“Photoshop CS4 Smart Objects” Begins

A few months ago, I began polling members of this site about what video series you’d like me to do next for lynda.com. Thus far, more than 1,500 of you have responded! (See Decide Deke’s Fate.) At first, Blend Modes was the more popular topic. But then Smart Objects slowly and inevitably rose to the top. Now Smart Objects leads by a 9 percent margin.

Regarding the above graphic: Both foreground and background photos come from image vendor, Fotolia. Check out my deal with them (or don’t). It’s generous.

For those wondering what I mean by “edit your edits,” that’s what smart objects do. You begin by applying an edit. Typical Photoshop stuff. But then smart objects step in and permit you to edit your edits. Forevermore.

Meanwhile, I fully plan on doing a Blend Modes series. (Still in the planning phases, it could end up looking like nothing I’ve created so far.) But there’s no denying, Smart Objects has won the day. Which is why I’ve already begun work on the Smart Objects series. The image above shows how it begins.

So far I’m just one chapter into things. But my training videos have a habit of gaining momentum and taking form. As will this one in the fullness of time. Let’s imagine it to be an October title, just in time for tricks or treats. Which are object-oriented, as I recall. Let’s you and I keep each other posted.

Next entry:Photoshop Top 40, Feature #35: Refine Edge

Previous entry:Martini Hour 027, In Which Colleen Struggles Gracefully with Her Raging Sibling Rivalry


  • Sounds great

    Looking forward to it, Deke!

    —JNack (the guy who thought up Smart Objects)

  • Great news!

    Awesome, can’t wait. I’d love to see an article on how things work behind the scenes when you’re creating a series. Do you write speaker notes? Do you plan the whole thing, or chapter at a time? Interesting stuff.

  • Excellent News!

    I try to use Smart Objects as often as possible, and they are definitely far more versatile.

    And if you know of a way to mask individual filters individually, that would be awesome. I love Smart Objects, but that is the one thing that I can’t quite get around.

    Hell, I’m so excited, I feel a poem coming on!

    Object d’Art in Photoshop is Smart

    Like Deke on a unicycle, juggling laptops
    and drinking Martinis with

    olives and Wheeler.

    Object d’Smart is nested joy

    like red wine, but not quite
    Maybe champagne but

    not not as giggly

    as team McClelland and Wheeler

    at the bar, multiplied.

    Ok, so it needs work. Waddaya gonna do….objectify me?! :-p





  • Cant wait

    I vote Photoshop CS4 Blend Modes. Please all support this

  • I like CS4

    I like CS4

  • Cool

    Looking forward to it too Deke.

    Also nice of mister the_guy_who_thought_up_Smart_Objects to stop by - thanks a lot for your and your crews work! smile

    Smart Objects have a lot of potential and is a cool first step. Although I feel they could evolve more;

    - It would be great if you didn’t have to open them in a seperate docwindow but could alter them in place and see the adjustments semi-live with an ‘Update’ button (live would be too much to ask for I guess as multiple brush-strokes etc. would be too straining to show live - see next remark) in the design.

    - Another great thing would be when you could chose to instance a smart-layer - editing one instanced Smart-Object changes all instances…!

    - Too to be able to really free-transform a Smart-Object - now it snaps when Ctrl+dragging a corner point (hoped to see that solved in CS4 but alas). This could save an old company I worked for severall ours of work for each (daily) job.

    Sorry to ‘take advantage’ of the situation but it’s not everyday that to forces like Deke & John Nack collide :D

    Thanks again.

  • Souns amazing

    I’ll install cs4 version and I’ll try the smart objects. Sounds really amazing!

  • Photoshop CS4

    I’ve been using photoshop for adjusting my underwater pictures. Good to see a page like this that I can get more info and hints, thanks

  • Smart objects…. oh yeah !

    I followed Deke’s whole Photoshop CS4 One on One training and let me tell you that Smart objects are THE best thing so far in Photoshop.  You can tweak the *beep* out of everything and it remains intact it you wanna go back an tweak em some more!!! smile

  • wow

    thanks for posting!!

  • Want to be a consultant?

    Gosh, John. A plucky young educator like me should probably contact a wise old sage like yourself before I get too far into things.

    Glad you reminded me!

  • Cooool!

    Sub zero in fact.

    Hey Deke when your smart objects tutorial comes out I’ll no longer have any excuse not to upgrade to PS CS4! (I’m still on CS3). Those wonderful people at Adobe will relieve me of some more funds.

    (Although only yesterday I was traumatized by Adobe Customer Service when my brand new Dreamweaver CS4 upgrade (from Go Live CS) wouldn’t install. After an hour on the phone they finally gave me a number that worked after failing to convince me that I had bought the wrong product version, which I hadn’t.

    Upgrades scare me…!)

    But these things don’t happen with Phoshop.

    I will really look forward to Smart Objects (October did you say, that’s 2009?).

    It’s one of the exciting newer additions to Phoshop that have a lot of promise.

    (And then bring on Blend modes).

  • Awesome, can’t wait. I’d

    Awesome, can’t wait. I’d love to see an article on how things work behind the scenes when you’re creating a series. Do you write speaker notes? Do you plan the whole thing, or chapter at a time? Interesting stuff.

  • cool beans

    Love the site, I use smart objects a fair bit but am learning so much about cs4 here!

  • Channels and Masks

    Should have done Channels and Masks.

  • Smart Objects are cool

    smart object are essentials especially when you are working on vectors. Smart objects are not based on pixels but they are based on lines. But still, I have more things to look forward to and learn about it. Looking forward Deke!

  • The BEST!!!!

    What i love about smart objects is that it contains of pixel-based content or vector-based content.

  • The BEST!!!! is SPAM

    You are spamming this site with your post.

    I for one do not appreciate it and I don’t think it’s condoned by any others here either.

  • Life is art and technology

    I track to post here more.

  • Well, it was spam

    If you spam, your spam goes, your comment stays.

  • Can’t wait to use this

    What I like about this is you can scale, rotate, skew, distort, perspective transform, or warp a layer without losing original image data or quality because the transforms don’t affect the original data.

  • amazing

    amazing news , i can’t wait to try these ...

  • i install cs4 version

    and i was not a fan hey. anyway thats my opinon

  • Good version

    The new version is cool,I have to use it.

  • cool

    Cool, I’ll use it.

  • Cool

    All these tools given by deke sounds cool

Share your feedback, work, homages, questions, wisecracks, advice, critiques, riffs, derision (within reason), frustrations, and love of all things graphical. Log in (or register) to lend your voice.