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The purpose of Smart Objects

From: Photoshop Smart Objects

Video: The purpose of Smart Objects

Let's start out off with an examination of the fundamental purpose of Smart Objects inside of Photoshop. If you want to follow along, it's totally not necessary because I will be showing you the slide on screen. But just in case you want to show your friends and family, the name of this file that I have opened is purposeofsmartobjects.psd, and it's available to premium members and folks who have the DVD inside the 01_how_they_work folder, which is found inside your exercise files folder. And here's what going on. The idea is that Smart Objects allow you to edit your Edits forever.

The purpose of Smart Objects

Let's start out off with an examination of the fundamental purpose of Smart Objects inside of Photoshop. If you want to follow along, it's totally not necessary because I will be showing you the slide on screen. But just in case you want to show your friends and family, the name of this file that I have opened is purposeofsmartobjects.psd, and it's available to premium members and folks who have the DVD inside the 01_how_they_work folder, which is found inside your exercise files folder. And here's what going on. The idea is that Smart Objects allow you to edit your Edits forever.

So, you are editing the image, but then you can turn around and edit those Edits, so you can modify your modifications, however you want to say it, without penalty. And I am advancing from one layer comp to another, in order to reveal these different portions of the slide. Now this guy right there is the icon. That's the Smart Object icon, and you will see it on any Smart Object layer inside of Photoshop, in the layers palette. And it's analogous to a little image on a page, so you might think of it as being an image that's been placed inside a page layout program, or you might think if it as an image placed inside a protective container, necause that what a Smart Object does.

A Smart Object is a container that protects the pixels in an image, so you can edit your Edits. The pixels are still there. You open the embedded sub-file to get to them. So if you want to modify the pixels inside of a Smart Object, you double click on the Smart Object layer inside the layers palette. Then you have access to the pixels as you normally do, and you can apply your so-called destructive Edits, then you escape out, and you go back into non-destructive mode. You will see all of this, in rich luxurious detail, in future exercises.

But for now, meanwhile, you have access to these whole image manipulations. So that's what Smart Object excel at is whole image manipulations that are ultimately non-destructive. The first and foremost of these manipulations is non-penalty transformations. Now we got that with our first incarnation of Smart Objects inside Photoshop CS2 and it remains possibly the best example of a Smart Object manipulation. So the idea is this. Scaling or rotating makes Photoshop rewrite pixels, and the reason is because pixels are arranged on a grid.

Every single pixel is a square, and every single pixel has a neighbor on each side, on the right side, the left side top and bottom, and diagonally, I guess, as well. So if you start rotating the image, or scaling it, then you have to remap all the colors differently onto a new pixel grid. Now that still happens with Smart Objects because inside a Photoshop you are still working with pixels, nut it happens only once. So transform all you want. In another words, you can rotate a Smart Object an infinite number of times, and Photoshop will still go ahead and generate one rewrite of those pixels, on the fly. Plus, cropping does no harm.

So can't crop a Smart Object when you are working in a larger layered composition. All right, so the next advantage to working with Smart Objects is that you can edit the source data. So, if you import a camera RAW, or a Illustrator file as a Smart Object, so this is an Adobe camera RAW file or an Adobe Illustrator file, you maintain a direct link to the original source information, that would be the high bit-depth information from a RAW digital camera file or the vector information from an Illustrator file.

And you retain access to the program's features. So you can recall camera RAW if you want to, or you can recall Illustrator. And so Illustrator becomes a plug-in for the Photoshop. It's awesome, as we will see. Next, we can create true clones, i.e. Instances, so you can call them either clones if you want to, or Instances, either works. And the idea is this. Every Smart Object layer links to an embedded image, so there's an image, a pixel based image that's embedded inside your larger layer composition.

Copying the Smart Object layer, either by jumping in, or however you want to work, creates a new clone of that same embedded image. If you modify the image, you modify the core image, modify its pixels, then all clones update in kind. And when you are working with symbols inside of either Illustrator or Flash, the various clones of those symbols are called 'Instances'. So that's where this word comes in, just in case you want another vocabulary word. And then next, and finally, we have editable Smart Filters, so the 100 plus commands under the filter menu rewrite pixels.

That's the way they always work. That still happens with smart objects, but only once, just as with transformations. So again, once and only once do those pixels get rewritten, on the fly. The difference with smart filter, that is the difference vis-a-vis, transformations, is not only can you edit those filters, you can apply blend modes and mask the effects. So I was telling you that these are all whole image manipulations. Smart Filters affect the entire image as well, but then you can turn around and mask the smart filter so that you are editing only a portion of the image.

And those are the various functions of Smart objects, the larger purpose of Smart Objects inside a Photoshop. Beginning in the next exercise, I will show you how they work.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Photoshop Smart Objects
Photoshop Smart Objects

95 video lessons · 21631 viewers

Deke McClelland
Author

 
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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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