Smart Objects Overview
Alright, I think it's time for the schoolmarm. Are you ready? Alright. I'm gonna lecture some folks here out in TV land or whatnot and have a conversation about Smart Objects. I'm really particular about Smart Object abuse. We should have a badge. Like a little no Smart Object abuse.
We don't need no stinking badges.
We need some stinking badges. Now while this screen might be a little difficult to read, you'll have this on a printout that you can read, but it's really more about listening. So just listen. Pull up a chair, have your coffee, and let's have a conversation about Smart Objects. What are Smart Objects? Smart Objects are many different things. They can be basically a layer that you have in Photoshop. Layers, plural that you merge together and create a Smart Object. And it's kind of like, I like to say putting it in a suitcase. It's putting it in a container. And you have this container and it's called a Smart Object. You can attach filter to it or not. You can leave it a...
s it is or not. You can scale it if you like. You can open it. When you open it, it will open in a separate document. A Smart Object can be Type. It can be Live Type that you've made a Smart Object. And we'll show that in a later session. Why would you do that? Because you wanna apply some filters to it. For example, Eye Candy. And it can't do it on Live Type, it has to do it on pixels. So how you get around that is a Smart Object. Smart Objects can be large layer formats, the PSBs can be Smart Objects. Smart Objects can be camera raw files. And what I mean, it's camera raw file I mean you bring it into Photoshop and you have it in your layers and you work on it, you double click on it it goes all the way back to camera raw. We're gonna talk about that later in the camera raw section. Smart Objects can be illustrators files. Smart Objects can be PDFs, all in Photoshop. Smart Objects can be JPEGs. Alright what that meant was--
Just cause you can--
Doesn't mean you should. (laughing) Now it is perfectly legitimate to make a Smart Object JPEG and how you do that, and in fact I've done that in a few demos, is you grab an item off your desktop and you drag it directly onto Photoshop. You drag an item from Bridge, that is already a JPEG. A stock shop for example. If you use any kind of stock agency and they send you a JPEG and you drag and drop it into your file. The problem with that is that Smart Object always has to be a JPEG. So if you wanna edit it, so let's say for example, you took a picture of someone with glorious hair and and you wanted to use their hair in a composite and you drag it over as a Smart Object. If you wanna edit it, if you wanna change the color of it, you have to do it on a flat file that is always saved as a JPEG. You can't leave it layered. And it is pain in the hiney when you have to work in a fluid workflow like we do. So I would suggest do not drag over JPEGs, hence I have the danger sign. First open it in Photoshop, label it and then drag it over as a layer. It just makes work a little more flexible. The other thing I would suggest is, oh excuse me I forgot, you can also make Smart Objects out of shapes. And you have some choices here. Like when you bring in files, you can bring them in as Smart Objects, or pixels pass or shape layers. You can make a shape layer into a Smart Object. It's kind of endless and it's a little crazy. The other thing you can do is you can embed a Smart Object or you can link a Smart Object. I think linking is beyond dangerous. If you work in a closed work environment it is perfectly safe, that means it's only you. Maybe your dog. You're fine because you're not gonna forget to re-link it or you have access to it. For folks like us, we work in different locations and different places, different companies. I cannot tell you how many times I get a job and a Smart Object was linked and I don't have it. And that's pretty bad. The other thing that is the most crazy ass thing is Smart Object in Smart Object in Smart Object. Please don't. (laughing) Just don't. Please do not, do not embed Smart Objects inside Smart Objects. Files get corrupted, files get buggy, and worst off you lose a hundred percent understanding of what your resolution is. You are completely lost, you have no idea. The original is whatever the size is, and then the Smart Object, it says was that one and then embedded in another one. So don't. There are some advantages. You guys can just read the handout, it's not really worth going over. Just be careful of embedding too many and having really large files. Linking, I've said it, I'm gonna say it again, please don't link. Poop sign, just don't do it. And when I say that, for people out there in internet land I know that there's for some folks the workflow linking is perfectly acceptable and I do understand that. But proceed with caution, 'cause if you work with other folks, it's really easy to get lost. When you place files inside Photoshop, you can, and I know it's hard to read on the screen, but don't worry, you have a handout, you can actually choose to place files as Smart Objects. And that's very handy. And what else would I like to tell you about? On the handout you will have a whole list of what the Smart Objects, how to make a Smart Object, how to replace the contents of a Smart Object. It's a little involved and what I wanna say about that is just proceed with caution because I think, and I think you've experienced it, people get out of control with Smart Objects.
Yeah, there's a lot of good to Smart Objects. I mean, the advantages are huge. There's only a few bad things to it, but, man, they're really bad.
Yeah, and I would say, if I had to emphasize it , it's a lack of control. What size is it? Where is it? How big is it? So can you imagine, let's say you start with a beautiful shot of Cuba. You've gone to Cuba with Kenna and you've got this beautiful, huge 125 megabyte file and you bring it into a file that's really only, it's a web file. And if you look at your document, it looks like, it says it's only eight megabytes but when you save it, it's like 200 megs, why is that file 200 megs? It's because you've got an embedded Smart Object that's huge. And while Smart Objects allow for flexibility, they can allow for too much.
You can also un-smart a Smart Object and I do this often with jobs. I think this is really handy. And what you can do is you can export the contents into its own file. And save it off in your assets folder. I love it. So you have it in handouts, take a look. I think it'll be pretty handy. It is really a workflow, it's kind of a production. It's almost like this is, for me, the accounting of Photoshop. You know what I mean, like bookkeeping? So it's kind of a linear thing. But, eh, what are you gonna do? Smart Objects, make friends with them. I think that's it. Do you have anything else to say about Smart Objects?
I like that handouts are handy.
Handouts are handy.
And Smart Objects can make, can make you smart, but not always.
How do you deal with files that are huge?
That's a loaded question.
So can you extrapolate a little bit by what you mean by that?
So when I was building a composite it could not save.
Because it was too big.
Excellent, that's a great question. Alright so, when I'm doing composite files and they're too big, and I'm gonna presume you had a size you had to build it at and that's why it was that big. Is that safe to assume? Okay, cool. So if you have a size that your job has to be and your multi layers are getting you in trouble, what I do is save 'em off in parts. So for example, is I will build the base and I will save that base as its own, what I call whip one a, W-1-A, that means it's layered, it's in an asset folder. I will then merge that and put that in the composite. If I have to go back to it, I see the name, it's called 'whip one a,' I can go back in the asset folder and then get it. And then the next part of the composite, I build that outside, merge it, bring it in, and if I have to go back to it I can easily go back to it 'cause the name of the layer is the same name as the layered file in the asset folder. Cropping, there's often a lot of times outside of the composite area that you don't need, so crop. You might be amazed how much, when you bring something in and you've transformed it, it's all the way out here and all you needed was this. So, try to remember to crop. What else can I say? Oh! Pixel layers. Instead of, do you know all that white atmosphere I did? I do it all the time, everything's a white atmosphere. You don't have to have that be a pixel layer. You could do a, let me see if I can open this up real quickly. Rather than having a pixel based layer, you could have a, I'm just gonna open any file, it doesn't really matter. Duplicate this up real quick. That's a really good question, by the way. Alright.
You could also through and collapse some of your Smart Objects, if that's an option. That'll save you some. So, you're not gonna be able to save our boat so what you gotta do is trim down your file so it is savable size. And these are a couple ways of doing it.
Yeah, that's a really good idea. So this color fill, which is white, that's mathematical code. So that's not actual pixels. It's mathematical code so it'll take less space. And if I needed atmosphere, I could just, paint. Let me pick a different brush here real quick. Ooooh, I love my brushes. Alright. I'm doin' a hack job here but you understand. So that will take less memory than an actual pixel base there. So mathematical code, I was just gonna say, it's mathematical code as opposed to pixels. So those lens flares, instead of having lens flare actually be a pixel layer, if it's white, do a channel pull. Do I have my channel still here? Yes, I do, watch this. So imagine, I wanted to add some water reflection. Instead of having pixels be my water reflection, there, mathematical code, it's gonna take a lot less memory.
Another one along those lines is get used to adjustment layers. So instead of putting down black paint, put down a black adjustment layer, a black curve, and paint in part of that black curve that you want to darken your image instead of putting black paint costs more, it takes up more memory and it'll make your file size bigger so get comfy with hue saturation of color, curves and levels for luminosities, and then--
Now, the other thing I would say, pardon me for interrupting, is perhaps, perhaps, this happens a lot in our industry, your image size, who says you have to build it the size you have to? For example, with printing now, it is amazing how big these printers say they can print their files. They're enormous and they're way bigger than the quality of any original you've ever started with. So why not build the file at 150 dpi instead and res it up at the end flat? Or res it up layered? What?
Can you expand on that so if someone has an original that's only a 10 meg file, and they start with a 300, it's only gonna be as good as that where you started.
Okay, this is the story of our life, daily. This is a personal thing for us. Alright, we are often asked to build these movie posters enormous, and I mean enormous. And the originals of these actors are stills from a unit photography and they're this big. So what will happen is, we know better, we will build it either half size at 150 dpi or at the size of the best original in there. And then at the end of the job, with no one knowing, at the quiet of night, we will res it up to the size that they asked for once, sharpen it, and add some noise. So that brings me to a point I'd like to make. We haven't talked about this yet but I'm gonna talk real briefly about sharpening. So, in answer to your question, build the file smaller, because it is possible, I'm quite sure. And at the end, do something like this. This is not in your handouts, okay? This is not in your handouts.
That is secret stuff.
Go to filter, other, high pass. 1.5 is generally the number I use, I start with. And put that on, let's try linear light, which is crazy sharp, and look at this. That's too sharp, as a general rule, linear light, but if you reduce it to 25% opacity, you get a really nice sharpen. So if I can give you a formula it's res up, sharpen, add grain, in that order. Res up, sharpen, add grain.
So res up at the end so don't be playing around for a week working on too large of a file, work on it at a proper size and then res it up at the end. That'll save you some time.