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Photoshop Smart Objects explores the creation and use of Smart Objects, one of the most technically demanding tools in Photoshop. Deke McClelland walks through the four primary purposes of Smart Objects, and focuses on one of their most practical advantages, non-destructive transformations. This feature allows any object to be manipulated in any way, while still maintaining its original pixel information. Finally, Deke shows how to crop compositions without affecting a single pixel, even in masks. Exercise files accompany this course.
Download Deke's customized keyboard layouts and color settings for Photoshop from the Exercise Files tab.
In this exercise, we're going to scale and position our new logo, and we're going to do so entirely non-destructively, of course, since we're working with a Smart Object. But there is a new wrinkle this time around. When you're working with a pixel- based Smart Object, whether it's strictly pixels, as in the previous chapter, or you're working from Adobe Camera Raw. You can't scale beyond 100%, without producing upsampling, which means that you're asking Photoshop to invent pixels for you, which can produce disastrous results, as we saw in the previous chapter.
Whereas, when you're working with vector data, you can scale your illustration as large as you want. Sky is the limit! I've gone ahead and saved my progress as Logo clone.psd, so called because both of these Smart Object layers reference the exact same vector data. So one is a clone of the other. That's found inside the 02_ ACR_and_illustrator folder. I've gone ahead and selected the Massive logo layer, which so far is not very massive, but it's going to become massive, as soon as we go up to the Edit menu and choose the Free Transform command.
You can also go ahead and press Ctrl+T, Command+T on the Mac. Notice that your illustration becomes incredibly jagged. The reason is Photoshop stops supplying anti-aliasing, which are the translucent pixels that are designed to smooth out the rounded transitions, the curvature of your logo. Photoshop does that because it's just trying to speed up the performance of the Free Transform feature. All right now, at this point I want to increase the size of this logo dramatically. So I could drag a corner handle, while pressing the Shift key in order to constrain the proportions, but just because I know what I want here, I'm going to apply a numerical transformation from the Options bar.
So I'm going to turn on this Chain icon, which maintains the aspect ratio, that is, the relationship between the width and the height of the logo. I am going to change either the Width or Height value to 142%, like so. So we're going well beyond 100% here. I could go way beyond that if I wanted to, I could take this up to 1420%, like so, and we will get nice, smooth transition, smoother than we're seeing right now after anti-aliasing is applied. But you can see it's already pretty dadgum smooth.
That's because Photoshop is working from that original Illustrator vector data. Anyway, I'm going to take that value down to 142%. Then I'm going to drag this logo into the desired position, which is somewhere right around here, I believe. This should work out pretty nicely. Then I'm going to go ahead and press the Enter key in order to apply that transformation. That would be the Return key on the Mac. You'll see your anti-aliasing come back into place, meaning your edges will smooth out once again. Now, if you see this kind of effect here where the drop shadow is creating this kind of trail, right there, then you can just turn off a layer.
For example, if you turn off the Massive logo layer and then turn it back on, then that will totally go away. It's just a screen refresh problem. Don't worry about it. That's it. We now have incredibly smooth detail, thanks to the fact that Photoshop is working from that Illustrator data. In the next exercise, I'm going to show you how to make the logo translucent and get rid of the color in the process.
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