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In this movie I'll show you how to edit the contents of a Vector-based Smart Object inside Illustrator, and then hand off the changes back to Photoshop. And this is one of the best examples of two applications interacting with each other that there is. So what I want to do is give the shield a little bit of a blur, because it's just too tactile right now to be real. And in doing so we'll achieve this effect here. So, I'm going to start things off by selecting the shield layer near the bottom of the stack.
Now it's a Smart Object as you would recall. And even though it's an Illustrator Smart Object, you can still apply smart filters to it by going up to the Filter menu in our case, choosing Blur, and then choosing Gaussian Blur. And then if you're working along with me, I want you to change the Radius value to 2 pixels in order to blur the image like so. And then click OK. Problem is, even though that does deliver a more credibly focused effect in a lot of ways, I've got this big white highlight over here on the blue circle and it just looks wrong.
What I need to do is get rid of those dynamic effects that I assigned inside Illustrator. And to do that you edit the Smart Object. Now given that we're seeing a little place icon in the bottom-right corner of the Smart Object thumbnail, you might think that the Smart Object layer is linked to a .ai file on disk; but that's not the case, and that's for a couple of reasons. For one thing you may recall we copy and pasted this artwork; and the Clipboard, which is the copy and paste vehicle, has no idea where this vector artwork came from. So there is no file associated with it.
But even if we created this Smart Object by going up to the File menu and choosing the Place command, we would not have created the link either; because smart objects never link, they only embed. So what we have here is a layer that contains an actual illustration. It contains all the vector-based information that Illustrator needs, and to edit it inside Illustrator all you do is double-click on the layers thumbnail. Now you probably get an alert message that just tells you how you go about saving your changes to the Smart Object, and I am going to show you that, so just click OK and that will switch you to Illustrator.
Now in my case it does so inelegantly, so I'm going to have to click on the Maximize button in order to restore the interface, and I might want to tuck up the Swatches panel as well. All right, and you can see that we don't even have some of the elements of the illustration that we had before; we've just got the shield elements, because that's all we copied and pasted. And notice that the name of this file is Vector Smart Object whatever .ai, so it's a file that Illustrator has created on the fly. I'm going to press Ctrl+A or Command+A on the Mac in order to select all the paths associated with the shield. Then I'll switch over to the Appearance panel, click on the fly-out menu icon, and choose Reduce to Basic Appearance. You don't want to choose Clear Appearance because that'll get rid of the fills as well, but if you choose Reduce to Basic Appearance that'll get rid of all the dynamic effects.
All right, now you have one of two ways to update the Smart Object inside Photoshop. One is to go up to the File menu and choose the Save command, or you can press Ctrl+S or Command+S on the Mac. Don't you Save As. If you do that then you'll end up breaking the link between this particular artwork and the Smart Object inside Photoshop. But Save works just fine. Or if you like, you can just go ahead and close the illustration, as I'm doing here, and then click on the Yes button on the PC or the Save button on the Mac.
Now this message here is a little misleading, it asks you if you want to save changes to the Illustrator document. That's not what's going to happen. Instead, you're going to update the Smart Object inside of Photoshop; you're not actually going to save any files, you're just going to update the information. So go ahead and click Yes here on a PC or Save on the Mac, and then I'll close the file, and then you'll see whatever other file you may have open inside of Illustrator. Doesn't show you that anything has been updated yet, because we're not seeing Photoshop. And so I need to switch back over to Photoshop, and at that point you'll see the shield update.
Just so you can see it again because it happened very fast, press Ctrl+Z or Command+Z on the Mac to see the before version of the shield, and then you press Ctrl+Z or Command+Z again in order to see the after shield. So that's all there is to updating an illustration from Photoshop. So the idea is once you create a Vector-based Smart Object inside Photoshop, then Illustrator is waiting in the wings, serving as a kind of plug-in for your Photoshop composition. All right, now I'm going to scroll down my Layers panel a little bit and I'm going to get rid of this filter mask by right- clicking on that white thumbnail and choosing Delete Filter Mask. And now I want to add a couple of more effects including a Drop Shadow behind the shield, because we just lost the one we created in Illustrator.
So drop down to the fx icon and choose the last of the layer effects, Drop Shadow. And then, assuming default settings that is to say your Color Swatch appears black, then go ahead and reduce the Opacity value to 50 %, your Angle value for this document should be 35 degrees; and then take the Distance value up to 10 pixels, and take the Size value up to 50 pixels. And what's great about applying drop shadows inside of Photoshop instead of Illustrator is that in Illustrator drop shadows are really slow; in Photoshop drop shadows are super-fast.
They apply instantaneously. Now switch the Blend mode from the default Multiply to the darkest of the blend modes in Photoshop, Linear Burn, in order to produce this effect here. All right, now I want to trace the kind of dark line around the shield; and I'll do so using Outer Glow, which can either create a glow or a shadow, depending on the color and blend mode settings. So I am going to click on the little Color Swatch there, which is a pale yellow by default. And I am going to drag the circle inside the big color field to the lower-left corner in order to change the color to Black. Then I'll click OK.
Now I'll change the Blend mode from Screen to Multiply, and we see this tracing effect here, which is little too much to be particularly credible. So make sure your Size value is 5, the Spread value should be 0%; and then I'll click inside the Opacity value and press Shift+Down Arrow a few times until I reduce the Opacity to 35% in order to produce this effect here. Then go ahead and click OK in order to apply both the Drop Shadow and the Outer Glow.
And that, friends, is how you update a Vector- based Smart Object inside of Illustrator and then hand-off the changes back to Photoshop.
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