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Photoshop Smart Objects explores the creation and use of Smart Objects, one of the most technically demanding tools in Photoshop. Deke McClelland walks through the four primary purposes of Smart Objects, and focuses on one of their most practical advantages, non-destructive transformations. This feature allows any object to be manipulated in any way, while still maintaining its original pixel information. Finally, Deke shows how to crop compositions without affecting a single pixel, even in masks. Exercise files accompany this course.
Download Deke's customized keyboard layouts and color settings for Photoshop from the Exercise Files tab.
In this exercise, we're going to shift our focus from Camera Raw to Adobe Illustrator, which may inspire many of you to bug out because you may feel like you're not an artist. You're not an Illustrator. You've never used Adobe Illustrator and now is no time to start. Whereas, I'm telling you, now it's the perfect time to start using Illustrator for a couple of reasons. You can get a sense of what you can do with the program. We're not going to do anything all that complicated, so whether you know how to use Illustrator or not, you'll be able to follow along with me and you'll get a sense as to whether you want to integrate Illustrator into your daily workflow or not.
And if you do, I'm just going to tell you that I have a ton of training on Illustrator, under the name of Illustrator CS4 One-on-One, just gobs and gobs of movies available to you, take you all the way through the program. It's available here at the lynda.com Online Training Library. Anyway, what you're going to need to follow along with me right now is Illustrator CS4, for all of the exercises. What we're going to be doing is we're going to place a logo that was created inside of Illustrator into Photoshop and this is a logo that you wouldn't be able to create inside of Photoshop normally, but you can create inside of Illustrator very easily.
So I've gone ahead and saved my progress as Warmer model.psd because we've warmed up her skin tones and it's found inside the 02_ACR_and_Illustrator folder. Make sure that the top layer is selected right there, the Smart Object layer and then we're going to go to the File menu and choose the Place command. If you've loaded my Deke keys, keyboard shortcuts then you can press that shortcut right there, Ctrl+Shift+Alt+ D or Command+Shift+Option+D on the Mac and D comes from an old PageMaker shortcut, essentially that's used by InDesign as well.
So, something of a cross-application shortcut. Anyway, I'm going to go ahead and choose Place. Now whenever you choose the Place command, whatever file that you grab and then place inside of your composition becomes a Smart Object no matter what. And this is how you bring in Illustrator files into Photoshop. You can copy and paste. That's also an option and I'll show you how that works later. But for now, just go ahead and choose the Place command and navigate your way to the 02_ACR_and_Illustrator folder and you'll find among other files, this one call the Product logo.ai and that .ai stands for Adobe Illustrator.
So this is a native Adobe Illustrator file. Go ahead and click on the Place button and you'll see this dialog box right here, that says Place PDF, what gives there? Why, when we know this is an Adobe Illustrator file, do we find out that Photoshop thinks it's a PDF file? Well, Photoshop requires a PDF definition of the file to be embedded inside of the larger Illustrator file. And I'll show you how you do that in a later exercise. This one already has a PDF built-in and that is the default setting where Illustrator is concerned.
So, Photoshop is working from that PDF definition. Now, I'm going to go ahead and change my Thumbnail Size from Small to Fit Page like so, so that it blows up here. Now we can see there is a bit of filigree right here. That comes to us from the Fotolia image library and there is a heck of a little illustration actually here. This is hand drawn, by the way in case you're wondering how do people draw that wild filigree that you see all over the place these days. They draw it with their hands. There isn't some filigree tool out there , they actually spend time drawing this manually and then we have the word Product and there is actually some additional logo type right here that we can't see because it's white against the white background, but we will see it shortly.
There is nothing else you have to do inside this dialog box. All you do is you go ahead and click OK and then you place a logo here inside of your composition. Now at this point, it's probably a good idea to go ahead and size the logo, but you don't have to. Now in the old days, back before Smart Objects, back inside of Photoshop CS and earlier, you had one and only one chance to scale this illustration properly and then it would be rendered out to pixels. It's no longer that way inside of CS2, CS3 and CS4. So, what I invite you to do, if you like, is just go ahead and press the Enter key or you can click on this checkmark, right there, up in the Options bar to Commit the transformation, to go ahead and commit the place essentially.
And you can see that this illustration has now been rendered out to pixels. So, I'm going to go ahead and zoom in on it, so that we can see it up, close and personal. Now every single one of these fills right here is an independent fill that I've created inside of Illustrator. And I'll show you how that works in a later exercise. Once again, I keep telling you about the later exercises, but it's fairly important. But at this point we're not looking at some sort of Vector layer inside of Photoshop. We're not looking at a vector shape layer for example, instead we're looking at a Smart Object layer that has all the vector information built into the larger composition now.
So, it's all embedded inside the composition and we'll see how great that is later. But for now, what I want you to do. Let's go ahead and zoom out a little bit once again. I'm going to go ahead and scale this logo and place it where I want it to be and I'll do that by going up to the Edit menu and once again, choosing the Free Transform command. This is how we apply our non-destructive transformations, regardless of what kind of Smart Object we're working with. So I'll go ahead and choose the command or press Ctrl+T, Command+T on the Mac. And then I'm going to turn on this little link icon up here in the Options bar and I'm going to change either the W or the H value to 40, like so and you could scale this manually if you wanted to as well.
Then I'll drag it down into a different position, somewhere around here for now I think, and then I'll go ahead and commit my transformation by pressing the Enter key or the Return key on the Mac and there we have it. Again, it's nice and smooth. Because we're working with the Smart Object, we can scale it as much as we want. Now you may say, "Well, it looks a little bit jagged." That's because we're looking at the artwork at the 200% Zoom Ratio. And anywhere beyond 100% you're going to start seeing pixels inside of Photoshop, because things get rendered out to pixels, even objects get rendered out to pixels on the fly, inside the program.
All right, so that's step one. We have now imported an Illustrator logo into Photoshop. In the next exercise, we'll see how we go about modifying this logo inside Illustrator.
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