What are Smart Objects?

Smart Objects present a powerful way of working with Photoshop layers that allows us to transform, distort and apply filters to our images in uniquely non-destructive manner.


But what are Smart Objects? How do they work? And why should you care about them?


Smart Objects allow you to work more flexibly, more intuitively, and with greater creative freedom. By turning a layer into a Smart Object you can scale it, rotate it, and otherwise distort it as much as you want without ever losing the quality of the original image.


But there’s far more to Smart Objects than that. Each Smart Object can contain several layers, so you can combine a number of elements within a montage into a single layer that can then be manipulated, filtered, scaled and distorted with far greater ease than can be achieved with a Layer Group. And at any point you can edit the contents of that Smart Object, so you never need to commit to a single layout decision.


Smart Objects can be used to create complex distortions, such as wrapping artwork around a can or on the page of a book. When you’ve created the artwork once, you can then easily swap the contents to apply exactly the same distortion to a fresh image.


Smart Objects are one of Photoshop’s best kept secrets. If you’re serious about Photoshop, you owe it to yourself to learn how to use them in your everyday work.


Smart Objects can radically change the way you view Photoshop editing, as they enable more user control and flexibility than you’d ever dreamed possible.

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