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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.
In this montage, all the covers have been placed as Smart Objects. Once a month, it's my job to replace the front cover with the latest edition of the magazine, and then shuffle all the rest back one. So, here's how it's done. Here, shall we say, is the new cover of Reader's Digest. I'm going to Select All and Copy it. And from now on, I'll use the keyboard shortcuts Cmd + A on a Mac, Ctrl + A on a PC to select all. Command + C on a Mac, Ctrl + C on a PC to copy.
And I'll put that away. So, we'll start by opening up the first cover. I'll double-click it and Paste into place. And again, from now on, I'm going to use a shortcut Cmd + V, Ctrl + V. There's the cover. Now, sometimes the covers are cropped slightly, they come in different sizes, so we need to scale it up a little bit to fill that full space. If we move this to the side, and Save, we can see where this cover is replace on the front most cover of the magazine.
In addition, because we made a copy of that cover, we can also see it replaced on the reflection. So now, I'm going to go to the layer beneath. Select All and Copy before closing the Smart Object. I can go to the next one down, double-click to open it, and Paste. This time, we need to make it slightly smaller. And once again, I'll go to the next one down. Select All and Copy. And actually, there's no need to save a PSB, to save a Smart Object file overtly. When we close it, we're prompted to save it.
And there's the new one, appearing in place. We can go to the next cover down, paste, scale as necessary. Go the next one, Select All > Copy, and close it. And of course, Save it as we close. Here comes a new cover. And we can go to the final one. Open it up, Paste, no need to copy on this one because this is the last cover in the set.
Scale it up slightly, save it, and close it. And here comes our final cover. So in just very few minutes, I've been able to take the new cover, put it in place and shuffle each to the others back one space. Because of the power of Smart Objects, I've only have to create the base artwork once in order to re-purpose it each month. The magazines appear in place complete with their reflection, with a minimum amount of work on my part. And Smart Objects can greatly improve your workflow as well.
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