Posted on May 15, 2006 - by Khaled
Well in fact this new Photoshop CS2 feature called ”Smart Object” can be a vector file imported into your Photoshop, but it also can be any cluster of raster or vector layers that are put together. This means that you will be able thanks to smart objects to group a logo layer and a text layer into one object: a smart object.
The layers that contain Smart Objects, like any other layer, can be styled, scaled, flipped, moved….. In my opinion, their main advantage is that while you edit them you won’t change the actual original files. That’s why they are considered to offer non destructive editing of files and this could be really helpful and time saving.
And of course Smart Object layers can be rasterized into plain PS layers.Also you may need to know that Smart Objects are rasterized when they are saved as Photoshop .eps. This is due to the fact that the linked file into a Smart Object will be embedded within it. This isn’t good in my opinion as .eps files are ‘encapsulated’ so they are only editable using the software that first created them.
So with Smart Objects you may think that you don’t have full control on your objects!
If you save your work as a Photoshop file it will retain the linked file and if you have a vector included in a SO you can edit it elsewhere and the Photoshop file will update it and display the editing you made.
The Smart Object text can’t be changed directly using Photoshop you can only style it, move it, scale it, skew it….but you are unable to edit what is written. You have to do that with illustrator save it and your PS file will update it showing the change you’ve made with illustrator.No layer Mask?
Photoshop CS2 is not allowing Smart Objects to be linked with a layer mask, yes this could be annoying to most of you! But here’s a fast trick to link a layer mask to smart objects!
let’s say that for instance you are working with a graphic where you have a Smart Object as the top Photoshop layer and a background made up by a photo. If you will try to link a mask to the Smart Object you will see that the layer mask icon is disabled.
So this could lead you into a painstaking process to move layers separately etc…
Well this is how I’ve learned to proceed:
– Create a new folder in the layers window (Window >> Layers)
– Add a mask to this newly created folder
– After you have to select the layer with the smart object and drag it into the layer that is above to move the Smart Object within the folder this way you will be able edit the folder’s mask instead of editing the layer mask of the Smart object and this will do the trick
This also allows you to transform and move the Smart Object thanks to the folder.
Editable vector type?
Another quick trick: if you need editable vector type set with Illustrator and pasted in Photoshop this is how you can do it:
– Write what you want in Illustrator CS2
– Copy the text you have written
– Jump to Photoshop, select your text tool and make a new text layer
– Paste your text in there
This generates editable text copied from Illustrator and pasted in Photoshop.
This trick is helpful to keep the vector data in while saving the file as a .eps from Photoshop
Smart Objects: Time savers?
Yes! I consider Photoshop Smart Objects as time savers. As I said before they are a non destructive editing method as it keeps the original files unchanged and updates automatically the embedded files if they are edited elsewhere…
In my opinion Smart Objects definitely allow bigger versatility for the images and graphics that are opened in Photoshop!
This is the way I learned to use them to work with the raw graphics files I want to tweak or adjust:
I open the Raw pic/image as a Smart Object then make adjustments with the adjustment layers in Photoshop then save this new layered file as .psd. This is useful to flip, wrap, scale, and add styles to the picture and still be able to double click on the thumbnail icon on the layer to change the camera raw options used to initially open that picture. Even more: with Layer >> Smart Objects >> Replace Contents you may select a new raw file that will take the place of the first picture without loosing the tweaks, changes and adjustments you’ve done with thae original Smart Object! This is, for me at least, a big time saver.
Different interpretations for a same file?
Yes this is possible! Smart Objects allow you to have different Interpretations for a same initial file! This is how it works: let’s suppose we have an image that has a part of it that is nicer/clearer with a set(#1) of camera raw settings, and the remaining parts of that pic look nicer/clearer with a set(#2) of camera raw settings. Here’s where Smart Objects are ‘magic’ for me the fan of Dark Art and photo manipulations!! This helped me with the creation of many CD covers for Hard Rock and metal bands!!!
Well just open the pic as a SO using one of sets settings (set#1 for instance) and after Layer >> Smart Objects >> New Smart Object Via Copy and this will produce a 2nd separate layer.
After that double click on the 2nd layer thumbnail icon and put in the settings for set#2 this will only change the latter layer without modifying the first Smart Object. This makes it easy to combine those two layers into 1 pic with Masking techniques…
As for editing/retouching a Smart Object layer just duplicate it (ctrl+j) then Layer >> Smart Objects >> Convert to Layer and apply a filter on it; retouch it etc…
Hope this quick tutorial/guide helps with Photoshop CS2 Smart Objects