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Transcript for Smart Objects -- Part IV Video

Transcript by Ron Bigelow

Photoshop CS4 Used in this Tutorial

In the last video, we saw that there are two different types of images: raster images and vector images. Raster images are made up of pixels while vector images are made up of mathematical equations which are called vectors. Also, in the last video, it was mentioned that the big deal when using Smart Objects with vector images is that Photoshop let’s you keep vector images in the vector format. In this video, we are going to answer the question, “Why should we care if our vector images stay as vectors?

Remember this image? This is the tulip image that we placed in the hand of the figurine in the last video except that it is larger here. If you remember, this is a vector image. I have also created two other copies of this image. Both of these copies have been enlarged with a scale transformation, and they have been enlarged by the same amount.

Let’s look at the first copy. This copy of the image is a vector image just like the original image. As I mentioned, it has been enlarged quite a bit. The important thing to notice here is that the image quality is very good. Do you see how clean the edges are? This is because vector images do not degrade when they are enlarged. The mathematical vectors simply calculate the new lines and curves needed for the larger image.

Now, let’s check out the other copy of the image. This copy was rasterized, in other words, it was changed from a vector image to a raster image. Then, it was enlarged. It is easy to see that this image has been degraded. The edges are quite soft. This demonstrates that raster images degrade when they are enlarged. If the images are Smart Objects, you can make them smaller and then larger again with no image degradation as long as you don’t go larger than 100%, in other words, larger than the original size. However, as soon as you go larger than 100%, raster images start to degrade even if they are Smart Objects.

So, the key item here is that vector images do not degrade when enlarged like raster images. Now, for photographers, this may not be a large concern since we primarily work with raster images. However, for those doing graphic arts work, where vector images are more common, vector images can provide a quality advantage.

Before we conclude this video, I would like to show you one more thing. Suppose that you wanted to change a vector layer into a raster layer, what would you do? We’ll, let’s go back to the original tulip image. As you probably remember, this is a vector image. To change it into a raster image, simply choose Layer/Rasterize/Layer. By the way, if you want to change a Smart Object layer into a regular layer, you use the same command.

Coming up in the next video, we will start to work with Smart Filters. So, I will see you there.