Today, I’m going to work on a simple example project. I’m going to use the photo seen above as a background for some suggestive vacation text. I’ll also give the photo a border. There will be five layers in all. Then, I’m going to convert all three layers into one smart object (remember the importance of smart objects?) and reduce it in size so it fits some imaginary specification.
The reason I want to turns these layers into a smart object is simple. I know myself and from past experience, I recognize that I may change my mind, regarding the layout or design, later on. If I resize the layers without turning them into a smart object, I can’t go back and expand them to their original size again. The previous action would have destroyed the quality of the layers.
So, in this post, I’ll demonstrate how to convert multiple layers into a Smart Object, how to use the Free Transform tool to reduce the dimensions of the graphic how to edit the contents of the smart object if a change is necessary.
I created an example graphic for this post, as I mentioned above. There are a total of five layers.
The bottom layer is the photograph, the three center layers are text and the top layer is the outline. This is very simple, yet realistic.
Transferring Graphic to Page Layout
Let’s pretend that I’m going to use this graphic on a page of a magazine. Now, I want to impress upon you that this is an example demonstration. The graphic and the sample page’s resolution are both at 72 dpi, when they would actually need to be at least 300 dpi for print. Also, I’m sure the layout isn’t perfect somewhere as well.
To transfer this graphic to the page layout file, I’m going to highlight the layers I’d like to see over there and drag them to the page layout tab.
Once I drag the graphic layers to the other tab, that other document should appear. After it appears, I can continue dragging the layers down into position.
You can see the translucent layers in the screenshot above. Once I let go, the graphic appears.
Now, it’s obvious that the graphic is too large for this page. I’ll need to reduce the size.
I covered the above process in more depth down in the comment section.
Creating a Smart Object From Multiple Layers
Before I do anything else, I want to convert the graphic layers to a smart object. I don’t want anything pushed around. To do this, I highlight the same layers I just dragged over and head up to the Objects > Convert to Smart Object menu item and select it.
Right after I do that, the highlighted layers will collapse into one. Now, I’ll be able to use the Free Transform tool to adjust the size of the smart object to fit in the guides I just created. I’ll go to Edit > Free Transform and do my editing.
That’s looking pretty good. If, for some reason, I wanted to increase the size of the graphic, I could do so without losing quality. Smart objects are good like that.
Editing the Contents of a Multiple Layer Smart Object
Oh no! I typed the wrong phone number in the graphic. Also, after looking at the graphic, I’d like to see the top text much larger and have it run across the page more. I’ll need to do some editing.
To edit the contents of a smart object, I’ll head up to the Layer > Smart Objects > Edit Content menu item and select it.
The moment I select that menu item, a new tab will appear in Photoshop that will contain only the layers of the smart object. What will appear is the unedited (resized) version of the layers I had originally turned into the smart object.
As you can see in the screenshot above, the image is larger than the guides I had resized it to in the page layout. The thing is, in this new editable tab, all the layers are once again separate. I can do anything I want to them, just as if no smart object had even been created. I’ll click on the appropriate layers and make my edits.
There we go. Now the phone number is correct and the leading text is much larger.
Applying the Edits
Just because I made some changes in the new “edit” tab doesn’t mean that those changes were applied to the page layout document that I want them to appear in. In order to apply the changes, I’ll need to save the edit document. To do this, I’ll go to the File > Save menu item and select it.
Now, if I look at my page layout document, I’ll see the edits.
How cool is that?
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