because what Photoshop is gonna remember, Photoshop is gonna remember that that was once a rectangle that was this big, but then you converted it into something that is now a little bit wider. So if I were to go ahead and double-click on this, that's the rectangle that we started with, to make it fit into that space. So if I click on a photograph to put in there, let's just put this photo in there. You'll see how this is gonna warp it, we press Yes. Notice how it cuts off the sides and it fits it right into that perspective of the image, because it remembers that that at one point was a rectangle that has now been warped to fit that shape. Same thing here, if I make a shape that is relatively the same size as this, press Command or Control + T, I'll zoom in a little bit more, Control + T, to fit those edges. Okay. You know what I didn't do first? I didn't turn it into a smart object first. Command or Control + Z, let's go back, right-click, Convert to Smart Object, Control + T, and then we'll do this, and there's another thing I wanna incorporate in this one that's gonna make this a little bit more fun, and that's gonna be layer styles. So I'll make that about that size, perfect, press OK. Double-click inside here, so I can change this to whatever I want it to be changed to. Let's just use this photograph, move it into that rectangle, exit out, save it, Yes. Right now it's fitting, it's fitting into a perspective, it's changing the perspective of this image as it puts it into that rectangle, but it just doesn't look like it fits, does it? It looks like someone just put an image inside that canvas, and there's no gradience or anything that looks like there might be like a glare on it. So if I double-click on this rectangle, and go into the Layer Styles, I can go ahead and add a Gradient Overlay to that. Maybe I'll change that Blend Mode to something like Soft Light, and then change it to a Radial Gradient, and then a gradient that goes maybe from black to white. Press OK. I can move this gradient around, and then maybe increase the scale a little bit. Now it looks like it has kind of like a glare on it. If I change that radial from something like Radial to Reflected, again same kind of thing, looks like we have a glare coming from it, or it's a little bit lighter on the top than it is on the bottom. Press OK, a cool thing about this is because those layer styles were recorded into this as a smart object, if I double-click on that smart object to replace that image with any other photograph, guess what's gonna happen, it's gonna have those layer styles attached to them. So I'll take this image, let's just grab this one, and drag this and drop this into that layout, Shift + Alt. Save it out. Those layer styles are saved in there, see that? Pretty darn cool. So let me go ahead and minimize this. I'm gonna show you how this plays in resizing things for composites. So I'm gonna go ahead and open up an image. I'm just gonna open up this image. Now how this works when it comes to resizing images, especially for things like composite work, because I told you in the beginning, when you make things larger and you make things smaller, you're gonna be losing pixels and gaining pixels as you make that image smaller. So I'm gonna turn the background layer off on this, and I'm gonna duplicate it, I'm gonna go to History and I'm gonna duplicate. And on this one, I'm gonna right-click, and I'm gonna say Convert to Smart Object, and on this one I'm going to just leave it as a non-smart object. So at this point, I'm gonna press Command or Control + T, and I'm gonna make this smaller, much smaller, like this small, press Enter. I'm gonna come over to this image, press Command or Control + T, and make this smaller, much smaller, and press Enter. So if I go back to this one, because this was a rasterized image that I made smaller, if I wanna ever make that larger, watch what happens, if I press Command or Control + T, and I increase the size of this, look at that. We got our own Gaussian blur. If I go to the vector-based image, or what we made our smart object that then turned those rasterized pixels into what would be a vector-based similarity, press Command or Control + T, Shift + Alt, make that larger, look what happens. It remembered all of the data that was in that image before we made it smaller. So it is a good habit to get into using smart objects when you're resizing images, making images smaller, or more specifically, when you're doing composite work, like compositing a model onto a different background, turn that model into a smart object before you go ahead and put it onto the background, or before you put the background behind it, I should say, so that as you resize that model to get her to fit just right on that background, you're not losing that pixel quality as you make it larger and smaller, larger and smaller, larger and smaller. So we talked about quite a bit when it came to smart objects. We talked about what a smart object is, how a smart object works, and what we can do as photographers, and how we can use them in our workflow. We talked about smart objects from Adobe Camera Raw, how all we have to do is press Shift, and we can open that image as a smart object, and we can always go back in and redo any of those Camera Raw settings. We then used smart objects with filters, so that we could apply a Gaussian blur, and then go back into those settings, and even use the mask on that Gaussian blur. We then talked about smart objects as they pertain to straightening images, and we saw how effective that was on the vector versus raster. And we talked about smart objects with image layouts, and how you can change shapes, and apply images within those shapes. And then we talked about how to maybe make your own composite gallery-style wall, and how if you make it a smart object before you do any perspective corrections, those perspective corrections will be saved into that smart object. And then we talked about why it's important to use smart objects, specifically when it comes to resizing our images, because we saw that we just made a Gaussian blur by making a really bad rasterize decision.

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.

Robert Andrews

Blake Rudis is the absolute best in teaching photoshop. His knowledge and how he presents the instruction is clear and concise - there is NO ONE BETTER. Yes, his classes require some basic skills, and maybe I'd organize the order of (or group) the classes in a different order, but, let me be clear - if anyone is to be successful or famous in the Photoshop world, it should be Blake Rudis. I strongly recommend his teaching. I started photography and post processing in 2018, and because of this class, I'm know what Im doing. The energy you get when you create something beautiful is profound, it makes you bounce out of bed (at 4AM) like a 5 year old, to go create. It's a great ride! Thanks Blake, & Thanks Creative live.

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!!!!