I’m pretty clue­less about Pho­to­shop’s Smart lay­ers. What are they good for? Aaron Wal­lis, Eng­land

ImagineFX - - Imaginenation Artist Q&a -

An­swer Alix replies

When in­cor­po­rat­ing re­peat­ing de­signs and pat­terns into an il­lus­tra­tion, few tools will be as use­ful or as pow­er­ful as Smart lay­ers. Smart lay­ers en­able you to create a sep­a­rate lay­ered PSD that can be em­bed­ded into your orig­i­nal PSD, en­abling you to create a large-scale de­sign el­e­ment that can be re­sized with­out los­ing fidelity.

Copied Smart lay­ers func­tion as In­stances: when you up­date one of them it pop­u­lates the changes through all of them at once. They can also be warped and trans­formed like a stan­dard layer while still main­tain­ing their abil­ity to be mod­i­fied in their orig­i­nal for­mat, and they save trans­form in­for­ma­tion such as the scal­ing and ro­ta­tion for more pre­cise mea­sure­ments for fu­ture tweaks. In short, they’re an in­cred­i­bly valu­able tool for many as­pects of de­sign.

In my ex­am­ple, I use an al­most com­pleted de­sign in Pho­to­shop as a base to add some de­sign flair. In this case, I’ll be us­ing Smart lay­ers to create a re­peat­ing spoked de­sign around the fig­ure’s head to frame her and add some ad­di­tional visual in­ter­est and tex­ture.

Be­fore ap­ply­ing line work tex­tures and re­peat­ing pat­terns, the piece has a few ar­eas where visual flow would be im­proved with ad­di­tional de­tail­ing.

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