I came across a very interesting psd file today. http://dl.dropbox.com/u/56753740/tag-cloud.psd (original source http://www.premiumpixels.com/)

The file contains a lot of tags with different widths all created from the same smart object. The interesting part is that "the small design with the hole on the left of each smart object" remains in perfect proportion while the width of the entire smart object has been changed.

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If I select a particular tag ans press ctrl+t, the smart object immediately changes to it's original size and any re-sizing will result in distorting the proportion.

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If I go inside the smart object and make any change and update it, the entire tags will revert to its original size.

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What I want to know is, How do you resize a smart object keeping aspect ratio of only certain elements within the smart object intact? As you can see the same is being done in the attached file. This'll give me tremendous advantage while designing buttons of different sizes and being able to control the design from within only one smart object.

2 Answers 2


The short answer is, "You can't," and this psd is relatively useless until you modify it. For whatever crazy reason, this file was built with linked Smart Objects, which is why you get the "snap to current size" effect. The reason the circular shape layer is in there is so the author could retain the circular "tag hole" when scaling the original file.

The fix is to take each "base" layer and use Layer > Smart Objects > New Smart Object via Copy to create a fresh, independent "base" for each one, deleting the original as you go. With that done, you can modify them individually. (You'll still have to make each one the correct size in the .psb, but that's a straightforward exercise.)

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    I was afraid this would be the answer. Anyway thanks for the answer and confirming that this is probably a bug in the software. The method of creating "new smart layer via copy" does not solve my major requirement of being able to control the design from within only one smart object. While trying to come up with a solution to meet this requirement, I thought of this rather out of way technique of using puppet warp to transform smart objects locally. Works pretty fine for a lot of shapes. Although it might not work for all. Thanks once again. Jan 12, 2012 at 13:50

How to expand the base of the tags. short video

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    Please explain in words as well - what happens if the link goes dead? Mar 27, 2013 at 13:20

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