How to Create Smart Objects and Place Artwork in Photoshop CS6 - dummies

How to Create Smart Objects and Place Artwork in Photoshop CS6

By Barbara Obermeier

You can create a Smart Object in a few ways using Photoshop Creative Suite 6. You can import the artwork via the Place command. You can also copy and paste the artwork from Illustrator into Photoshop. Or you can convert a Photoshop layer into a Smart Object. Finally, you can create one Smart Object from another.

You may not have much experience in using the Place command in Photoshop because most activities involve opening images and creating new ones. But with the advent of Smart Objects, you may call on this command more frequently. Follow these steps to place artwork:

  1. Choose File→New and create a new blank Photoshop document, using your desired size and settings.

    If you’re unsure about creating a new file. You can also use an existing Photoshop file.

  2. Choose File→Place. In the Place dialog box, locate and select your desired artwork. Click the Place button.

    If your file is in any format besides Illustrator or PDF, it pops right onto your canvas. Note the bounding box and X around and across the image, which is an indication that the image has been placed.

    [Credit: © Image #2688664]
    Credit: © Image #2688664

    If your file is a native Illustrator or PDF file, the Place PDF dialog box appears, asking you for additional information. If it’s a multipaged PDF, you can select the page or image you want placed. Select your cropping options. By the way, you can also select between a Small, Large, and Fit Page thumbnail view.


    If you happen to deselect the Create PDF Compatible File option when saving your native Illustrator file, you see a nasty warning in the Place PDF dialog box telling you to go back and resave your file with the option checked and then place the file again. Illustrator was programmed based on PDF core code and sometimes doesn’t like it when you strip it of the connection.

    You can also select the image in Adobe Bridge and choose File→Place→In Photoshop.

  3. Using the bounding box, transform (scale, rotate, and so on) your image to your desired dimensions and then position it on your canvas.

    Remember, you can rest assured that your transformations are applied without degrading the quality of your image.

    [Credit: © Image #2688664 and alius Image #2875709]
    Credit: © Image #2688664 and alius Image #2875709

    If your image is larger than the Photoshop canvas, it’s automatically sized to fit within the canvas dimensions. If you need a refresher on transforming and moving.

    If you’re placing a PDF, EPS (most of them), or native Illustrator file, specify the Anti-Alias option on the Options bar. Select it to create a softer, blended edge. Deselect it to produce a hard edge.

  4. After you have your image the way you want it, you can double-click inside the bounding box, press Enter (Return on the Mac), or click the Commit (check mark icon) button on the Options bar.

    When the artwork is committed, the native file data is embedded into the Photoshop file, and the artwork is rasterized on its own layer. The Smart Object icon appears on those layers.


    If you change your mind and don’t want to commit the image, press Esc or click the Cancel button on the Options bar.