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Transcript for Smart Objects -- Part VI Video

Transcript by Ron Bigelow

Photoshop CS4 Used in this Tutorial

So far, we have covered some pretty interesting information with regard to Smart Objects and Smart Filters. However, we have not discussed the use of adjustment layers and layer effects along with our Smart Objects. So, let’s take a look at that now.

We will continue to use the Doll image. When I look at this image, I really like the blue corner pieces, but I think that they can be improved upon. Currently, they look kind of two dimensional. I think that we could make them appear to have a bit more depth. In other words, they could look more three dimensional. For that, we need to use a layer effect.

We can start with the first corner image by selecting the appropriate layer. Then, we need to click the Add a layer style icon at the bottom of the Layers panel. Let’s click on Bevel and Emboss. The Layer Style dialogue box appears with the Bevel and Emboss option checked. To show the effect that this has, watch the blue, upper right hand corner image as I turn the preview off and on again.

After the dialogue box has been closed, we can see that the effect has been added below the layer. I like the improvement, but what if we decide that we want to change the layer effect. That’s easy, double clicking on effects will reopen the dialogue box. I think that we should check the Contour option. That adds even more of a three D effect.

Great, but we need to apply the same layer effect to the other three corners. Does this mean that I have to repeat the same procedure on each of the corner layers? Absolutely not. We can just Alt drag the effects to the other layers like this.

Next, I notice that the doll needs some contrast. We can up the contrast with an adjustment layer. Specifically, we need to add a Curves adjustment layer. Now, there are a couple of ways that this can be done. We could add an adjustment layer as we normally would. For instance, we could move to the top of the layer stack by pressing Alt+. for a PC or Option+. for a Mac and click on Curves in the Adjustments panel. The problem with this is that it affects all of the layers. In other words, it affects the corners, the red background, and the tulip as well as the doll.

Now, this is not what I had in mind. So, I will delete this Curves layer. Instead, we will choose the Doll Smart Object layer. Double clicking this layer brings up the image content. Now, we can just add the Curves layer to the image content. As you can see, we now have a Curves layer within the Smart Object. We will now close the image content and return to the image by pressing Control+W for a PC or Command+W for a Mac. Notice that the additional contrast has only been added to the doll layer. The corner, red, and tulip layers have not been affected. This demonstrates an important point. We can add an adjustment layer to an image with Smart Objects by adding the adjustment layer to the layer stack in the Layers panel. This adjustment layer will affect all the layers below it. On the other hand, we can add an adjustment layer that affects only the selected Smart Object by launching the Smart Object and adding the adjustment layer to the image content.

That was pretty easy wasn’t it? However, there is one more topic that we need to take a look at. What happens when we want to apply different masks to different filters? For that, we need to create nested Smart Objects. I’ll show you how to do that in the next video.