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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.
In this chapter, we're going to look what happens when you place multiple versions of the same Smart Object. The result is a little surprising, but we can use it to our advantage to make the complex files that are truly easy to adjust. We'll start with this photograph of an art gallery. We want to take out the content of all of these images so that we can replace it with our own Smart Object. Let's begin over on the left here. Now, to select all of these, we could use the Pen tool.
I find it just as easy to use the Lasso tool. A surprising thing about the Lasso tool is if you hold the Option key on a Mac, Alt key on a PC, and if you press it after you begin to click, what's going to happen is it will turn temporarily into the polygonal Lasso tool. And this allows us to click the corners of each area we want to take out. The Shift key will add a new selection to the old selection. So, the Shift key held down, I'm now going to click the corner of this picture underneath.
Release the Shift key, and switch to the Alt key, and now, we can select the corners at each of these and it's going to add that to the selection. Now, I don't want you to sit there while I select every single photograph in this gallery. So, what I'm going to do is turn on the Layer Mask that I made earlier. And there it is. And you can see, in this case, I've taken out all the pictures within this gallery. Now, when we place images inside these frames, to make them look more realistic, they need to be casting a small shadow.
We can do that easily using Layer Effects. So, let's go to the Effects button at the bottom of the Layers panel and pull up to Drop Shadow. Now, the light is generally coming from the upper left here, so let's move our angle around to follow the light direction, and let's take the distance down a little to about 3. So, there's a faint drop shadow, and that appears inside all of these frames. Now, every image in this gallery is inside a picture frame, except this one, and that's a bit of a problem. How do we hide the Drop Shadow just inside this frame without hiding it inside all the others? Well, one way we could do it is if we double-click the Effects pane to open this up we can see this option Layer Mask Hides Effect.
And if we click on that, well, the Layer Mask does now hide all the effects. The trouble is, it's hidden them from inside all of the picture frames, and we only want it hidden inside that one. So, let's cancel that. The way to make this work is first to turn this mask into a real layer. So, if we go to Layer Mask and apply, what that will do is commit the layer mask to the layer, and it removes all of those cutout spaces that we had previously hidden, they're now disappeared.
So, to make our shadow hidden of in this frame which projects forward, we can go to Layer > Layer Mask > and Reveal All. And that will add a new empty layer mask. We can now load up the whole of this layer as a selection by holding down the Ctrl on a PC, Cmd on a Mac and clicking its thumbnail, and you can see the mounting and borders around everyone of these frames. What's actually highlighted here is the rest of the image, not the frames themselves, so we need to inverse that selection so its just the frames that are selected but, in fact, we only want this one selected.
To intersect an old selection with a new one, we hold down the Shift+Option keys on a MAC, Shift+Alt on a PC. And now, we can just draw around the areas that we want loosely. When I release the keys, just that selection is now active. What we can now do is fill this with black on the Layer Mask so that is now hidden on the Layer Mask. We can't see any difference because the hidden area is already missing from this layer.
But if we open up the effects paint again, we can now say, Layer Mask Hides Effects. And when we do that, the shadow duly disappears from within this projecting frame. Now so far, we haven't worked with a single Smart Object but we have prepared the ground. In particular, we've seen how to apply a layer style selectively and how to mask it so it doesn't appear where we want it hidden.
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