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Smart Object Tips

Lesson 17 from: Everyday Adobe Photoshop: From Workflow to Smartflow

Dave Cross

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Lesson Info

17. Smart Object Tips

Lesson Info

Smart Object Tips

Now, just to talk about how kind of day to day stuff in photo shop and how smart objects have changed things for the much better if I had a photograph, as I do here, and this is again before smart, obviously would open and look in the layers, palin says, background now, I used to be one of those people when I was teaching photo shopped for years, I would say just to give yourself a backup plan, step one should be duplicate the background layer, and that used to be the way that I always say to do it because at least that way you had a backup plan where you could still throw away everything else and get back to this. So people, you know, you'd go duplicate this and you apply filters and do whatever, and then if you didn't like it, you'd hit delete. The problem was, you know, what if he did twelve things, and then you had do that all over again, and that was just kind of you lived with it because that was the way it worked. So now I've kind of not kind of completely changed my tune instea...

d of saying duplicate the background layer first, usually the first thing I do is converted to a smart object instantly, that means I've protected this. So I can't unintentionally clone on it a race something you know do something bad by mistake and not realize it because as we've seen you can't if I try and take any of those tools is going to say no you can't do it so by nature your only option is to had a blank layer and do that on the blank layer because he's just not physically possible so in effect that's even better than duplicating the background layer because it's protected I can't do something by mistake and anything I do will be there on top of it on a separate layer when we talk about things like smart filters tomorrow it's shows up in the layers panel so I could edit that separately but ultimately my original photo is protected inside this so called protective container so where this starts to become you know an interesting possibilities where you can start to play with these kind of things so here's where I'm at I've just got this one layer just a smart object I want to duplicate it now when you duplicate a smart object it's an exact clone of the first one so what that means is if I then edit the smart object on one of them they all will edit which is usually good sometimes not we'll talk about where you might change your mind about that so now let's take this one and make it smaller and let's just want that show can't really see it so let's add a drop shadow this may be a stroke okay and we'll put that pierre and let's do one other duplicate this one will go the other way and make it bigger and that making other selection and a mask copy these effects copy these effects, he said, but they didn't actually copy there we go and a one little tip is when you're creating a laia it's always good to cover up the person's face like that I can have so that's a really good technically a nice effect to do is to put a photo right there probably be better over here so what I've got here is one smart object duplicated so there's three copies of the same smart object so this is an interesting possibility now because if I make any change to the contents of one they will all change so if I were to double click on it's going to open a separate document and as an example if I said well let's do a black and white version I add a black and white adjustment layer I close it and save it and instantly they're all changed a black and white now I could have also done that by putting an adjustment later in the document but the point is any change I make so if I go back here throw this away and put her name in here put up their clothes and save it updates in every single. So the concept is you're always updating and it's going to change the layout however you want one of the interesting aspects I think of this is if I go back to my contents let's look at it this way so here's the document instinct tio sorry here and save that to get with that weird little typing. So I've got this little document has like these three images and we're going again use are vivid imaginations and think that's a beautiful layout. I wish I could use that with other photos, not just this one. Well, I can, because when you look at the contents, remember it's saying whatever you see here, put that into the container document, so if I were to go on, take a different photograph and choose place, I'm placing into the contents document this soon as I hit enter clothes and save it update here now this one's a little off because living it's unusual because the size but that's ok, because I can still go in here and adjust accordingly because it's still a separate element it's just a copy of the same same smart object, and even though I had to do a little bit of editing here to make it look the way that I might want my favorite one of my very special has compared to the alternative, this is still better than me starting from scratch every time, so let's build a better example of that because that was kind of not great um that uh ok, I'll just do it from it's a way so one of things that photo shop actually has a built in option, which is called contact sheet and the concept is I want to give someone copies of, like, multiple ver copies of the same photograph on one page so kind of like in the I remember, at least in my high school in school days you get the little picture package where you had all the little eight wallet size and two five by seven all that kind of stuff I want to do something like that but automated and make life a lot simpler for me when I'm creating is for different customers I want to have my logo on here and everything else, so start off well, just I'm going to make a selection and I wanted to be the ratio of an eight by ten photo, so I put in five by force that means when I dragged I know that size it's going to be the right size and I hit fill it with some colors so I can see it and then I'm going to convert it to a smart object and then we'll put that up there I use my move to an option or all dragged to make a copy, then make another one, but up here I'm gonna make a fourth one but make it much smaller and then make one last one and then over here would be my logo on everything else. So it's, another similar example talked about before with clipping mass with this a little bit different, you'll see what I mean. This is because I took this one layer and duplicated it four times to make a total of five images. This is saying I won't take the same photo and have it appear five different times so that's, the purpose of this would be like a picture package thing, not individual photos. We'll talk about that in a second so I've saved this away and now this becomes my nice little picture package lay out any time I want to give a photo to someone. All I have to do is double click to say well here's the contents now let's take the photo I want bring it in there, place it in photoshopped this is going to be again probably that's not too gigantic and I just resize it oh, I want clothes and save and automatically populates it throughout now what throws people off a little bit? Look at the layers panel they're all still look like red squares, because sometimes when you update the smart object visually, the thumbnail doesn't necessarily update, but over here in the document, you can see it did there's a couple of options here. One is to just open the contents document and put a new one in there. If you know the sizing is dead on, you can also use a command called replace contest. I definitely didn't do that first because I wasn't sure if it would be perfect, but let me show you what that looks like, so I've got all my smart object copies here I click on any one of them and choose right, click and choose replace contents and that says, what would you like to replace it with? And I go on find, uh, whatever it is I want to use on dh said it. Yes, it is touches place still gonna go to camera off first because it just always does my click. Ok, you see, it didn't work because the sizing was so far off that's. Why I chose to do it the first time, the way I knew would work proper, but if you started with a photograph that was correct size, then when you replace it with another photograph of the same size. It would work so let me show you that in a way because I hate to have something that just didn't work so let me show you a better example of that so let's choose place and go on get that same one okay? So free transformed now so now I started with the photograph that was the right size, so hopefully it should start off working a little better stupid like this front house sake of argument ok, so now I choose replaced content scores I still didn't plan this very well, but I didn't make sure that I had another document was exactly the same size, but we'll see if it works or not. I do have when we talk about smart object templates to go into more detail about this uh let's try this one. No. Well, you can kind of get the idea and develop didn't pick the right sizing. My preplanning failed me in this case because that's one of the few things you need to make sure is that they are actually using one that's the same size which I clearly am novelas try one other one just for the heck of it oh that's closer but still not the right size anyway well, tomorrow well, when we do the smart object template thing, I have a couple examples I know we're better examples that actually work ok but that so one of the many benefits of a smart object is that you always think of contents it's always ability to replace the contents with something else so you don't always after you can not just update the existing one but say now that I created that kind of look I want to do that elsewhere will create that we'll look at that tomorrow we look more at the's smart objects side of things ok now one thing that's fairly new in the world of smart objects and a very nice thing because someone asked this question before and that is when I use smart objects my file sizes get quite bigas or any way around that well now there is an option in the latest update to photo shop cc which I think was I want to say it was like january probably this update came out eyes thie ability to choose between embedded smart objects which is the way it always worked or linked so this kind of changes the rules a little bit so here I have a little logo I made for a photography comfort pictures fictitious photography company that as you can see is made up of a whole bunch of layers now I definitely wouldn't want a copy and paste that all those layers and other documents be so confusing to do that but I wanted you see that's what this logo actually looks like a whole bunch of layers so then I opened my first document I wantto attitude and I choose between place embedded or place linked if I choose place embedded it means this one photo we'll have that logo in it and they'll be a linkage between the local in this document and the original period any other future use won't do anything, so if I just had a one off kind of a situation with one photo, that would be fine, but I know in this case I have a syriza photos on a put my logo into each one and know that if something changes, I can change them across the board and I do that by choosing place linked so when you do that it says, what would you like to link? And now this is probably I should explain this in more detail because it's an important fact I'm gonna place in my ps defile that as you saw has a bunch of layers, but because I'm using the place commanded automatically makes a smart object, so I'm linking in this multi layer document but it'll appear on lee is if it's one layer so right away it's simpler from a visibility standpoint but it still allows me to keep this ongoing editing ability so I hit place and I decide how big I want it like this I stick it here and I hit enter now the on ly kind of difference at first because it still looks like that same smart object is the symbolist slightly different now it's showing me that it's not quite the same and say that's the symbol for a linked smart object instead ok ok, so let's take these other ones hoping those as well and do the same thing place linked and it doesn't matter if they're different sizes because ultimately you're just placing in this same graphic element putting it in different ways some place linked that little smaller put up there now you also noticed that this has is seeing through now there's just not like a white background that's because in my original psd fell I made sure I didn't have ah white background layer or else all of these low was would have had a white background on them ok ok so then let's save these guys say this ok and there too and that one and the last one so ultimately you're gonna have now three ps defiles in there and you can see there's the psd files with the logo placed in there in the past before linking if now I looked at this logo one said that was I didn't mean for that to look that way it should be purple instead of red or that's the wrong spelling whatever I would have had to go double click edit that one save a doubleclick added that because there are independent of each other there embedded and not linked in any way to the original now they are linked, so if I double click on this and make some change to it whatever it might be this one has him bunch of layers in here so let's just make it a different color even see that and maybe I don't really like this texture thing quite as much anymore, so I just temporarily hide it now knows I didn't delete it didn't change anything in any permanent way even here I'm still preserving my ongoing flexibility and so I close and save it now what's going to happen is it first like ok, but when I opened this document you can see over here there's a little warning symbol to say well something's different because when you save this document, the linked logo smart object looked one way I'm detecting something has changed and the reason this doesn't automatically update is they don't want to assume you meant that toe happen they want to give you the option of going let me think about this result and do I want to change it or not? Ok so if I look at this I can see well that's where it's changing ok now I can see that if you go the properties panel its ally me to see what's happening and it's saying well, what's happening is this has changed do I want update that let's update the modified contents now it gives me three options reveal and find her if I won't actually see the original logo to look at it update or replace if I decided no, I don't actually want to update I want to use a different version of this logo instead the's air all options but if I choose update you see it now it has update so we have the option of doing this so now it gives us muchmore control it does two things the first important thing is it's going to reduce the files a little bit? Because technically that logo was not embedded inside making docking bigger just referring to it however, this changes the game a little bit because in the past if I chose place and it embedded it, it wouldn't matter what I did with that original. In fact, even if I deleted the original logo, it wouldn't matter because it was embedded inside that file. But now this linked if I changed the location where it saved if I change the file name, I'm going to break the link because it's, looking for a file called rogers dot psd in this folder if I moved to a different folders going to say I can't find it anymore now you have the option of reestablishing that link but that's if anyone has ever used like in design or any of those pages out software that was always the way it worked. It always placed everything in and lincoln after make sure you preserve the location of the name. This is no different with embedding and I had to worry about it and that was always one of the benefits I used to talk about with smart objects. If you, for example, put a camera file inside for herself as a smart object in if your original raw file got deleted by mistake, you still have it because embedded inside. If you delete a linked one, then all it will do is it will give you a graphic representation say, well, this is the best I can recall, but you could no longer edit it because the link is broken. It's gone so that's the one difference is linking smart, obvious could be very beneficial from an editing standpoint from a memory standpoint. But you've the onus is on you to make sure you set up a system where you're not going to something go what's going on here, so either have a structure of folders or you make sure that's the final name or whatever it might be. So this is a really nice possibility because it means you, khun, create something and have it go across the board and, you know, do a much better job of of updating and the other thing is the final thing that I would say to me has already happened a couple of times where first I'm thinking I should link this smart object and then partway through I'm like yeah, it doesn't really help me I should just embedded one of the other options in this property just say never mind linking let me just embedded now instead and that eliminates any worry of you know, maybe this one should be different the rest that we have kind of broken the lincoln's that make this one embedded in the rest not move the file that has the place linked in it well that also break the link um that's a good question I never try that I don't think so because I think it's remembering the path of where the placed object appears or where it was saved not where this document was when you placed it. So I think it's because when you look at it saying like right here and saying users digging obama blad showing me the path of where the logo is, I don't think it necessarily cares that this is where my current document is and again it worse as long you haven't believed anything you can always repair that link and get it back again so that's because that a fairly new aspect of smart objects but it's a very nice one because it means for certain situations, you might want to do something and multiple documents, other cases you don't, so it used to be when you go to the file menu you would see place that was all you saw. If you now have a more recent credit plowed version, you will see both options so that it seems to me the way to minimize the problem is you create a a folder where all of your things that you want a link reside and that's where everything always goes and I think that's a great idea and most people will think about that probably too late, but it is definitely good philosophy, and I I know I used to that when I would work on in design, I would white away create a folder called assets that was one of the terms you would use for everything you put in there. So you're graphics and photographs and text documents that when you knew for this project everything was in there but invariably like money, that other thing and go off and look, but at least you're right starting off and that's a great way to avoid the issue or the other part is just make every effort not to start moving things around after the fact, unless you're moving like in my case, I have everything in one folder, so the linked graphic and everything in here is automatically there anyway so I don't have to worry about, by the way also noticed that, um how well you can see this, but even in bridge it's telling me that this just by looking the thumbnail I can see this has a link smart, obviously that that's why that little symbol means so I don't have to try and remember was that linked or embedded? It's telling me just didn't by looking at him bridge what it is so, you know, in a white room when you cut the link there's a thing it says find this photo and when you find the photo and actually find like the whole folder photos doesn't do the same thing with this, I find the whole groups of photos at the same time well, the difference is here what we're looking at is when I look at the in this case, the local who has been linked all it seizes the path back to that element that's been placed in so it wouldn't really pay attention to multiple photos less you had multiple things linked in, but you're my case I'm bringing in one element that's the thing that there's going to be a link to everything else where the photos are I mean, I could have photos in ten different places and all linked to the same all have the same graphic linked into them it happens just for my keys. I put all my photos in one place, but they don't have to be it's more preserving the link between, you know, when you place the lynx smart object and keeping make sure that is preserved, so when you go toe, look forward, it's more you manually have to say, where did that? If I, if I moved to different folder and it's now giving that missing link symbol, I'd have to be the one to go and re establish the link by refining the placed object, not the individual photographs. And again, this is fairly new actually is very new in the world of smart object, so it's the kind of thing where it does take a bit of kind of getting used to and I I only sending leaps semi jokingly say, when people say, for example, well, should I am bed or link? And the answer is yes, because I mean both, that depends kind of thing, because, honestly, if I had three photographs, do I really need to link just three? But if I had twenty five photos putting same thing and it might make more sense, you know, or everything you're bringing in is just a separate project, so you you don't, you know, you just treat everything is separate some people do linking just to save a little bit on file size personally for me, linking is more so I want to use the same element in multiple places that makes better sense, but if I'm bringing in like say that, uh lay out I have that wedding thing that's a pretty big file, so if I want to use that another document toe linked to that might be a better choice was a wood slim down the file size a little bit of wind up wouldn't end up being that guy enormous kind of thing happening ok, so that that part of smart options pretty interesting because it means you know, we have some options for giving ourselves different ways of approaching and saving on memory as well. I want to just briefly touch on this next part up until now this has just been happening and I want you to kind of see why it's happening and how we can affect it every time I have started in camera rods on mackley coming as a smart object and that's because I changed a setting so I'll just break quickly change it to show you what it normally out of the box this is the way camera works, but with camera typically it works like this unless you change something so you you're adjusting an image at the bottom, it says open image when you click that it comes in the photo shop as a good old fashioned background layer nothing smart about it no link to camera this is the way used to always work as you'd use cameras your starting point apply things and then opening photoshopped the end you know when you do things in photo shop but you never had the ability to go back two camera on say wait wait I want do this one more thing so that's the default operation that normally happens however there's something that personally I turned on once I never turned off again because I'd much rather always have a link between camera on photo shop and the way you do it it's a little odd at first I believe because way down the bottom you see that little looks like I always think it looks like a hyperlink on a web site where it just looks like a you know underlying link I have no idea why no one and there were these if it had been able to explain to me why she's not a button that says workflow options that's what it is. So why it looks like this I don't know doesn't make any sense to me, but anyway when you click on it, and by the way, the reason I even mentioned that is some people never clicked on it because I think it's just information because it just looks like it's saying adobe, rgb this size, it doesn't necessarily tell people wait, you should click here, but this is where you do a lot of really important things, like pick the size of your document and the resolution for print, and whether you want to sharpen and in my our discussion here also what you want to be smart or not. So down the very bottom one of the options is open and photo shop as smart objects now, even though I'm only working on one document, the fact that it says open and photo shop as smart objects plural is its way of saying from now on, always open every camera raw file info shop as a smart, off so it's a preference for work flow to say, always do this now personally, I'm not exaggerating say once I turn it on and realize what it could do, I never turned it off to me. It's always on that's. Why, whenever I go to demonstrated after initially turn it off to show you how it used to work, because once it's on the changes pretty subtle, all that happens now is this button says open object instead of open image, but the difference is now I can do things like deliberately changed the exposure. Open it and photo shop so I could do something like that I'll make a selection and then once I am happy with it, go back and put it back the way it wass and have an update so I've now created a two way street between camera on photoshopping this opens up some wonderful possibilities because, as I mentioned in passing yesterday, I think camera roz easier on easier way to edit files then it isn't photoshopped things like an exposure slider here's a perfect example as of right now, there's no easy way in photo shop to have something like clarity clarity can be a really nice addition to a lot of photos and photoshopped there's no command cold clarity there's ways you can through a lot of steps kind of achieve it, but I love the fact I could just come here and move one slider and click ok and it updates back and photoshopped so it's like giving the camera editing abilities within photo shop so that's one of the key aspects, however, we have to remember that without doing, I didn't have to say convert a smart obvious because it did that coming from camera also right away I'm back to that same old story of I can't clone I can't paint and that's where you have to instantly think about adding a new layer because you can't edit it in this case looking at the contents when I double click it doesn't open a separate window like it did before when I took a layer document and made it smart when I edit the contents, that means go backto camera so that's created a back and forth to waste editing street between camera and photo show and I'm deliberately for now avoiding the light room conversation because it's much more complicated but the concept is kind of similar but with a twist but whether you started either one you do global editing there click ok it updates and photoshopped many continue doing photo shop style things including all things we've talked about like masking and adjustment layers and clipping mask and all that stuff but with the added bonus of being able to edit it in photo shop and light and a sorry camera on four shot back and forth so sometimes smart artists are made automatically for example, this case camera if I choose the place command it's automatically smart if I have a document open is just a regular layer then it's up to me to say, wait a minute I should make this smart first, so if I open a regular photo shop document or I'm working on layers or something and I said anything, wait a minute that's not gonna happen on the back that's up to you to say I need to make this smart and I want to say, it was about three weeks ago, I was working with a group and we had this whole smart object conversation and some some if I said so does that mean you always you smart, obvious for everything? And I went always, I always consider it, and most of time I probably do. But there's, very few times, I just start working, and then I'm in multiple areas. I'm almost always back in my thinking. It would probably make sense somewhere along this way to convert to smart object because that's, one of the best ways to really preserve everything and protect myself so I don't end up going, oh, what I do, what just happened there, and I see that way too many times people are doing something foolish that most of them go, oh, no, I painted myself on the court. Now I can't get out it's a lot harder to do that if you're using all these methods, including smart objects.

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Smartflow Notes

Ratings and Reviews

a Creativelive Student

I enjoyed this class by Dave Cross. I like his method of teaching and found him very easy to follow and I learned lots of good tips on smart objects and working non destructively. I have just made the move from PS Elements to Photoshop CC 2014 so have lots to learn so I look forward to more from Dave in the future. Thanks Dave, I thoroughly enjoyed this class.

Roni Chas


a Creativelive Student

Dave Cross is a wonderful instructor! He has a fantastic teaching style and has great mastery of his subjects!

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