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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 exercise, we're going to explore the tricky relationship between Smart Filters and Image Resolution. This is a really interesting and somewhat technical topic. I'm going to try to make it make sense; I think you'll be able to follow along here. Now the idea is this. You may recall, back when we were talking about the sharpening filters back in Chapter 14 and the blurring and averaging filters in Chapter 15, that any filter that includes radius value, you're modifying that radius value to accommodate the number of pixels inside the image. In all the filters that we've assigned to this image so far, Smart Sharpen, Median and High Pass, they all include radius values. I've gone ahead and saved my progress incidentally, Large Filter comp.psd.
Now if these were flat adjustments and we changed the number of pixels inside of the image, the results of our filters, specifically our radius values, would scale along with the image. But that doesn't happen when we're working with Smart Filters. Okay, so what am I talking about? We're going to make two duplicates of this image. I'm going to go up to the Image menu and I'm going to choose the Duplicate command. I'm going to call this one, Flattened image. And then I'll go ahead and click OK. I'll zoom in a little bit here so that we're seeing our two images at the same zoom ratio. I'm going to go ahead and commit the filters to the image in one of two ways. I could go up to the Layer menu and I could choose the Flatten Image command, and that's going to completely flatten the image and get rid of the Smart Object and the filters. It's going to wrap all of those operations into the flattened image. So the image isn't going to look any different, it's going to look the same as it did before. That's one way to work.
If for some reason you want to keep that layer though, you can also do this. I'll press Ctrl+Z, Command+Z on the Mac. You can go to your Smart Object layer there, right-click in an empty portion of the layer, not on the thumbnail, choose Rasterize Layer and that's going to go ahead and rasterize everything out, but you still have an independent layer that you can turn on and off. Now that this is a flat version of the image, I've committed the filters. I'm going to go ahead and re-sample the image to 50% of its former size. So I'll go up to the Image menu, choose the Image Size command, Ctrl+Alt+I, Command+Option+I on the Mac, and I'll switch to percent and I'll change the percent value to 50%. We don't care about the resolution or any of this jazz, we do want all the checkboxes on and we do want the Interpolation Method set to Bicubic (best for smooth gradients). Click OK, and then I'll go ahead and zoom the image to 100%, and now let's compare our two images.
This is the high-resolution image here with all the Smart Filters assigned to it, and this is the lower resolution image, which has been rasterized. They look for all intents and purposes because we've zoomed out the 50% image so that we can't see all of its pixels. So they both look the same on screen. This is very important. So compare this to what would happen if we had not rasterized the layer. So I'll go up to the Image menu, with Large filter comp selected and I'll choose Duplicate. I'll call this one Small filter comp, and I'll get rid of word copy, we don't need that. I'll click OK. I'll zoom in to 50% so that we're seeing the image at the same zoom ratio.
I'm not going to flatten the image. I'm going to leave it alone; I'm going to leave my Smart Filters and my Smart Object intact. I'm going to go up to the Image menu; I'm going to choose the Image Size command again. I'm going to change the percent value to 50%, all checkboxes on, Bicubic (best for smooth gradients). So the exact same thing we saw just a moment ago. Now notice that there is this checkbox that scales the styles. That means that it scales things like Drop Shadows and Glows and all that good stuff, Bevel and Emboss. It will go ahead and scale those to half of their former size.
If we had a Drop Shadow going on, that was a 14 pixel Drop Shadow. Well, this checkbox would automatically scale it to a 7 pixel Drop Shadow. However, notice that there is nothing here about Smart Filters. Smart Filters do not get scaled. So I'll click OK and we'll go ahead and zoom into 100%, looks a lot different. So this is the original comp right there and this is the flattened version of the image at 50% and this is the unflattened Smart Object version of the image at 50%. Do you see the difference? This is what happens when we scale the effects of the filters. This is what happens when you don't scale the effects of the filters. So all of our effects are thicker. So what do you have to do? If you're going to work this way, if you're going to go ahead and keep your Smart Filters as you downsample an image or upsample for that matter.
You're just not going to upsample as often, hopefully. But if you decide to go that route and keep your Smart Filters, then you're going to have to follow up. If you want to keep the same effects, you're going to have to manually adjust every single one of your Smart Filters to taste so that you have lower radius values. So, for example, I would go over here to my Smart Sharpen filter, double-click on it, in order to bring up the Smart Sharpen dialog box. I would change the Radius value, not Amount. Amount is fine. It does not need to be scaled. Radius does need to be scaled. I'll take that down to 2 pixels, half of its former 4 pixels, and I'll click OK.
Then I would change the Median value, but if I double-click on Median right now, it's going to get grumpy on me, right? It's going to bring up an alert message anyway, just to warn me what's going on. I'll just escape out of there. A way around this is to actually move Median to the top of the stack. If you want to be able to see the effects of all the filters at that same time, you can just temporarily move Median up and then double-click on it. Then change its Radius value to half of what it was before, 10 pixels instead of 20, click OK. Then let's go ahead and move High Pass up to the top of the stack. We need to change it as well. I'll double-click on it, change its value to half of what it was before, 25 instead of 50, click OK, and then move everybody back to where they need to be, Medium below Smart Sharpen and High Pass below Median. Then we would expect the effects to look the same as they do in the other images, let's check.
I'll Ctrl+Tab or Command+Tilde over to the Large layer comp. I'll Ctrl+Tab or Command+Tilde over to the Flattened image, and I'll Ctrl+Tab or Command+Tilde over to the Small filter comp. They all look the same on screen. So just bear in mind, if you're going to downsample your image with the Smart Filters still assigned, you're going to have to adjust your Radius values and only your Radius values, anything that's spreading out in edge, where Filters are concerned, here inside Photoshop.
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