Technique #12. Inserting a Shape from Illustrator as a Smart Object
Building on the last technique, this time we'll take advantage of the ability to insert a file as a Smart Object to create a live link between your Photoshop document and the Illustrator artwork. (The first few steps are identical to the last techniqueyou're not seeing double.)
illustrator to photoshop
Create a basic rectangle in Illustrator filled with black, and then add some extra paths, stroking them with custom brushes. Select everything and choose Edit>Copy.
In your Photoshop document, press-and-hold the Option key (PC: Alt key) and double-click on the Background layer to unlock and rename it. Then, hold down the Command key (PC: Control key) and click on the Create a New Layer icon to add a new layer below the renamed Background layer. Press D to set your Foreground and Background colors to their defaults, and fill that layer with white by pressing Command-Delete (PC: Control-Backspace).
Press Command-V (PC: Control-V) to Paste the copied Illustrator artwork. In the Paste dialog, choose Paste As Smart Object.
If necessary, use the transformation handles to resize the pasted graphic (press-and-hold the Shift key and click on the corner handles to resize proportionally), and then press Return (PC: Enter) to finalize the size. You'll notice that the layer is labeled "Vector Smart Object".
Drag the shape layer in between the white layer (Layer 1) and the photo layer (Layer 0). Click on the top layer (the photo layer) and then from the Layer menu choose Create Clipping Mask or press Command-Option-G (PC: Control-Alt-G). The photo layer will only be visible within the pixels of the shape layer immediately below it.
To edit the original shape in Illustrator, just double-click on the Smart Object icon (the layer thumbnail). A new document called Vector Smart Object will open in Illustrator. Edit that shape, close the document, and save the changes.
When you switch back to Photoshop, the Smart Object will update, and the clipping mask will affect the photo.
The only downside to using a Smart Object is you cannot paint on it or apply a filter to ityou have to do all your editing in Illustrator.