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Using Smart Objects in Adobe Photoshop

Lesson 13 from: Adobe Photoshop CC: The Complete Guide

Ben Willmore

Using Smart Objects in Adobe Photoshop

Lesson 13 from: Adobe Photoshop CC: The Complete Guide

Ben Willmore

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Lesson Info

13. Using Smart Objects in Adobe Photoshop

Find out about using smart objects in Photoshop so you can preserve the original properties even after saving and closing.
Summary (Generated from Transcript)

In this lesson, Ben Willmore introduces the concept of Smart Objects in Adobe Photoshop. Smart Objects allow users to protect the original content of a layer and make non-destructive changes to it. Ben demonstrates how to convert a layer to a Smart Object, how to work with Smart Objects in terms of scaling, rotating, and applying filters, and how to use Smart Objects with other features like layer masks and blending modes. He also explains how Smart Objects can be used with other file types, such as Raw files and Illustrator files, and how they can be nested and duplicated. The lesson highlights the advantages of using Smart Objects, such as non-destructive editing and the ability to update the content of multiple instances of a Smart Object simultaneously.


  • What is a Smart Object in Photoshop?
  • How can you convert a regular layer into a Smart Object?
  • What happens to the original content of a layer when it is turned into a Smart Object?
  • How does scaling and rotating work with Smart Objects?
  • Can filters and effects be applied to Smart Objects?
  • How can Smart Objects be used with layer masks and blending modes?
  • What are some advantages of using Smart Objects?
  • Can Smart Objects be used with different file types, such as Raw files and Illustrator files?
  • How can Smart Objects be nested and duplicated?
  • Can the content of a Smart Object be edited directly?
  • How can changes made to a Smart Object be updated in multiple instances of that Smart Object?
  • What are some limitations of using Smart Objects in Photoshop? The lesson covers how to work with Smart Objects in Photoshop, including how to undo changes, export the raw file, replace the contents of a Smart Object, flatten and merge Smart Objects, create linked Smart Objects, and use Smart Objects in Photoshop libraries.


  1. How can you undo changes made to a Smart Object?

    By selecting the Smart Object layer, going to Edit > Undo, or by using the warp and free transform tools.

  2. How can you export the raw file from a Smart Object?

    By double-clicking on the Smart Object layer to open it in Camera Raw, then going to File > Export > Export Contents.

  3. Can you replace the contents of a Smart Object with a different image?

    Yes, by going to the Layer menu, selecting Smart Objects, and choosing Replace Contents.

  4. What happens when you flatten or merge Smart Objects?

    When you merge a Smart Object into another layer, it becomes a rasterized layer and loses its Smart Object capabilities.

  5. How can you create linked Smart Objects?

    By going to the Layer menu, selecting Smart Objects, and choosing Convert to Linked. This allows the Smart Object to be linked to a file on your hard drive.

  6. What is the benefit of using linked Smart Objects?

    Any changes made to the linked file will automatically update in all the documents that use that linked Smart Object.

  7. How can you unlink a Smart Object?

    By going to the Layer menu, selecting Smart Objects, and choosing Unlink. This makes the Smart Object fully contained within the document.

  8. How can you use Smart Objects in Photoshop libraries?

    By dragging a Smart Object into the library, it becomes linked to the original file. Any changes made to the Smart Object in the library will update in all documents that use it.

Lesson Info

Using Smart Objects in Adobe Photoshop

We're back with another episode of Photoshop CC, the complete guide. And we're in week three. And week three, you can see our subjects here. We're about to dive into with seven sessions to go, we're heading into Smart Objects. Smart Objects is one of my favorite features in Photoshop. There are certain other areas I say that about, like blending modes and a few other things but really it is something that fundamentally changed the way I thought about Photoshop. And the difference in mindset before Adobe added Smart Objects and after was dramatic and so we're gonna take a look at what are they, what do they help us with, and when do they get in our way as well. But, we're gonna jump into Photoshop so we can spend as much time as possible there and we're gonna look at Smart Objects. Here I have two identical images. I just opened the same image twice. You'll see at the top of each image, here this one says Smart. This one over here says No Smart, meaning it's not Smart. So I'm gonna work...

on the image that's on the left. And I'm gonna turn that image into a Smart Object. Now let me get my layers visible here so you can see what's going on. When you have a layer that's not a Smart Object, the thumbnail image for that layer just looks like a miniature version of the picture. But, if I go to the layer menu and I choose Smart Objects and I choose convert to Smart Object, watch that little thumbnail image within my layers panel. The image itself on the main screen will look no different but in the layers panel, I'm gonna see now, this symbol. That's your only indication that this layer is now special. It is a Smart Object. Now when you turn something into a Smart Object, I think of it as taking a picture and sliding it into a protective container. Just think of it as a Ziploc bag. You just slid your picture in and you sealed it shut. So now anything you do to that particular layer cannot directly affect what's inside that Ziploc bag. Instead, it's only going to be settings that are attached to that layer in a temporary fashion where they don't permanently change what's inside the Smart Object. It's like we put it in some sort of protective bubble, you could say. So let's work with these two images and see how it's gonna be different working with a Smart Object and working with a normal layer. First, let's work with the image on the right that is not a Smart Object. I'm gonna scale that image. I'll use the image size dialogue to accomplish this. Or actually, I could use image size or I can select all, I'll do the select all part, and I'll choose free transform, 'cause that's the thing we've used more often during this event than image size. So let's just do Free Transform. I'm gonna scale this down. My background color happens to be green at the moment, which is why you see green there. But I'm gonna make it tiny. Do you see how tiny it is? And then I'm gonna press return or enter to say I'm done. You know what the problem is right now? Is it did that permanently. If I save and close this picture, the only record it has of what the image looks like is what we have right now. And if I zoom up on what we have right now, that's all it is. That's all the information we have for where we used to have that full picture. It does not remember the rest of the image if I save and close the picture. Right now I could always choose undo and it would bring it back but if I save and close, then that undo is cleared out and I can't get to it. So, now let's take that image and scale it back up to make it bigger again. So, I'll type Command T and I'll scale this up. Press return or enter to say I'm done and that's what we get. That's all you get because when we scaled it down, it discarded a bunch of information so we only ended up with the image taking up a few pixels in width and a few pixels in height. When you scale that up, you just get a blurry version of those few pixels. And I can't even tell what's in the picture. Right? Well, let's work with the image on the left instead. And I'll save you by, I'll reset my background color so it's not green this time. And I'm gonna type Command T to transform just like we did with the other one. I'm gonna grab this. I'm gonna bring it down, make it just about as small. I'll try to even go smaller if I can. Press return or enter to say I'm done. Now that did not at all affect the original contents that was turned into a Smart Object. That Smart Object still contains a pristine version of whatever the layer looked like at the moment I turned it into a Smart Object. And it will always maintain that pristine version regardless of what I do to this layer and so if I zoom up to it, it's not gonna look different than the other one. You see how few pixels it looks like it's made out of? But, if I decide to scale it up again later, I type Command T, grab that corner, pull it back up, and you can see that it still has all the information in it. So that when I transform it to make it smaller and larger again, all it's doing is adding a setting to that layer that says we have the full contents of the original Smart Object and we just attached to it a percentage that says scale down to 2% of it's original size. When we scaled it back up, it just changed that number from 2% to something else. And in fact we can see it. If I type Command T, they'll be a number up here. 103, I scaled it up a little larger than the original when I brought it back up. But right here if I just type in 100 and 100, it'll be exactly the original size and that's all it did is it attached those two numbers to the layer so it was thinking that when you display this image, take all that original content, scale it down to that size when you display it, but it still contains the full original. It's kinda weird. But, this would have been a much more useful thing to do back when I was creating the image we made with layers. If you remember, we had a bunch of black and white photographs, of dirty icebergs that had volcanic dust on them and stuff. We put them in a document and I took one of them and made it show up inside some text and all that. Well, when I did that, I ended up scaling those images down, each one individually and when I was done, it didn't take up the full width of the document. So I decided to scale it back up to fit. But anytime you scale up and you're not using a Smart Object, it's getting softer and softer as you do. If you're using a Smart Object it's always calculating that scaling based on the original size of the picture. Whatever size it was at the moment you turned it into a Smart Object. Let's look at a few other things that would be better using a Smart Object. I'll start with the image on the right. I'm just gonna change it so we're not working in the background layer. I'll double-click and call it anything. NOT Smart. Okay and then I'm going to again transform it. This time I'm gonna type Command T and I'm going to make it smaller and I'll rotate like that. Now what happens if I decide that the rotation isn't quite what I wanted? I was like well, the angle should be just a little bit different. Well, if I go back and type Command T once again, it's not gonna know its ever been transformed before because there's nothing special about that layer. Every time I choose transform, it just glances at what it currently looks like and assumes that's the original. So I type Command T and look at the transformation handles. They're not rotated anymore. It doesn't remember that I've ever rotated it. So it doesn't know to put them in there. They always start out being square like this. So now I'm gonna have to try to figure out what angle to get back to. And I might not be accurate. I might be off a little bit. And so I'll try to get back. And if I try to scale it back up, it's gonna get even softer because every time you scale up you get softer if it's not a Smart Object. Let's go to the Smart Object. I'll type Command T. I'm going to scale it down and I'm going to rotate it and all it's doing when I do that, is it's adding to that layer a little accessory information which is 55% scaling and 30 point whatever rotation. I'm gonna press return or enter to say I'm done and now I decide well, I'd like to use a different rotation. So I type Command T again and it acts like I never left the transformation. You see how it's still rotated in there? And if I look at the top of my screen, those numbers are there. I can just select this number and type zero to say take out the rotation. Just like I can take these numbers and say 100, 100, and get it back to it's original size. And that's because when you make a change to a Smart Object, it will limit you in what changes you can make so that they're only ones that can easily be undone or changed afterwards. Nothing permanent can be done to that Smart Object. Alright? So let's try some other things. I'll take the non Smart one and just so it doesn't look so bad, I'm gonna revert it to get back to what it would usually look like. I'm just gonna change the name of the background 'cause there's a lot of limitations on the background layer that I don't want to deal with so I'll double-click on that and let's apply a filter. Let's say I would like to blur this image with Gaussian Blur. So I'll blur it and I'll bring it up quite a distance. I'll click okay. I'll put it at 180 so I can remember the number, click okay. And if I save and close the image we permanently have that. There's no way to get back. And I'd have to find a copy of the original image if I still own one or have one to be able to get it back. If you save and close, then there's no record of what this used to look like. Do the same thing to the image on the left. Go to Gaussian Blur. I think I used 180 before. I'll use the same setting. You see the two images look identical, right? But, look at how the blurring was applied. If I go to the image on the right, the one that's not a Smart Object and I look at my layers panel, there's no clue about what I've done to the image or any kind of options I have down here to deal with. I go to my Smart Object though and look at what we've got. That blurring has been applied as what's known as as Smart Filter. A Smart Filter is a kind of temporary thing attached to the layer that I could easily throw away to get back to the original image. I could easily change the settings that are being used. All sorts of things that I can do. So let's take a look at what's possible. There is an eyeball icon next to the word Gaussian Blur. If I turn it off, you see what the image looks like without the blur. Turn it back on and it reapplies the filter. If I double-click on the word Gaussian Blur, it brings me right back into Gaussian Blur and if I decided that 180 was too much, I could lower it. It's as if I never left the dialogue box in the first place. I never left the filter. I could just at any time change it. If I try to go to the image on the right, and change it, I go to Gaussian Blur and I'll say I only wanted a Gaussian Blur of 3.6 and it has no idea if this image has been blurred before or not so all it can do is add more blur. It can't reduce what's already there 'cause it has no record of the first blurring happening. It thinks that is my original picture because there's nothing Smart done about it. So it's a little different when we have a Smart Object because whatever we do to that layer becomes an accessory to the layer that can be thrown away or modified at any time. It's not permanently changing the original that was there. So, I can apply more than one filter to this. If I go back to the filter menu, I can apply five, six, seven, eight, ten filters. It doesn't matter. There all just gonna kind of stack up in that list of filters. And I could come in here and say well, I like my little twirling but I didn't want the blur on it so I turn the blur off and it recalculates the end result. So now we just have twirl without the blur. Or I turn the blur back on. And now we have it. Or, I can mask that. If I click on this mask, I could paint with my paintbrush tool and wherever I paint with black, we're going to remove the filtered effect. I don't know that'll look great on this image but it'll bring back the original wherever I paint. So I'll try to get some of the background, maybe one lion there. Like that. Then at any time if I decide that I don't want one of these I can turn off it's eyeball or if I want to permanently get rid of part of it I just drag that component to the trash can. So it can work really nicely. Now there are some thing I cannot do to that layer. In order to preserve the contents of the original that's there, and always have it available to calculate, I can't directly affect the contents of this layer though doing things like painting. If I grab the paintbrush tool and I attempt to paint, it says I can't do it. But that's not a problem. All you need to do is create an empty layer on top and put your paint there. That's not a problem. If you wanna use a retouching tool if that retouching tool is set to current layer, and you click, it won't let you do it because that would directly affect the contents of that layer. We need to figure out an alternative method for doing it that all we need to do is up here we changed this when we talked about retouching. We set a setting to current and below and then you just put a brand new layer on top. And then you can do your retouching. I can do whatever I want. It's just not done directly on that layer 'cause we're trying to protect the contents that's in that Smart Object. So there's a little bit of a mental shift you have to make 'cause you're so used to just being able to grab that layer and do something to it. You need to put whatever you wanna do on a separate layer or limit yourself to features that can be attached to the layer in a special way like a Smart filter. So if I attempt to come up here and adjust that layer you can in the newest version of Photoshop. If you have an older version of Photoshop these will all be grayed out. But they decided that they would make these available but when I apply them, watch what happens. So I made some sort of a change, I click okay, and it shows up along with those filters. It's thought of as being a filter, as if it were found under the filter menu. They needed to just figure out could we somehow implement this and they happened to do it in a semi-weird way. That means that now we can apply our adjustments in multiple ways. We have three ways to apply an adjustment, a direct adjustment. A direct adjust is when you're not working with Smart Objects like the image on the right. You can usually go up to image adjustments and choose something. In this case, I made it black and white. But it's permanent. So I can close that image and there's no way to get it back. Go over here to this Smart Object and to the same thing, choose black and white. We can make it black and white but it's not permanent. It's in this list. And this mask will affect it. It'll affect all of those that are there. I can shift click on that, turn it off. But you can see we get it black and white. Not permanent at all because it's in this list. It's just an accessory to the layer. I can turn off the eyeball. We go back to color. I could click on that and drag it to the trash and it would be not showing up at all. That's if it's a Smart Object. Okay. Smart Objects are special. They protect the original content of that layer. So enough of looking at these two images 'cause they're, you know, not the most exciting. Let's then look at a special kind of Smart Object. I hope we'll be able to do this. I had one issue earlier here that we'll see if it'll work. I'm gonna open a Raw file. You know how when you double-click on a Raw file it send you into Camera Raw? That's how it works. We talked it out in the second session of this seminar. And in Camera Raw, you have a button in the lower right called Open Image and if you open that, you're gonna open a dumb image. A non-Smart Object is what you're gonna end up with. But if you hold down the shift key then watch what happens to that button that usually says Open Image. When I hold shift, it says open object. That means Smart Object. If I click Open Object, now when it comes into Photoshop it's gonna already have that little icon on top of it's little thumbnail. See it there? And it's really special setup now because if I were to wanna make changes to the Raw settings that are being applied, all I need to do is go into my layers panel and I'm gonna double-click on the thumbnail image for that layer. And when I do, Camera Raw should pop open. And I could come in here and make further changes to this image. In case it's not colorful enough, let's amp it up. Alright. And when I click okay, it'll update this. And that's really cool because I could, remember that layered image I made of those icebergs that were black and white, well if I would have done it this way, where when I imported those image into Photoshop, if I would have gotten them in a Smart Objects then when I was completely done with that promo that I was making during our layers session I could have double-clicked on the thumbnail for each one and decided no, I don't want black and white. 'Cause it would open Camera Raw, that's where I ended up turning it to black and white. I just turn off that feature. And I do it for each one and suddenly they'll all be back in color. Or if I wanted to do something else, get more shadow detail on them and do it an Camera Raw, just double-click on the thumbnail, I'd be right over there and I could modify it. So that means I could create a layout with the original images that came from my digital camera and not adjust them at all until I'm already done with the layout that I'm doing. I'm doing a promo that's a brochure and I'm just using the images that came straight from the camera, no adjustment whatsoever. I'm putting them in the layout. Maybe I'm puttin' them in little fancy boxes and everything else within my layout and only when I'm done and my boss says, "Yeah, I like the layout," do I go in an optimize each picture then in Camera Raw. I just double-click on the thumbnail, Camera Raw pops up, I adjust it as much as I want, click okay, the image updates. Doesn't matter if I scaled down the picture, rotated the picture, or did all sorts of other things like applying filters to it and all that. It is going to update which is really nice. Take a while to get used to where your brain really connects with how much stuff that it lets you do. It means that you can end up doing templates very easily before the images are optimized and very quickly change things later. Now let's say that in here, I don't know, I needed to have two different versions of this. I want one where I used different settings on the sky than what I use everywhere else. Well I'm gonna duplicate this layer by tending Command J, we've done that many times before, Control J in Windows. And then I'm gonna double-click on the duplicates thumbnail to go into Camera Raw. And just to show you that I'm making dramatic change I'm going to come in and make it black and white. There's a check box called Convert to Gray Scale. And click okay. Watch what happens in my layers panel. Do you see how both layers changed? That's because anytime you duplicate a Smart Object, it's thought of as having more than one instance of the same Smart Object meaning that all those duplicates, regardless of how many you have, you can have hundreds if you want, they all point back to the same original. And so any change you make to the original, changes all of them which could be good or bad. So I'm gonna choose undo and here's how you can get a Smart Object, one that is independent of the other. You know they contain the same content but they treat 'em separately. You choose layer, Smart Objects, New Smart Object via copy. The key is the word New. Doesn't it say New Smart Object? Not another instance of the same Smart Object but a brand new one. So New Smart Object via Copy. I'll choose that. And let's just make sure it's independent of the other. I'll double-click on its thumbnail. I'll try to make it black and white once again and we'll just confirm that when I do, the top layer Is hopefully independent of the one below it. Okay. So in order to make a copy of a Smart Object and have it so they are considered independent of each other, I need to go to the layer menu, go to Smart Objects and choose New Smart Object via Copy. So now I'll actually go in there and possibly find some settings I actually wanna use 'cause I don't want a black and white version. Maybe I come in here and I bring the exposure down further, I bring my contrast down a bit. Maybe I push the white balance way over if I can to get a sky that I like a little better. I click okay and I'm only concerned with the sky. Then I'm gonna end up using a layer mask so maybe I use the Quick Selection Tool to try to select the sky and some of the surrounding areas. If I can stay in my Quick Selection Tool here. For now I'll say close enough. But I wanna only keep the sky so I'm gonna add a layer mask. When you have a selection it usually assumes you only wanna keep the area selected so I'll click there and now you can see that his top layer is affecting just the sky. The bottom layer is affecting the rest of the image. Maybe I want to use the colors from the layer that's underneath but keep the brightness from this layer. You can always use blending modes. We had a session on blending modes. And I can say luminosity. Luminosity means use the brightness of this layer but use the color that's underneath. So there you see how I got the little darker sky in there. So you can have more than one interpretation of a Raw file like that but you need to know that if it is a Raw file that's in that Smart Object that you need new Smart Object via Copy to make it so one layer is independent of the other. Let me show you how that works when it comes to not a Raw file but just a normal image. What I'm gonna do is in Photoshop, I'll create a brand new document. We're gonna make a seven by five inch document. Click okay. And then I'm gonna go put something in here. Now if I go to Bridge and instead of just opening a file by double-clicking on it to get it open, instead I'm gonna drag and drop it. Here I have a little logo my wife uses on her business card and I'm gonna take that and drag it over here. When I let go, it automatically puts the little transformation handles on it just in case I wanna resize it and I'll scale it down and press return. Now notice that it's a Smart Object. When you drag and drop from Bridge to Photoshop, it automatically creates a Smart Object. Whereas if you just double-click to open it, you're gonna have a dumb object. You now it's not an object at all it's just a picture. So now let's say I took this and I wanna make some sort of frame using a bunch of these, just 'cause I can. If I'm in the Move To in Photoshop, I don't think we've mentioned this much but you can hold down the option key, alt in Windows, and if you drag you've made a copy. So I'll hold down the option key again and drag to move a copy. And whenever they're evenly spaced, it'll bring up a little Smart guide and kinda snap to it so it's relatively easy for me to get a bunch of these laid out. Or I can select all those layers now and just move all of them as a copy. Okay, so I'm gettin' a bunch. Now when we select all those layers just gonna hold shift, get the bottom layer, then I'm gonna drag them down. When I hold option I mean use a copy. And then I'm gonna grab one of these end ones. I don't know if you remember. There was a way when we talked about layers where we can have it automatically select the layer that's right underneath our mouse. You probably haven't gone through the homework yet, though so you probably don't remember it. Guys. But what it is is when you're in the Move tool, you can hold down the Command key and click and if you do it grabs the top most layer that has something right there. That's what I just did to get this layer and I'm gonna pull that one down to get a copy. And I'm just gonna make like a little border kinda thing going all the way around like this. And then I'm gonna select, whoops, didn't mean to hold option there, then I'm gonna select these middle three and I'm gonna hold option then move 'em over here. There, we got our little border. Right? All sorts of things. Now if you wanna edit the contents that was originally put into that Smart Object, you can get direct access to it where you could go in and paint on it, retouch on it, do whatever you want. And the way you do that is you go to any one one of the layers that is the Smart Object and you double-click on it. When you double-click on the thumbnail it shows in the original contents. It's like it opened up the Ziploc bag to show me what's inside. But when it does, it shows up as a separate document. And so what I wanna do in this document is I'm gonna make it so her camera lens is a different color. So I'll just go over here and use something like my shape tool and I'm just gonna dRaw a brand new circle there and I hope it ends up being a color. I don't see the color right now. There we go. And that's all I wanted right there. She's got a colored lens. So if you look over here we have layers. I have two layers sitting there. There's your original logo. There's the little thing I just created. And now I'm gonna close this. I'll just close the tab and when I do, it'll say hey, do you wanna save that? And I'm gonna say yes, I do wanna save it. When I click save though, it's not saving it to my hard drive. It's saving it back to where it came from. Well, when did this document appear on my screen? Wasn't it when I double-clicked on the thumbnail for a layer? And then pop, this came up? So it's saving it right back into that same layer. Not necessarily on my hard drive. Into that layer. So when I click save, look at what just happened to every single instance of that. Can you see it? Because when you duplicate a Smart Object by typing Command J or by holding down option when you drag with the move tool, you're simply creating another instance of the same Smart Object. All of these point back to one original. And if you change that original, it updates all of them. The only way I can get one to be independent, let's say I grab this one right here, and I want it to be independent is to choose Layer, Smart Objects, New Smart Object via Copy. That means not a duplicate of an existing Smart Object but a brand spanking new one. So if I choose New Smart Object via Copy and then I'll move that down, let's try to edit that one. I'll double-click on its thumbnail image. And I'll just turn off the little cover on the lens and I'll close it. It asks me if I wanna save it. I say yes. And now you see that just that one changed? That's because it's independent of the others. Now if I duplicate it multiple times, we're gonna have more than one instance of that Smart Object but you can have ones that independent that happen to contain the same content but to do so you have to choose Layer, Smart Objects, New Smart Object via Copy. Does the thumbnail indicate that that's a copied Smart Object? No, the thumbnail doesn't give you any indication. You've just gotta know. You just gotta know. Yep. Just gotta know. So then you can simplify things and make things as complicated as you want as well. I'm gonna take all of these that I currently have that we've made here and it's weird, but you can nest one Smart Object inside of another. I just selected all those layers. I have everything selected except for that white background and I'm gonna say Layer, Smart Objects, Convert to Smart Object. That's how you create a Smart Object to begin with if you don't already have one in here. And when I choose that, it's gonna take all those layers in my layers panel and it's gonna make it look as if I merged them together into one. You see that? I looks like it's all merged into one. What I just did is I put it in a bigger Ziploc bag. All those layers, just whoop, put it in another Ziploc, Put those little bitty Ziplocs inside of a big Ziploc. You know? You can do that, as many layers as you want going in there. So now let's say I come in here and I transform this. I choose Edit, Transform, I'll choose something called Distort. When I choose Distort I can grab each corner separately, move things like this. Why, I don't know but just to make it look like it's going off into space, that kinda stuff. I could come in here then and grab a filter, not a filter, let's add an effect. Let's add a Drop Shadow. Can you see the little Drop Shadow and everything? Now boy, I really wish I could still change the color of that lens. I can. Here's how. In order to see the original contents of a Smart Object, you always double-click on the thumbnail within your layers panel. And anytime you do that, it appears as a separate document. So I'll double-click on this and if you think about what was selected in my layers palate at the moment I created that Smart Object, that's what I'm gonna see, which is all those layers that I had selected, right? Each one of those layers happens to be a Smart Object. So if I double-click on it, we're gonna get yet another document appearing, showing us what's in that Smart Object. And there it is. And I'm gonna come in here and see if I can somehow change the color. I'll do an option delete, there, change the color. Option delete means fill with foreground color. And it just happened to fill that in. And then I'll close that. And when I close it it asks do you wanna save it? Where's it gonna save it into? Not on my hard drive, back to where it came from which means back into that Smart Object. Then I see all these. I'm gonna close it. And it's gonna say do you wanna save that? I say yes. Where's it gonna save it? Back to where it came from, into that Smart Object and look, we're gonna have that. That fundamentally changes the way Photoshop works. But it takes a while for your brain to wrap around every little corner of what that does for you and so it will take quite a bit of practicing to do things to truly get a good feeling for Smart Objects. Now I can save this in Photoshop file format or TIF and when I reopen it it'll be the same why. It'll still be a Smart Object an all that. And I find it to be a really nice way to work. There are other features related to it. Let's see what other files are here to play with. Let's see what we can come up with. Here I have a simple shape. In fact, I'm gonna hide some of the things in my layers panel 'cause I don't need those hidden pieces. If you go to the bottom of your layers panel there's the letters effects and that's where we can do things like add a drop shadow. And I'm gonna come in here and choose a choice that's called Pattern Overlay. And in one of the sessions we record, we actually make a seamless pattern or we actually, how would I say it, we take a pattern that's existing and we turn it into a seamless one. I'll use that pattern. And I gotta turn on the little eyeball here 'cause it was turned off. So we have a pattern applied. Then I'm going to take this layer and let's say I want to do something like scale and rotate. Well if I type Command T, 'cause isn't that how we scale and rotate? And I scale this down, notice that the pattern is not getting smaller. If I scale it up, the pattern is not getting bigger. If I rotate this, I don't know if you can tell or not but the pattern is staying straight. It's not rotating. And that's because we're simply rotating the contents of the layer and then afterwards it's thinking about that accessory that's applied to it, which is the pattern. 'Cause it's an accessory to the layer. It's sittin' right here and so whatever I changed on this, it makes that change, and then it applies this. So let's see. I'll make a duplicate of this. I could just use the Move tool and hold down the option key to move a copy over there. This turned into a Smart Object. So, Layer, Smart Objects, Convert Smart Object. Now look at my layers panel. Those two are different than each other in a fundamental way. And that is this is a layer with an accessory attached. This layer has no accessory attached. The accessory is inside the Ziploc bag. It's inside the Ziploc. We're working on the outside and it has no idea what's inside that other than what the end result looks like. It just says this is what ... Whatever the contents of that Smart Object is, whether it be 20 layers or one, all I'm seeing is what would it look like if you merged all those layers together into one piece and that's what it's showing me here. So now when I take that layer on the right and transform it, I can come over here and you notice that things going. If I bring it back up maybe and I rotate, you see the pattern's rotating along with it? And that's because the pattern is inside the Smart Object and it can't touch what's inside the Smart Object. It can't touch the original stuff that's in there. It can only add an accessory to it which in this case is a scale and a rotate. And so it's thinkin' a little different. Or another instance of that. I'll undo this a little bit. Let's see, what would it be? What if I wanted to use a layer mask, for instance? If I made a selection, let's say I made a selection that's round on this one. And then I added a layer mask to the image that's on the left. There we go. Then I take the image on the right and make a selection and I add a layer mask to it. Well, in this case, both of those, the layer mask is an accessory to that layer but then I take the top one and I say, let's wrap that into a Smart Object, throw it in a Ziploc. Where did the mask just go? It's inside. It's inside that Smart Object. It's not an accessory on the outside of the Smart Object. And that means I can't get to it right now. I can't get to it without double-clicking on the thumbnail for that layer. And if I do that it's gonna show up as a separate document where I can edit that. 'Cause here's how that could matter, let's say I grab that image that's below and I transform it and I make it tiny. That small enough? Can you see how tiny it is? It's that big. Well, how big is its layer mask then? It's layer mask is that big too so if I scale it back up, what's gonna happen to its layer mask? Well, let's find out. Command T. Real nice layer mask, huh? Because when I scaled it, the layer mask got down to almost no information. I scaled it back up and it got messy. I take the Smart Object though. Where's the layer mask? It's inside the Smart Object. The Smart Object is being protected by a Ziploc bag so when I type Command T and I scale this one down to almost nothing whatsoever, press return, and then I type Command T again and scale it back up, it's not gonna mess with what's inside the Smart Object, it can't. What's inside the Smart Object is protected. The only way I can access what's inside is to double-click on that layer. Then it appears as a separate document. Then I can mess with my Smart Object. But say there are some advantages and disadvantages. Sometimes it's a pain in the butt that you can't get to that layer mask without double-clicking. So you have to decide, should it be on the outside where it's attached? Like right now if I add a layer mask, where should it be within it? And there are ramifications around that. You can also, and I don't have a great example here, but you can also take Adobe Illustrator files. Let's say you have your logo. Somebody made it in Illustrator. If you drag it from Bridge into a Photoshop document, remember how it automatically turns it into a Smart Object? Well what's contained within it in that case is an Illustrator file. And if you double-click on the thumbnail for that layer, it'll launch Illustrator and open the original in Illustrator. So you can make changes there, 'cause it's an Illustrator file. It's weird. Well, here's an interesting one. I think I did this with Smart Objects. Yeah. (laughs) Think I used this on a previous video where we talked about layer masks, where I got these to interlace one inside the other. Well I actually used Smart Objects when I did this. What I did is I created one shape and this shape has some accessories attached. I'll turn off that. There it is. This was made with the shape tool. You can make a circle and then take away from the circle and then add and all sorts of things to make this but I made this, turned it into a Smart Object and then I duplicated the Smart Object and I rotated it. Then I duplicated the Smart Object and I rotated it. Duplicated the Smart Object and rotated it. The same way that I end up creating a gear when we talk about tools. I was just more careful with the angles that I used to do so. And I got all these stacked. Turn my effects back on. Well I'm gonna double-click on this Smart Object. There it is. And I'm gonna modify it. Anything made with the shape tool is really made out of a path. We talk about paths in a bonus video. On the bonus video I talk about using the pen tool. I'm gonna now close this and it'll ask me do I want to save it and I'll say yes and suddenly every single one of those changed. If I just choose undo, you can see it kinda looks like they're dancing. Yeah. So when I made this if I was like well, this doesn't quite extend far enough here. That means it probably doesn't extend far enough there, or there, 'cause they're all the same. I could just change one of them just by double-clicking on it to look at the original Smart Object, pull that the tiniest bit and every one of these updates. And so that's what made this a little more interesting to me, to be able to get it so this looks like it's close to looping around and that looks like it's close to it. Now if I wasn't using Smart Objects and things, this wouldn't have been fun. It wasn't fun to begin with but it's just kind of an extreme use of Smart Objects. Then there are a bunch of different things we can do. Do you remember when I talked about scaling and rotating and how it wasn't permanent, how I could go back and scale it and rotate it more or I can just type zeros in or 100% in for the width and height in percentages and it went back to the original size? Well, there's a whole bunch more you can do with that. Here I'm only going to hint at it because we have a separate session that is about bending, liquefying, and warping images. So I'm not gonna describe in too much detail how I'm gonna bend a picture around that mug but I wanna show you how when I'm done, Smart Objects makes it a lot better. So I'm gonna come over here and go to Bridge and I'm gonna find a Raw file to use. I'm just gonna grab this one. I don't care which one it is. It's just a place holder. I'll drag any Raw file over, click okay. Okay, there it is. And I'm gonna get this small so it's about the size of a picture you might print on that mug. Right over there. Then I wanna bend it around the mug and that's the part where I'm not gonna give you a lot of detail as to how because we're gonna do that in a separate session. For now, you can just get a hint at it. Alright? I'm gonna choose Edit, Transform, and that thing we'll learn more about in a different session. And then I'm gonna mess with these things to be able to get this to look as if it might bend around this mug. And I'm not gonna spend enough time to make it look perfectionate because we'll have that time in that other session. But for now, I'm gonna actually say that's good enough. It's no where near truly good enough but in our other session, I'll show you how to get better. I'll press return or enter. Then I want it to look as if it's printed on the mug. I wonder if there's a feature in my layers panel that acts like ink, that will print one layer on top of another as if we're using ink. Maybe it's this menu at the top of the layers panel and there was a choice in there called Multiply which acts just like ink. So now it looks as if that's printed on the mug. I might need to brighten the original photo though to make it so I like it. But we have that. I've done all this. I've messed with the image. Remember the contents of the original Smart Object is a Raw file. I dragged a Raw file over. That means if I double-click on it, it'll bring up camera Raw and if I wanted to I could make the highlights brighter, the whites brighter. Click okay and it'll update. And it remembers the warping, it remembers that it's in Multiply mode and all that. Isn't that cool? But now I forget where the original Raw file is and somebody wants to use that Raw file for a project. Well, I could go here and try to undo this stuff by coming in and choosing warp and I could, here it's set to custom. I could set it to none. That would make it straight. Press return. Then I could go to Free Transform and there I would see the percentages. I could type in 100 to get it back to the original size. I could try to go through all that kind of stuff but I don't want to. In fact, let me choose undo to keep it warped. Somehow I wanna get that Raw file. Well check this out. Where is it? Do you see Export? There it is. Export Contents. Do you know who when you double-click on a Raw file, it opens as a separate document? What if I were to save that separate document somewhere else? Like on my hard drive. In this case, the separate document, when I double-click, is an actual Raw file. So Camera Raw pops up. It doesn't actually show me the file or anything but when I choose export contents, if that's a Raw file, look what it's gonna pop out right now. Canon Raw files end with the letters CR2. It's gonna make a copy of that Raw file and pop it right on my desktop so that now I can go onto my desktop and, I think I put it on my desktop. No, it doesn't look like I put it there. Musta put it somewhere else. Might find out. I'm gonna make sure that layer's available. I guess I didn't pay enough attention but Export Contents. I put it in documents. That's where it was. And I'm gonna say desktop, save, and now if I go and inspect my desktop, there's a copy of the Raw file sitting right there. So I was able to get it out of there but that's not enough. I hate that picture. I spent all the time to get it to bend and made it Multiply mode and all that stuff. I want a different picture. Well I go to the Layer menu. I choose Smart Objects and I say let's not Export what's there. Let's Replace what's there. And if I can find a picture of the same dimensions, then it should work perfectly. But if I grab a vertical picture it's gonna be weird, you know, the way it translates. So let me see, over in Bridge. If that was one original, why don't we grab this one and just I'll drag it over here to the ... Just so you know, you can drag pictures to the Open Dialogue Box if you're ever in it in your operating system and it navigates you to that folder and highlights the file. That's part of your operating system, at least on a MAC. So I just found that there. I'm gonna hit Place and it will just replace, since it's a Raw file, Camera Raw come up. Oh, the file wasn't the same size. What happened is I changed cameras from a Canon to a Sony and my Sony camera is 44 megapixels. My Canon camera was a lot less. And so this is a bigger file so it got too big. I could scale it down or be careful but what I think I'll do is simply find another file that's the same size. I'll just find one of the same era as far as the ... Replace Contents, go back to Bridge. Where's an old file? That's old but it's horizontal. Well, CR2s, those should all be the same era. I'll drag that over here. Hopefully it's the right size. Hopefully it's not a really old Canon I was shooting with and that I had a newer Canon that's the wrong size. We'll find out. Ahh, it's the wrong size again. But all that means is it was the newer camera so it was a bigger, higher resolution thing. You get the idea it could work if it was the same size. If it's not the same size I'd have to make adjustments. But that's really cool because that means I can make templates that use placeholder images and then only when I'm done with the template and know I like it, decide what pictures to use. So that's pretty crazy. Close that. Close that one. Ben? Yes. The concept of flattening and merging and Merge Visible no longer applicable when you're working with Smart Layers? They do apply and if you merge a Smart Object into the layer that's underneath, you will have done what's known as rasterizing it's contents. Which means you turned it into a normal layer right before that happened because there's no way for it to kind of do that and maintain it as Smart Object because the bottom layer most likely won't be a Smart Object and even if they are two Smart Objects, it doesn't have the sophistication to be able to somehow meld them together and keep them as Smart Objects. So that is one area where it would be a little different whenever you merge layers. So if you take a Smart Object layer and a normal empty layer below it and choose Merge Down, that Smart Object just became a normal layer. The little icon on its thumbnail will go away. And if you wanna do that manually, you can if you go into Photoshop and you have a Smart Object, you can choose layer, Smart Objects, Rasterize. Rasterize means turn into normal layer. And that means if that particular layer had been scaled down and it really contained a lot more information than it was actually showing you because you have a scaled down version, suddenly it permanently scaled it down. So when I choose Rasterize, watch the top layer. Look at its thumbnail image. And when I choose Rasterize, you see the icon went away. Now that's a normal layer. It's as if I never used Smart Objects. There's nothing special about it. So sometimes Smart Objects get in the way. You're trying to do something and it's complaining. I can't paint on this. I can't do something. And you're like well, screw it. I don't need the advantage of that Smart Object anymore. I got it to the size I want, the rotation I want. Everything's perfect. I just wanna paint on it. So you're like fine, I'll rasterize it. And now you've done that. So it is a little different with that. Mm-hmm. Again, the things that you can't do on it. Painting was one and ... You can't directly change its contents using painting or retouching tools. And if you apply adjustments they must either be adjustment layers or they're just gonna show up as accessories to that layer, just like filters would. So it will be a little different. But mainly anything that would need access to the actual pixels and when you do it it can't show up as one of those things like a Smart Filter so you'll experiment. You'll notice a no symbol, the little circle with diagonal line through it whenever you're using one of those features. And you just have to decide is there any way I can get the same end result by possibly putting in an empty layer right above it? And then you get the same visual end result and everything but it's just not directly affecting that layer. Or double-click on the Smart Object. Have it open and show you its contents and when you're in there you can directly affect what's in there because those are normal layers in there unless it's a nested Smart Object where you did one inside of another. You know? So anyway, there's all sorts of things we can do. Now let's try one more thing and this is also another example when I can't give you the images here 'cause I don't have the rights to give them to you but I used to write a book called Up to Speed and what the Up to Speed book did is it would only cover the new features when a new version of Photoshop came out; therefore, if you already knew Photoshop, you just want the Up to Speed book. It brings you up to speed on the new version. Well now the problem is they update Photoshop way too often and so the book would be out of date to quick and so it just doesn't make sense to write it anymore. But I came up with this logo here for Up to Speed and down here would usually be the chapter number and the name of the chapter. And so this is a two page spread that might be used within it. And I wanna use the same logo that's on the right on all my two page spreads so that it's consistent. So I have a Smart Object here. If I double-click on that Smart Object here is what it's made out of. If I turn off its layers you can see there I got a layer, here I got a little bar, there I got a little blurry text, there I got my logo. Here I got this. This was made ages ago and it coulda been made better in that this shoulda been a Smart Object so I could change the blur setting later but it wasn't. This looks like it's even another Smart Object. I'll double-click on it. Okay, it's making a little flames and a bar. I'll close that. So anyway, this is the piece I wanna use in multiple documents. Close that. So I'm gonna see if I can somehow accomplish that. I'm gonna choose layer, Smart Objects, and see if I can try. Do you see this choice here, Convert to Linked? Convert to Linked. Before I show you Convert to Linked, let's just start a normal linked, I guess. Naw, we can do it this way, Convert to Linked. So I'm gonna choose Convert to Linked. It's gonna ask me where would you like to save the contents of that Smart Object on your hard drive because what I'm telling it to do is I want a Smart Object that's linked to a file on my hard drive. That literally, that's what it contains, is the file on my hard drive. So I'll save this on my desktop. I'll call it Black Bar. Choose save. And now instead of having the normal Smart Object icon, it looks like a chain symbol. And anytime you see the chain symbol, it means it's linked to something else, somewhere else that's not in this document. So in this case, it's linked to a file that's sitting on my desktop. Okay? Then, I'm gonna open another image. This one. This is another spread. This was supposed to look like a scrapbook of a primate family, you know? And this person looked a lot like my dad 'cause he had big ears. So we snuck me in there but you'd only see it if you opened the book far enough that you almost broke the spine. So I was one of the primates. But over here on the right side we should have that same spread, alright? So let's see, if I layer, Smart Objects, Convert to Link, Embed All Linked, there's a way to embed links and it's something I actually don't do very often but what I'm gonna do is see if it'll work this way. I'm not sure if it will. It's honestly something I almost never do 'cause I don't need to use linked Smart Objects. But anyway, there is a way to make it linked and if it was linked, when I go in to edit that file that's on my desktop, it would update all the files it's used in. That means you can your logo file sitting there on your desktop. And it's used in 10,000 documents. You go modify the logo. You change your logo color. Then the next time you open any of those documents, they all update. Okay? I'm gonna call Relinked to File. Let me see if it lets me act. Like I'm telling it to point to a new file and I'm gonna do this. This isn't the most efficient way of doing it but I think I just accomplished what I wanted. Yeah, do you see the link symbol? I told it to relink to a file as if somehow the link got broken or something, like the file was no longer there. So I'm gonna go then to my desktop and I'm gonna open that file called Black Bar. Now I could do that by double-clicking on this layer 'cause that's how you look at the contents. I double-click, there it is. And what am I gonna do? I'm gonna come in here and turn on that little blur that was there. And maybe I'll take this bar that's here and I'm going to adjust it with maybe hue and saturation and get the colors to look all weird. 'Cause we're creating an anniversary edition and it's gotta look weird. So I'm gonna close this now and say save. Now where is it being saved? To my hard drive. Because that's what those things are linked to. They're linked to a file on my drive. I choose save. I close it. This one's up to date. Look at this one is too. Both files are up to date. Two separate documents using the same content. You can only do that with Linked Smart Objects. And I'm sorry, I should know better how to link them because ... It's just something I don't need to use very often. So I didn't recall. So we can have Linked Smart Objects, all sorts of really cool stuff. You can also, I wish I wouldn't have closed that, you can unlink them. So if you decide that you no longer want it to be linked, if you choose Layer, Smart Objects, there's a choice to unlink it, meaning make this so it's fully contained within this document. There is a choice there for that. So anytime that you're creating something that's repetitive, like this, if you make one of those tabs and you're gonna plan on putting the others in, why not turn it into a Smart Object first because if you do, every time you duplicate it they all point back to the same original, don't they? So if I double-click on the thumbnail for the layer, I could change the shape of those tabs. It would update them all at once. If you wanted to create those circles, create one circle. Before you duplicate it, turn it into a Smart Object. So then all of them point back to the same original. And if you do that, then when you double-click on it, you're gonna see it as a separate object. And you can come in here and do whatever you want to that document. And maybe I wanna come in here and see if, I'm gonna modify its shape to make it look ... Oh, I'm trying to modify it in the layers panel. You know why? 'Cause the layer is actually larger than the document itself. If you look over there, it looks bigger. This is a shape so what I'm gonna do is use my Shape tool and see if I can zoom up on it and modify it. Okay, does it look like it's extended that way? Now we're gonna extend it this way. And I will close that, say save, and now you see how all of them are? You know you can change them into stars, you can do whatever you want but if you planned a little bit ahead of time then you're going to have much more interesting time. Then let's say these are objects I might wanna use a lot. Well, do you remember that thing called a library? And with the library, I could use my move tool and I could drag something into here and it would go in there. Well, when I dragged it back out and used it in a document, it's linked to that. You remember how when I did Smart Objects and it was linked to that file that's on my desktop? This is similar. It's linked to what's in the library. And if I were to go to what's in the library and double-click on it, what's in the library, I'd see the original and any change I make here would suddenly update all the documents it's used within. So there's all sorts of things you can do with this. But I don't even need to modify that. So Smart Objects are kind of ground breaking feature. It will take you a while to get use to it at the most basic level before you end up transforming things to make them smaller. If you're not certain you got it the right size when you're done, kinda thing, hope you have a Smart Object because then it doesn't matter that you scaled it down. Later on if you scale it back up and later on if you rotate it and then rotate it back and just scale all over the place, you can do it 30 times if you want. Every single time you did it, it's calculating it based on the original because that's what's in the Smart Object. It doesn't mean that I can somehow magically scale an image and make it huge. It just means that it's always calculated from the original, whatever it looked like the moment you turned it into a Smart Object. That's the amount of information it's using when it's doing the scaling. So whenever I'm creating brochures and I have a bunch of images in there and I might wanna move them around and scale them, they're all Smart Objects so that when I scale them, it's all calculated from the original. Whenever I'm using filters, it's great when I'm using filters because then whenever I come in and use a filter, right up here, it says Convert for Smart Filters. That does the exact same thing as this command. They just put it under the filter menu to kinda suggest that you use it and to make it so that even if you don't know about Smart Objects, you might still use them. But it does the exact same thing. So Convert for Smart Filters. In fact, most of the time when I want a Smart Object, I don't go to the layer menu to do it 'cause look at how much time it takes me. Layer, where is Smart ... Oh, there it is. And then you get to there. Instead it's much faster to just go right there and that does the exact same thing. So then when I apply my filter to an image it's really cool because it appears as its own little accessory over here and I can turn it off and on. I can double-click right here to go right back into the settings and I can double-click over here and that will let me choose a blending mode to apply that filter with. And so it's really nice. Smart Objects just make life easier most of the time. Know that they do make your file size larger because when you have that image that you dragged over from Bridge, and it was a Raw file, suddenly you have the entire contents of that Raw file now within your layered Photoshop file. When you have the large image you convert into a Smart Object and then you scale it down to 1/8 of its original size you still have the full size image within that file. It's inside that Smart Object. So your file sizes will be much larger when you use Smart Objects than when you don't. But they're much more versatile. Now be careful when using Smart Objects. You might not think about all the consequences. What if somebody asks you for a layered file? Well if those are all Raw Smart Objects that you used within that layered file, they can get to your original Raw files. That means the full size originals. Even if the file I'm giving them is only tiny for the internet, but I'm giving them the original, there's a Smart Object within it, well it's the original full size Raw file scaled down to that size but they can say export contents and boom, they have that Raw file. They can get to your hi-res, you know, image. So before I give it to a client, I might click on some of those Smart Objects, go up to the layer menu, choose Smart Objects, and choose Rasterize to say turn them into normal layers. I'm not gonna give these people my good stuff where they could print it huge. I'm trying to just give them a proof, a little one, you know? So sometimes you do have to be careful with how you think about them. Okay? Alright, Smart Objects, one of my favorite features in Photoshop. They totally changed the way I think about Photoshop, putting it on a whole 'nother layer, another level for me. So tomorrow, we're gonna talk about what I call Shooting for Photoshop. Shooting for Photoshop is where we think about Photoshop when we're out in the field with our camera taking pictures. And if we think about Photoshop when we're out doing that, there's a lot more we can do. A lot of people only think about Photoshop for post-production where they don't think about it at all when they're out shooting. And we're gonna look at all sorts of things. Part of it will be simple things like stitching panoramas or doing what's called HDR. That's where you change your exposure. Take the exact same picture just brighter and brighter and brighter and then you can combine multiple exposures together to get a wider brightness range in your picture. But we'll also look at a bunch of other really interesting things you probably haven't thought about. But between now and then, why don't you head over to Facebook? Let me know what you thought of this session. Ask the questions that you have in your head, peculating. See how other people have been using the same feature 'cause they'll probably be talking about it there as well. So there's where you get to the Facebook group. If you're not in it already, you do have to ask to become a member 'cause it's a private group. But there's just ... I don't remember what the button says, something like ask to join. And all it means is one of our administrators has to come in and approve you. There's no like test or anything, we just hit the approve button. And the reason we do that is so that the comments that you make within the Facebook group are only seen by other people that are part of that group. People just following you on Facebook in general won't see your posts there, only the people in the group will. Finally, if you wanna find me on social media, or on the web in general, here are the different places to go to. And this has been another episode of Photoshop CC, the complete guide. Hope to see you next time.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Color Palettes
Edges and Textures
Hand-drawn Frames
Hand-drawn Graphics
Layout Templates
Practice Images - Lesson 18: Tips and Tricks
Practice Images - Lesson 19: Actions and Automation
Practice Images - Lesson 17: Advanced Layers
Practice Images - Lesson 12: Advanced Masking
Practice Images - Lesson 15: Advanced Retouching
Practice Images - Lesson 10: Blending Modes
Practice Images - Lesson 2: Camera Raw
Practice Images - Lesson 8: Color Adjustments
Practice Images - Lesson 5: Layer Masks
Practice Images - Lesson 4: Layers
Practice Images - Lesson 9: Retouching Essentials
Practice Images - Lesson 3: Selection Essentials
Practice Images - Lesson 14: Shooting for Photoshop
Practice Images - Lesson 13: Smart Objects
Practice Images - Lesson 1: Starting from Zero
Practice Images - Lesson 7: Tonal Adjustments
Practice Images - Lesson 6: Tools and Panels
Practice Images - Lesson 20: Troubleshooting and Advice
Practice Images - Lesson 16: Warp Bend Liquify
Practice Images - Lesson 11: Filters
Script Elements
Week 1 - Day 1 Homework
Week 1 - Day 2 Homework
Week 1 - Day 3 Homework
Week 1 - Day 4 Homework
Week 1 - Day 5 Homework
Week 1 - Photoshop CC Workbook
Bit Depth
Color Modes
Color Spaces
Logic of Keyboard Shortcuts
Pen Tool
Week 2 - Day 6 Homework
Week 2 - Day 7 Homework
Week 2 - Day 8 Homework
Week 2 - Day 9 Homework
Week 2 - Day 10 Homework
Week 2 - Photoshop CC Workbook
Homework - Shooting for Photoshop in Adobe Photoshop CC
Homework - Smart Objects in Adobe Photoshop CC
Homework - Filters in Adobe Photoshop CC
Homework - Advanced Masking in Adobe Photoshop CC
Homework - Advanced Retouching in Adobe Photoshop CC
Week 3 - Photoshop CC Workbook
Homework - Warp, Bend, Liquify, in Adobe Photoshop CC
Homework - Tips & Tricks in Adobe Photoshop CC
Homework - Actions & Automation in Adobe Photoshop CC
Homework - Troubleshooting & Advice in Adobe Photoshop CC
Homework - Advanced Layers in Adobe Photoshop CC
Week 4 - Photoshop CC Workbook
Bens Actions Sampler ReadMe
Bens Actions Sampler
Bens Styles Sampler ReadMe
Bens Styles Sampler
Texture Sampler
Save for Web
Facebook Q&A #1
Facebook Q&A #2
Q&A #3
PSD Preferences
File Formats
Customizing PSD

Ratings and Reviews


Ben Willmore is exceptionally and intimately knowledgeable about Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom, including Bridge and Camera Raw, and how they work together. He's also a wonderful photographer. That's great, but what's even better for us is that he's an incredible and generous teacher. He shares his knowledge and experience in an organized, thorough, thoughtful and relatable way. I envy his efficiency with words and ideas! He isolates hard-to-understand concepts - things we'd be unlikely to figure out on our own - and explains them in simple terms and with on point and memorable examples. I completely enjoy Ben's teaching methods and his personality. His admiration and appreciation of his wife, Karen, are telling of what a good guy he must be, and he's got just an overall pleasant personality. I love his amusement when something "ridiculous" happens during an edit! This bootcamp is fantastic and just what I need. It's only one of Ben's many CL classes that I've watched and learned from - they are all excellent. Thank you, Ben Willmore. (And Karen!)

Lynn Buente

I purchased this course ---SMART MOVE!--because, at 74, I learn more slowly and need more practice. While I've had some "novice" experience with PS, this course is moving me along in a totally different way. Most tutorials just tell you what to do. Ben tells you not only WHAT to do, but WHY (--or why not) and HOW. Understanding better can lead to using the practices in PS more fluently AND to greater freedom to be creative. I find Ben's approach to be kind of a "come as you are" session. No matter where you are on the learning spectrum, there is something to review, something new, or a brand new challenge. The relaxed manner of presentation is great, but doesn't minimize the content of the class. I appreciate the additional explanations and theory. These help to make total sense of the tools and practices of good editing. I would really recommend that, if possible, you purchase the course. The practice images, the homework, and the evolving workbook are great review and reference points. Personally, I have downloaded the classes by week so I can view, re-view, and stop, start, and repeat segments as often as I need to --which is often! Also, sometimes I like to view and work on one segment of the class at a time. My study of this course will be a LOT LONGER than four weeks, and I know I'll be referring to it as long as I'm a Photoshop user. Thanks, Ben! (And thanks to your wife for her contribution as well.)

Carol Senske

I've used PS for about five years in many of it's various versions. Learning on your won is a tough proposition, and I've struggled the whole time. Seeing work I admired and that inspired me to strive for great er things then not being ablr to figure out how to do them was a major frustration. The jargon was sometimes foreign, the complexity of the program overwhelming but I soldiered on and learned bits and pieces. A friend recommended Ben's course and I immediately came to CL to see what she was so thrilled about - I was amazed! Ben is down-to-earth, explains each step, gives shortcuts, defines terms, and shows how to accomplish what he's teaching. After two weeks I bought the class. I not only bought the Photoshop course but I added the Lightroom course as well. I'll do that, on my own, when things slow down a bit, and I have no doubt that course will help me even more than the PS course. I'm totally at sea with LR. I like Ben's teaching style, appreciate all the homework and extras included, and greatly appreciate the magnificent, easy to use, workbook by Ben's wife. I give my wholehearted endorsement for this course!

Student Work