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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.
The image on this flag has been distorted both using FreeTransform and using a Displacement Map. Of course, the image itself is a Smart Object, and that means we can change the contents. So, let's see how easy it is to replace that American flag with the flag of Austria, (UNKNOWN) Well, here's the Austrian flag. I can load this as a selection by holding Cmd and holding on it's thumbnail, or hold at Ctrl and clicking on the thumbnail on a PC and copy it. And now, I can hide that.
When we double-click our Smart Object, as always, it opens in a New document. And this is the PSP documents that contains the Smart Object. Let's paste into here. Now, that's a little bit too large so we can use FreeTransform to scale it down. Just move it up to the corner and drag the opposite corner so that it matches the shape of our flag. And I'm going to Zoom out on this so that we can move it to the side and see the flag in place behind. When we now choose Save from the File menu, that flag is now wrapped around the photograph flag underneath using exactly the same distortion as was used for the American flag.
And you could see in particular here how the flag bends over those ripples in the photograph flag underneath and that is thanks to our Displacement Map. So, both the transformation with the Image Warp and the Displacement Map that carried through with the new artwork. We could try a different map on this. Here's the Union Jack, which is the flag of the country I come from. We can Select All and Copy. Go in to our Smart Object and Paste it in here.
And once again, we can make this smaller and size it so it exactly fits. And when we save, there's the flag now showing up perfectly, rippling over the surface we made earlier. However long it takes to create the initial distortion, it only needs to be done once. Thereafter, we can change this for any flag in the world and get astounding results every time.
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