Photoshop Smart Objects
Illustration by John Hersey

Photoshop Smart Objects

with Deke McClelland

Video: Updating nested Smart Objects

Yet again, I cannot give you a catch-up file. So, I am imagining that you are working along with me and having a happy time creating these sorts of static electricity trails. More than lightning I think because they are going in all different directions, here inside of this Smart Object. And we created these trails using a combination of Clouds and Difference Clouds filters that are modified using an arbitrary map, which is essentially an application of the Curves adjustment layer that is created using the Pencil tool and the Smooth function.
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  1. 17m 13s
    1. Welcome to Photoshop Smart Objects
      59s
    2. Installing the dekeKeys keyboard shortcuts
      4m 18s
    3. Installing the CS4 color settings
      4m 15s
    4. Loading the CS4 color settings in Photoshop and Bridge CS4
      7m 41s
  2. 1h 12m
    1. Nondestructive transformations
      1m 14s
    2. The purpose of Smart Objects
      5m 17s
    3. The trials of destructive transformations
      5m 1s
    4. Creating a Smart Object
      6m 36s
    5. The rewards of nondestructive transformations
      4m 29s
    6. Preparing a composition for masking
      4m 59s
    7. Establishing a base alpha channel
      6m 25s
    8. Masking a Smart Object
      7m 3s
    9. Refining the layer mask
      6m 50s
    10. Multiplying the edges
      4m 17s
    11. Manually adjusting the problem edges
      6m 3s
    12. Free Transform feedback
      5m 14s
    13. The ultimate nondestructive crop
      9m 8s
  3. 1h 19m
    1. Photoshop and its support applications
      1m 45s
    2. Creating a Camera Raw (ACR) Smart Object
      5m 8s
    3. Converting a JPEG image to DNG
      4m 47s
    4. Replacing pixels with Camera Raw data
      5m 27s
    5. Matching image and ACR resolution
      4m 25s
    6. Adjusting ACR Smart Objects
      5m 33s
    7. Importing Illustrator artwork
      6m 13s
    8. Opening placed art in Illustrator
      5m 51s
    9. Examining dynamic effects
      7m 9s
    10. Modifying Illustrator artwork
      5m 20s
    11. Updating an Illustrator Smart Object
      4m 20s
    12. Styling placed artwork in Photoshop
      3m 33s
    13. Combining layer effects and adjustment layers
      5m 14s
    14. Copying a layer from a clipping group
      5m 0s
    15. Scaling vector data beyond 100 percent
      3m 9s
    16. Blending vector data with pixels
      2m 10s
    17. Saving PDF-compatible Illustrator art
      4m 23s
  4. 1h 26m
    1. Many Smart Objects reference a single source
      1m 9s
    2. Smart Objects and file size
      5m 11s
    3. Placing images as Smart Objects
      4m 44s
    4. Creating a basic lens flare
      5m 43s
    5. Turning a flare into a black hole
      6m 2s
    6. Establishing a first true clone
      4m 9s
    7. Finding the exact center of an image
      2m 37s
    8. Reflecting additional clones
      4m 55s
    9. The art of upsampling
      7m 45s
    10. Editing the root image
      5m 37s
    11. Updating all true clones
      3m 29s
    12. Roughing in a polygonal mask
      7m 13s
    13. Parametric Feather and Glow
      7m 12s
    14. Smart sharpening Smart Filter
      5m 36s
    15. Adding highlights and vibrance
      7m 10s
    16. Luminance blending
      8m 18s
  5. 49m 7s
    1. Placing one Smart Object inside another
      1m 9s
    2. Creating a super-massive Smart Object
      7m 9s
    3. Styling a super-massive Smart Object
      4m 29s
    4. Recoloring background regions
      4m 42s
    5. Cloning a super-massive Smart Object
      5m 56s
    6. Finishing off the first draft
      5m 4s
    7. The plasma ball effect
      4m 45s
    8. Applying the Smart Clouds filters
      4m 57s
    9. Converting clouds to lightning
      5m 4s
    10. Updating nested Smart Objects
      5m 52s
  6. 1h 14m
    1. Editable, nondestructive filters
      1m 24s
    2. Applying and modifying creative effects
      6m 54s
    3. Blending filtered effects
      6m 24s
    4. Tweaking filters with adjustment layers
      4m 14s
    5. Restoring halftone highlights
      4m 25s
    6. The price of Smart Filters
      5m 56s
    7. The power of true clones
      7m 13s
    8. Sharing between Smart Objects and comps
      8m 45s
    9. Just click on it
      1m 50s
    10. Applying a corrective filter
      5m 24s
    11. Smart Filters and disk space
      3m 46s
    12. Picking the right blend mode
      6m 36s
    13. Combining multiple Smart Filters
      6m 13s
    14. Editing and previewing filter settings
      5m 27s
  7. 1h 44m
    1. Still more Smart Filters
      1m 3s
    2. Introducing the non-filters
      4m 15s
    3. Reducing luminance contrast
      5m 19s
    4. Faking an HDR portrait effect
      7m 20s
    5. Adding a filter mask
      3m 22s
    6. Editing filter masks and density
      4m 26s
    7. Applying Variations as a Smart Filter
      7m 24s
    8. Establishing independent filter masks
      4m 51s
    9. Painting away unwanted halos
      6m 28s
    10. Creating a wood grain effect
      6m 2s
    11. The luminance-style filter mask
      6m 23s
    12. The downside of independent filters
      5m 11s
    13. Merging the effects of two filters
      4m 38s
    14. Adjusting and merging masked effects
      6m 26s
    15. Introducing the Filter Gallery filters
      4m 39s
    16. Applying a Filter Gallery filter
      5m 57s
    17. Merging two Filter Gallery effects
      7m 16s
    18. Adjusting the colors of Sketch filters
      5m 2s
    19. Adding a third filter to a combo
      4m 58s
    20. The versatility of Smart Filters
      3m 2s
  8. 1m 31s
    1. Goodbye
      1m 31s

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Watch the Online Video Course Photoshop Smart Objects
8h 5m Intermediate Nov 06, 2009

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

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.

Topics include:
  • Preparing a composition for masking
  • Manually adjusting problematic edges in a composition
  • Combining layer effects and adjustment layers
  • Roughing in a polygonal mask
  • Cloning a super-massive Smart Object
  • Applying Variations as a Smart Filter
Subjects:
Design Photography
Software:
Photoshop
Author:
Deke McClelland

Updating nested Smart Objects

Yet again, I cannot give you a catch-up file. So, I am imagining that you are working along with me and having a happy time creating these sorts of static electricity trails. More than lightning I think because they are going in all different directions, here inside of this Smart Object. And we created these trails using a combination of Clouds and Difference Clouds filters that are modified using an arbitrary map, which is essentially an application of the Curves adjustment layer that is created using the Pencil tool and the Smooth function.

Anyway here we go. We are totally covering up the green to black lens flare in the background. So, I am going to turn off lightning for a moment, so that I can see what I am doing in the background here and I'm going to switch from the Rectangular Marquee tool to the Elliptical Marquee tool and I'm going to drag outward from the center of this lens flare. So, I begin dragging like so and then I am going to press and hold the Alt key or the Option key on the Mac. So, I am going from the center outward. Then I will also press the Shift key, so I'm drawing a circle, so I have Shift+Alt down, that's Shift+Option on the Mac and then in order to make sure that the circular marquee, the marching ants, are centered around the lens flare ring, I will go ahead and press the Spacebar, so I still have Shift+Alt down.

I know fingers are getting to work at it at this point. But I've got Shift+Alt down, Shift+ Option on the Mac and I am pressing the Spacebar, so that I can move that marquee independently of the image and then once I get everything centered the way I want it, then I'd go ahead and release the Spacebar and at that point I can return to scaling my marquee like so. All right, so when it gets to be about this big, so that we have a little overlap around the outer ring, go ahead and release and then turn the lightning layer back on.

And now I want you to click on lightning and I want you to drop down to the bottom of the Layer palette and I what you to click on the Add Layer Mask icon, which gives you this effect here. So, now we have gone ahead and masked the plasma effect inside of a ball. I want a softer drop-off than this. I want a nice feathering effect here. So, if you're using Photoshop CS4, you can go up to the Masks palette and making sure that your layer mask thumbnail is active, go ahead and enter a Feather value of 80 pixels.

Now, you can achieve the same effect in a static application of Gaussian Blur. If you're using Photoshop CS3 or earlier, select that layer mask, go up to the Filter menu, choose Blur, choose Gaussian Blur and enter a Radius value of 80 pixels. This is the same thing. It's just that Feather is dynamic/ parametric/nondestructive, meaning you can come back and edit it anytime you like. So, it's a more flexible solution. All right, we now have these wonderful tendrils. It's almost like we are building a world here.

One more thing we need to do. With this layer selected and it doesn't matter if the image thumbnail is active or if the layer mask thumbnail is active, go to the top of the Layers palette, click on the Blend Mode pop-up menu and change the mode to Screen and you'll get this effect right there. And we have now done it. We've now created a plasma ball effect of sorts and what I am going to do is I am going to click the Close box in order to close this Smart Object. And then Photoshop will ask me if I want to save my changes. I most certainly do want to save my changes, so I'll click on the Yes button or the Save button and in a moment, I'll have to wait for it, I am going to see this huge, super-massive Smart Object that contains all of the eight true clones, as you may recall and you can see that they are merging with each in this absolutely amazing fashion that we are seeing right there and it does look fairly electric at this point.

Now then, it's very important that you see this screen. You can't have already closed this Smart Object before you start working on the other one, because each nested Smart Object has to be saved in turn in order to get the information back to the larger image composition. So, you've got to keep all your nested Smart Objects open while you're working on the core Smart Object or the core image itself and then you close each one incrementally and save your changes to get back to the big composition, which is what we are going to do here.

So, I will close this super-massive Smart Object and then I'll click Yes in order to save out my changes. Save on the Mac, Yes on the PC. And then, I will return to 1st draft.psd and watch it happen. Just like that we invoke all of those plasma ball modifications. Now there is one more change I want to make to this composition. I want to click on SO combo light right there, which is currently set to the Screen mode, because I'm feeling like this is a fairly sort of diminished application of this plasma ball static charge here.

I think if there were really tendrils of plasma lightning, they'd appear a lot brighter than this. Maybe the colors would be more vivid as well and we can achieve that effect by switching the Screen blend mode out for either Color Dodge. I just will give that a try and see what that looks like. A very, very colorful effect. But I think the better option for our purposes is Linear Dodge (Add) because it's the same as the Add blend mode. And we get this effect here. Oh my gosh! That is it, folks. That is the final version of the effect.

Now don't expect it to look exactly like Final CD cover, because you can see that anything you do is random. So, here's Final CD cover that I saved before; here is my effect this time around. So, every time it's going to be different. But you most certainly are going to get symmetry. Notice the symmetrical effects going on here, because of all that flipping we did earlier and so on. And we are going to get some wonderful lightning effects as well. All right, so that gives you a sense of what you can do with nested Smart Objects inside of Photoshop. We will see much, much more in future chapters.

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