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Adobe Photoshop CS4 Studio Techniques by Dan Ablan, Ben Willmore

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Working with Smart Objects

Introduced in Photoshop CS2, Smart Objects provide a completely different way of working in Photoshop. Instead of the good old one-element-per-layer tradition, images are dealt with in a way that’s similar to how page layout programs link to external image files. Basically, when you place an image on a page in a page layout program, you’re actually just viewing a preview of the image that’s stored on your hard drive. You’re free to scale, rotate, and crop the image, but you cannot edit it directly in the page layout program. Instead, you must open the linked image, make your changes, resave it, and then update the link to the image in the page layout program.

Adobe applied this idea to Photoshop in the form of Smart ...

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