Three Common Misconceptions About Camera Raw Smart Objects in Photoshop

Smart Objects in Photoshop are a fantastic tool to avoid working in a destructive fashion when filters, such as Camera Raw, need to be used in the retouching process. In this video, Greg Benz clarifies three common misconceptions to save you useless worries or precious time.

When retouching, there are a couple of editing process that requires a destructive approach, meaning you have to rely on a copy merged layer which you’d have to erase to make modifications to what had been retouched in previous layers. A common example is the use of the liquify filters. But in general, this issue actually arises with most features found in the filter menu.

However, there is a way to avoid this problem, and it’s through the use of Smart Objects. These fantastic layers are useful in many cases, and you may have used them even without knowing. For instance, it comes in handy when you know you are going to have to come back to the background layer to make further adjustments to the raw file. Using the Camera Raw filter combined with a Smart Object, you can take advantage of the raw data without having to restart your editing from scratch.

The problem with Smart Objects is that they don’t seem to get the attention they deserve and many people don’t understand what they are or how they work. If that’s your case be sure to watch the video above.

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6 Comments

Brian Rodgers Jr.'s picture

I love using smart objects. Of course using a lot of smart objects gets you into .PSB territory, which LR cannot currently read, so that's fun. Lumezia is an awesome tool as well, Greg Benz has done a fantastic job with that Photoshop panel

TIFF is your friend.

David Penner's picture

Ive tried a few different panels and Lumenzia has been the one that works best for me. He is releasing a new version soon too!!

Simon Patterson's picture

Nick Rains taught me about using smart objects many years ago, and I've been grateful for this ever since.

Spy Black's picture

The only real problem with so-called smart layers is that they are sub-composites in container files within your Photoshop project. This starts to weigh down your Photoshop file, especially as you add additional so-called smart layers and all your computations and processes are continuously routed in and out of all the sub-composites in the container files. Smart layers, ultimately, are not that smart.

What I'd really would like to see are true parametric filters and processes, like you see in motion compositors like After Effects, Fusion, Nuke, etc. I can't see why we can't have these in Photoshop.

Joe Black's picture

No idea what all of this means but sounds amazing and I want it.

Ya adobe. How come we don't have parametric filters like nuke and fusion ????