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Nested Smart Objects

Lesson 2 from: Using Smart Objects in Adobe Photoshop

Ben Willmore

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Lesson Info

2. Nested Smart Objects

Lesson Info

Nested Smart Objects

So let's start to try to explore some of the things we can do with smart objects that are special. Here is a logo for a book that I wrote many years ago. It was called Up to Speed, because I wrote about only the new features of a program when they updated it. And so it would get you up to speed. And if you look here, this is made out of multiple layers. I have a layer here that just puts color in the word to. Here I have the actual white text. Below that, I have one that has the motion blur on it. Below that, this shape, and so on. Now, I didn't use smart objects when this was created, 'cause I didn't make it, but had I been there, I would have used smart objects. And if I had, then this layer that has a motion blur on it, which is, if I turn off some of these other layers, you'll see it right here. This has got the motion blur filter applied to it. Well unfortunately, I can't tell what setting was used when the blur was applied, and if I think it's too much or not enough, I can't chan...

ge it, because it wasn't a smart object. If it was, I'd be able to. And let's just look at a few of the things I might do. Here, if I select one of these layers, and I attempt to come up to the edit menu, chose transform and choose a choice called warp, you see that it's available here. That's because I only have one layer selected. But watch what happens when I select multiple layers. If I select all except for the layer that contains the red background, then I go to the edit menu, choose transform, notice that warp is completely grayed out, because warp can only work on a single layer at once. Also, if I go here to the filter menu, notice that every single filter is also grayed out, because they can only apply to a single layer at a time. That is unless I first choose layer, smart objects, convert to smart object. Now if you have more than one layer selected at the time you do that, then it's gonna look as if those layers have been merged together into a single layer. So watch my Layers panel and you'll see all the layers that are currently selected suddenly become one. And that particular layer has that special icon in the corner to indicate it's a smart object. Now that I've done that, if I go to the edit menu, I can choose transform, and now warp is available, because what I'm working on looks to be a single layer. So warp works just fine. Maybe I come up here and choose an unusual choice there, just to get a little different look. Press Return or Enter. I can also go to the filter menu, and every filter that's here is available. So if I wanted to do a motion blur on this, no problem whatsoever. So there are certain features within Photoshop where smart objects help because it allows you to apply things to multiple layers. But now, what if I decided I needed to make a change. Maybe I don't want the letters T-O to have the color in it. I want them to be white. Well if this was not a smart object, now how would I get in there and isolate just those two letters that are there and change their color to white? Well this has got blurring on it and warping on it and everything else. Well what happens is, when you turn something into a smart object, it takes the original contents of whatever it was you had selected and it does the equivalent to doing a save as, saving it as a separate file. You can access that separate file by double clicking on the thumbnail image for a smart object. So if I double click right here, another document is gonna open and it's gonna contain the original layers that were put into that smart object. And so, if here's my original layers, the top most layer was the one that was changing the colors of the letters T-O, and I'll just turn off the eyeball for that particular layer. Then if I close this file, I'll just click on the little X that's up here in the tab, it'll ask me, hey would you like to save those changes? When it's saving the changes, it's not gonna save them onto my hard drive. It's gonna save them back to where they just came from. And if you think about when this document appeared, it appeared when I double clicked on the thumbnail image for that smart object. So, when I chose save here, it doesn't mean save on my hard drive, it means save back into that layer that I was working on earlier. So I can choose save and now do you notice that the letters T-O are now white? If I were to choose undo by typing Command Z, you'll see that now they're back. Or I will choose reapply, and you see the change that I've made. Not only that, but the changes I've done as far as the warping goes and the filter that's been applied are also not permanent because if you look in my layers panel, there I see the word motion blur, I could turn off it's eyeball and there it is without it. And, I can go to the edit menu, I can choose transform, and choose warp, and all I need to do here is if I look at this, there's a number up here. It says bend 50. I'll bring it down to zero. That means don't bend it with warping. And the only thing I'd need to do in addition to that is use my move tool to move it back down. But those changes that I've made are just settings attached to the layer and if I go back to the same source that created them, I can change the settings. I can change the amount of warping, in this case bringing it down to zero, or in the case of motion blur, I could turn the eyeball back on next to it, and just double click on the name, motion blur, and I would be looking at the settings as if I never had left this to see what I can get. So a smart object, remember, is gonna take, if you have multiple layers, and it's gonna look like they got merged into one. What really happened is they got encapsulated into a separate document. It's a second document that is not a separate file on your hard drive, it's just embedded in that layer. And in order to get to the original contents, you double click on the thumbnail for the layer and it appears as a separate document, a separate window that you can make changes to. When you save it, it saves it right back into the layer it came from. And so that's how smart objects work. It takes awhile for your brain to get around that but let's look at a few other things related. Well before I showed you that I wasn't able to warp more than one layer at a time, 'cause it was just grayed out, same with filters. Well sometimes there are other things that get messed up like that. In this case, I wanna warp this. It's only one layer, so it would have no problem warping it and if I go to the image menu, or sorry the edit menu, choose transform, you see warp is available. But watch what happens when I warp this. I'm gonna warp it and you can warp it manually by dragging on these little handles or you can come up here and just choose a preset and then there's an amount called bend that allows you to bend it. But notice, when I warp this image, sure the shape that was there got distorted. It used to be close to a square and now it looks more like one of those Asian fans, but the pattern that had been applied to it did not get bent. It didn't get warped. So I'm gonna choose undo and let's look in our layers panel to see how this image is constructed. Well here's a shape and that attached to the shape is something called a pattern overlay. You add things like a pattern overlay by going to the bottom of your layers panel, clicking on the letters FX and here's a long list of effects you can apply. Like drop shadows. And one of those choices is a pattern overlay and I could've filled this with any kind of pattern I want, but I'll click cancel to keep the one that was there. The problem is when I warped this, that pattern is just a setting attached to the layer and it warped the shape of the layer but then that setting attached to the layer just updated and it didn't get warped. So what I'm gonna do is with that layer selected, I'm gonna go to the layer menu, choose smart objects, and choose convert to smart object. When I do that, watch what happens in the layers panel. You notice that the part that's used to, if I choose undo, say pattern overlay, seem to go away. It's not that it's gone, 'cause if you look at it, you can still see the pattern applied to that object, but it's inside the smart object. And so therefore, Photoshop, as far as it's concerned when it sees that layer, it can't see inside of it. It can only see what it would look like if you merged those layers together into one piece. That's what it thinks it's working on and that's why filters can apply to smart objects and warping can apply, even though it might be more than one layer in there. Now let's see what happens when I come up here and I attempt to warp it. If I warp and I use the same setting, which I think I used, I can't remember if it was arc or arch, but I'll use arc. You see that the pattern that is contained within that smart object is being bent along with the shape. So sometimes, you're gonna find that you need to put something into a smart object just to take some setting that's attached to it, like a filter for instance, and get something else to be able to act upon it that usually it wouldn't. And this is one instance which would be a pattern.

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Kyosa Canuck

Many, if not most, of these classes (note I said class and NOT course), are excerpts from a full course. DO NOT get hooked into buying copies of these that you already may have from the full (and sometimes the full ones are actually missing pieces) course. Note that CL does not state that these are excerpts from other full courses. I bet, too, that some of them may actually not be in the course content of a full course. I have bought some full ones where the instructor says that a topic will be covered the next day or so but is never mentioned. Caveat Emptor, viewers.

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