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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.
These first couple of exercises are housekeeping movies designed to get you and I on the same page, so you encounter as few stumbling blocks as possible as you work your way through the course. In this first movie we'll install some custom keyboard shortcuts that I've created for you in advance. In the next movie we'll adjust Photoshop's color settings for optimal results. If you have access to the exercise files folder, go ahead and open it on up. Inside you'll find a subfolder called 00_dekeKeys. Go ahead and open it as well and then you'll see a file called 00_dekeKeysMac, which is designed to work with the Macintosh version of Photoshop, and 00_dekeKeysWindows, which is designed to work with Photoshop running under Windows.
Go ahead and right-click on the file that corresponds to your platform and in choose the Open With command from that shortcut menu. And you should see Photoshop listed in that submenu. Go ahead and choose Photoshop in order to run the application. Now, if Photoshop wasn't running in the first place this'll go and launch Photoshop. In my case I already had the program running in the background. Now, it's not going to seem like anything in particular happened. It's certainly not going to open a different image file. Instead what you've done is loaded some shortcuts in the background.
To make sure everything works properly, go up to the Edit menu and choose the Keyboard Shortcuts command. Inside the Keyboard Shortcuts dialog you should see that the set now reads Photoshop Defaults. At least that's what it reads by default. It depends on what keyboard shortcuts you had running before. And then you'll see in parentheses (modified). And that tells you that some new shortcuts have been loaded. To confirm that they're my shortcuts, go ahead and click the triangle in front of the word File in order to twirl open the contents of the File menu.
Then scroll your way down until you find the Place command. Notice that right there. And it should have a new shortcut of Ctrl+Shift+Alt+D or Command+Shift+Option+D on a Mac. Now you may wonder why I'm reading this shortcut in the opposite order from what it's listed/ Here it appears for example is as Alt+Shift+Control+D. Well, the industry standard is to list Ctrl or Command first, Shift second, and an Alt or Option third. That's not always the way things work in your computer screen however. Doesn't really matter though.
You now have a keyboard shortcut for the Place command of effectively mashing your fist on the modifier keys. So again, Ctrl+Shift+Alt or Command+Shift +Option on the Mac and then pressing D. The great thing here is that the Place command is an integral feature when creating Smart Objects inside of Photoshop. Anytime you place one image into another, you end up with a Smart Object, which is a really great thing. In order to back up these shortcuts go up to this tiny little floppy disk icon that has this down pointing arrow next to it.
That will bring up the Save dialog box and notice that Photoshop is already suggesting that it save the shortcuts to the proper folder. So all you need to do is go ahead and assign whatever filename you like, and then click on the Save button. And by the way you can always further adjust your keyboard shortcuts from this dialog box, if you desire, once you become more familiar with what you're doing inside the application. Now I'm going to click on the OK button in order to accept those shortcuts. Now as we work our way through the course you'll see that I've given you several new shortcuts to work with.
That should expedite your workflow inside of Photoshop particularly as you work with Smart Objects. Because for example notice here inside the Layers panel, I'll go ahead and click on the Layers panel flyout menu, and notice we have this command Convert to Smart Object. A very useful commands for establishing Smart Objects inside of Photoshop. And I've given you a new shortcut for it of Ctrl+Comma or Command+Comma on the Mac. You also have the option of pressing Ctrl+Shift+Coma or Command+Shift+Comma on the Mac in order to edit a Smart Object. One more thing. If at any point you decide you liked your original shortcuts better than mine, you can reestablish those originals without losing my shortcuts by going back to the Edit menu, choosing the Keyboard Shortcuts command, and then switching from whatever you named your set, in my case it's called dekeKeys, back to Photoshop Defaults.
It's entirely up to you. I'm going to stick with dekeKeys, however, so I'll go and click the Cancel button. And that's how you load my custom dekeKeys keyboard shortcuts which should expedite your progress as you work with Smart Objects here inside Photoshop.
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