Join Deke McClelland for an in-depth discussion in this video The rewards of nondestructive transformations, part of Photoshop Smart Objects.
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I have gone ahead and saved my progress as Two models.psd, found inside the 01_how_they_work folder, and we have one version of the model rendered in pixels here, and she has been scaled down to 10%, and then back up to 720%. The result is a 72% scaling. However, because I applied it in two passes we have a destructive modification. Now we have got a Smart Object, on an independent layer the pixels are protected, we are going to apply those exact same transformations as before. And here is how.
I will make sure that my Smart Object layer is selected. Then I will go up to the Edit menu and I will choose the Free Transform command, or I can press Ctrl+T, Command+T and the Mac, and I could Shift drag one of those corner handles in order to scale the image proportionally. But instead, just to make sure that we are applying the exact same modifications as before, I am going to go up to my Options bar, turn on the Link icon, and I am going to change either the width or height value, doesn't matter which one, to 10%. And then I will go ahead and accept that numerical modification by pressing the Enter key or the Return key on the Mac, and I will press Enter or Return again, to escape the Free Transform mode and apply the transformation.
And now, I will zoom-in on this tiny little version of the image. This is the exact same way she would look if I scaled the pixels down to 10%, because when you apply a single pass of Free Transform, it's no different whether you have applied the transformations to a pixel-based image or a Smart Object layer. So we are going to get the same results so far. However, Photoshop is now aware of the original size of the image, so, because the pixels are protected inside the Smart Object container, all of the pixels are still there.
That's the difference. It is being rendered on the fly at 10%. So on the fly we are just seeing one out of every hundred pixels, one out of every 10 horizontally, one out of every ten vertically. However, they are all there in the background, and that makes a terrific difference. Let's now say that I press Ctrl+T or Command+T again, in order to once again invoke that Free Transform command. This time I go up to the Options bar, and notice it is not telling me Width 100%, Height 100%, which is what it would tell me if I was working with pixels, because that's all it know.
It would know now that it has got this dinky little thing that it is working with, and it's 100% of its size, because we haven't done anything to it yet. In this case though, it knows that it is 10% of its former size, because it still has all of those pixels working in the background. Now I will go ahead and turn on the Link icon. I could change this value to 720%, but if I do that it's going to looks super gargantuan, the reason being, because it is working from the 100% pixels. So it is not taking the 10% pixels and making them 720% larger, it is working from the original pixels.
So what we need to do is the math here. We need to take 720 divided by 10. That's 72%. Notice that if I change the value to 72%, we get a much more reasonably sized image here, and I will go ahead and press the Enter key couple of times, Return key a couple times on the Mac, in order to invoke that modification. Now let's zoom out a little bit, so that we can see these two images side-by-side. I will move her over, so that she is just sort of slightly cutting into the other one there, that is, so the good one is cutting into the bad one a little bit.
I want to be able to see both of them. They are exactly the same size. So the upshot of this modification here was 10 times 720 is 72%. The problem is that the transformations did not concatenate, and that word concatenate means that Photoshop goes ahead and reconciles the math, and figures out the final transformation value. That did not happen when we applied Free Transform in two separate passes to pixels, but because we applied Free Transform, still in two separate passes, but to a Smart Object container here, Photoshop went ahead and did the math that concatenated the values and figured out that 10%, and then 720%.
That is making the image larger would come out to 72%. And as a result, if I zoom-in on this image, I will also press Shift+Tab to get rid of my palettes. You can see that she looks great when transformed as a Smart Object, and she looks terrible over here on the right-hand side of the screen when rendered out in pixels. And that is a difference between a non-destructive transformation and a destructive transformation, here inside Photoshop.
Download Deke's customized keyboard layouts and color settings for Photoshop from the Exercise Files tab.
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