How to Use Smart Objects in Adobe Photoshop

We will focus on Smart Objects, which is one of the important features in Photoshop and similar programs. At the end of the video, we will understand much better why we should use smart objects. Now let’s look at what smart objects are with a few examples.

How to Convert Layers to Smart Objects

There is an image on the scene and I have duplicated these images as two layers because we will have to compare normal images with smart objects. First, let’s see how smart objects can be created. I’m going to turn the layer named Smart Object into a smart object. I right click on the layer, I want to convert to a smart object and select Convert to Smart Object. As soon as I selected the smart object option, as you can see, a different icon appeared in the image on the left of the layer name. The icon we see here indicates that this layer is a smart object. The most important feature of smart objects is that they allow us to make adjustments to the effects we have added before.

Let’s set filters to both layers first. You can add any filter you want. I want to add Mosaic, Motion Blur and ZigZag filters. I will quickly add these as well. I added these filters to the bottom layer. Now let’s apply similar filters for the top layer. We added our effects. We can see that both images reach similar results, but when I want to remove some of these effects or make changes to the effects I have added. We will run into some problems. This already shows us how important smart objects are.

Editing Smart Objects

For example, let’s try changing the mosaic effect we added first. Let’s start with the smart object first. I double click on the mosaic effect that we see among the effects we have added here. Assuming these mosaic squares should be slightly smaller. I reduce it from 25 to 5 and click the Ok button. When I click this button, we can see that, first of all, it gives the mosaic effect with the value of 5, and the next effects over this effect. And additionally, let’s assume that there should be no zigzag effect between these added effects. I clicked on it once. So I make this effect invisible. By clicking the eye icon again, we can make this effect reappear, but now let’s make it invisible. This layer was a smart object, so we can rearrange all the effects we add on the smart object, or we can remove the effects you added and make them appear again.

We can’t do these operations on the non-smart object layer. All the effects we just added are saved over the layer here. Therefore, it doesn’t allow us to make changes to the past. This is one of the most important features of the smart object. In short, we can make changes again on all the effects we have added to the image.

Now, starting from the beginning, turning to their unfiltered state. I will talk about another important issue about smart objects. I restored the images, completely removed the effects, like re-added them. And again, the layer with our smart object is here, and there is a normal layer above it.

Now I press the Ctrl key and click on both layers. So I made both layers selected. I can change their positions at the same time, or I can make them both smaller at the same time by pressing Ctrl + T from the keyboard. Let’s say where we were designing or editing photos, we needed to make the images smaller somehow. I make the images as small as possible so that we can see the effect of smart objects in the best way. I shrink it down and click the Enter button. As we progress in our designs, I will enlarge the photos to their original state, considering that these images don’t need to be so small. I press Ctrl + T again, I’m enlarging the images to the previous dimensions.

Normally we can’t enlarge small images. If we enlarge it, it’ll have a mosaic effect. That is, images become blurry and lose their clarity. But if layers are smart objects, things don’t go the way we think. I still haven’t selected it yet. I pressed the entire key on the keyboard and thus, I will have completed the sizing.

When I press enter, you will see that the object on the left, that is the normal layer, is blurred. You will see that the layer on the right is back to its original state, as it is a smart object. Therefore, when we enlarge the normal layers, the result is no longer usable. We can’t use this photo in any work. However, we can continue to use the layer, which is the smart object on the right as the original photo.

How Do Smart Objects Work in Photoshop

There is something like this in the logic of these smart objects. Let me double-click on the smart objects, you will see that the image, it references is the original image in every change made in our work area. It references itself again, and therefore never experiences this loss.

I will even make an example, let’s paint this horse, I will save this file with Ctrl + S. But when we look at the extension, you will see that it is a psb. Psb files are also temporary files. when we drill down into smart objects. I save this file with Ctrl + S. The file has been saved. Let’s go back to our previous work. In this work, since the reference image is taken from the original image, whatever changes are made there, it reflects that change to us.

In other words, the changes we made on the original image are immediately visible to us in this workspace. Of course, the useful features of smart objects are not limited to this. Let’s make the normal layer on the left invisible first. I will talk about another feature. In fact, it has an advantage similar to the advantages we just mentioned. However, it can still be used in some situations, let’s say there are several copies of the same image in the scene. So let’s say we are doing work like this. Let’s say there are a lot more of them. We want to rotate them 90 degrees. I opened the original image and rotated this image 90 degrees. I save with Ctrl + S. This arrangement we have made will be applied to all images, just like the red color we have painted, and this will provide us convenience. At the same time, it will provide professionalism.

Import Smart Object from Illustrator to Photoshop

The relationship of smart objects with other programs is also important. Again, as an assumption, let’s say you copied a vector icon from Illustrator, and when you paste the icon we copied from Illustrator into Photoshop, with Ctrl + V it’ll give you some options. One of them is the Smart Object option. If you choose the pixel option at this point, you may encounter a problem like the one on the left in the future. Because when you choose the pixel option, we can say that the layer will no longer be a smart object and will be a pixel-based image. I selected the smart object option and clicked the Ok button. Since the icon here comes from the Illustrator program, it will not look like the one on the left in any resizing change I make. Because it’s a smart object and an icon that pulls its source from Illustrator. It doesn’t matter how much I shrink it. I enlarged it again and I can use it without any pixelation. So no matter how much I resize it, there will be no distortion on this icon. As you can see here, smart objects can be used not only in Photoshop, but also in Illustrator. Both this situation and this feature give us a great advantage in our works and designs.

Rasterizing Photoshop Smart Objects

I will also show you what it would look like if I wanted to use it as a regular layer and not as a smart object. To remove the layers from the Smart object. I right click on that layer again and select a Rasterize Layer option. When I select this, the icon on the left will disappear and it’ll no longer be a smart object. Let me repeat what I just did. I shrink this layer, click Enter and the icon gets smaller and I’m making it bigger again. When I enlarge, of course we won’t get the effect just before, because it’s not a smart object this way it’ll become unusable.

Disadvantages of Smart Objects

So why don’t we use all layers as smart objects? Or why doesn’t Photoshop use smart objects by default? Let me undo what we did. That’s because it doesn’t use it as a smart object. When we go into the details of the smart object, it’ll show us the original size of the image. We have already mentioned this. Therefore, in this work we do, it’ll also keep the original size of the image. The size of this image may also be too large. So if you think that there are several smart objects in this way. The size of the file will increase accordingly. When I try to keep many original images, we can also point out that the biggest disadvantage of these smart objects is directly related to the size of the file.

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