Smart Objects for Beginners

Lesson 1/8 - Class Introduction


Smart Objects for Beginners


Lesson Info

Class Introduction

Smart Objects! Smart Objects is a feature that can completely change the way you approach Photoshop, actually. If you've never used them in the past, then once you start learning what they're capable of, it kinda opens up a new world of what you can do. We're gonna be able to do things like create templates, where let's say you wanna make a brochure, but you're not sure what pictures you wanna make yet to use within the brochure. So you create something fancy. It looks like maybe a three dimensional book cover. You know, you constructed it in Photoshop, the pages and everything, but you're not sure what the book cover's gonna look like, what's gonna be the text on it, what's even gonna be the name of the book you wanna feature. Well, we can just put in a placeholder there. We can transform it so it's smaller, it's at an angle, it's got a drop shadow underneath it, and get a really complex layout. And later on it would take us literally 15 seconds to swap out what is shown on the cover ...

of that book. When we swap it out, it would automatically scale it, rotate it, put it back into that composite. So we can do a lot of work where we're not always certain if the image we're using there is final yet. Where as in the past, if you didn't have Smart Object, you mainly work on finalized pieces. It'll allow us to do a lot of other things. Like if we apply filters, those filters won't be permanent anymore. So if a month later you come back and went man, when I sharpened this image, I really went overboard. Well, you'll be able to, in a matter of two seconds, be able to go back, and lessen the settings for that sharpening filter, and make a new print, because filters will no longer be permanent. There's all sorts a things that are gonna change when you learn about Smart Objects. But the first thing you need to do is change your mindset about how layers work in Photoshop. Usually, you're used to thinking of layers as containing pictures. And if you do something to those pictures, like scale it down to a tiny size, like the size of your thumbnail, and you finish it, you save your file, you've permanently made that change. And you open it up six months later, and you decide that little, size of your pinky thumbnail image, you scale it up to the size of a poster. And what does it look like? It looks like crap because it's starting from that little bitty version that you saved last time! You think of everything that's in your layers as being actual pictures that are being manipulated and changed. With Smart Objects, that changes.

Class Description

Smart Objects is an easy, flexible, non-destructive way to work with layers. Because it preserves an image’s characteristics, Smart Objects allows you to resize, transform, add filters, make composites and more without affecting your original image. In this class, Ben Willmore will show you the basics of Smart Objects, including how to update one image and have those changes propagate to all duplicates, load linked raw files that update when you make changes in Adobe® Lightroom®, and build complex effects onto a placeholder image that can be replaced and then instantly updated. This class has the potential to completely change the way you use Photoshop®.


Amy Vaughn

Awesome overview of smart objects. This class may be geared toward beginners, but I think Ben did a good job of showing just how powerful and complicated they can be.


Sorta recommend. If you are a graphics designer, then it is probably a very helpful intro to Smart Objects. If you are a photographer, there isn't much value in what he showed.