I used to make a lot of business cards, flyers, posters and all sorts of print material back in my heyday. I still do produce graphics like this from time to time and I am just so pleased with how far Photoshop has come in this regard. I can tell you that it is SO much easier to deal with certain things these days compared to what we in the business used to have to put up with.
For instance, when I used to type out text and then manipulate it some way, such as via warping or distorting, I’d have to first convert the text from a vector object to a rasterized, pixel-based one. When I did this, I lost all ability to ever change the text again. What I mean by this is, I wouldn’t be able to change the spelling of something, edit the text or change the size of it without reducing its quality. I like working with vector based shapes and text a heck of a lot better than I like working with raster based shapes and text.
Through the years, Photoshop gave us the ability to, what’s referred to as “protect,” text and shapes without having to convert them to raster based objects. This has been an incredible development, especially for those who work with these types of things often.
Okay, let’s get into it. Let’s say I have a document that includes some normal, unaltered text as well as a custom shape. In this case, I just made something up for this demonstration. Take a look.
I haven’t rasterized anything, so both of these objects are still editable vector objects.
Now, if I wanted to warp these layers in some way, I used to have to first convert the layers to pixels. Today though, there’s a workaround that allows me to warp and distort vector layers without having to convert to pixels first.
To protect these two layers, I’ll select them in the Layers panel. Then, I’ll right-click on one of the layers and choose the Convert to Smart Object option from the menu that appears.
After I do that, the two layers I had selected will merge into one Smart Object. I can now twist and reshape these layers at the same time, all the while having the layers protected inside of the Smart Object. To access those layers to edit them, all I need to do is double-click on the Smart Object layer in the Layers panel and a new tab will open up. This is what I see in the new tab that appears after I double-click on the Smart Object in the original file.
To make my changes, all I need to do is choose the layer I want to work on over in the Layers panel, make my changes and then close the tab. Before it closes, it’ll ask me if I want to save it out and I’ll choose Yes.
Here I am warping the text by using the Edit > Transform > Warp function.
Now, I do want to give you a very cool tip here. As you may have noticed, when I converted the two layers into a Smart Object and then entered into that Smart Object by double-clicking on it in the Layers panel, the canvas size shrunk to the size of just the text and the layer, and didn’t maintain the size of the original canvas in the original file. This is how things are supposed to work, but if you would like to maintain the original canvas size, all you need to do is add another layer to the original file that’s the same as the canvas size. Then, include that layer in the Smart Object and there you go. You’ll have the Smart Object canvas the same size as the canvas in the original file. If you don’t want to keep that extra layer in the Smart Object, simply double-click to enter the Smart Object and delete the extra layer there.
I hope this helped you in some way. If you’re a designer who uses text and shapes in Photoshop a lot, I think it will. Let me know if you have any questions. Thanks!