When you drag and drop an image into Photoshop you’ll notice that it is changed into a Smart Object. This means that the image can be made bigger and smaller with no loss to its quality. (Doing this to a non Smart Object will lead to potential pixelation)

The size in which this Smart object is placed is governed by a single check box.

Photoshop Preferences

The checkbox can be found in the Photoshop Preferences;

  • Mac : Photoshop > Preferences > General
  • PC : Edit > Preferences > General

General Preferences

Here theres a couple of check boxes that will effect our drag and drop images.

1 : This checkbox controls if the image is resized;

With the checkbox unchecked the image comes in at its saved dimensions. I find this helpful when I want to add textures and like them to start 100% of their pixel size.

With the checkbox selected Photoshop resizes the image. This is helpful if you are making a composite. In this example Photoshop has placed the image to its largest possible while being no bigger than the original image. This isn’t always the case and may be smaller sometimes.

Extra Credit :

  • Hidden Handles : If the Smart Object is too big and you can’t see the handles press Ctl+0 (PC) / Cmd+0 (Mac). This will zoom out so the handles are visible.
  • Transform from the middle : The Smart Object will be placed dead centre, to keep it there while you transform press Alt (PC) / Option (Mac) key to transform from the middle. (Shift keeps it in ratio too)

2: This checkbox controls if the image is placed as a Smart Object.

Talking to different camera clubs I understand that many aren’t comfortable with Smart Objects so this may be an option for them. I sing the praises of Smart Objects and would encourage Photoshop users to embrace them, theyre pretty awesome!