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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.
In this first exercise, I'm going to show you the easiest way to create a Smart Object inside of Photoshop, which is to introduce an image or an illustration into an existing composition using this command right here under the File menu, the Place command. Place always introduces images or illustrations, any graphic, into a composition as a Smart Object, always, always. Very useful command these days. Back in the old days, not so useful. Now really great, in my opinion. Anyway, before we choose that command, I want you to open this composition right here. It's called Glistenex ad .psd, and it's found inside of the 26_smart_objects folder. It features as a backdrop, this self-portrait by photographer Joshua Blake of iStockPhoto.com, and this dude is going to serve as the background for an anti-bacterial hand soap ad. Because he's just so darn scared of germs, we want to exploit that.
So we need to introduce the Glistenex logo into this composition. That's the first thing that we're going to do. Like so many logos out there, this one is saved as an .AI file. So it's vector artwork from Adobe Illustrator. Go up to the File menu and choose the Place command, and then go to the 26_smart_objects folder. Therein you will find this file among others. This one is called Glistenex logo.ai. Then I want you to click on the Place button, and you will get this dialog box right here that says Place PDF.
Now I've gone ahead and set my Thumbnail Size to Fit Page, yours might be really dinky like this. So you get this wee, little logo here. Whatever, it's not very indicative anyway; it's all jagged and weird looking. It looks much better against the black background than a white background. Of course, it's super smooth, because it's vector artwork from Illustrator. It looks really super great. But here is the deal, why in the world does it say Place PDF? What in the world is going on with that? This isn't a PDF file, it's an .AI file, it's an Illustration from Adobe Illustrator. Well, for the last several versions, Illustrator has taken to embedding PDF information, Portable Document Format information into .AI files, which is very essential to other programs other than Illustrator.
If you want to be able to open the illustration in Adobe Reader, for example, then you need that embedded PDF data and Photoshop needs it too. You cannot import an illustration without the PDF stuff. So anyway, I'm going to go ahead and click OK, and that brings in a logo, as we're seeing right there. Now, I'll go ahead and scale it, I don't want it to be nearly this big. Now I'm going to go ahead and scale it, I don't want it to be nearly this big. So I'll go up to the Options bar here, turn on the Link icon so that we scale this illustration proportionally. I'm going to change the Width value to 35%, so both Width and Height are 35% now. Now I'll go ahead and move this guy into a location down here in the lower right region of the composition and I'll press the Enter key or the Return key on the Mac in order to finalize the placement of this illustration. It may look a little jagged on your screen.
It does on mine. That's because I'm viewing the image at 60% view size. If I zoom in to 100%, it's going to look ultra great. Now, I was telling you that the Place command always generates Smart Objects, and that is true. How do you know? Because if you go over to the new layer, of course, the logo appears on its own layer. You'll see this little dinky icon right there that shows a kind of page right next to this something else, like a little graphic next to a page or something. That shows you that you have a Smart Object. That's a Smart Object icon inside of Photoshop for what it's worth.
Now, I believe the reason that they choose this little page metaphor is because you essentially have an illustration working inside of Photoshop. So it's almost like you have a link going to a file on disk, the way you would inside of InDesign. The big difference is it's not a link, it's an embed, which means the Illustrator information is actually now part of the Photoshop file, it's embedded into the Photoshop file, and we'll see what that means in later exercise. But why don't we just go ahead for the sake of demonstrational purposes, if nothing else. I want you to see that Smart Objects are full-fledged citizens inside of Photoshop. They have all the rights of other kinds of layers.
For example, we can go ahead and apply, if we want to, a Drop Shadow. So I'm going to go down to the fx icon and I'll choose Drop Shadow right there and I'm just going to go ahead and accept the default settings, which are these. Multiply 75%, 5, 5 with a 0 in between there and an angle of 138 degrees, which I've already established with my Global Light right there. I'll click OK and now we have a nice little Drop Shadow behind the logo. So we have the sweet interaction between a pixel-based Drop Shadow and a vector-based logo right here.
All right, so that's it. We have created the Smart Object, now we'll see what that means in a future exercise. But first, before I show you just how grand it is that we have a Smart Object and what we can do with it, I want you to understand that you've got to have PDF content in that illustration before you can add it to Photoshop. I'll show you what that means, in the next exercise.
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