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Including adjustment layers in a Smart Object

From: Photoshop CS4: Image Adjustments in Depth

Video: Including adjustment layers in a Smart Object

In addition to the layer group method that I showed in the last movie, there is another way to limit the layers that are affected by an adjustment layer, and that is to group an adjustment layer along with the layers that you want it to affect into a Smart Object. The adjustment layer will affect only the layers that are part of that Smart Object, rather than all of the layers beneath it in the Layers panel, which is the default behavior of an adjustment layer. This is a good method to use, if you want an adjustment layer to affect more than one but not all the layers in a file, and you're going to want to resize or otherwise transform the adjusted layers as well. I'm starting here with a file that has four image layers in it.

Including adjustment layers in a Smart Object

In addition to the layer group method that I showed in the last movie, there is another way to limit the layers that are affected by an adjustment layer, and that is to group an adjustment layer along with the layers that you want it to affect into a Smart Object. The adjustment layer will affect only the layers that are part of that Smart Object, rather than all of the layers beneath it in the Layers panel, which is the default behavior of an adjustment layer. This is a good method to use, if you want an adjustment layer to affect more than one but not all the layers in a file, and you're going to want to resize or otherwise transform the adjusted layers as well. I'm starting here with a file that has four image layers in it.

I'd like to add an adjustment layer that affects the top three layers here in the Layers panel. The love graphic layer, which contains this heart shaped graphic of the word love, the dot graphic layer, which contains this flower shaped dotted graphic and the candy box layer, which contains this photograph of a candy box. But I don't want my adjustment layer to affect the photograph of the model on the image layer. I have the love graphic layer selected at the top of the layer stack and I'm going to come in and add an adjustment layer. I'm just going to use one of the preset adjustments, and I'll use one for the Hue/Saturation adjustment layer, by clicking the arrow on the left side of the Hue/Saturation Presets in the Icon view of the Adjustments panel. Then I'll scroll down and I'm going to choose Sepia.

That adds a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer in the Layers panel and it's changed the content of all the layers below that adjustment layer to a Sepia tone. [00:01:34.0] It's also changed the Adjustments panel to show the controls for a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer. I won't be addressing those in this movie, but I'll be covering them in detail in a later movie in this course. Now how am I going to limit the Sepia toning to just the love graphic, the dot graphic and the candy box layers? I'm going to do that by including all of those layers along with this Hue/Saturation adjustment layer in a Smart Object.

So my first step is to select all those layers. I already have the Hue/Saturation adjustment layer selected. To select all the layers in between that and the candy box layer, I'll hold down the Shift key and click on the candy box layer, and now I have all four of those layers selected. To make a Smart Object out of those four layers, I'm going to go to the panel menu on the right side of the Layers panel, click there and choose Convert to Smart Object. That takes all four layers and creates a Smart Object from them.

A Smart Object basically takes those layers and embeds them deep inside this file, leaving in there instead this Smart Object layer which happens to be named Hue/Saturation. You can see on the thumbnail for this Smart Object layer, this symbol, which indicates that it is a Smart Object. Importantly, if you look at the image, you can see that the Sepia toning on the Hue/Saturation adjustment layer is affecting just the image layers that have been embedded with that adjustment layer inside of this Smart Object.

So we could just leave it at that, but let's say that I want to edit my adjustment layer, just like I could edit any adjustment layer in the Layers panel. If I look at the Layers panel, I can't see that adjustment layer. So where do I go to edit it? To do that, I have to open up the Embedded Smart Object. To open that Smart Object, I'm going to go to the Smart Object layer and Double-click the thumbnail on that layer. I'll click OK at the prompt, and notice that there is now a second file open in my document window. And it's got the extension PSB rather than PSD, which is the extension on this original document right here.

So, with that PSB file active in the document window, I can see that in the Layers panel, I now have available to me my original Hue/Saturation adjustment layer, as well as the three image layers that I included with it in this Smart Object. So, I can edit this Hue/Saturation adjustment layer in the normal way. If I select that layer up in the Adjustments panel, I have all the controls to edit this adjustment layer. I'm just going to go up to the Preset menu for this Hue/Saturation adjustment layer, click on it, and I'm going to choose a different preset. I'll choose Cyanotype instead of Sepia.

As soon as I do that, the content of all the layers beneath the Hue/Saturation adjustment layer that are embedded in this Smart Object have been changed to a Blue or Cyanotype color. That includes the content of the candy box layer, the dot graphic layer and the love graphic layer. The next step is to save this modified Smart Object and I have to save in exactly the same place. So the easiest way to do that is just to go to the File menu and choose Save. Then I'll go to the document window and I'll click on the X on this tab for the PSD document and that closes it. And now I'm back in my original PSD or Photoshop Document, with the changes that I made to that adjustment layer are affecting all of the content in the Smart Object, but not the content on the image layer below.

Now you remember that the motivation for converting these layers to a Smart Object layer was primarily to limit the effect of the adjustment layer to just those layers. But a Smart Object offers another advantage. Because a Smart Object is just a proxy for the actual layers embedded in it, you can resize a Smart Object or perform other Transform operations on it as many times as you want without degrading the image quality. That isn't true of pixel-based layers. So, for example, if this photograph of the candy box were not a Smart Object, but just a regular pixel-based layer, I couldn't transform it up and then down more than once or it would start to look really degraded. But because it's part of this Smart Object, I can do exactly that. So let me show you that, by making sure that I have my Smart Object layer selected in the Layers panel, and then going up to the Edit menu and I'll go down to Transform and then Scale.

That brings up this bounding box with anchor points and I'm going to move my mouse over to bottom right corner. I'll hold down my Shift key to constrain proportions, and I'm going to click-and- drag to make the content of this Smart Object smaller. Then I can also click inside of this bounding box and move all that content wherever I want it in the image, and when I'm done, I'll accept that transform by going up to the Options bar and clicking the checkmark. Now you'll notice that all of this content still looks good and it will look good if I resize it up again. So again, with the Hue/Saturation Smart Object layer selected, I'll go back to Edit and this time I'll just choose Free Transform, which is another option to do the same thing. I'll move my mouse over the bottom left anchor point, hold down the Shift key to constrain proportions and drag to make that content bigger again.

My only constraint is that I don't want to make it larger than 100%, because you don't want to resize up larger than the original size of an image. Then finally, I'll click this checkmark in the Options bar and you can see that my content still looks great. So if you want an adjustment layer to affect more than one but not all the layers beneath it in an image, and you also want the freedom to resize and transform the adjusted layers over and over, try using this Smart Object method of confining the effect of an adjustment layer.

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This video is part of

Image for Photoshop CS4: Image Adjustments in Depth
Photoshop CS4: Image Adjustments in Depth

48 video lessons · 16003 viewers

Jan Kabili
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 5m 39s
    1. Welcome
      1m 18s
    2. Using the exercise files
      59s
    3. Setting up a workspace
      3m 22s
  2. 21m 2s
    1. Creating and editing adjustment layers
      6m 38s
    2. Adjustment layers vs. direct adjustments
      6m 9s
    3. Using the new Adjustments panel
      5m 38s
    4. Reusing adjustment layers
      2m 37s
  3. 39m 57s
    1. Clipping adjustment layers
      4m 36s
    2. Including adjustment layers in a layer group
      3m 13s
    3. Including adjustment layers in a Smart Object
      7m 29s
    4. Using the adjustment layer mask
      5m 43s
    5. Using selections with adjustment layers
      4m 19s
    6. Using the Masks panel with adjustment layers
      8m 30s
    7. Using the Blend If sliders with adjustment layers
      6m 7s
  4. 49m 43s
    1. Reading the Histogram panel
      5m 23s
    2. Using the Levels adjustment for tonal corrections
      7m 42s
    3. Using the Curves adjustment for exposure
      8m 12s
    4. Using the Curves adjustment for contrast
      4m 14s
    5. Making On-Click Curves adjustments
      4m 0s
    6. Applying Shadow/Highlight nondestructively
      7m 59s
    7. Reviewing Brightness/Contrast
      3m 18s
    8. Dealing with exposure
      2m 22s
    9. Using adjustment layers with blend modes
      6m 33s
  5. 54m 36s
    1. Making Vibrance adjustments
      2m 22s
    2. Using Hue/Saturation adjustments
      7m 4s
    3. Understanding color correction
      3m 21s
    4. Using color samplers and the Info panel
      4m 25s
    5. Using Levels eyedroppers for color correction
      5m 54s
    6. Using Levels channels for color correction
      5m 7s
    7. Understanding Curves adjustments for color correction
      7m 21s
    8. Making Color Balance adjustments
      3m 49s
    9. Making Photo Filter adjustments
      3m 6s
    10. Making Variations adjustments
      6m 48s
    11. Using the auto-correction features
      5m 19s
  6. 13m 5s
    1. Using the Dodge and Burn tools
      4m 56s
    2. Dodging and burning nondestructively
      6m 38s
    3. Working with the Red-Eye tool
      1m 31s
  7. 16m 9s
    1. Applying Black & White adjustments
      7m 30s
    2. Making Channel Mixer adjustments
      6m 31s
    3. Understanding the Threshold adjustment
      2m 8s
  8. 25m 23s
    1. Colorizing with Hue/Saturation adjustments
      3m 9s
    2. Tinting with Black & White adjustments
      2m 8s
    3. Making a Gradient Map adjustment
      4m 18s
    4. Applying a Selective Color adjustment
      1m 49s
    5. Using the Replace Color adjustment
      4m 39s
    6. Making Match Color adjustments
      4m 24s
    7. Applying the Equalize adjustment
      4m 56s
  9. 42s
    1. Goodbye
      42s

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