Photoshop: Solid color fill, layer blend mode and smart objects

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  • Updated 5 years ago
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I have several layer groups (7)- each contains several layers with layer masks and different blend modes (multiply, screen, overlay, etc.) several layers also have multiple opacities. Works fine... until...

I created a solid color adjustment layer on top and applied color blend mode and a layer mask to apply to only part of an image. I convert this to a smart object and I lose the transparency on layers below.

However, If I create an adjustment layer directly below the solid color, move the layer mask down and clip the color fill layer.... the smart object works fine...

Very confused on when smart objects retain transparency and when they do not (when convert from multiple layers/groups, adjustment layers, blend modes and opacities)

I have added sample 1 and 2
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Chris Sullivan

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Posted 5 years ago

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Chris Cox, Sr. Computer Scientist

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Smart Objects retain whatever is inside them, just like placing a document with those layers in it (because that's exactly what you're doing).
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Chris Sullivan

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but, it isn't retaining what is inside them.

I did a terrible job explaining the images - sorry. The layers panel corresponds to a resulting image AFTER converted to a smart object. I just wanted to show what the layers looked like before the conversion.

Look at the transparency. The top image is simply using a clipping layer, so that the color fill will use the layer mask from the HSL layer. When converted to smart object, the transparency is there. The second time, I simply applied the layer mask directly to the color fill layer and converted to a smart object. Transparency is gone.
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Chris Cox, Sr. Computer Scientist

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Copy the layers to another document. Place that document in the original. It should be exactly the same as the smart object.

The Smart Object will blend all the layers inside the smart object into a single layer result, then blend that in the parent document.

It does retain what is inside. But the layers inside cannot interact directly with the layers outside.
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Chris Sullivan

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I guess I am confused...

1.) The smart object IS interacting with the layer group outside of the smart object - it is showing through the bottle to the image background below...

The ONLY difference between the two files I sent was the position of the layer mask on the color fill layer. This seems to be the only issue when converting to smart object. The top one does interact with the non-smart object below, the bottom one does not
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Jeanne Rubbo, Employee

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Could you send me the layered files so I can take a look? My e-mail is jrubbo AT adobe DOT com.

Thanks!
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Chris Sullivan

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One more item to add to this... To prove my ignorance with Smart Objects. In the example above.. The one that works (#1). I applied an unsharp mask filter to the Smart Object... Worked fine. Changed the blend mode of the Smart Filter to Lumonsity... All transparency went away.. Why would this be? In fact, any other blend mode besides Normal, removes any transpaency..