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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 image, the cover area has been isolated and made into a new layer all of its own. Let's now build the cover of our imaginary art magazine. We'll start with this image of the Mona Lisa, which we'll form the background image for our cover. Let's imagine that our magazine has a logo is based on this picture of Rodin's Thinker. Well, first of all, we want you to remove all of this background and we can do that most easily with the Quick Selection tool.
We can simply drag it over the picture of Rodin and then Zoom in. And now, we can reduce the size of our brush and take out the bit we don't want in there. It's not perfect but it's a good starting point. Let's choose the Refine Edge dialog just to tighter that up. You can see, its got a bit ragged around here so let's increase the smoothness and because that does tend to fuzzy up the edges, we can increase the contrast as well and that will tighten it up again for us.
And let's say OK to that. And now, we can see that that Quick Selection has missed out some of the bits of the perimeter and the easiest way of fixing that go into Quick Mask. Press the Quick Mask icon on the bottom of the toolbar or press the Q key. We can now use a hard-edged brush, we can paint in white to add to our selection so we can bring back in the top of the head, the shoulder, and the knee, and the top of the hand.
And we can switch to black and paint in to take out that little bit under the knee, and now paint the back of the leg back in. As always, when working with Quick Mask, pressing the X key will switch between the foreground and background colors. This enables us easily to switch between black and white, which means we can very quickly and easily add and subtract from our overall selection. With the selection more or less made, we can press Q to leave Quick Mask and make a new layer from this.
Layer > New > Layer via copy, and hide the original. And there is our cutout. Now, we're going to want to place this on our cover, but we don't know what size we want it. So, let's begin by turning this into a smart object. Now, we can scale it as much as we want, we could even rotate it and we can put it into the position we want it. If we change our minds later, well it'll be easy then to re-size it and we won't lose any quality.
Let's set our foreground color to white and add some text to this image. And we'll call this ArtNow. Let's make this headline larger. And at this point, we might say, okay, well, that looks a bit plain why don't we take the word Art and change that in to a different font. We could for, example go, for Times, Italic. And let's add a little drop shadow to this, just to make it stand out from the background, we'll increase the spread and the size of the shadow that's rather stronger, and let's add a headline down here.
Let's change our font back to Myriad, Bold. And we can type Mona Lisa, the greatest painting ever made, question mark. And that will do for our cover as it stands. We now want to put all of these elements into a single smart object, so let's select the type, the headline, the cutout of the Thinker, and the background.
And we may as well include our original Rodin picture, even though that layer is hidden. With all of these objects, we can now choose Layer > Smart Objects > and Convert to Smart Object. And all of those will now be turned into a single smart object. All the elements for our cover are now in place. Because we've made them all into a single smart object, we're now able to work with it as if it were a single regular Photoshop layer.
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