The creative process is not a linear one. As artists and designers, we often set off in one direction only to decide that the proper solution lies somewhere else completely. Unfortunately, many of the creative software packages we use (Photoshop in particular) can be pretty unforgiving when in comes to making changes late in the game.
Sure, we’ve got “Undo” for a quick change of heart, but often we don’t realize we need to make an adjustment until several steps (or days) later. Luckily, Photoshop has some great features built in that allow us to work in ways that protect our precious pixels—truly freeing us to do our best work.
Further Reading on SmashingMag:
- 50 Excellent Digital Photography Photoshop Tutorials
- 50 Stunning Photoshop Text Effects Tutorials
- Techniques For Creating Custom Textures In Photoshop
- 70 Beauty-Retouching Photoshop Tutorials
In this video post, I’ll show you some of my favorite techniques and tools for keeping your files flexible, including Smart Objects, Smart Filters, Layer Styles, Adjustment Layers, Masks and more. The approaches shown in this video should provide a solid starting point. But like anything in Photoshop, there is no “one right way” to approach it. The key is to find the method that best supports your workflow so please feel free to add your favorite non-destructive tricks in the comments section below!
Designing or editing photos is a pretty organic process. Allowing yourself to make edits to your document that don’t affect the original pixels provide you with a lot of flexibility when making decisions throughout your design process.