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Most Adobe Photoshop artists don't make use of Smart Objects, and thus miss out on a potentially very powerful tool. With Smart Objects you can create a complex transformation once and then swap out the contents for any artwork you choose. In this workshop, Photoshop artist and author Steve Caplin shows you how you can use Smart Objects to enhance almost all your Photoshop work. Learn to simplify and speed up repetitive tasks, and create templates that can be repurposed as many times as you wish.
Here are two crew members standing on the surface of the alien planet. What we want to do is to show them in the process of beaming down to the surface. So, let's begin by turning them in to a smart object. We'll switch to their layer. Now previously, we chose smart objects by going to the Layer menu and choosing Smart Objects and Convert to Smart Objects. Here's a quicker way. Use the right mouse button on a PC, or hold the Ctrl key on a Mac. When we click on the name in the Layers panel, we can now pull down to convert the smart object.
And that's a useful little shortcut. We can see the Smart Object icon in the corner just to confirm that we've done that. So, let's go ahead and apply our first filter. And the first one we want to use is Filter > Pixelate > Fragment. And there are no options for this filter, it's simply breaks up the image into small squares, and that's the beginning of the effect we want to create. Next, let's apply glow to this. So, let's pick a blue as our foreground color, so we get a nice strong color for this.
And to apply the glow, we can go to Filter > Artistic > Neon Glow. And because this is one of the Artistic filters, it opens up the Filter gallery. And we can apply our glow as we choose. Now you can see that what happens here is that it tends to swamp the entire image. As we adjust the parameters, we can see more or less of the original image showing through. So, if we go for a value of roundabout minus 1, we can still get a hint of the original image here. So, let's say OK to this.
So there's our image, with the glow and the fragment applied. And if we take a look at the Layers panel, we can see both of these listed in here. Let's apply another filter. This one will be a motion blur. So we can go to Filter > Blur > Motion Blur. And we got a little preview for this. Now, the default mode for the motion blur is a horizontal blur. We wanted vertical, so we could either type in the angle in the field, or we can simply drag around on this icon.
And if we hold the Shift key down, that will constrain it to 15 degree increments so it's easy to make a 90 degree vertical blur. And let's increase the distance of this blur, say something like, that's not bad, 118 pixels. The amount that you choose depends very much on the size of the image that you're working with, and your personal preference. But we'll say OK to this. Now, what's really clever about applying the filters to smart objects is that we can then go back and edit them later.
For now, it's just important to know that all three filters we've applied appear here, and we can turn them on and off. And we can manipulate them in a way we simply can't with a regular Photoshop layer. Now, we've applied all the filters, but there's very little trace of the crew members left here. In the next lesson, we'll see how to reveal just as much of the crew as we need to make the beaming down effect complete.
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