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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.
The magazine cover we're looking at here is a Smart Object, which means it contains all the layers that compose it within what's apparently a single Photoshop layer. Because it is a Smart Object, they are able to update this cover for the new edition of the magazine. Let's start by double-clicking it. And this opens it in a separate Photoshop window and we can see all the layers intact. There's the headline, the title, the cover motif of Rodin's Thinker, and the painting beneath. So, let's replace this with another painting, and let's choose The Laughing Cavalier again by Frans Hals.
We can drag this into our Smart Object assembly, and put away the original. And there is appears right at the top of a layer stack. Let's zoom in on this a little bit. Let's move it down to the bottom. Or just above the bottom, so it's above the original Mona Lisa. And we can now say, well okay, we need to change this headline. Let's move that down so it appears over the dark area. So, let's edit this text and we'll call it Laughing Cavalier, the second greatest painting ever made. Now, we can see that our little motif of Rodin's Thinker is looking quite washed out against this background.
It's not very discernible. So, let's switch to that, open up the Smart Object. Remember that we've made the Rodin The Thinker as a separate Smart Object within here. And let's invert it, Cmd + R on a Mac, Ctrl + R on a PC. We'll swap those colors over. When we Save that, that doll is much more visible against our background. But if I move this over to the side, then we now save this Smart Object, we can see it appears in place on top of our magazine cover. We can also see that we can no longer read the headline clearly because it comes below this girl's thumb.
Well, because we have the Smart Object open, we can pick up this text and we can move it higher up the picture. We can maybe have it all aligned, right? And let's save that and see how it looks. Okay, it is now clear with her thumb, but we cannot read the text very well. So, let's add a drop shadow to it. We can strengthen that up, increase the spread to make it much stronger.
And now, say OK, and now we Save it again. There is our image in place on top of the magazine that we designed earlier. So, we've seen how we can update a magazine cover directly in Photoshop. Of course, in the real world, magazine covers are usually created in QuarkXPress or InDesign. And we could just as easily swap the contents for a placed PDF file exported from either of those applications.
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