THE AMAZING POWER OF LINKED SMART OBJECTS IN PHOTOSHOP
Linked smart objects are a photoshop technique which is very rarely spoken of. If you’re a photographer that regularly makes complex composites however, linked smart objects are an invaluable tool. As a still life photographer, many of my images involve multiple elements and complicated composites. Linked smart objects is a technique I have been using for some time now and in this video I’ll take you through exactly what they are and show you all the benefits they can bring.
This video is the first for my new YouTube channel with many more to come. I’ll be giving out loads of still life photography tips and covering some of my favourite Photoshop techniques. Click here to take a look at the new channel.
The Main Benefits Of Linked Smart Objects
When one creates in-depth, complicated composites, organisation is an important factor. Whether that be for your own purposes, or so you can quickly make adjustments requested by clients and Art directors; keeping your Photoshop documents organised is essential. By using Linked smart objects, you can split your Photoshop documents up into multiple parts.
With multiple documents all being referenced within the one, Master document, you can work on each area individually. In the example video above I take you through a still life shot of a bottle of Baileys. That shot is made up of three main Linked smart objects; the bottle, the clouds, and the bubbles. If I want to make changes to any of those elements, all I have to do I double click on the Linked smart object icon and I’ll be taken to the relevant PSD.
Speed Up Photoshop With Linked Smart Objects
Linked smart objects are one of the best Photoshop techniques to help improve speed when dealing with BIG edits. As you can see in the photo above, this retouch contained a lot of layers; that’s not even all of them! When working in Photoshop, the more layers you add, the more adjustments you make, the more pressure you’re putting on your computer. Using Linked smart objects you can split your document up and spread the computing load.
As quality is such an important factor to me as a still life photographer, I often work in Prophoto RGB and 16 bit. The added pressure of working in a Photoshop document with lots of layers is enough to break any computer. By using this technique, you’ll be able to squeeze every bit of performance out of your computer, thus allowing you to go further with your retouch.
The Best Part About Linked Smart Objects
I love non-destructive editing. Having the ability to go back, at any time, and make further adjustments to effects I have already applied is a big bonus to me. I like to tinker. Before Linked smart objects, we would often get to a point where we would need to create a stamp visible layer and apply global edits; things like liquify. Having done that, we’d be unable to go back and make any adjustments to anything below that merged layer.
Within our master PSD, we can apply global filters, like Liquify, directly onto our Linked layer. By double clicking on the Linked layer icon we can still go back to our original referenced PSD and make changes. No longer do we have to merge layers when we want to make global edits!
Final Thoughts On Linked Smart Objects
I really cannot sing the praises of this Photoshop technique enough! It’s the best technique I have learnt in recent years and I really hope you find it useful. It will take some getting used to but I highly encourage you to take the time and give it a try. There are a couple important notes you should remember:
- Working in PSDs tends to be a little quicker for this method
- Don’t delete your referenced layers. Your master PSD needs to know where they are and what’s going on inside them, so don’t delete them.