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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.
One of the key features in the extended version of Photoshop is its ability to manipulate movie files. We're able to add extra layers to movies, paint on them, and apply all sorts of special effects. But what happens when we convert a movie to a Smart Object? Well, let's find out. We'll open a movie. And when we open a movie in the extended version of Photoshop, it appears as a regular layer. We open the Animation panel, we can now play this movie. And it's a short film of cycling through Paris, which only lasts 20 seconds or so, but it's enough to illustrate out point.
Now, this is interesting. As we're able to open it as a layer in Photoshop, we should then be able to distort it. So, let's try it. We'll go to Edit > and FreeTransform. And what we get is this dialog that says, Transforming the video layer requires converting it to a Smart Object layer. Well, that's exactly as we want, so let's do that. Now, that it's converted, we can pick up a corner handle, and we can scale it, just as we'd expect with any layer.
We can also rotate it and, in fact, we can manipulate each corner individually to place this in perspective. So, here's our movie as it were, live on a table and we can keep on fiddling with this until we get exactly the view point that we think looks natural. So, with the movie in this position, can we still play it? Let's find out. We'll hit Enter to apply that transformation, and let's try playing the movie.
Open the Animation panel again, and yes, the movie does continue to play even though it's been distorted. Well, can we take this one stage further? What happens if we go into FreeTransform once more and this time, we try Image Warp. So, we click the Image Warp button, and now we can curl up the edges of our movie and let's apply the transformation again and see if it still plays.
And yes, the movie does still play even though the edges are being curled up, which makes us think, well, how far can we take this? Let's try a bit further. Let's go back into FreeTransform. And of course, when we go to Image Warp, the Movie layer will open exactly as we last left it, with all the handles intact. So, can we, for example, pull up a corner so it overlaps the rest of the film? Let's try with that one. And in fact, let's pull this one up to distort that as well, so we make a kind of basket out of this.
We'll click Enter to apply the transformation, and let's see if we can play it. And the movie will still play, both on the front and here, wrapped around the back of this layer. We can even apply a Filter to it. So, let's try going to Filter > and Artistic > and let's try Palette Knife. Okay, that's going to give us a very rough effect. We could reduce the stroke size on this.
Now, because this is a complex effect, I'm not sure how well it's going to preview. Let's try it. We'll open the Animation dialog and press Play again. And here, Photoshop is calculating this effect we've applied for every single frame before it shows it in the movie. Once a layer has been converted to a Smart Object, we can do anything with it that we can do to any Smart Object layer, irrespective of the contents. What we've just seen is truly extraordinary.
Photoshop was never like this before.
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