Preserving Your Options in Photoshop

[by Judy Herrmann]

Want to keep the most flexibility with your data but still work in Photoshop?  Try using Smart Objects.
Smart Objects allow you to import a stand-in layer that references your RAW data.  The stand-in functions similarly to a normal layer – you can apply several different types of filters, add layer masks, apply adjustment layers, and more – but double-clicking on the smart object takes you right back to Adobe Camera Raw [ACR] where you can reprocess the RAW data if desired.  Your smart object will automatically update using the new ACR processing parameters you set.

Smart Objects don’t just let you reprocess the RAW data in ACR, they also allow you to resize the file or transform it and get back to the original size and shape without any loss of quality.  You can even crop (inside ACR) and remove or change the crop later.

There are some things you can’t do with Smart Objects – certain filters can’t be run on them and you can’t do any pixel level editing directly on the Smart Object (though you can create a transparent layer and retouch on that with the “sample all layers” box checked).

To create a smart object from within Adobe Camera Raw, click on the processing options tab (blue link in the lower-center area) and check Open In Photoshop as Smart Object. In Lightroom, select Edit In Photoshop as Smart Object from the Edit In menu. In Photoshop, use the File > Open as Smart Object command and navigate to your proprietary RAW or DNG file.

Smart Object vs Pixel Resizing for ASMP Strictly Business Blog p

Top right: This crop at 100% magnification shows how sharp and clear a Smart Object (shown full frame at left) remains after being sized down to 216 x 288 pixels and then sized back up to full capture size (3024 x 4032 pixels).

Bottom Right: The same RAW file, exported into Photoshop as a normal pixel layer and resized the same way results in a pixelated, unsharp image at 100% magnification.

Judy Herrmann has taught seminars on digital photography since 1995 and is a presenter for ASMP’s dpBestflow program, I Need A Workflow That Works For Me.

By Judy Herrmann | Posted: May 19th, 2010 | 1 comment


One Response to 'Preserving Your Options in Photoshop'

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  1. Great info. Thanks, Judy.

    By Susan Frost | May 19, 2010



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