Using Smart Objects in Photoshop

CreativePro Magazine Issue 3: Photoshop Smart ObjectsThis article appeared in Issue 3 of CreativePro Magazine.

Smart Objects are of one of Photoshop’s best-kept secrets, even though they’re one of the most powerful and essential tools in the entire program. What makes them so great? Simply put: They allow you to work with maximum flexibility, editing, transforming, and manipulating layers as much as you like, nondestructively. You can place content from Bridge, Camera Raw, Lightroom, Illustrator, or InDesign in Photoshop, as embedded or linked Smart Objects. You can make copies of Smart Objects and transform them so when you change one, they all change—or you can keep them independent. In this feature, you’ll learn what Smart Objects are, how they work, and how to use them in your day-to-day Photoshop workflow. Finally, I’ll show you some of the more interesting and, often, surprising uses of Smart Objects.

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Steve Caplin is a freelance photomontage artist based in London, whose satirical illustrations have appeared in newspapers and magazines around the world. He is the author of the best-selling How to Cheat in Photoshop, as well as 100% Photoshop, Art & Design in Photoshop and 3D Photoshop. He writes regularly for CreativePro and is an instructor at LinkedIn Learning. His YouTube channel 2 Minute Photoshop is a library of over 100 Photoshop tutorials, each just two minutes long, hosted at When he’s not at his computer Steve builds improbable furniture, which can be seen at