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Smart Object Usages

Lesson 15 from: Photoshop and Lightroom Creative Cloud Additions in 2015

Ben Willmore

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Lesson Info

15. Smart Object Usages

Lesson Info

Smart Object Usages

And let's look at a few other layer related features in photo shop there's, a feature known as a smart object and let's briefly talk about how smart object worth works in case you're not used to using them. And then let's look at some of the additions and changes they've made two smart objects recently, so I'm gonna come here and find a layer that's this one right here? Do you see this? Looks like a little green tab, and with that layer, I'm going to go to the layer menu, choose smart objects and say, convert to smart object when I do that, it's the quill into taking whatever layer or layers are currently selected and putting them in a protective thing container called a smart object. I think of it like a ziploc bag imagine you just lived that layer into a ziploc bag and sealed it now anything that I do, too, that layer can't effect directly the contents of the layer. Instead, it needs to be done in a way where it's just settings attached to the layer. What that means if I go over here...

and try to do something like blur the layer, the blurring will not permanently change the contents of that layer. Instead, the blurring will be a setting attached to the layer. You see here where instead of just blurring the layer and you don't know if it happened or not the blur is sitting right here, it's attached I could turn off this eyeball and if I did, the blurring would no longer be applied. I could turn it back on and it would reapply, but whatever it is that you do to this layer from now on cannot directly affect the contents of that smart object I didn't need to blow that's going to throw that away a little broad blurring part. I'm going to simplify this document by hiding a bunch of the layers and now let's work with this particular smart object. What I'm going to do is duplicate this smart object I can do that many different ways I usually just type command, jay I think of command. Jay is jumping something to a new layer if you're not used to the command it's the same is going to the layer menu, choosing new layer via copy and if you think of command, jay is jump it's easy to remember let's jump a copy of this to it a new layer so I'm gonna type command jay and I'll move that over then I'll type command j and I'll move it over let's just say we're doing a web interface type command j again and just make a bunch of tabs I'll select all those in my layers panel and get him so they fit in here. Now he ever wanna work on the contents of a smart object, meaning you actually want to be able to change what's inside of it? You what you need to do is go in your layers panel in double click on the little thumbnail image for that layer, and if you do that it's going to open up that ziploc bag and look at what's inside, but when it does it's going to show it is a separate document, so when I double click, I'm no longer going to be looking at this document. I'm going to be looking at the contents of that smart object that's what was in there in any change, I make this, I can now make any kind of change, I'd like I'll go down here to my effects and I'll just change some of the settings on here. I got little red highlight in it now is the center part now watch what happens if I close this smart object, I'm going to close it and I'm going to say save it's, not going to say that on my hard drive is going to save it back to where it came from. Where did it come from? It came from the moment I double clicked on a layer it was in that layer when I choose say about come back and you know it's how all of them updated because any time you duplicate a smart object it thinks of it it's just multiple instances of the exact same content it's similar to if you're used to using a page layout program or a word processor and you take a picture and you just inserted into that document more than once and if it's the kind of program that doesn't in bed that picture instead of just keeps track of where it was on your hard drive if you go back and change the picture itself make it black and white or something and open that page layout document a word processing document all the pictures you know the copies of it would all be black and white because they've looked back to the original in c has the content changed and if so the update well there are a couple different kinds of smart objects there is one called an embedded smart object and there's one called a linked smart object and let's look at the difference an embedded smart object is completely contained within one document like here these air embedded and what that means is these air independent of any other document that you have even if those other documents might have elements that look like these they're not somehow linked together but I can take one of these over here too smart objects and here's a choice called convert the linked what convert to link means is when I choose convert to link it means let's create a file on my hard drive that contains the contents of this smart object and I'll just call it tab and I'll save it somewhere now I'm going to create a brand new document and if I want to use that file I just saved I could do it in a couple different ways I could go to the file menu and I can say place as linked and I go here to my desktop and I find the file I just saved two one called tab there it is now what's happening is that smart object is not embedded into this document meaning the entire contents of its original is linking back to that filing my hard drive and if I go and make a change to that filing my hard drive it's going update not only this document but also I find it this document what that means is if I have let's say a logo I'm about to do a new business card letterhead envelope website everything I know I want to square logo for my current design but we're not sure what is going to look like yet I can make a file that's just a square and call it logo and whenever I want to use it within a file, I just go to the file menu and I say place linked, and I feed it. That file that saved on my hard drive all contains a square. I use it on my business card using my letter. Had I use it on my website, I use it in dozens of photoshopped documents. Then I do this. I go and look on my desktop. I find that little file called tab and I open it. Here it is. You don't make any change. I'd like to come in here, and I change the settings that are on it. Maybe I get rid of the drop shadow. Maybe I come in here and change my color back to a greenish. But all of that. And if I save this now it's going to update that file. And if I close this, you know, it's, the one that I converted into a linked smart object right here, updated. And if I go over to the other document, this one updated to any of them that are linked smart objects linked back to that file, so any changes I make in the future are going to update. The only thing is, if one of these documents was closed at the time that the change had happened, then the next time I opened this, it won't automatically update like that instead, over here in my layers panel, it would have a little warning triangle on this teo indicate that that has been updated on my hard drive but that it hasn't updated this file yet because it thinks that I might want to print or use the file as it was, and I could go to a panel called the properties panel and tell it to update we've had those for a while, but now we can do is we can convert embedded smart objects toe link smart objects, which is what I just did or if I want this to be independent of the other ones, I can now go to the layer menu too smart objects and I can say I want to embed that meaning I wanted to be independent of that file that's on my hard drive and in the past you had to work around quite a bit of those things in order to get that to happen or if I choose, undo and keep. This is a link smart object let's say used a bunch of links smart objects within my picture, then I need to send this file to somebody else and not only do I want to give them this file, I want to give them any files that it refers to any files they are linked to I can now go to the file menu and there's a choice called package package means copy this ah file here, and any files that is linked to, because sometimes those files that are linked to are stored in complex areas of my hard drive, they're under folders that are called corporate identity logo design, logo design, draft number three, the green version, you know, you don't remember where they are, so if you choose packaged, it will copy not only this file, but it can also copy anything that is linked to it. So here I'll create a new folder and it's called tests. We know where it goes now hit shoes and let's, go look at what it put there. Now, here is what it just saved. This is the name of the file I was just working on, and in here is a folder called links, and right there is the file that it was referring to. This could be ten different files that have used throughout this kid, me by corporate logo. It could be my signature, because I've used my signature at the bottom of of letters or something. It could be all sorts of things, but by doing so, you can very quickly have it organized this. Now, if you've never used smart objects before, this stuff might not make a huge amount of sense to you, but there are a lot of additions that if you are used to using smart objects, could be very nice let's, look at one other, another feature you can use and photoshopped that some people use in some don't is called layer comp, and if you go to the window menu there's a choice called layer cops let's say that you had this, which is going to be your business card, and in wanting to be your business card, you're going experiment with a bunch of different versions of this stuff, and you're not sure if you wanted to look like this particular one, or if you want your text to look slightly different or use different colors within it? Well, what you could do is make different variations on your business card and just have it so that you make those variations by just turning off some layers and turning on other layers like here, I have texted different colors so this one I could use or that when I could use you, set it up the way you like for one version of your business card at the bottom of the layer camps panel, you click this icon right here that would create a brand new layer comp who would ask you to name it, and I might call blue text. And then here you tell what to keep track of I wanted to keep track of which layers air visible, where those layers are, and if I changed any of those layer styles like prevalent in boss schtrops shadow, that kind of stuff, then I could change which layers are visible again turn off this one, turned that one on and create a new layer comp call this one orange text and keep it haven't keep track of the same things, then when I want to decide which one use, I just click on the left column here and I can very quickly have it switch, which layers are visible for me? That's what a layer camp is in here. I've done that with other things, and I preach set this up so that I might have a different layer at the bottom visible in that kind of stuff, but I pre set those up well, let's say I saved that file and put it on my desktop, and then I want to use that file let's say, I'm going to create a layout that shows my business card sitting there. Example letter had an example brochure, something in one of those is going to be that business card, so I come over here and create a brand new document we'll make the document maybe eight and a half by eleven click ok and now I'm gonna choose file place linked mean, I just want to refer to that file the one called this one here I choose place and they're setting can scale it to whatever size I want to use it I could rotate it, it is going to be in there and in previous versions of photo shop, I was stuck with whatever version of the image I had of the moment that thing was saved and it would ignore the layer camps that I had created but in the newer versions of photo shop, I can now come over here to the property's panel and if that is a linked smart object meaning it's referring to a file on my hard drive and it has those things called layer cops in them right here in the properties panel you're gonna have the same layer accomplice you had in the labor camps panel when you have that file open so I could switch between the various designs in here, which could be nice how much you use that for various things? Well, you can use it for all sorts of things. Let me find another file quickly here I have a calendar I'm gonna copy to my desktop because I don't know where it is here I don't wantto navigate, we'll go to photo shop and let's place it place linked there's a calendar I'm going to scale it down so it fits within this document and you know how whenever you get a calendar when you're going to buy it on the back page of the packaging, the shrink wrap it shows you every single month what they look like well, I want to create one of those that shows every single month from what they look like so I could if I just typed command j that means jump to new layer and I move this over so I have two of them I go to my over here properties I can say this one should have the february calendar in it and then I can jump that two new layer my command e drag it over and this one should have march in it as long as I set them up with layer camps, I can select all these layers moved them down here and just keep going until I get that whole grid set up where I grab one of these layers at a time in each one I just tell it to use a different layer comp. The idea though, is you would need to have these later cops set up at a time because they're not going to be there automatically even yesterday of command g can you teo hold on the all key and could do the same thing you can if you're in the move toward yeah you can hold down the option key alton windows and just drag with the move tool and that will drag you copying and that's actually how I made this second row of copies I selected all the layers like this and I'll move this up here if I'm in the move to all us hold on option or alton windows and drag option means work on a copy and so yes, that would have duplicated them and then I could go down to each one and change my layer comp so it all depends on if you're used to using layer cops or not some people have never used later cops have no idea what they do or how to use them, and therefore this might be a stretch as too, you know, is this feature useful for you or not? But if you make a lot of variations on your designs where you're not certain what colors you want to use yet you're not certain the layout you want later cops could be useful for not creating all sorts of variations in here with a linked smart object we can choose for each one of these copies, which later comp should be used, so if you do things like calendar lands like this or lots of variations, it could be very nice any questions about linked smart objects and the later cops like that if you have an object, there's a smart object, can you and it's in a series of links linked are layers I should say, uh, can you put a mask on in newspapers to adjust it? He said, I'm going to have a smart object if you have a surge of layers and one of them's a smart object, yeah, can you put a mask on it? Yes, you can and adjust it. Yeah, you can put a mask on it, it's you can put a mask on ah smart object and do whatever you want, whatever you usually do to a man ask it's there's not a limitation when it comes to the smart out was that that in the earlier version, she couldn't do that. Now you've been able to add mass too smart objects for that you're gonna race and and bring back the black thing is long as it's done through a mask. The thing you can't do is you can't grab the eraser tool indirectly erased the contents of smart object. Instead, you have to use a mask because the eraser tool itself cannot throw away anything. Ah, mask is something that's temporary, and so when you paint with black and a mask, he can hide whatever it's attached to and therefore it's the way of temporarily hiding part of a smart object. So it's it's. The alternative to using the eraser tool, which is what you couldn't do so tomorrow, less your force due to use them. You see no, also with layer cops. There are other things that are new with them. When you go up and choose layer camps, there s a new icons at the bottom, and those new icons will allow you to update the visibility, the position, or the effects of a lawyer, so that if you change the visibility and you want that to be updated across all your layer cops, so that this particular layer is now hidden in all the layer cops, you can select the layer cops. Click this icon, you know, will update the visibility to match the current state of the document. But those air new as well.

Class Materials

Bonus with Purchase

Ben Willmore - Class Handbook.pdf
Ben Willlmore - LayerComps Example.tif
Ben Willmore - Lightroon Dehaze Preset
Ben Willmore - DeHaze Preset Pack Quick Start Guide.pdf

Ratings and Reviews


Got to "know" Ben during Photoshop Week and a few other courses. He has consistently been one of my favorite Photoshop instructors. He is extremely easy to follow, stays on point without being cold or boring, and is immensely knowledgeable on just about everything Photoshop. He does not disappoint in this fantastic in-depth review of some great new features in PhotoShop and Lightroom CC 2015 ... there are some real hidden gems in there for you. Ben polishes them up and serves them to you with extra info, insight, and pertinent examples. He goes the extra mile to answer questions and delve into related subjects without going off the rails. GREAT, GREAT course. Thanks Ben, and Creative Live! -Tim K.

Jose A De Leon

I just purchased this course today and it's wonderful. Ben is one of the best Photoshop instructors I've encountered. I had purchased the complete Mastery course and this one is a welcome addition since it covers new features. Even though Photoshop and Lightroom will continue to evolve, the basic techniques and tools used are basically the same, so I find myself going back to the mastery course if I hit a bump along the way. Ben's knowledge is second to none, but his true gift is the ability to transmit all that knowledge in bite size and understandable portions that are never boring. Someday I will have the privilege to know him personally, in the meantime I will continue to buy his courses as they come out. Such a wealth of information. Thanks Ben and CreativeLive!


Ben is a wealth of knowledge and covers the material beautifully. Highly recommend his workshops to others!

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