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Using Smart Objects in Adobe Photoshop

Lesson 7 of 7

Creating a Mock Up Using Smart Objects

Ben Willmore

Using Smart Objects in Adobe Photoshop

Ben Willmore

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Lesson Info

7. Creating a Mock Up Using Smart Objects


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2 Nested Smart Objects Duration:09:55
3 Scale and Warp Smart Objects Duration:09:08
4 Replace Contents Duration:06:55
5 Raw Smart Objects Duration:10:20

Lesson Info

Creating a Mock Up Using Smart Objects

Then I own a bus, a vintage bus is what it looks like. And at the time I got the bus it was painted blue and white, and I knew I was gonna repaint it. Well, the factory back when they made these buses, which my bus is made in the 60s, but they made these buses all the way back to like the late 1930s. Well what they used to do is give you this, this little paint sheet where, if I turn off one of these designs, it was just an empty sheet like this. You can grab a marker and design your paint job. And so when I had my bus originally I used these sheets and I drew on them all sorts of different designs to try to figure out what design might I want. But the problem was just seeing it here in these three views was not sufficient for me to feel confident it would look good on my bus. So I took a picture of my bus. And back at the time I took the picture, it didn't quite look like that. It looked like a blue and white bus, which is this. That's what it looked like when I bought it. I ended up ...

modifying that to try to make it look like a white bus. And I just made areas black and white and then I brightened them to the same brightness. That's what I have as the base of this document. Then let me show you how I used Smart Objects to create a mock up of my bus. Well, I took this paint sheet, and I loaded it as a Smart Object. Now there's a couple different ways of making things into a Smart Object. So far, I've shown you that you could take existing layers, select them, go to the layer menu and choose Smart Object, Convert to Smart Object. But another thing you can do is, let me just close this document. I can go to the File menu. And there's a choice right here called Open as Smart Object. And if I choose Open as Smart Object, then I can find that file in my hard drive. And I wish I woulda looked at the name of it, but it's one of these. Take me just a moment to find it. It's in here somewhere. There it is. And I can choose Open, and now it comes in and it's a Smart Object. But it originated as a file. So that's just another way of doing it. I'm gonna drag that over to the other tab, bring it in here. And then I can scale this and distort it until it matched the bus that's in there. What I would do is in the lesson about blending modes, you'd learn that Multiply Mode acts like ink. And so I'd use that mode. And I type Command + T, and let me see if I can get this to approximate what I did. I would need to do some further adjustment, but I did it. I'm gonna throw away this layer though and turn on the one I actually did. There it is. So now what I was able to do is to double click on this layer, the one that's a Smart Object, and I just saw the original document here. And I could draw my own paint job. And I drew one there, and I decided maybe this is an alternative. Or this is an alternative. Or this is an alternative. And if I were to turn one of those on, all I need to do is close this document, tell it to save it, and it saved it right back in to the other file. And I could preview it there right on the bus. And that allowed me to experiment enough with various designs until I came up with this one that I liked. And it gave me more confidence. I wouldn't say this is the cleanest version of it, but the main thing is Smart Objects made it possible. So I use Smart Objects for so many things that it's somewhat absurd. But it takes time to get your brain around it. The main thing to remember is that any time you create a Smart Object, however many layers you have in your layers panel, are gonna look like they merged into one. But what they really did is they got transferred into a separate hidden document that you can only access if you double click on the thumbnail for the layer. And if you do, it shows up in a separate window. Then anything you do to that layer, any transforming, scaling, warping, filtering, is something that's not permanent, something you can easily turn off or change the settings on. And if you duplicate it, so you have more than one version of it, it's really multiple instances of the same content. So if we change one, they all update. And to me it makes it so Photoshop can become dramatically more versatile. But you also then have to think through what's really happening a little more than usual. But I hope with a little bit of experimentation, that you can get comfortable with Smart Objects.

Class Description


  • Determine when Smart Objects should be used and when they are a bad idea
  • Non-destructively scale, rotate and warp
  • Create templates with easily replaceable images
  • Use linked Smart Objects across multiple documents
  • Retain camera-generated raw data when opening an image in Photoshop
  • Create multiple instances of a Smart Object and have them all update when you change the original


  • Beginner, intermediate, and advanced users of Adobe Photoshop.
  • Those who want to gain confidence in Adobe Photoshop and learn new features to help edit photos.
  • Students who’d like to take ordinary images and make them look extraordinary with some image editing or Photoshop fixes.


Adobe Photoshop 2020 (V21)