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Photoshop Tidbit 3: Smart Object Use

Keeping source resolution intact


I remember learning about this one from the Photoshop Guys some time ago, but recently I’ve been using it a lot in some web designs so I figured I’d share it in case you could find it useful as well. It involves using smart objects within Photoshop to keep a layer’s resolution intact even after resizing it.

If you’re as indecisive as I am when you’re designing then you like to make sure your changes are reversable as much as possible. And if you’ve ever tried to scale an image up after scaling it down you’ve realized that that’s not exactly reversible. Unless you use Smart Objects.

Once you’ve brought your image into the Photoshop file you’re working on, Right click on it to bring up the menu options and choose “Group Into New Smart Object.”


And that’s it!! No.. really.
You’ll see your layer has a little icon next to it in the layers panel.


The benefits to doing this can be seen when you start scaling your image down. You’ll notice the transform handles look a little different as well. But try scaling it back up and you’ll see that the Smart Object’s remembered the original resultion of your image so it maintains it’s integrity.



Also useful is the ability to double click on the layer’s icon in the layers panel and edit the smart object independently of the the file you’re currently working on. Any change you make to the smart object file, even adding more layers to it, will be reflected in the original project once you save the smart object.

Andrew Davies

Drew's degrees in Illustration, 2D animation and Broadcast Design, and his volleyball skillz mean he can get your design done and play well with others at the same time. He’s the Creative Director at Paragon and will call you out if you start hanging out with shady-looking fonts and messing around with whacked-out color palettes.