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Raw Smart Objects

Lesson 5 from: Using Smart Objects in Adobe Photoshop

Ben Willmore

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Lesson Info

5. Raw Smart Objects

Lesson Info

Raw Smart Objects

Now let's explore the concept of using a Raw Smart Object. I'm gonna open a finished image first, and then I'll kind of give you and idea of how it was created. Here is my finished image, and the original version of this picture I really didn't like. Let's go back and look at it. I'll get rid of any settings that are attached to this, so that you can see (pause) purely what the camera captured. This is what the original picture looked like. And to me, it looks dull. These areas on the side need to be brighter, need to be more vibrant. The sky, I wish had detail. Down here where my wife is I can barely see any detail on her face and on her pants. And I just really didn't like it. Well it was a Raw File, so I double clicked on the Raw File, which opened it in Adobe Camera Raw. And it decided I wanted to make the sky look better. So I did things like I brought the highlight slider down until the sky started to look good. But any time you do that, any time you adjust sliders like highlight...

s, shadows, clarity, and de-haze, those four sliders have a tendency of creating halos. Little glow-y things. And I could start to see it right along here. You see it kind of looks like this is glowing a brighter shade. I can also see it along here where it looks like a darker, little halo there. So I might decide the highlight slider is not the best one to get the sky to be darker. Instead, if I brought exposure down, the entire picture would get darker, along with it and the sky would look good eventually. But I would avoid those halos. So I opened the image. But when I open it, I don't open it normally. Not by clicking the Open Image button. I hold down the Shift key, knowing that it's going to change that button to open object. When I open it as an object, I know I'm gonna have a Smart Object. And so, if I have a Smart Object and I double click on the thumbnail for it, if it was a Raw File that it contains, it should send me right back into Camera Raw so I can make additionally changes. But I want to make changes that I can mask in using Photoshop's masking tools. So I want to duplicate that layer. There are many different ways of duplicating a layer. If I got to the Layer menu, right there is Duplicate Layer. Or Layer, New via Copy. Or drag it down the New Layer icon. It doesn't really matter right now. But I'm gonna double click on the thumbnail for that copy of the layer. And I'm gonna make a radical change to it. It's not actually gonna be a change I desire, I just want to show you what's gonna happen in Photoshop. When I click on OK, watch my Layers panel. Do you notice that both versions of the picture updated? It didn't just change the one I double clicked on. It changed them both. And that's because any time you duplicate a Smart Object, it thinks that you have multiple instances of the exact same content. Not dissimilar to if you're in a Word processor or a Page layout program, and you place a logo that's stored on your hard drive more than once. You just place the exact same file two or three times. Well if it's linking back to the original contents and you make a change to that original contents it might update all of those. We're gonna get into that when it comes to it actually being a useful feature. But for now, it's getting in our way. So I'm gonna choose undo by typing Command Z, and I'm gonna throw away that top later because we need to duplicate it in a special way. I'm gonna choose Layer, Smart Objects, New Smart Object via Copy. The key word here is "new". This means to create a new, independent Smart Object that has no idea that it happened to be the same as another one that's contained within it. It's not thought of as being two instances of the same content. No. When I choose New Smart Object via Copy it looks like I just duplicated the layer. But that layer is now independent of the one that's below it. Let's double check to be sure. I'll double click on the thumbnail for the layer, I'll change my exposure like I did before, click "OK" and if you look in the Layers panel you can now tell that that one is independent of this. I'll choose undo because I didn't really want to make that change. And so remember I did that by Layer, Smart Objects, New Smart Objects via Copy. Now, let's actually double click on it. And I'm gonna optimize that for a different area. Let's say I'm gonna optimize this one for the are where my wife is standing. So for that maybe I need to brighten the image a bit. Maybe I want to lower the contrast a little. And maybe I want to bring out a little shadow detail. (pause) And I don't care what the rest of the picture looks like. Maybe I adjust the white balance, it'll warm up her skin a bit. And I'm gonna click OK. Well we have two versions of the image. One that looks good where the sky is. One that's gonna look good where my wife is. So now I'm gonna make a selection. Let's say I made a selection here of where the sky is. And I need to take away the area where my wife is because it got that selected. (faint clicking noises) And imagine I spent the time, which I'm not gonna do right now, to get a relatively accurate selection around her. (long pause) Well now I'm gonna get the opposite of that because I'm gonna use the sky from the image that's underneath. And I'll add a Layer Mask. A Layer Mask is only gonna keep the areas that are selected. The only area that's selected currently is everything that's not the sky and the mountain behind. So now that can be put in. Now if you followed our Advanced Masking session, you could figure out how to touch up the selection over here. Because this is no different than working on a bird's wing where you might end up with a selection that's inaccurate. But we can get that to be accurate. And what I would end up doing here is simply duplicating this multiple times, each time making sure it's creating a new Smart Object. And then masking where I need to use each version. I've already done that in a separate document. So I'm gonna close this one. I just wanted to make sure you knew how I got to there, and I want to show you the end result. Here's the end result. And I actually interpreted the settings for this file a total of five times. Let's turn off all those different versions, get to the base image. (long pause) Here's the first version of the image. And so let's say we're gonna use that version just for where these vines are. We're in a vineyard here. And I wasn't concerned with what Karen looked like, I wasn't concerned with what the sky looked like, I was just trying to get the vines to look good. Then, I said New Smart Object via Copy and I ended up processing the image again and this time I did it for Karen's skin. And I'll put that in here. This one was actually done near the end so it could be put in underneath because it would be covered up already. So here the masking didn't have to be precise. I could show you that at the end. For now, let me turn that off. Then the next one up was just for Karen's pants. Because she's wearing black pants, it was next to impossible to see any detail in it. So I processed the image just so you could see a little detail. The one above that was just for her shirt, and I went into Camera Raw and adjusted it until I thought her shirt looked good. The one on top is used up there where it's not red and that was for the sky. Put in like that. And then working a little bit lower than this, if I hide the very bottom layer just so you can see, that's what's used on the upper layers. And you can see little holes where her hand are and things. If I were to put something underneath here to fill in those areas, that's where I did it. Since that was put in later on it didn't need to be masked quite as precisely. But it all depends if you know how to think about layer mask and masking. So this is the total of five different Camera Raw settings applied to the exact same image and then using masks, I combined them together. And being able to use a Smart Object made it so I could duplicate the layer into a new Smart Object, double click on it, and apply a different Camera Raw settings. Repeat the process over and over again and use Layer Mask to control where they show up. After doing that, I ended up doing a little bit of re-touching, so if I turn on the layer above you'd just see like a yellow flower at the bottom going away, and few other little distractions. And then I ended up applying some adjustments. And so, here's what happens after I adjust the picture. That's like what you would learn in the Tonal Adjustments lesson or the Color Adjustments lesson to put this image together. But one of the key elements of pulling it off was the use of a Raw File loaded as a Smart Object. And then duplicating it into a new Smart Object with that special command, which is Layer, Smart Objects, New Smart Objects via Copy. And that's what I'll often need to do to optimize a picture where I can't get it to look satisfactory using a single set of Camera Raw settings.

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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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