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Photoshop mastery can be elusive, but in Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Mastery, best-selling author and video trainer Deke McClelland teaches the most powerful, unconventional, and flexible features of the program. In this third and final installment of the popular and comprehensive series, Deke delves into the strongest features that Photoshop has to offer, including scalable vector graphics, Smart Objects, and Photomerge. Exercise files accompany the course.
Recommended prerequisites: Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Fundamentals and Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Advanced, both part of the lynda.com Online Training Library®.
Download Deke's customized keyboard layouts and color settings for Photoshop from the Exercise Files tab.
The first and foremost advantage of Smart Objects inside Photoshop is that they permit you to apply non-destructive transformations, meaning that you can scale a Smart Object as many times as you like without ruining it. Compare that to scaling some other pixel based layer inside of Photoshop. If you scale it multiple times, you will incrementally destroy the information on that layer and we'll see how that works. We will see the difference between destructive and non-destructive transformations in this very exercise. So what I'd like you to do is go ahead and open this document that's called 35- percent logo.psd. I have so named this document because after all I have scaled the logo to 35% of its original size.
Now back in the old days, prior to Photoshop CS2, if you imported an illustration into Photoshop, it would be permanently rasterized. So it would look like this. Just for the sake of comparison here, I'll go ahead and show you what it used to look like. I will go to the Glistenex Logo layer, right-click in an empty portion of the layer, not on the name and not on the thumbnail, and if you don't have a right mouse button on the Mac, you would press the Ctrl key and click, and then choose Rasterize Layer and you will see that your Smart Object icon goes away, and we now have a standard pixel based layer.
So here I am. I have got my logo. I'm playing around with it, my art director comes by and says, "what in the world are you doing?" And I'm like, "just doing my job." Then here she says, "No, no, no, that Glistenex logo is too darn small. They are very fussy client, and they just hate it when their logo is only of the size of the dude's shoulder. It needs to be much larger than this." And I'm like okay, yeah, fine. So what I'll do is I'll just go ahead and transform it and make it bigger. Why don't I? So I'll go up to the Edit menu and I'll choose the Free Transform command, Ctrl+T, Command+T on the Mac. And then it's telling me that the size of the logo is 100%. Even though I know it's 35% of its former size, I'm being told that's 100% of its size and that's because now that its pixels, Photoshop has no memory of what it used to be.
All right, so I'll just go ahead and make it really gargantuan because that's what they want. They want their logo so huge that it covers up the dude's face, and it's looking pretty choppy actually. I'll go ahead and zoom in on that logo to the 100% view size and I'm thinking, hmm, that's not welcome news, but at the same time, Free Transform doesn't show you the anti-aliasing while you are in the Free Transform mode. It abandons the anti-aliasing. So it's not really a good indicator of the final appearance. You are not going to know what it really looks like until you go ahead and press the Enter key or the Return key on the Mac. And there it is and it looks like garbage. It looks very bad and you can see that we have got some very rough transitions and this is a function of bicubic interpolation. So it's good interpolation, it's just horrible results because we have upsampled so significantly.
So then the art director says, "Whoa, that looks terrible. Make it smaller again. We can't have it that big if it's going to look like that." So you will press Ctrl+T or Command+T on the Mac and make it smaller. I'm Shift+Dragging by the way the corner handle, so I'm constraining the proportions. So I'd say, "Okay, I'll make it smaller" and press Enter or Return, and they say, "No, not that small. What are you thinking? Make it bigger again". So I'll press Ctrl+T or Command+T on the Mac and I'll make it bigger again and I'm getting flustered now and I press Enter or Return and now it really looks like just horrible now and I get fired.
So that's a very sad story. Thanks to a lack of Smart Objects in Photoshop CS and earlier, I got fired. All right, so boy, that looks terrible. So now thanks to Smart Objects, how do things look? Let's just go up to the File menu and choose the Revert command or press F12 in order to restore the original Smart Objects version of the logo. So let's replay that exact conversation. I'm sitting there, la, la, la, la, la, editing my ad, art director comes by, slaps me around a little, tells me that Glistenex logo should not be the size of the dude's shoulder. It needs to be much bigger.
I'm like okay, okay, I'll make it bigger. So I press Ctrl+T, Command+T on the Mac. It is a Smart Object now. So we have our original vector data embedded inside of this photographic composition and that's why Photoshop knows that the size is 35%. So it remembers. So if I make the logo really big like so, it's not looking good. I'll go ahead and zoom into 100% again and it's not looking good in the Free Transform mode, but that's because the anti-aliasing is temporarily turned off. I will go ahead and press the Enter key or the Return key on the Mac to accept that larger size. And see how long it took for Photoshop to calculate that? It's working from that original data. Oh! It's gorgeous.
Now, my art director says, "No, no, no, what are you thinking. It doesn't want to be that big. Make it smaller." And so I say, okay, Ctrl+T, Command+T on the Mac and make it really tiny, just this infinitesimal little dot of a logo. That's only 1.4% of its original size and then I press the Enter or Return key in order to accept that, and then my art director says, "My God man, have you lost your mind? It can't be that small. It could fit in the guy's shirt. It's so tiny." So I say, "Oh! Okay, you are right", and I press Ctrl+T, Command+T on the Mac in order to bring up Free Transform again. I press the Shift key, I make my logo bigger, and actually they want it at 65%.
So she mercifully tells me that, or he, and I'll change the Width value to 65%, while the link is on, so I have a height of 65% as well and then I press the Enter or Return key a couple of times in order to accept that modification and it looks gorgeous. My job is saved. In fact, I just got a big, fat Glistenex raise. So that's awesome. Anyway, thanks to the power of Smart Objects and the fact that they do afford you access to non-destructive transformation. So you can make something smaller, make it bigger, rotate it, rotate it back, do whatever you want.
You can even warp and unwarp objects without harming them, because every single operation is concatenated. Meaning that there is just one overarching transformation that's applied. In this case, it's a 65% scale and that's it. Despite all of the many transformations that I applied over and over again, it all boils down to 65%. The end. In the next exercise, we'll see how we can edit this illustration right here from Photoshop in Illustrator. Check it out.
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