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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.
All the filters added to the pictures in this gallery can cope with a little perspective distortion without looking forced. But what if we want to work with a filter that isn't as universal as those we've applied here? How do we force a Smart Object filter into perspective? Let's look at the closest example. Layer one, the largest picture that we've placed. We will zoom in on this so we can see it bigger. As these are Smart Filters, we can edit them and even remove them, so let's hide the method in Filter we'd applied to it. Instead, let's go to Filter > Texture > Patchwork.
And we can see this adds a regular grid of lines onto our image. Let's increase the square size so we can see this more clearly, and maybe increase the relief so it's nice and sharp. And we can see there's now apparent depth to this image. It does look as if it's made out of thousands of tiny mosaic squares. So, we'll say OK to this. Right away, we can see a problem. Although there's a regular group of squares, there's no way that it's matching the perspective of the frame that it's inside. You can see the horizonal lines are going straight horizontal at the top here where they should be following the line of the top of the frame. So, how can we fix that? It's a two step process, and the first step is to undistort this image.
So, if we go into Free Transform again, as always happens with Smart Objects. First of all, we'll get this warning saying, Smart Filters applied to this when we turned off while the transformed is being previewed. Well, that's understandable. When we distort this or un-distort it, we don't want to see the Smart Object over the top, so we'll just say OK to this. And now, we can see our original transformation in place here, so let's undo this. We'll pull the handles, holding the Cmd on a Mac, Ctrl key on a PC, so we can adjust each corner individually.
And there is our original picture, undistorted. And when we say OK to this by clicking Enter, what's going to happen is that our Smart Filter is now reapplied. And you can see the Smart Filter now matches the shape of the picture perfectly. Of course, the picture is now not at all distorted to fit that frame. So, how do we do this? Well, this is where the second step of the process comes in. And it's a little surprising, but the answer is to turn this Smart Object into a Smart Object. That may sound ridiculous, but watch what happens.
There's our layer, and if we go to Layer menu, we can go to Layer > Smart Objects > Convert to Smart Object. What happens here is it's nesting one Smart Object inside another one, which means when we now apply Free Transform to this, we can pull it down to make it match the perspective of the frame. And you can see we're having to work with the entire layer here.
That's because we left it one Smart Object inside another, and there was a mask attached to the Smart Filter. And it's just about possible to see the angles of these prospective lines in the background as we're dragging, and that looks pretty good. We're now getting the bottom line of mosaics and the top line to light up with our picture frame, so let's say OK to that.
And when we zoom in, we can see quite clearly how these perspective lines do more or less follow. Okay, it's not quite right at the bottom so let's go into Free Transform again and pull up that bottom handle a little bit more. That's about right. So, there is our mosaic in perspective. And that's happened because we'd taken one Smart Filter, and nested it inside another. If we double-click this to open the Smart Filter contents, there is our Smart Filter, and you can see, there it is with our filter applied.
We could then double-click this one to open up the contents of this Smart Filter. So, this is our original picture nested inside our Smart Filter, which is itself, nested inside another Smart Filter. And that's how we're able to create this editable perspective effect. By nesting Smart Objects within each other, we're able to apply different kinds of distortions that allow us to view filters in the perspective otherwise would have been impossible.
Another thumbs up for Smart Objects.
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