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Chapter 15. Collage > Painting, Filters & Adjustments

Painting, Filters & Adjustments

Many of Photoshop's tools will be disabled when a Smart Object is active in the Layers palette. Here are a few tricks you can use to get around that limitation:

  • To apply paint to a Smart Object, create a new layer directly above the Smart Object and choose Layer > Create Clipping Mask so that any paint applied to the layer will only show up where the Smart Object appears.

  • To adjust a Smart Object without affecting the rest of the image (with the Smart Object layer selected), hold Option (Mac) or Alt (Windows), click on the Adjustment Layer pop-up menu at the bottom of the Layers palette and choose the adjustment you'd like to apply. When the New Layer dialog box appears, turn on the Use Previous Layer to Create Clipping Mask checkbox to limit the adjustment to the Smart Object layer.

  • To apply a filter to a Smart Object, duplicate the Smart Object layer by typing Command-J (Mac) or Ctrl-J (Windows), hide the original (by clicking the eyeball icon), and then apply the filter. When you apply the filter, Photoshop will merge the layers that make up the Smart Object (also known as rasterizing), which will turn it into a normal layer. But since you duplicated the Smart Object, you'll still have a copy that you can later edit and then re-filter.

  • Be careful when adding layers to a Smart Object. If the original Smart Object was created after opening a flat JPG file that contained no layers, then adding layers will cause problems. Photoshop will act as if the Smart Object is actually a JPG file and since JPG files can't contain layers, Photoshop will present you with a Save As dialog box, forcing you to save the document in a file format that supports layers. That means that adding a layer will cause your edited Smart Object to be saved on your hard drive instead of being embedded in the parent document in which you used the Smart Object. To update the parent document, choose Layer > Smart Object > Replace Contents and point Photoshop to the newly saved layered file.


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