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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.
We've prepared our art gallery by removing all the original images, and adding a small drop shadow inside the frames. Now, let's add some content to those frames. The image we're going to work with is perhaps the most recognizable picture in the world, Leonardo DavincI's The Mona Lisa. And here it is. I'll use the Move tool to drag this into our gallery where it appears as a regular layer. Now, we're going to want to work with this as a Smart Object, so the first thing we'll do is convert it to a Smart Object.
And I'll do this by using the Popup that comes when we click on it in the Layers panel convert the Smart Object. Now obviously, we want the picture to appear behind the walls in the spaces we've cut out. So, let's move this layer behind our Background layer, so it comes out behind it there. And we can start to work with it. We'll use Free Transform to make this smaller so we can fit it into this pane here.
To add some perspective to it, we can hold Shift + Option + Cmd on a Mac, Shift + Alt + Ctrl on a PC. And we can now make this fit in the correct perspective for this wall, and we'll click OK. And in most cases, we'll only want to show a portrait view of this picture. To make a copy of the Smart Object, we can hold the Alt key down and drag it. And there's the copy appearing in our new window. Now, we don't want this to view where it overlaps the picture next to it, or in fact, inside these frames. So, let's add a Layer Mask, and now we can simply hide these areas by filling them with black on the mask.
To do this, we can make a rectangular selection around the area we don't want. Because black is currently our background color, Cmd + Delete on a Mac, Ctrl + Delete on a PC will fill that area with black on the mask and so hide it for us. Let's make another copy and put it in the background here. And let's say, actually, we'll have this quite big, so that we can see a full face through there. And we'll drag this to the bottom of our layer stack so it doesn't overlap the picture in front of it.
And let's drag another copy, so the Alt key on a Mac, Option key on a PC. And this time, let's make it smaller so we get a lot more of the picture showing inside this frame. And let's take another copy and put it inside this frame on the wall. And in fact, I would have liked this the way that we've got the head showing in the top frame and the hands in the next one down. We'll make it very slightly smaller. Now, you will notice that when we used Free Transform, the Free Transforms boundary seems very much bigger than the image we are working with.
And that's because we've added Layer Mask to it of it's having to effect the Layer Mask as well. If we want to work with it at the size, it is without the Layer Mask attached. We can go back to our original and we can take a copy of that, again holding the outer Option key to drag a copy. So, let's put a full size picture in here. And now that we can see the image you're working on, let's zoom in on this. We can see we need to adjust the perspective to make this better fit the shape of our image. There we go.
There's a much less distorted version of the Mona Lisa, and let's add another copy above. Again, we can change the view of that. You can see that once again this version is overlapping the one underneath. We'll just send it to the back. We can use keyboard shortcuts Cmd on the Mac, Ctrl on the PC, and the square brackets will move a layer up and down in the layers panel. So, Cmd or Ctrl and Left Square Bracket will move it down one.
This layer now appears below the other one. And let's quickly put more copies into the spaces we left on the wall and one down here, one in this picture above. And we'll distort this as well. And a final one, or just make this slightly larger so it fills the whole of the upper frame, and we'll make a final copy in the picture below.
And when we zoom out, we can see our entire gallery is now full of Mona Lisas. These are all copies of the single original artwork that we placed. And what's interesting about working with multiple copies is that the way they all behave together. So, in this lesson, we perform with multiple transformations and distortions on copies of a single Smart Object. But precisely because it is a Smart Object, we can distort each copy as much as we like without losing any quality. If this were a regular layer, the last few distorted versions would be starting to look very ugly indeed.
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