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Smart Objects for Beginners

Lesson 5 of 8

Replacing Images using Smart Objects

Ben Willmore

Smart Objects for Beginners

Ben Willmore

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Lesson Info

5. Replacing Images using Smart Objects

Lesson Info

Replacing Images using Smart Objects

One thing we can do is apply a filter to text, because usually, you can't apply filters to text without what's known as rasterizing the text, which makes the text act like it's scanned, where you couldn't change the letters later. But just convert it to a Smart Object, then no problem. Apply that filter to it. To edit the text, you've just gotta double click on the layer. You'll see there's a separate document, but you'll be able to change the text. So it's a pretty cool thing to be able to do. Alright, let's see what my other folders are called here. Alright, this'll be fun. Here, I have two versions of this. I have a layer that contains the mug, which is two mugs, and on a separate layer, I have a picture. And what I want to do with that picture is wrap it around the mug, so it looks as if it's been printed on the mug. If you look at my layers panel, the picture that's here, one of them is not smart, right? It's not a Smart Object, I don't see an icon on the lower right. The other on...

e, I already converted to a Smart Object. You see the icon down there, all that means is, when that layer was selected, I went to layer, Smart Objects, convert to Smart Object. Make sense where we're at? Now let's try to get these to be on the mug. And I'm gonna do it relatively quick and crude. Usually I would end up spending more time to make it look better. That's not the concept, we're not trying to make something perfect. But I'm just gonna choose warp, it's edit, transform, warp, and I'm going to grab these little points that show up and pull on them, I can also pull on the grid. My computer just slowed down for some reason. Come on, computer, I'm down here. Come on, computer. Well, my computer is not being responsive. Do you see, when I moved away, it actually moved down there. So if this ends up being too slow, I'll have to do something else. But usually this is interactive. Oh, there it goes, and I can distort this to get it on the mug. Now this one is not the Smart Object, and so the problem is, when I'm done doing this, that it's permanent, especially if I save and close the file, because then I couldn't undo anything, because the undo list is cleared out the moment you save an image. But let's just say I got that to look just right. I press return or enter to say I'm done. Well then let's try the same thing down here. This image has been turned into a Smart Object. I can do the exact same thing to it, I go to transform, I choose warp. And I attempt to move these corners and get this to bend in a similar fashion to the mug, which if this would be interactive, would be dramatically more convenient. But for some reason, my computer wants to be slow. And I've never had it be slow doing this before. But you get the idea that it's possible to do, and you see that it's not because it's a Smart Object that it's slow, because it was slow on the other layer. Right, just my computer's being slow. Press return or enter, let's say I'm done. To make it look like it's actually printed on the mug, I would probably change the blending mode to a choice called multiply. Multiply kinda acts like ink, and that means act like we used ink to print this on the mug, there. Okay, so I've done that, I spent, let's say, 20 minutes getting it absolutely perfect on every little speck. Well what if I sell mugs? If I sell mugs and I allow people, you know, I'll print your image on that mug, would you want to do that for every order that came in, when they want a preview of what the mug would look like? Where they were like, yeah, I want a preview, and you're like, okay, I'll drag the layer over, I'll transform it like that, every single time? No, I'd wanna make one of them. And then I would want to have Photoshop do all the work, just replace somebody else's picture on there. I can do that, check it out. I'm gonna go to the layer menu. There's a choice called Smart Objects, and within there is a choice called replace contents. Replace contents means open up that Smart Object and slip something new inside. And as long as the new thing that we slip inside is the same size as the old thing, then it shouldn't have a problem with it. If it was a bit larger or smaller, it won't know exactly how to line it up with that mug anymore and such, but I just wanna make sure it's the same size. So if it's something that came from the exact same digital camera, should be the same resolution and everything, should work fine. I'll choose replace contents and I'm gonna see if I can find, I have an image right here I'd like to use, let's see if I can just drag it up there, yeah. Alright, I'm gonna choose place. Now it's a RAW file, so Camera Raw opens up, I can adjust the image. I'm just gonna click OK though. And check it out, different file. So therefore we can make templates of all sorts of things, where usually you would have to do the work every time if you want to replace the picture. But now, since whatever's inside the Smart Object is something that's protected, we can just open up that Smart Object and slip something new inside. The moment we close it, all those effects we've done to it will be updated.

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.