Step-by-step: Using Smart layers to quickly add design elements
1I start by developing a repeating element in a separate PSD file on a transparent background. This piece will be placed in a way that will spoke outward around the figure’s head in a circle, so I design a tapered vertical image with that in mind.
2In my main file, I create a new folder specifically for these elements. I then create a new layer, and select Convert to Smart Object. I right- click the layer and choose Replace Contents to select the design PSD. I can now move the image into position.
3After the design elements are in place, I apply a layer mask to the folder that holds all of them. I mask out areas of the piece where my rendered figure will overlap the background designs and use a textured brush to soften some of the hard edges.