Photoshop CS3 Tutorial: Importing Vector Artwork into PhotoShop as a Smart Object.

In this mini tutorial I will be showing you how to import vector artwork into PhotoShop CS3 as a Smart Object.

Scale and rotate vector objects perfectly.

Importing artwork this way will also allow you to make global changes to logos, backgrounds and other vector elements. .

1First, create a new document in Photoshop CS3. Mine is 600px X 600px, 200dpi, RGB

2We can now import a vector file directly. This will appear in your Photoshop document with resize handles, as shown below. It will also look pixelated and rough. Don’t worry- Photoshop is just waiting for you to place and resize this object before it commits the changes and renders the object properly.

Photoshop renders the Smart Object in this fashion when the object is being modified to conserve memory as it redraws. Once you have committed the size and location, the artwork will display as intended.

Screenshot 1

3To transform this artwork accurately, we will use the transform options that appear in the Control Palette. Make sure you click on the “Maintain Aspect ratio” button as shown in the screenshot below. This will ensure your object scales proportionately.

Screenshot 1

4Adjust the percentage of the displayed object’s dimensions that you wish. Mine are set at 70%. Use width OR height- the remaining box will be filled automatically.

Screenshot 1

5You can double click inside the object to commit these changes. Notice the artwork is now crisp and fully rendered.

Screenshot 1

6The Layers panel now displays the layer as a Smart Object. Notice the icon on the layer thumbnail. This differentiates it from normal layers.

7The real power of Smart Objects is the their ability to remain linked to the original vector file. This means we can edit the vector and see this changes live in PhotoShop. Double click on the Smart Object layer Icon. This will start Adobe Illustrator and open the original file.

8A warning dialog box will pop up, telling you the file will be updated if we save changes in the Illustrator file. Click ok and check the “don’t show again” checkbox if you wish.

9In Illustrator, make a simple change to the artwork. Make sure the layers in the artwork are visible by selecting Menu > Window > Layers or pressing the F7 key. Expand any layers into their respective groups and paths by clicking on the expand arrow as shown below.

10Find the path or group that you want to edit., and then target the layer by clicking on the circle icon next to the layer name. You will see a blue box appear beside it when it selected.

11Now let’s select a new colour from the toolbar- If you want to change the fill colour of the path, select the solid square colour chip, if you want to change the stroke/outline select the hollow square colour chip.

12Double click on the colour chip – the colour picker window will appear, now you can select a colour by moving the eyedropper around.

13If you want to change the hue, drag the vertical sliders as shown below:

14The artwork will be recoloured. Save the file in Illustrator and return to PhotoShop.

15The artwork has been updated inside PhotoShop. Smart Objects – You know you want to!

Remember you can scale, rotate and perform numerous transforms to Smart Objects within Photoshop CS3. You only enter Smart Object edit mode (double clicking inside the Smart Object Layer icon) if you need to make advanced changes to the artwork.

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