Okay, so I’ve been talking about the value of shooting in RAW mode with your camera and using Smart Objects in Adobe Photoshop for a few years now. If you’re interested in reading all my posts about these topics, please use the search bar at the top of this site to find each one. Just search “RAW Mode” or “Smart Objects” or something like that. There aren’t all that many, so you’re bound to find a few. I’ll link to some posts below as well, just to help you out.
Whenever you can save time while working inside of Photoshop, you should definitely take advantage of whatever it was that offered you this time savings. If it’s a new tool, use it. If it’s a new workflow, use it. If it’s a new technique, use it. Time costs money and there’s absolutely no reason for step by step purity when working in the photography or graphic design business. After all, each and every software maker on the planet has been coming up with new time saving strategies since the very beginning. You should find out what those strategies are and use them to your best advantage.
In today’s post, I’m going to show you a very cool technique that will knock your socks off. If you shoot in RAW mode with your camera and then find yourself working with Smart Objects a lot in Photoshop, this post was written for you. There are so many great things about what I’m going to share with you below, I can hardly contain myself.
Since I need to work with a RAW photo for this post, I decided to dig into my food photos that I took a while back. I found the perfect photo of a sandwich I made a couple of years ago. I posted this sandwich recipe on my food blog, if you’re interested in it. I know, I don’t want to cross over too much here, so that’s all I’ll say about it.
I have to tell you though, it’s an awesome sandwich and is one that’s making me hungry right now. I will try to resist eating until I finish this post though. I have work to do.
Launching Into Camera Raw
I have already discussed how to go about opening photos into Adobe Camera Raw by taking advantage of a variety of different methods.
For this post, I am going to assume you already read my previous one that discussed this and that you know how to go about doing this. Right now, I have the photo in question opened up where I want it. I have already done my editing and am ready to move onto the next step. Take a look at the sliders in the Basic panel to see what I’ve done.
From here, since this is a RAW file I’m dealing with, I’d like to keep it in this format while working inside of Photoshop, after I transfer it there. To keep a RAW file raw and to have the ability to return to Camera Raw for further editing, I’ll need to launch the file from Camera Raw into Photoshop as a Smart Object. I know, this sounds kind of confusing. Here’s the idea boiled down; I opened a RAW file into Camera Raw. I’m now going to change one specific setting that will allow me to transfer this file, the way it is, into Photoshop as a Smart Object. From there, I’ll be able to jump back and forth between Photoshop and Camera Raw, all the while, keeping the same RAW format, so there’s no loss of quality along the way.
Opening the Workflow Options Dialog
I really only need to change one setting to get all of this done. Since I already made my edits, I’m going to click on the link under the photograph in Camera Raw.
After I click that link, the Workflow Options dialog box will appear.
At the bottom of this box is a setting called Open in Photoshop as Smart Objects. This is inside of the Photoshop section. I’ll check the setting box by clicking on it. Once it’s checked, I can move on. That’s it. If I keep an eye on the Open Image button I usually click on to send files from Camera Raw into Photoshop, I’ll notice that it changed text to now reads Open Object.
Creating a New Preset
Since I won’t always be needing to launch images from Camera Raw into Photoshop as Smart Objects, I don’t want to make this setting permanent and the only one available. Because of this, I’ll need to create a new preset. In the same Workflow Options dialog, I’ll click on the Preset drop-down. From there, I’ll click on New Workflow Preset.
Once I do that, a smaller box will appear that gives me the opportunity to name the new preset I’m about to create. In this case, I’ll name it Photoshop as Smart Object.
When I’m finished with that, I’ll click the OK button and I’ll be done. The preset will be saved and I can use it anytime I wish. I’ll click the next OK button and I’ll be all set.
Jumping to Photoshop
Now that I’m back in the regular work area, I can see that the link down at the bottom changed to indicate the new preset. Take a look.
This text means that this preset is active. I’ll want to make sure I go back to the original one when I don’t want to transfer files over this way. When I’m ready, I just need to click on the Open Object button and the image will jump right over to Photoshop as the Smart Object I wanted. I’ll do that now.
As you can see in the Layers panel, the layer is a Smart Object. That’s indicated by the small icon located in the lower right corner of the thumbnail. From here, I can continue to make my edits inside of Photoshop.
Jumping Between Photoshop & Camera Raw
Returning to Camera Raw after working on a photo is simple. There’s no need to create a Smart Object, because that’s already been created. There’s also no need to use a Smart Filter. Or any filter, for that matter. All that needs to be done is to double-click on the Smart Object layer. That will bounce you right back to Camera Raw, where you can make further edits and then you can return to Photoshop once again. To learn more about a similar process, please read the post below.
I hope I clearly explained how to open a RAW file from Adobe Camera Raw into Photoshop. If you have any questions or concerns regarding this post, please leave them in the comment section below. Thanks for reading!