My 5 Favorite Things About Smart Objects!

Smart Objects are the bomb, they’re one of my favorite features of Photoshop and in this video tutorial, we’re going to talk about some of the powerful features that I love most about Smart Objects. We’ll talk about wrapping objects as a Smart Object for scaling purposes, multiple file updating, replacing Smart Objects, and more! You’re going to love this video!

1. Scaling [Back] Up

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Let’s drag out a pixel graphic using the Shape Tool on a new layer and then right click on that layer and choose “Convert Smart Object.” Now we can free transform (Cmd/Ctrl + T) this Smart Object and we can scale it down until it’s tiny, but then scale it back up to it’s original size without losing the slightest bit of sharpness or detail. This is something I love about the Smart Object feature of Photoshop.

2. Adobe Illustrator Vector Capability

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If we drag a .EPS or . AI file into Photoshop, it will automatically be converted to a Smart Object and it will retain its vector-ness and allow us to scale the Illustrator file as large or small as we like with no limitations, because VECTOR!

3. Replacing Smart Object Contents

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When we have either dragged a graphic into Photoshop, or converted a graphic to a Smart Object, we can right click on that Smart Object layer in Photoshop and choose “Replace Contents” to quickly swap that Smart Object with a different graphic. This newly imported graphic will take on any filters, size changes, distortions, etc… that were applied to the other Smart Object. This is a feature that you will grow to love if you work with graphics especially of set sizes in any kind of web, print, or UI applications.

4a. Update Multiple Files At Once

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When we select a Smart Object layer and duplicate it (Cmd/Ctrl + J) if we replace the contents of one of those Smart Objects, it will replace each of its copied “brothers” too.

4b. Update Multiple Files At Once

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We can also import a file by going File>Place Linked and we can link a single PSD to multiple files that we have open in Photoshop. Now when we go into that linked file that we imported into these documents and change it for one document, that PSD will be updated across each of the additional Photoshop documents it was linked into. Super cool time saver!

5. Reveal in Finder (Explorer)

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You can also select any Smart Object layer and right click and Go Layer>Smart Objects>Reveal in Finder (“Explorer” for Windows) and it will quickly take you to wherever that graphic, Illustrator file, PSD, etc… is located on your hard drive. This is particularly useful when you need to gather all of your files together and organize files for a project you’re working on.

Be sure to watch the video at the top of this article tutorial for even more detail and info on how I used this technique and really finished this effect and got great results!

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