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Photoshop mastery can be elusive, but in Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Mastery, best-selling author and video trainer Deke McClelland teaches the most powerful, unconventional, and flexible features of the program. In this third and final installment of the popular and comprehensive series, Deke delves into the strongest features that Photoshop has to offer, including scalable vector graphics, Smart Objects, and Photomerge. Exercise files accompany the course.
Recommended prerequisites: Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Fundamentals and Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Advanced, both part of the lynda.com Online Training Library®.
Download Deke's customized keyboard layouts and color settings for Photoshop from the Exercise Files tab.
All right, the actual purpose of this exercise is to show you how you can drag and drop Smart Filters inside Photoshop between different compositions. But the reason that you would want to do such a thing is because you are working in a free form order. So in the previous exercise, I showed you the linear thinking approach to embedded Smart Objects. But what if you are not thinking in a linear fashion, and I don't mean to say that you are discombobulated anymore than I am. Rather you're just sort of free forming it and then you realize you have gone down the wrong road, and you want to back up and try something different. And that's when dragging and dropping Smart Filters can be very useful.
So I have gone back to that Density mask.psd image that we had opened at the outside of the previous exercise and let's say I still want to apply Gaussian Blur to the lightest details inside the image. So I go ahead and select Smart Girl and I'm not thinking about the whole layer mask thing right now. All I'm doing is just kind of winging it. I will go up to the Filter menu. I'll choose Blur, I'll choose Gaussian Blur, and I'll enter my 20 pixels. Sure, that sounds great and I'll click OK and I go, what's that? And then I think, okay, wait a sec, I need to go ahead and double-click on the slider icon right there in order to bring up the Blending Options dialog box, which is becoming increasingly slow to display on screen, and I'll change the blend mode to Overlay.
Then I get this effect right here and I go, Gosh! Really? Hmm... Okay, well, let's click on the eye for a moment. I'll go ahead and zoom out a little bit here. I thought I would get kind of an overarching sort of highlight effect across the entire image and instead, I'm only effecting the shadow detail. So I'll click OK and I'll think, well, I guess that makes sense because I went ahead and said that the highlight detail is off limit. So this is what the image looks like without that mask if I Shift-click on it. Pretty dang different. Thanks to Gaussian Blur, and then this is what it looks like with the mask when I Shift-click to turn it back on.
Oh! And here is the wonderful thing. You've got to see this. See that big block right there of stuff that did not get updated. That is what is known as a Tile and then there is another tile next to it. This is my first chance to tell you this, but this is a very core thing about Photoshop. Photoshop updates the image in tiles, and it always does that. It's just that it does it very, very effectively until we start getting into Smart Object territory. When we start going down the old nested Smart Object road, we can run into problems where updating the screen image is concern.
So what happened was Photoshop didn't have time to finish the screen update, and it kind of gave up too quickly. So we have to inspire it in order to re-update that screen image. So if you end up seeing some kind of blocky thing like this, it's not your brain, you don't need another cup of coffee, and it's not something wrong with your image. It's just the screen redraw problem. So what you do is you turn off your Smart Filters for a moment, wait for it, just give it a beat. Don't rush the program. That's the problem here, and then turn it back on and see if it gets better, and it does. So that's nice.
Just something to bear in mind, Photoshop updates the image in tiles. A larger issue though is we've got this Gaussian Blur that's sitting here inside the image and now I know, wait a sec; I need to create a nested Smart Object so that I can assign a different filter mask to Gaussian Blur. So I'll go up here to the Layers palette menu, and I'll choose Convert to Smart Object. We have got now a Smart Object inside of a Smart Object, but we just lost our Gaussian Blur. So I'll double-click on this Smart Object to open it up inside of a different window. It's called Smart girl without a one this time .PSB file and I'll go ahead and zoom in on her, and tell you what, let's take a look at both of these images at the same time.
So I'll go ahead and do the 2 up tile display here. So Density Mask is our larger composition; this you just have to keep track of. You just have to juggle these balls in the air and keep track of what you are doing mentally, because Photoshop is not really helping you out here. Then Smart girl.psb is the version of the Smart Object that's embedded inside of the larger composition. Now, you turn off Gaussian Blur, because you don't want it here, but then what? Then you go back to this other one and reapply it manually, do you really have to do that? I mean, what if you did a lot of work here? In my case, it's just Gaussian Blur 20 set to Overlay. So it's not that much.
But let's say it's a lot more complicated than that or you have three filters you need to move over, something along those lines. Well, you can do a drag and drop. You can grab this Gaussian Blur filter item, and you can drag it over to the other image window for the larger composition and you can drop it. And you will get no indication that anything has occurred, which is lovely of course. We are now working inside the Density mask.psd image, the larger composition. It's switched over to it automatically when we did the drag and drop and we are not seeing our filter list anymore. So you might think, well, I guess you can't do it, because I don't see the filter.
But if you go ahead and expand this object right there by clicking the down pointing arrowhead, you will see that you did assign Gaussian Blur. It's there; it's not turned on. And now you can go ahead and turn it on. All right, it looks terrible. That's okay. We'll come back to it in a moment. We go back to this image right here, which is the nested Smart Object. Just leave Gaussian Blur sitting there if you want to or if you want to slim down the file a little bit, you go ahead and drag it to the Trash Can. Now everything is nice and tidy. Then I would click the Close Box in order to close out of this Smart Object.
Photoshop will ask me if I want to save my changes. Of course by save, it means update the larger composition. I'll click Yes, of course I do. Then I'll return to the larger composition and everything is looking wrong, but that's okay. We'll turn off the Smart Filters to restore the so far modified version of the image, which is a little crunchy to load from where creating a luminance mask is concerned. But it's good enough. So I'll go over to the Channels palette now, Ctrl-click here on the PC or Command-click on the Mac on that Red channel in order to load it as a selection outline. Go back to the Layers palette, show the Smart Filters, let's go ahead and get rid of this filter mask once again by right-clicking on it and choosing Delete Filter Mask and then right- click on Smart Filters again and choose Add Filter Mask. So we delete and we add right away and that goes ahead and adds a good version of that filter mask like so.
So the larger overarching point here of this whole little exercise is to let you know that you can do drag and drops between compositions. You can even drag and drop from a nested Smart Object into the larger composition which is actually when you think about it really a great thing. It is a really great function of Photoshop, this ability to reform it inside of nested Smart Objects here inside Photoshop.
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