14 Replies Latest reply on Dec 3, 2017 2:49 AM by c.pfaffenbichler

    What are smart objects?

    jeffs598401

      I wanted to know what a smart object was. Does this have anything to do with changing a raster image to a vector image? I have a rastor image that I want to change to a vector.

        • 1. Re: What are smart objects?
          Manuhart

          Smart Objects are layers that can save images losslessly when scaling down and up. Some effects are also non-destructive since their parameters are stored and can be changed later.

           

          On the other hand you lose some features, mostly colour tools. For example Hue or Levels become unavailable.

          • 2. Re: What are smart objects?
            c.pfaffenbichler Level 9
            Does this have anything to do with changing a raster image to a vector image?

            No.

            Please post the image or a screenshot.

             

            Photoshop Smart Objects can be embedded or linked files.

            The advantages of Smart Objects are numerous:

            • external files can be referenced and represented in layered documents

            • multiple instances of a SO in a containing document that update simultaneously on saving an edited SO (please note that for a SO to maintain a connection to the external file one needs to use File > Place Linked instead of File > Place Embedded)

            • the possibility of placing vector content as Vector Smart Objects (though this will output as pixels)

            • non-destructive application of Filters

            • non-destructive application of transformation, warp, puppet warp (not all of these are available for Vector SO, but by converting such a one to a regular SO they become applicable)

            • combination of elements of different color spaces and bit depths

            • the ability to Replace Contents of SO (for example when faking as-of-yet non-existent products by mapping packaging design elements onto images of a blank container and the design is likely to change)

            • Stack Modes for certain combinations of photographic images

            • 3. Re: What are smart objects?
              Derek Cross Adobe Community Professional

              Are you sure Hue and Levels are not available?

              1 person found this helpful
              • 4. Re: What are smart objects?
                Manuhart Level 1

                Derek Cross, in my experience those tools are not usable with smart objects.

                • 5. Re: What are smart objects?
                  c.pfaffenbichler Level 9

                  On the other hand you lose some features, mostly colour tools. For example Hue or Levels become unavailable.

                  That claim seems to be false, both of those Adjustments (edit: assuming that by »Hue« you mean »Hue/Saturation«) work as Smart Filters, at least since a couple versions ago.

                  (Edit: I did a quick test and both seem to work for RGB and CMYK files in 8bit and 16bit at least.)

                   

                  Derek Cross, in my experience those tools are not usable with smart objects.

                  You might be confusing the terminology, »Tool« is something different from »Adjustment« in Photoshop diction.

                   

                  (edited)

                  • 6. Re: What are smart objects?
                    rayek.elfin Level 4

                    c.pfaffenbichler  wrote

                     

                    The advantages of Smart Objects are numerous:

                    • external files can be referenced and represented in layered documents

                    • multiple instances of a SO in a containing document that update simultaneously on saving an edited SO (please note that for a SO to maintain a connection to the external file one needs to use File > Place Linked instead of File > Place Embedded)

                    • the possibility of placing vector content as Vector Smart Objects (though this will output as pixels)

                    • non-destructive application of Filters

                    • non-destructive application of transformation, warp, puppet warp (not all of these are available for Vector SO, but by converting such a one to a regular SO they become applicable)

                    • combination of elements of different color spaces and bit depths

                    • the ability to Replace Contents of SO (for example when faking as-of-yet non-existent products by mapping packaging design elements onto images of a blank container and the design is likely to change)

                    • Stack Modes for certain combinations of photographic images

                    As with everything in life, Smart Objects have a number of caveats as well:

                    • SOs open in a new window and cannot be edited in-place, which is rather cumbersome and awkward at times;
                    • Photoshop doesn't provide a default setting to open SOs side by side with the master document;
                    • changing the content in a SO does not cascade in real-time or without saving to the master document;
                    • the fact that a SO is required at all to accomplish non-destructive layer transformations is, at the very least, inconvenient, and a workflow-breaker at its worst.
                    • 7. Re: What are smart objects?
                      c.pfaffenbichler Level 9
                      • SOs open in a new window and cannot be edited in-place, which is rather cumbersome and awkward at times;

                      For the time being I think in-place editing is hardly possible in an effective way not only for performance reasons (in particular if many instances of the SO exist) but also because a Smart Object may have been transformed, filtered multiple times and furthermore differ in Color Space, bit depth, resolution, aspect ratio, … from the containing document.

                      That being said I don’t share the unease some people seem to have with editing Smart Objects as separate documents, but that may be owed to practice and not being familiar with a »better way«.

                      But if another application or some future version of Photoshop should be able to address all the performance and geometry related issues then so much the better.

                      • 8. Re: What are smart objects?
                        rayek.elfin Level 4

                        c.pfaffenbichler True, the contents of Smart Objects can become very complex, and a real-time in-place edit may slow the editor down. But it would at least be useful to have a choice in this as a user. I can really only think of one competing image editor that solves this quite nicely: the user may choose to create virtual clones of layers/groups/adjustment layers/smart objects, and the source layer can be edited in real-time and in-place while the clones all update while working, or (s)he may choose to use Smart Objects instead when things become too slow during editing.

                         

                        It would be nice if Photoshop would give users a similar option. I mean, in front-end mockups a simple duplicated button can be easily updated in real-time across all instances (which works like a charm in the competing app).

                        • 9. Re: What are smart objects?
                          jeffs598401 Level 1

                          Thank you for your response. I am new to Photoshop and I am trying to understand it better. This will be of help I am sure once I sit and digest what you have shared.

                          • 10. Re: What are smart objects?
                            jeffs598401 Level 1

                            Thank you for your response. I am fairly new to Photoshop so it might take me some time to translate your answer into something a novice might understand. I have attached the file which is poor quality, so I was trying to determine the quickest and easiest way to clean it up.

                            • 12. Re: What are smart objects?
                              c.pfaffenbichler Level 9

                              Adobe Illustrator’s »Image Trace« might provide a starting point for vectorizing the logo but manual improvements may still be called for. 

                              • 13. Re: What are smart objects?
                                c.pfaffenbichler Level 9

                                On the other hand you lose some features, mostly colour tools. For example Hue or Levels become unavailable.

                                Did you mean to refer to the fact that multiple Adjustments cannot be applied to a Smart Object with individual and different Selections/Layer Masks but they all share the same Layer Mask with all other applied Smart Filters?

                                If so you might want to employ a non-destructive approach by using Adjustment Layers with the appropriate Layer Masks and Clipping Masked to the Smart Object they are intended to affect.

                                This would seem advantageous for non-Smart Object-Layers, too.

                                • 14. Re: What are smart objects?
                                  c.pfaffenbichler Level 9
                                  the user may choose to create virtual clones of layers/groups/adjustment layers/smart objects, and the source layer can be edited in real-time and in-place while the clones all update while working

                                  While I suspect something similar should be workable in Photoshop (effectively a full-color Layer Style instead of one based solely on the Layer’s transparency) it might prove confusing to some users that this class of clones offers less transformation and filter options than classic Smart Objects.

                                  Which is not to say that such improvements would not be welcome.

                                   

                                  A quick search turned up at leat one existing Feature Request on the issue of SO »in-line editing«, but there might be more.

                                  If you haven’t already you might want to add your vote and comment.

                                  Photoshop: Inline Smart Object Editing (Symbols) | Photoshop Family Customer Community