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Smart Objects for Beginners

Lesson 6 of 8

Multiple Instances & New Smart Object Via Copy

Ben Willmore

Smart Objects for Beginners

Ben Willmore

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Lesson Info

6. Multiple Instances & New Smart Object Via Copy

Lesson Info

Multiple Instances & New Smart Object Via Copy

Alright, so let's say that instead I have a raw file. I'll double click on this one, this is an old raw file so I'm gonna make sure its updated there. With this particular image lets just say when I adjusted the image with camera raw I can either get the sky to look good or I can get the bottom to look good but regardless of what I do in here with all these adjustments, sliders and camera raw I can't get them both to look good. And that's not uncommon for some images. So in this case lets say that this is the version that looks good at the bottom. Well I want to open this as a smart object. Now I don't know if you remember how that was done from camera raw but there's a button down here that says open image and if I held down the shift key then it would change to open object and that would cause it to open as a smart object. There is an alternative to that and that is at the bottom of camera raw is a line of text. You see right here down at the bottom center. If I click on the text it ...

brings up options for- that will be used when I open that image. And one of the options in there at the bottom is open in Photoshop with smart objects. And what that would do if I turned it on is it would make the button at the bottom that usually says open image, it would always say open object from that point forward. And if I were to hold down shift it would change to what it is now. Meaning it gives you the opposite of what the default is. So if you open a smart objects more often than you don't then you probably want that on. And if you only open a smart objects every once in awhile you'd just have to remember to hold shift to do it. Cause shift gives you the opposite of what that preference is set for. Right? So I'm gonna hold down shift cause I didn't change the preference. Open object. Alright, now I wanna make a different interpretation of this image. One where the sky looks good. Well I could duplicate the layer. If I go up here to the layer menu I can choose duplicate. Give it a name if I want. And now if I double click on the thumbnail for that layer its gonna let me see the original contents. The original contents came from camera raw, so it'll send me back there. And now let me adjust it for the sky. And I'm not going to be careful about it right now because I just want to show you what's going to happen. Watch when I click okay. Look at my layers panel. Can you tell that both layers changed? Whenever you duplicate a smart object it thinks of both of those pieces as being absolutely identical. Where if I change one the other one will change too. They're multiple instances of the same smart object. So I'm actually going to choose undo, cause I didn't want to darken that. And I'm going to throw away that top one. There's a different way of duplicating a smart object that makes it so its independent of any other smart objects that are in the document. And that is, you don't want to go to the layer menu and choose duplicate layer. That means create another instance of the same smart object. So the two are always identical. Instead I want to choose layer, smart objects, new smart object via copy. Now the key concept here is new smart object, that means not the same as the old smart object that it's being created from. And so if I choose that its gonna look just like before, where we have two versions of the picture, two copies. But they're independent of each other. So if I double click on the top one and make a change in camera raw it won't effect the bottom one. So its kind of weird, you don't want to do a normal duplicate, you want to do new smart object via copy. Its a weird command. So now I can optimize it just for the top. Maybe I come down here and say lets bring in highlight detail, I bring down my exposure a bit. Like that. And maybe I mess with my white balance, make it feel like its much more of a of a, um- warm tone. I click okay. And if you look at my layers panel can you now see the two versions look different? So I needed to have a new smart object because if you simply duplicate one its multiple instances of the same smart object. Now I can add a layer mask at the bottom of my layers panel there's a circle inside of a rectangle, that's layer mask icon. And if I grab my paintbrush tool with a soft edge brush I can paint with black, and wherever I paint with black I'm gonna hide the image I'm working on, the top layer. And wherever its hidden you'll see what's under it. So I'll just do this. Eh. And I could be careful where the building is, maybe use the quick selection tool or something to paint over where it automatically makes a selection and do that just right. But you get the idea. (clears throat) Then if I decide that the bottom portion of the image doesn't quite look the way id like it to, because it doesn't quite look like it belongs, maybe it needs to be a little more yellowish. Well since its a smart object I can always double click on the bottom one. On the thumbnail. I'll go right back to camera raw. I just really wish when I moved these sliders I can see it in the final document, where I see it update interactively, but we can't. Its a limitation of- of the, uh- way its set up. But I'll make this feel a little warmer. More like that. Click okay, it'll update. And you can see- I can always choose undo. There's before. Type it again. I'm just typing command Z as a shortcut for undo. Control Z in Windows. But you can see the change that was done there. So that's multiple, uh- interpretations of the same raw file. And sometimes as needed, you just can't get it all right with one visit to camera raw. So you open it as a smart object. And the key was a special command, its layer, smart objects, and then new smart object via copy. The key being new smart object not the same as the other smart object. But the fact that if I didn't choose new smart object it would've acted identically on both- uh, can be useful. There's a reason why it acts that way to- by default. Lets see if I can show you. Well, lets say I have this document right here. All this document is is the background I made- I wanted it to look a little bit like brushed aluminum. To make that you just do the filter called add noise, which adds speckles. And then do the filter called motion blur, which spreads the speckles out in a particular direction and that is what we have. Over here I used the shape tool, remember the same tool where you can make rectangles and other things? And I just made two of them, one was a circle and one was that polygon that's there. So if you look over here you can just see three layers and if I turn off the top two, we got our background, we got the base of the bolt and we have the middle of the bolt. But what I want to do is take those top two layers, the ones that make up that little bolt, and I want to turn them into a smart object. So. Layer, where is it? Smart objects, convert to smart object. Anytime you do that it looks as if you merged those layers together into one. So my layers panel, watch the layers. Looks like they merged. But the smart object icon's there which tells me the layers still exist I just have to double click on that to actually see them. They would appear in a separate document. Now what I'm going to do is duplicate that layer multiple times and use it throughout this document. There are many different ways to duplicate. One I've already shown you is to come up here, duplicate layer. But there are other ways which would be much faster if you want to make a bunch of them. Here is one. If you're ever in the move tool, usually you can just click and move something around. If you hold down the option key, that's alt to Windows, when you use the move tool you move a duplicate of what's in the layer. So if you watch my layers panel, I'm holding down the option key, alt in Windows, and I'm gonna drag this. My layers panel, you should when I let go see there's now two layers. Now I'm going to select both of those layers, So we have both of them that were working on. I'll hold the option key when I use my move tool and I'm gonna drag this way, so the word- we just duplicated both of 'em. Move 'em over that way. Alright? And if I want to I can make it look like a panel we're really trying to hold down because I'm putting a bunch of bolts on it to hold it down, right? I'm just holding option each time I drag. So now if you look at my layers panel you see a whole bunch of layers. Now I could make it look like this was more realistic so that every single bolt was not perfectly screwed to the exact same rotation. So I could grab any one of these, type command T and say well this one we tightened a little more. And this one down here, command T, we tightened a little less. Would that make sense? To make it a little more realistic. But all of those are smart objects. If you look in the layers panel, do you see the icon? All of them are duplicates of whatever that original smart object looked like. They're thought of as multiple instances of the same smart object. Its not like they're duplicates, its like these are the exact same. Its just like if you- if these were all TV sets on the wall over there and its all on the same channel. They're just thinking of the same thing. So if I double click on any one of these, and it does not matter which one, I'm going to see the original contents of that smart object. So now what if I go to the bottom of my layers panel and I decide to add things, like a drop shadow or a gradient or some other thing? Or I decide that instead of having a bolt that has that kind of a fitting on it I'm going to instead make it a standard screw. So I'll come in here and I will uh, go into my layer. I'm just gonna make it a slotted screw. I just need to make sure the color at the top here is set to black and I'll move that with my arrow keys to try to get it centered up and now I'm just gonna close it, I'm gonna save it. Check it out. They all updated because they're multiple instances of the same thing. Do you see the rotation, see the rotation. It remembers that stuff. So lets just look at a few instances when you might want to duplicate a smart object and use it more than once within a file. Heres a bunch of TV sets, I made this for a book that I wrote many years ago and what this was showing is there's a new feature at the time in Photoshop known as warping. You choose edit, transform, warp. And when you did there was a pop up menu that gave you many different choices on how to warp an image, different shapes you can warp it into. And this is simply showing what each one of those shapes looked like, each of the choices that are in that menu. What did I do? I took one TV set, I turned it into a smart object, I duplicated it this many times and then individually I went to those layers, I chose edit, transform, warp and I applied a different setting. So in my book I could show every single one of these. Well what if I want to change what's on the TV? I can double click on any one of those layers and here's a picture of what I looked like back when I wrote a book like that. So I can put it in there and I can adjust it to make it look old and faded, if I wanted to. And I can just close that- oops, I think I closed the wrong one. (laughs) I closed the image that was behind this so this is gonna get confused when I close this and it says, hey wait a minute. Do you want to save that? And the original document it was opened from is no longer open so I'm gonna- its asking me where to put it. So I screwed up there, I closed the wrong document. Let me close this and don't save and ill just go reopen. Bun-gunk. I'll go re-double click on that and I had these things already in there. Lets turn them on. And I'll close the correct document this time. Save. (mumbles) If I didn't want a TV I could put any other picture in there they'd distort. Well not everybody needs that so what else might use it. Well what if I had this diamond ring and I wanted to use it in an image, like this. This was a chapter opening for one of the chapters in my book. And these little diamonds of all sorts of different, uh, sizes and they're in there, we're all scaled to different sizes but, um, here it says gems, you can see all the smart objects if I double click on any one of them there's the ring, there's simply a mask hiding it. Maybe I want to go in here and take this and maybe add a glow. I wouldn't have to do it in the smart object but if I do- um, what am I doing? I wanna go here. If I add a glow maybe I make it yellowish. I'll set it to normal. I'm not trying to teach you how to make glows so I'm going to do it relatively quickly. Click okay. Now I'm just gonna close that. Now, you don't have to close it. You can just type command S to save or go to the file menu and choose save. Cause maybe you want to come back to this and continue to make changes. So with this open I'll just go here to file, save. Watch the document behind. Do you see how it updated? Then I can make further changes to this, choose save and that's- it's only when I choose save that the other document, um, updates. I just have been closing them cause I haven't needed to do further changes. If I wanted those not to be diamonds instead I wanted them to be bugs or something I could just throw a bug in those and it would update. (cough) Here I made this. I made this using the shape tool. There's a way to use the shape tool to like draw a circle and then if you draw a second circle there's a way to make it say make that second circle take away from the first one. And if you do that you can make some interesting shapes. After doing that I rotated them. So its the same shape multiple times. But before I rotated and scaled them I turned it into a smart object. And if I double click on the smart object, there's the shape, I can come over here and use the tools that work with shapes and I can make something totally different in here. And close that. Save that. And you see how it looks totally different here. So there's all sorts of things you can do with multiple instances of the same smart object. I've got to save everything they've been telling me. Uh, but I don't want to save over my stuff. So I'll put it on my desktop. Alright, then do web design. Oh, let me just close you. Where's close- cancel? There. You do web design, you decide to make an interface that has thre- that has tabs and has little brown circles. But what if the client might tell you to use squares and to use squared off tabs? Wouldn't it make sense to only make one of these? One tab, turn it into a smart object before you duplicated it to do the others. Same with the circles. Because then if you wanted to change the shape of it all you got to do, double click on the smart object. You'd see the original circle or tab and you could put a different shape in there and all of these would update. Right? So multiple instances of the same smart object. All you're doing is duplicating the layer, nothing special you have to do there. And its when you don't want them all to change, that's when you have to choose that other choice, new smart object via copy I think it was called. And that would make it so that this circle could be independent of those. So if I changed, you know, all of those this one would stay the way it looks. Okay. Is this making sense? Is it- you liking it or not? Smart objects can completely change the way you think about and approach Photoshop. Its um- it's pretty cool.

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 Adobe® Photoshop®.


Adobe Photoshop CC 2018


Jeph DeLorme

Great class, extremely helpful for understanding smart objects... both creating and the full range of uses. Fun and engaging instructor, loved this class!

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.


Such a useful and easy to follow class! Ben breaks down smart objects and makes the whole process clear and easy. Definitely a game changer with Photoshop.