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Photoshop Smart Objects explores the creation and use of Smart Objects, one of the most technically demanding tools in Photoshop. Deke McClelland walks through the four primary purposes of Smart Objects, and focuses on one of their most practical advantages, non-destructive transformations. This feature allows any object to be manipulated in any way, while still maintaining its original pixel information. Finally, Deke shows how to crop compositions without affecting a single pixel, even in masks. Exercise files accompany this course.
Download Deke's customized keyboard layouts and color settings for Photoshop from the Exercise Files tab.
I've gone ahead and saved my changes as With drop shadow.psd, found inside the 02_ATR_and_Illustrator folder. In this exercise, I'm going to colorize this logo. I'm going to shift it from purplish, as it is now, to golden. We're going to do that using a layer effect, as you'll see. Then we'll also brighten things up a little bit using an adjustment layer. So, here's what I want you to do. Make sure the Product logo layer is active, here inside the layers palette. Then go back down to the fx icon, and click on it and choose Color Overlay.
That's going to change our entire logo to red. It can be a little frightening the first time you choose Color Overlay. It can be also little bit of a head scratcher, like why in the world would you want to do this? Just replace everything that's going on inside of a layer with a flat color. Well, the reason this is so useful is, obviously, you can change the color to anything you want. So let's go ahead and do that. Let us start off by changing the color. I'm going to click on this color swatch and I'm going to change that Hue value to 50, like so, and that'll give us this golden hue right there.
Leave Saturation and Brightness each set to 100%, and click OK. Now I change the entire layer to yellow. That's no good, but if we change the Blend mode to, for example, Color, which is the most common way to work with Color Overlay, it should actually be the default setting in my opinion, then you'll get this effect right there. You'll just go ahead and infuse that layer with the color at hand. So it's such a simple way to work, leave that Opacity value cranked up to 100% and click OK. All right, now I want to go ahead and brighten the logo, can't do that using Color Overlay, have to do that using an adjustment layer.
So I'm going to go over to the Adjustments palette here, inside of Photoshop CS4. Let's go ahead and collapse the Color palette, at least on my screen, because I don't have enough room to work here. Then I'll expand that Adjustments palette. I'm going to move my cursor over this very first icon, Brightness/Contrast, and I'm going to press the Alt key or the Option key and click on it in order to bring up the New layer dialog box. Now another way to work, if you're working inside of Photoshop CS3, let me cancel out of here, so you can see what you need to do there. You would go down to the black-white icon at the bottom of the layers palette, and you would press-and-hold the Alt key or the Option key on the Mac.
Click on that icon, and with Alt or Option down, choose Brightness/Contrast. Now you may say, "Brightness/ Contrast? Why in the heck are we using "Brightness/Contrast?" Because, starting in Photoshop CS3, it became a really great command. It's really useful now, I use it all the time. All right. Turn on Use Previous layer to Create Clipping Mask. It's very important. Then just go ahead and call this something like 'brighten', because that's what we're doing, and then click OK in order to create a new layer of brightening. We want the Brightness value to be set to 15% here, and incidentally, if you're working inside of CS3, you're going to see Brightness and Contrast inside of a dialog box. Not to worry.
It's actually less intrusive, because it doesn't make you look at a ton of gray, down here at the bottom. CS4 is all about the adjustments layer and CS4 is all about making sure it's big enough to accommodate any of the color adjustments, so the ones that don't have very many options like Brightness/ Contrast have a lot of dead space in them, which is dopy, in my opinion, but maybe one day, they'll take care of it. Anyway, I'm going to Tab to the Contrast value and I'm going to take it down to -20. Now we have a brighter, less contrasty version of the logo, and I'll show you what that looks like in just a moment.
But make sure Use Legacy is turned off. This checkbox should definitely be off unless you want Brightness/Contrast to behave badly, like it did in the old days. All right, I'm going to go ahead and collapse the Adjustments palette, so we can see what we're doing. I'm going to turn off this layer for just a moment, this new brighten layer. This is what the logo looked like just a moment ago, so darker and more contrast, this is what it looks like now, brighter, a little less contrast, but actually, goes a long way. Looks very nice in my opinion. Now if you don't want that layer mask in there, which I don't, because it's just making my layer name shorter.
You can just grab it and drag it to the trashcan, because we're affecting the entire logo, we don't need a mask. Then Photoshop will ask you, "Do you want to delete the layer mask?" And you'll say, "Yeah", delete it. It's that simple. Now if you don't want the layer mask to ever come up in the future, I just throw out a tip here, because, I think this is really useful. Then what you do is you go back to your Adjustments palette, this is inside of CS4. You click on this left-pointing arrow right there, in order to return to your list of adjustments. Then you go up to your Adjustments palette flyout menu, click on that little icon there, and you turn off Add Mask by Default.
And that way, you're not going to get a mask every time you add an adjustment layer. You'll just get the adjustment layer, and you can choose to add the mask later, if you want to. Just a side tip! We now have this bright, beautiful golden logo, I'm going to go ahead and collapse that Adjustments palette for a moment, so we can see all of our layers. In the next exercise, we are going to take this Product logo and we are going to turn it into a diffused background logo, at a totally different size, and you'll see just how flexible Illustrator smart objects are, inside Photoshop.
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