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Shape layers are extremely useful when designing websites, especially when you're first coming up with the website, and you're not really sure yet how wide the sidebar is going to be, how big the footer is going to be, what color it's going to be, how many buttons you're going to have, etcetera. Because you can show this initial sketch to your client and they can say, well, actually I'd like the left sidebar to be a bit bigger. You just go to the left sidebar, press Command+T, and then you can increase its size as necessary.
And because your shape layers are vectors, they are going to scale without any kind of degradation whatsoever. Beyond that, there is also another very useful way in which you can use shape layers and that is combining shape layers with Smart Objects. That's what I've done for our four tabs up here. These are little Smart Objects and to make something into a Smart Object, you mply click on it, right-click, and then choose Convert to Smart Object. Simple as that. So I've made these with nothing more than a rounded rectangle with a Bevel and Emboss applied to them.
Having created one, then converted into a Smart Object, and then copied that smart object four or three or however many times, this is an extremely useful way if you need to make changes to these buttons. So, rather than having to change them all, we can just go to the Smart Object, change that, and they will all update in place. So what I am going to do here is double -click on one of the smart objects, it doesn't matter what because they're all exactly the same. They are all tied to the same one.
So when I double-click on that, we'll see this message. Click OK. This is what it looks like. Now, let's say that we've received instruction from our client that they want to change the color of the button to something other than what it currently is. They want it to be a green, a bright green. So I am going to fill that with the bright green. I am going to save it, and then when we go back to our original layout, they will update in place. So not only are the shape layers scalable without degradation, but when they are combined with Smart Objects, you can have several instances of the Smart Object reference the same source and if you edit that source, they will all update in place.
Now, this has many, many applications, but a website is just one that really comes to mind.
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