In this tutorial, I’ll show you how to use smart objects in Photoshop to scale and resize images without losing quality. We will discover the distinction between resizing a pixel-based image and resizing a smart object. We will also discover why objects always appear to be more beautiful. At the end of this tutorial, I’ll also include a tip to ensure you always get the best results.
I’ll be working with Adobe Photoshop CC. Any other recent Photoshop version will also work. Let’s get started to see why resizing an image as a smart object is advantageous. We quickly set everything up so that we can see a side-by-side comparison of resizing a normal image versus resizing a smart object.
If we look in the layers panel, we can see that the image on the background layer requires two copies, one for the normal pixel version and one for the smart object. To make the first copy, navigate to the layer menu in the menu bar, select new, and then layer via copy. A copy of the image appears above the original in the layers panel. Use the keyboard shortcut to make a second copy. Use ctrl J on a Windows PC or command J on a Mac this time. A duplicate appears above the others. Let’s rename our duplicates so we can tell which is which.Double-click on the top layer, layer 1, and copy and rename it smart object. To accept it, on a Mac, press Enter or return. Then, double-click on the name layer one below it, rename it pixels, and press enter again. We no longer require the image on the background layer. So let’s make the background white. To select the background layer, click on it. Then select fill from the Edit menu. Set the contents option to white in the fill dialog box, then click OK.
More canvas space is required to fit both image versions side by side. Select canvas size from the image menu. Set the width to 200 percent and the height to 100 percent in the canvas size dialog box. Leave the relative option unchecked and select the square in the middle left of the anchor grid. This will move all of the extra space to the image’s right. To close the dialog box, click OK.
Select the move tool from the toolbar to move one of the images into the new space. To select the smart object layer at the top of the layer panel, click on it. Then, click and drag the image into the new space on the right. On the left is the image that will remain pixel-based, and on the right is the image that will be converted to a smart object. Finally, in the layers panel, select the smart object layer to convert the image on the right into a smart object. Select convert to smart object from the list by clicking the menu icon in the top right corner of the layers panel. Photoshop converts the layer to a smart object and the smart object icon appears in the layer’s thumbnail. Now that we have our document set up.