Smart Objects and Image Transformation
Let's go ahead and talk about how this works when we transform images. So, what I've done here is I've made a diagram for you that you can use to test this out too. It's a really interesting perspective. We've talked about pixel peeping before, this is definitely pixel peeping at its max, but it's really cool. So we have over here, we have a vector based image, that's a smart object. Over here, we would have a raster based image, that will be a pixel based layer. And I have a broken bubble level in my head. Even with the levels that are on my stinking tripod, my tripod head, it doesn't matter what it is, I always have something in my image that needs to be straightened. It's just one of those things. I actually, I just thought of this. About 11 years ago, I made an action to tilt my canvas two degrees to the right because that's how broken my bubble level is. It's always broken by two degrees. So, when I pull an image in and I press play on that and it would, it was that predictable. I...
t was always going to be two degrees off. Anyway, so what you can do though, is actually, when you do that to a photograph, when you straighten the image, you're actually shifting the pixels and transforming that image when you straighten that image. Might be a little bit different in something like Adobe Camera Raw because it's on the raw file and tapping at the raw level. But if you come into photoshop and you straighten an image, it's gonna shift everything. So, if you've got sharpening that's happening on your photograph, as you shift that image, that slight rotation, is going to throw off the sharpening in that image. So, these examples will show us exactly how that works. I'm gonna press command or control R and I'm gonna bring down a ruler or a guide, just to the top of here, because these boxes now need to be straightened and put up on that guide. So, how I'm gonna do that is the first thing I'm gonna do is I'm gonna zoom in here and show you that this is the raster based version and move over here, this is the vector based version. Notice how other than really making our eyes hurt, they're the exact same thing. But there's a reason why I chose to fill them with that pattern, it's not because I like it. So, I'm gonna go ahead and zoom out. I'm gonna click on this vector based layer. I'm gonna command or control T, and I'm gonna rotate this until it is straight and I'll know it's straight because I'm using that guide. Press V for my move tool and move that up and then rotate it up until it's straight on that line. Which this is essentially the same thing as image straightening. The only problem right now is if I go to the crop tool and straighten that, it's gonna throw off this whole canvas. That's why I'm not using straighten tool right now. So, once I've got that set up, I can look in here, make sure it's perfect. There, perfect, okay, so that would be straight and I'll commit to it and press enter. Now I'll move over here. I'll look at this raster based image and I'll press command or control T and I'll move it 'til it's straight. Again, I told you this is pixel peeping at its finest. If you want to stick your tongue out while you do it, go right ahead. And then I'll press enter on that, press command or control H to get rid of that. Now what I want you to look at here is when you zoom in here to this edge, notice how because this was a vector based image, this line is still perfectly straight. If we go over here, it's straight but look what happened to the pixels when I moved it. It shifted all those pixels a little bit and it shifted those pixels and put them up here. Look what happens inside this design. Now, I'll move over here. Look at that, that's still straight. Everything in there is still very nice looking, right? But the other one on the other side, that raster based image, lost all that quality, along with that shift. So how this works is if you got an image like this, like this photograph here in Chicago, you can see my broken bubble level, even though I've got all the things to straighten things out it's still broken. If I was gonna go ahead and straighten this image, the typical way I would straighten it, by going into the crop tool and use my straighten tool and straightening out along one of the buildings that might be within the center of the image, everything's gonna shift. So, if I press C for the crop tool, control and spacebar, zoom in, and then straighten this, off of this building, press enter, I'm gonna go ahead and make a duplicate copy of this with my history and on this one, I'm gonna go ahead and step back. Now what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna right click and I'm gonna convert this to a smart object. 'Cause what I said before, what a smart object does is it can contain vector or raster based data. So by turning this into a smart object first, it's remembering all the data that was in this image before I do the straighten. So, if I go ahead and zoom in here, press C for the crop tool, and straighten this along this edge, just like we did in the last one. Now, if I wanted to move one on top of the other, I'll press V for the move tool, move this on top of here. Which one was my, oops, one of them. You know what I'm gonna do? I'm gonna go back to the beginning because I messed myself up (laughs). Good idea, Blake. So, I'm gonna go ahead and let's go to this image. Okay, let's close this down. Okay, so I got this one converted. This is my smart object one. So, I'm gonna do, is after I've got that smart object and it's straightened, I'm gonna double click here and I'm gonna call this smart straighten. And now, I need to make a duplicate copy of this, go back to the very beginning and not make it a smart object. So, I'm gonna rasterize that. And now I'm gonna zoom into the back of this, C for my crop tool, straighten this down. Basically, I want to turn that raster based image. So, when I straighten this and I move this one, which is not my smart one, pull it on top of here. What is going on here? I think I know what's going on. (sighing) 'Cause this one is not straightened anymore, is it? No, I know what's going on. I'm gonna go back all the way to the beginning because I think what's happening is sometimes when you duplicate a smart object and you mess with that smart object on another layer, what happens is it saves those settings from that duplicate that you made because it's always thinking about that smart object. So, that's the problem that's happening there. So, what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna open that back up. Just the regular JPEG that we had there and now I'm gonna straighten this image. Just like we did with the last one, but I'm gonna make a duplicate copy of it. So, I'm gonna make a duplicate that I can straighten, that's gonna be a rasterized image, and the other one is gonna be the smart object. So, I'll right click on this, convert to smart object, and then I'll straighten it along that building in the back. You guys are gonna know how to straighten an image like no other. And then I'll go ahead and commit to that and press enter. Come over to this one, C for my crop tool, and then straighten it along this edge, right here. So, this would be my non smart and I'll press V for the move tool, bring that over to this image. I'm pressing and holding shift while I do that, 'cause what that's gonna do is because they're the same size, if I press and hold shift while I move it over, it will automatically align them from the center. Now, other than my crop being a little bit different because no two crops are the same, there will be a slight difference in the pixels here. So that's the smart object, that's the non smart object. And because this image is so small, it might be hard to see the different details in there, but you'll notice the same thing is happening, especially right up here. Look along this top edge of this building. There's the non smart object, there's the smart object. That slight change in pixels that's happening up there, especially right along this edge, that slight change in pixels is because that data is being manipulated with that non smart object. And here, the smart object retains the same. So, other than those being slightly different because the straightening was just a little bit different, we are seeing a slight difference in pixel change. Again, this is a small image, so it'll actually probably more evident on the small image than it would on a bigger image. So, what that means is that the more that image has to straighten, the more it has to shift those pixels. We didn't have to do a whole lot of straightening to this, so, now a whole lot of pixels actually did move in that process. But, if you're gonna be straightening your images in photoshop, change it to a smart object first because that first image that we looked at, this image right here, was a dead giveaway that when we straighten our images on a raster based image, we do lose some pixels there. Now, if we zoom out here, look at that. We can't tell the difference. I don't want you to say, everything single time I'm gonna straighten my image, I'm gonna have to turn it to smart object. What I'm showing you here is an example of what is happening. But does it necessarily mean that every single time you straighten your image, you have to turn it to a smart object first, no, that's not exactly what I'm saying. But know that when you do straighten it and if you've done any sharpening in the process, you're gonna throw off your sharpening a little bit. So, let's say you get done with your whole work flow. Your whole work flow is done and you go, ah crap, my horizon's not straight and you straighten that horizon, just pay attention to it because some of that sharpening might have shifted in that process. I'm not guaranteeing that it's always going to happen, but some of it might happen. So, just look at it. I just needed you to be aware of that.