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Converting an image to a Smart Object

From: Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Mastery

Video: Converting an image to a Smart Object

In this exercise, I'm going to show you another way to create Smart Objects inside of Photoshop. And this time, as opposed to working from a vector-based illustration, we'll create a pixel- based Smart Object, which is more likely, quite frankly. I mean, depending on your workflow you may import a fair number of illustrations in Photoshop. But more of us are going to be creating pixel-based Smart Objects and it's still plenty useful as you'll see. In fact, one might argue it's even more useful still.

Converting an image to a Smart Object

In this exercise, I'm going to show you another way to create Smart Objects inside of Photoshop. And this time, as opposed to working from a vector-based illustration, we'll create a pixel- based Smart Object, which is more likely, quite frankly. I mean, depending on your workflow you may import a fair number of illustrations in Photoshop. But more of us are going to be creating pixel-based Smart Objects and it's still plenty useful as you'll see. In fact, one might argue it's even more useful still.

I've gone ahead and saved my progress as Blue strokes.psd, and I have this image right here that I also have open that's called Germ.psd. This is a cartoon that was created for me by Jason Woliner. We've mentioned this guy before. He now directs the MTV Sketch Comedy 'Human Giant' just an amazing guy. Anyway, he created this hilarious cartoon, I think. I want to import it into the other composition as a Smart Object. So there are two different ways I could work. One is I could go back to Blue strokes.psd. I could go to the File menu, I could choose the Place command, and then I could select my Germ, right there, Germ.psd, and I could place it and it would come in as a Smart Object. So, I'm originally allowed to determine the size as I'm placing this image. I'll just go ahead and accept its huge gianormous size right there as it is, by pressing the Enter key or the Return key on the Mac and then I'll see, sure enough, it's a Smart Object.

Even though, it's a pixel-based image, so it may look like an illustration because it has nice sharp edges and it's a cartoon, but it was, in fact, created inside of Photoshop using pixels. All right, so that's one way to do it, but we've already seen that, so I'll press Backspace or Delete on the Mac in order to get rid of that layer. Let's try a different way. Again, this is potentially a more common way for you to work, depending, you've got all sorts of options available to you, but I find that I tend to work this way more often. Now, I'm wondering why, why do I work this way more often? I don't know. But anyway, let's go back to Germ.psd. I'm going to press and hold the Ctrl key on the Command key on the Mac to get my Move tool right there.

I'll go ahead and drag this guy up to the Blue strokes.psd tab, because I'm working in the tabbed window display. Then I'll move my cursor back into the composition once it pops up on screen and I'll release and there is the big old germ, not a Smart Object, notice that's also not named the way it was automatically named just a moment ago. When you choose the Place command, Photoshop automatically names the layer after the document on disc. So, I would have gone ahead and called it Germ. I'm going to have to manually name mine Germ 1, because we're going to have several Germs, and then I'll press the Enter key or the Return key on the Mac.

But it's not a Smart Object. So were I to sit here and scale it in one direction and then another direction and so on and so on, then I would incrementally ruin the image. Let me just show you that because I want to show you what you need to do to avoid that. So I'll press Ctrl+T, Command+T on the Mac, because he is an awfully big germ. Germs are scarier when they're tiny. That's the whole thing that's so scary about germs is they can get in all over the place and create havoc because there are so many of the tiny guys. So anyway, he needs to be smaller. So, I'm going to make him like really, really super dinky, let's say, so dinky that I totally lose track of them. So let's go ahead and go find them.

He's down here and oops! Look, he's so dinky I can't even drag them properly. I accidentally removed his origin point. Let's go ahead and get him and move them over and then I'd say I want it really dinky. He's so tiny. This is more indicative of the real size of a germ. Actually that would still be gianormous for a germ, but it's only 2%. Press the Enter key or the Return key on the Mac and I say that was 2% of its original size because I saw that, ever so briefly up there in the Options bar. Now I'll press Ctrl+T or Command+T again, because of my art director, of course, telling me that that's too small. Now I'm seeing that the width and height are 100%, because Photoshop has no knowledge of the previously existing germ, we wiped it out. That's the way it is when you're not working with Smart Object.

So I'll make it bigger, I'm like, yeah, okay, I'll make it bigger. That's not looking too good and I press the Enter key or the Return key on the Mac and I've got a big, blobby, blurry germ and, of course, I get fired again. So much for that job. I'm getting fired a lot during this one composition here, but it happens. Anyway, the point is before I embarked on these transformations, I should have gone ahead and made it a Smart Object. First thing, so let's go ahead and back up, Ctrl+Alt+C, Ctrl+Alt+C a couple of times. Command+Option+Z, Command+Option+Z on a Mac to get the germ back to its original size, to its big old size there. Then let's make it a Smart Object right now.

The simplest way is to go to the Layers palette menu right there, the flyout menu, and choose Convert to Smart Object. And I love this command so much that if you have loaded DekeKeys, I've given you a keyboard shortcut of Ctrl+Comma or Command+Comma on the Mac. I'll go ahead and choose that command there, and now we have a Smart Object. Now I can run through that exact same scenario that we witnessed just a moment ago, Ctrl+T, Command+T on the Mac, in order to enter the Free Transform mode. Then scale the germ to the point you can't see it anymore. Then go ahead and drag it down a little bit and then make my germ dinky, tinysaurus right there, just so small you can't even know how big it is. It's down to 0.1% now.

Oh my goodness! That's small. Press the Enter key or the Return key on a Mac. I don't even know what happened to my germ anymore. It's so tiny that I've lost track of it. Let's go ahead and zoom in. Now that's accurate germ size. That's what I would argue with my art director. That's about how big a germ would be. Look at that, now we're seeing the pixel grid. I'll go ahead and press Ctrl+H or Command+H on the Mac, so that we can see. There is our single pixel germ now. Anyway, my art director and I frequently don't see eye to eye. So I'm told that this needs to be bigger. So I'll press Ctrl+T, Command+T on the Mac to gain access once again to the Free Transform mode. What I'll do is take this up to 25%. So I'm going to go ahead and make it bigger. Now it's not looking like its going to look too good here. It's looking bad for me and my ability to hold on to this job.

We'll see, but I'll go ahead and zoom out. Drag this corner handle as I'm pressing the Shift key and I'm going to take this guy up to, 25% is what I'm looking for. So I'll go ahead and just cut to the chase, click on the Chain icon right up here in the Options bar, and change either the W or H value to 25%, and then press the Enter key a couple of times and there it is, looking sweet. So even though, I had reduced it to a microscopic level, I can still make it larger here inside Photoshop, by applying a nondestructive transformation, always it's that way, as long as you take the time to set up a Smart Object in the first place.

In the next exercise, I'll show you how Smart Objects not only afford us the option of applying nondestructive transformations, which, if that's all they did would be actually fairly terrific, but not only that, you can also create instances, so I can create multiple germs that are based on a single, original. Stay tuned.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Mastery
Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Mastery

147 video lessons · 27693 viewers

Deke McClelland

Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 21m 17s
    1. Welcome
      1m 21s
    2. Installing the DekeKeys keyboard shortcuts
      5m 38s
    3. Resetting the Function keys on a Mac
      3m 51s
    4. Installing the CS4 color settings
      4m 34s
    5. Setting up the CS4 color settings
      5m 53s
  2. 2h 31m
    1. Introduction to masking
    2. Introducing color range
      4m 22s
    3. Adding base colors and adjusting fuzziness
      4m 46s
    4. Localized color clusters
      6m 12s
    5. The Quick Mask mode
      7m 33s
    6. Viewing a quick mask by itself
      6m 40s
    7. Testing the quality of edges
      3m 55s
    8. Introducing the Masks palette
      7m 45s
    9. Editing a layer mask
      6m 18s
    10. Choking a mask with Gaussian Blur and Levels
      6m 44s
    11. Choking a mask with Mask Edge
      7m 43s
    12. Adding a Gradient Overlay shadow
      4m 23s
    13. Using live Density and Feather
      6m 12s
    14. Journeyman masking
      5m 44s
    15. Creating an alpha channel
      7m 6s
    16. Increasing contrast
      7m 15s
    17. Overlay painting
      8m 28s
    18. Cleaning up whites and blacks
      5m 48s
    19. Soft light painting
      5m 47s
    20. Selecting in style
      6m 55s
    21. Employing masks as selections
      5m 2s
    22. Scaling and compositing layers
      6m 30s
    23. Compositing glass
      5m 10s
    24. Selecting glass highlights
      8m 41s
    25. Working with found masks
      5m 46s
  3. 1h 34m
    1. Introduction to vector-based shapes
      1m 10s
    2. Vector-based type outlines
      7m 23s
    3. The benefits of vectors
      6m 27s
    4. Upsampling vs. nondestructive scaling
      7m 35s
    5. Vectors and effects
      8m 7s
    6. Fill Opacity and clipped layers
      4m 24s
    7. Basic shape creation
      3m 15s
    8. Drawing interacting shapes
      6m 21s
    9. Power-duplicating paths
      3m 12s
    10. Combining pixels and vector masks
      5m 19s
    11. Line tool and layer attributes
      7m 5s
    12. Copying and pasting path outlines
      3m 28s
    13. Drawing custom shapes
      3m 59s
    14. Drawing with the Pen tool
      7m 48s
    15. Creating cusp points
      7m 28s
    16. Defining a custom shape
      3m 34s
    17. Assigning a vector mask to an image
      2m 38s
    18. Adding a vector object to a composition
      5m 40s
  4. 1h 23m
    1. Introduction to Vanishing Point
      1m 11s
    2. Creating and saving the first plane
      8m 9s
    3. Creating perpendicular planes
      5m 16s
    4. Healing in perspective
      8m 47s
    5. Cloning and scaling in perspective
      8m 33s
    6. Patching an irregularly shaped area
      6m 59s
    7. Healing between planes
      3m 34s
    8. Importing an image into a 3D scene
      5m 45s
    9. Adding perspective type
      5m 37s
    10. Removing and matching perspective
      5m 36s
    11. Applying a reflection in perspective
      5m 1s
    12. Creating a perspective gradient
      6m 11s
    13. Converting a gradient to a mask
      2m 58s
    14. Swinging planes to custom angles
      4m 32s
    15. Wrapping art around multiple surfaces
      5m 49s
  5. 1h 15m
    1. Introduction to Smart Objects
    2. Placing a Smart Object
      5m 7s
    3. Saving a PDF-compatible AI file
      4m 27s
    4. Performing nondestructive transformations
      6m 7s
    5. Editing a Smart Object in Illustrator
      6m 50s
    6. Converting an image to a Smart Object
      6m 50s
    7. Cloning Smart Objects
      5m 24s
    8. Creating a multilayer Smart Object
      5m 51s
    9. Updating multiple instances at once
      2m 54s
    10. Creating a Camera Raw Smart Object
      4m 17s
    11. Editing a Camera Raw Smart Object
      3m 25s
    12. Assembling a layered ACR composition
      5m 54s
    13. Using an ACR Smart Object to effect
      3m 41s
    14. Blending multiple ACR portraits
      6m 56s
    15. Live type that inverts everything behind it
      6m 32s
  6. 1h 48m
    1. Introducing nondestructive Smart Filters
    2. Applying a Smart Filter
      4m 22s
    3. Adjusting filter and blend settings
      4m 25s
    4. Heaping on the Smart Filters
      5m 19s
    5. Smart Filter stacking order
      7m 23s
    6. Resolution and Smart Filter radius
      6m 12s
    7. Masking Smart Filters
      4m 41s
    8. Employing nested Smart Objects
      5m 5s
    9. Dragging and dropping Smart Filters
      6m 31s
    10. Using the Shadows/Highlights filter
      5m 53s
    11. Regaining access to the pixels
      7m 8s
    12. Parametric wonderland
      5m 52s
    13. Working with the Filter Gallery
      6m 28s
    14. Freeform filter jam
      5m 51s
    15. Swapping filters from the Filter Gallery
      3m 45s
    16. Mixing all varieties of parametric effects
      7m 30s
    17. Addressing a few Smart Filter bugs
      3m 11s
    18. Applying a Smart Filter to live type
      5m 30s
    19. Choking letters with Maximum
      3m 7s
    20. Duplicating a Smart Filter
      2m 38s
    21. Enhancing a filter with a layer effect
      6m 30s
  7. 1h 6m
    1. Introduction to Auto-Align, Auto-Blend, and Photomerge
      1m 2s
    2. Merging two shots into one
      3m 49s
    3. Applying Auto-Align layers
      3m 44s
    4. Masking images into a common scene
      1m 38s
    5. Auto-Align plus Auto-Blend
      8m 11s
    6. Assigning weighted Opacity values
      4m 7s
    7. Employing a Difference mask
      7m 17s
    8. Masking smarter, not harder
      3m 53s
    9. Capturing multiple depths of field
      3m 37s
    10. Auto-blending real focus
      8m 31s
    11. Creating a panorama with Photomerge
      7m 27s
    12. Correcting a seamless panorama
      4m 52s
    13. An altogether nondestructive Lab correction
      7m 59s
  8. 1h 44m
    1. Introduction to new CS4 technologies
      1m 1s
    2. Applying Content-Aware Scale
      7m 18s
    3. What works and what doesn't with Content-Aware Scale
      4m 19s
    4. Protecting areas with masks
      7m 31s
    5. Applying incremental edits
      7m 6s
    6. Protecting skin tones
      7m 12s
    7. Scaling around a model with TLC
      9m 0s
    8. Adjusting the scale threshold
      5m 22s
    9. When Content-Aware Scale fails
      4m 2s
    10. Creating a lens distortion effect
      8m 39s
    11. Layer masking the family
      11m 44s
    12. Installing the Pixel Bender
      3m 42s
    13. Introducing Pixel Bender kernels
      6m 50s
    14. Pixel Bender kernel roundup
      7m 24s
    15. Tube View and Ripple Blocks
      3m 58s
    16. Making a seamless pattern with Kaleidoscope
      6m 13s
    17. Introducing the Pixel Bender Toolkit
      3m 24s
  9. 1h 20m
    1. Introduction to actions
    2. Creating an action
      5m 45s
    3. Recording operations
      5m 12s
    4. Reviewing and editing an action
      4m 45s
    5. Playing an action (the Button Mode)
      4m 50s
    6. Saving and loading actions
      5m 0s
    7. Copying and modifying an action
      4m 8s
    8. Permitting the user to change settings
      5m 50s
    9. The Best Chrome Effect Ever II
      3m 41s
    10. Recording a fail-safe action
      7m 33s
    11. Rounding corners with a mask
      4m 33s
    12. Cleaning up layers
      3m 51s
    13. Automating layer effects
      7m 1s
    14. Applying chrome with Gradient Map
      6m 24s
    15. Action anomalies
      4m 11s
    16. Rendering effects to layers
      5m 1s
    17. Testing that it works
      2m 0s
  10. 1m 14s
    1. See ya
      1m 14s

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