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.