Combine multiple shapes into a smart object in Photoshop tutorial > How to combine multiple shapes into smart objects in Photoshop tutorial

Combine multiple shapes tutorial


This tutorial is for CC 2015 etc as smart objects were only recently added. You can turn one or multiple items into a smart object. The items displayed

Tutorial by: Andrew Buckle

Works with: Photoshop, Elements

Other tutorials: Tutorial links

Videos: Video tutorials

on this page are from the Christmas custom shapes and a selection of vector baubles for use in the festive season.


Single shape to smart object

You can add a shape as a pixel to a layer and that can be converted into a smart object via the layer menu smart object convert. You can also add the artwork as a layer via the CSH tool and then go to the same menu command and convert.


Multiple items

You can add two or more items as layers in Photoshop. Select all the layer objects and then go to the convert command and all are then added as a single smart object. You will see a little icon in the layer panel marking this. You can also add the background etc into the mix as well


smart object christmas bauble shapes for Photoshop and elements two items in black with band added together on red xmas


Smart editing

You can just go to the layer panel and double click the icon and the two or more elements that made up the object will be again accessible and will be (if a vector layer) editable as a vector still. You can also then add additional elements to the same item. Close the opened PSB file once you are happy with the edits and the item will be updated to reflect this.


CC Libraries

The multiple object can be copied into the library by dragging it into the CC library. You can restore it at any point or use in future projects. Drag from the library to place the item back into the document. You can then double click the 'cloud' icon in the layer panel to edit the items as before (as vectors). Any edit will be reflected in any instances added to the document


Other elements

You can combine multiple layer objects but you can also combine other elements into the combination as well such as text etc


Smart filters

Smart filters can be added to object as can smart adjustments. The filters can be edited and deleted and added at any point.


blur effect added to smart objects in Photoshop and elements christmas shapes baubles two of them with banner

Above, a Christmas bauble shape in Photoshop has been duplicated and then combined via the layer menu convert to smart object and then transformed and a blur effect added to the item. The smart object effect can be changed at any point and removed if required


adjustments added to the smart object combination using custom shapes christmas baubles in Photoshop green added to a decoration on red background

Above, the smart object combination of two baubles has an adjustment added. The hue / saturation adjustment has been modified to change the black baubles into green ones. The live adjustment can be changed at any point in Photoshop as well as removed and this can be done via the layers panel


adjustments and live effects such as silver efex pro can be added to the smart object and combination of two baubles for Photoshop on a red background - adding a green gradient to the artwork

Above, the smart object combination of two baubles now has an adjustment of green added to the black baubles and also a live effect gradient via the free google / nik plugin 'HDR Efex' which is still a live effect and can be removed and changed at any point also.