Join Chris Converse for an in-depth discussion in this video Creating Smart Objects from JPEG files, part of Design the Web: Smart Objects.
Now, to begin our project, let's open up composition.psd up in Photoshop. I'll open my canvas up here a little bit. So inside here, we have a whole bunch of different folders. We've broken this design down into individual groups of layers. So at the top, we have the "headline," which consists of all of the text layers. We have the promo area, which are the three callouts at the bottom. We have the main content, which is currently empty. We have the banner area, which consists right now of the purple area, our sidebar, and then the bottom gradient.
So the first thing we're going to do is bring in some artwork into the sidebar. So let's open up the sidebar group, and this is the area over here on the right. What we want to do is bring in the x-ray.jpg and clip it inside of a circle here. So, let's come back to the operating system, and let's open up and x-ray.jpg from the exercise files. Now, this is a really large JPEG File. If I hit Command+1 inside of Photoshop to go to 100% or one-to-one view, we can see how large this is. I'm going to hit Command+0 or Ctrl+0 to go out to fit to screen.
Let's come up to the Selection menu. Let's choose All. Let's come up to Edit, choose Copy, and then we'll close this. Back in our Photoshop composition, let's come down to the dotted role. Let's select that layer inside of the sidebar group. Let's come up to Edit and choose Paste. So by default, Photoshop is going to paste that artwork in. It's going to match the canvas size of our composition, and what we'll see here is we have that really large JPEG file now inside of our composition. Now, before we scale this, we want to be able to save all of the data from this particular JPEG file, since there's a lot of resolution inside of here.
So what we're going to do is come over here to the Layers panel, right click, and come up and choose Convert to Smart Object. Once we do that, in the Layers panel we'll see this little icon here on the lower right-hand side of the layer. This tells us that the data of this object is now encapsulated inside of a Smart Object. Now we can transform and scale this, and Photoshop will always go back to the encapsulated artwork inside of the Smart Object to resample or re-interpolate the image. So now that we've done this, let's come up to the Edit menu. Let's come down to Transform.
We'll choose Scale. You can also hit Command+T or Ctrl+T. You'll see here, if I start to move this around, I see this X inside of here. This looks like placed artwork that you would see inside of Illustrator or InDesign. So, what we're going to do here is start transforming this artwork. Now, to get a sense of how big this Smart Object is in comparison to our canvas, I'm going to hold Command+Spacebar+Option key, or in Windows it would be the Ctrl+Spacebar+Alt. That will give me the Magnification tool. I'm going to click a few times to zoom out.
And here we can see this is the size of the JPEG file versus the size of the composition we're working in. So I'm going to come up here and hold the Option key or Alt in Windows and I'm going to scale this down proportionately on my canvas. I'm going to hit Return. I'm going to hit Command+1 or Ctrl+1 to come up to 100% view. Now, we can se the artwork has now have been scaled or transformed and reinterpolated to the canvass size. At this size, this looks crisp and clean. If I hit Command+T or Ctrl+T to transform again, I can scale this back up, hit Return, and we'll see that the artwork now gets reinterpolated again based on the information inside of the Smart Object and I get a nice, clean representation again.
So, I'll hit Command+T one more time. Let's scale this down. We're going to bring this down to about 70% of the original size. Now, when you're transforming a Smart Object, you'll see, up in the toolbar here, all of the different settings for this. So let's come over here to the Width. I'm going to hit 7, hit Tab, go to Height, hit 7, come down to the stage, I'm going to press Return, and this is going to rasterize the shape at that new size. So with that in place, I'm going to scroll over here to the right-hand side.
With layer 1 selected, let's double-click this. Let's name this x-ray then we'll come over to our toolbar. Let's come over here to the Vector Shapes. Let's choose the Ellipse tool. Let's come over into the canvas. Let's click and drag. Let's make a circle at about 150 pixels. Select the Move tool, move this to about right here. Over in the Layers panel, let's grab x-ray. Let's put this above the ellipse. Select the Move tool.
Let's move the skeleton over the top of the circle, and now what I want to do is clip group in to Smart Object into the ellipse shape. So, let's come up to the layer menu, come down, and choose Create Clipping Mask. Now, when I move the skeleton around, it will be clipped into the circle. Lastly, let's come over to the Layers panel. Let's hold the Command or Ctrl key. Let's select x-ray and the Ellipse tool. Hit Command+G or Ctrl G to create a new group. Let's double-click this and name it callout. Hit Return.
Now with my Move tool, I can move both of those items together. I could even come in here with these selected, Hit Command+T or Ctrl+T, and scale not only the Smart Object, but the outer ellipse as well. And since everything here is either a vector shape or a really large encapsulated Smart Object, I can continue to scale these any number of times in my composition. So while I'm transforming, I'll just move this into place. So now that we've created a Smart Object from a JPEG file, next, we'll create a Smart Object from another Photoshop file.
This course was created and produced by Chris Converse. We are honored to host this content in our library.
- Creating Smart Objects from Illustrator
- Creating Photoshop Smart Objects
- Adding effects to Smart Objects
- Duplicating and positioning Smart Objects
- Editing a Smart Object
- Where to go from here
Skill Level Beginner
Q: This course was updated on 11/26/2014. What changed?
A: Chris added one new movie, "Using linked files as Smart Objects," which is a new feature in Creative Cloud 2014.