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  1. #1
    Member Adamo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Temecula, Ca, United States

    Smart Objects in Photoshop? Please Help!

    Hello everyone,

    I recently acquired Photoshop CS5 and Lightroom 3. I am a bit overwhelmed, but I have figured out how to move images from LR to PS for editing. My question is, what is a "smart object?" I have read and watched several tutorials and I am still struggling with the concept. I am using a windows PC.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Vancouver Island, B.C., Canada

    Re: Smart Objects in Photoshop? Please Help!

    Hi, Adamo!
    I've never used 'smart objects' myself, but since no one else is replying to your question, I'll take a stab at it. First you need to understand the difference between vector and raster images. Raster graphics are composed of pixels, while vector graphics are composed of paths. A raster graphic, such as a gif or jpeg, is an array of pixels of various colors, which together form an image. A vector graphic, such as a Corel file or Adobe Illustrator file, is composed of paths, or lines, that are either straight or curved. The data file for a vector image contains the points where the paths start and end, how much the paths curve, and the colors that either border or fill the paths. Because vector graphics are not made of pixels, the images can be scaled to be very large without losing quality. Raster graphics, on the other hand, become "blocky," since each pixel increases in size as the image is made larger. This is why logos and other designs are typically created in vector format -- the quality will look the same on a business card as it will on a billboard.
    Photoshop works with raster files, but you can import vector images as 'smart objects'. They retain the vector information and can be resized without losing image quality, yet you can also apply filters and masks to them just as you would to any other layer.

  3. #3
    n8 is offline
    Senior Member n8's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Rockford, Il

    Re: Smart Objects in Photoshop? Please Help!

    My understanding of smart objects is simply having the ability to keep adjustments active rather than locked in as they are with a regular layer. Example: you apply a gaussian blur to a layer. With regular layers, that's that. If you don't like it you either have to back up in the history or delete and do over. With smart objects, the filter stays open in a sub-layer (my term), and you can readjust at will. The down side of smart objects is that some functions won't work on them, so you have to rasterize before using them. Shyanni explained the technical stuff I don't understand. Hopefully this helped.
    mostly Nikon gear

    Feel free to edit my images for critique, just let me know what you did.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Medley's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Hillsboro, OR, USA

    Re: Smart Objects in Photoshop? Please Help!

    Loading an image as a smart object in a Photoshop project is really embedding that file within the project. The project itself is the 'parent', and the smart object layer is the 'child'.

    When you make edits to the smart object layer, Photoshop references the original file. So when you resize, transform, etc, it's essentially lossless- you can do it all day long without losing image quality.

    Using it on an Illustrator image allows Photoshop to import information that would otherwise be lost. Normally, Photoshop would convert the image to a form it could read, and discard the extraneous information.

    Also, if you duplicate a smart object layer and link the layers, any modifications applied to one layer are repeated on the linked layers. This makes it possible to stack effects while doing transformations, etc.

    Food for thought.

    - Joe U.
    I have no intention of tiptoeing through life only to arrive safely at death.

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