A smart object is nothing more than a container. This container can hold many things, including images, Illustrator vectors, PDFs, video, and RAW files, and all of these can be stacked in the Layers panel. A smart object can also contain another smart object. 

When you transform a smart object, you’re transforming the container, and the contents will update (I’m going somewhere with this). This means that you can create reusable layouts. Once you size, transform, and position a smart object, all you need to do is change out the contents for a fresh design. Doing this is so easy, you might have missed it: Right-click to the right of the smart object’s thumbnail in the Layers panel and choose Replace Contents. Navigate to the new image and choose Place. The layout will now reflect the new image. 

This tip previously published in the February, 2021 issue of Photoshop User magazine in Colin Smith’s “Photoshop Tips” column.

About Photoshop User and KelbyOne

Photoshop User magazine comes out digitally 12 times a year and is part of KelbyOne, the leading educational resource for Photoshop, Lightroom, and photography. Pro members have access to more than 900 video courses and 100 back issues of Photoshop User. To learn more about KelbyOne, click here.