Ok, so you’ve just finished a vector masterpiece in illustrator, and now you want to paste it into photoshop to work some more magic onto it. However, you may notice when pasting with multiple smart objects that things are not aligned for you the way they were in illustrator. And you don’t want to re-align everything in photoshop do you. hm... problem? Not for us! Let's get to work on transferring these objects into photoshop so each can be its own separate layer.
The first thing to is to create a photoshop document the same size as your illustrator document. If it needs to be different you can change it later, but for now make it the same. The standard illustrator print size is A4.
Next we need to create our aligning tool in illustrator. Don’t worry, it’s easy. Create a new layer and move it to sit atop everything else. Now draw a square that goes from the top-left corner of the document to the bottom-right corner. It should snap into place.
Now set the stroke and fill of the new square to transparent. Now we are ready. Photoshop will use this box as a bounding box when pasting so everything will be aligned.
Now it is just a case of copying each of the objects you want to be separate layers into photoshop. To do this, select the object and the transparent bounding box we created in illustrator. Then click edit -> copy (or Ctrl/Cmd + C) before pasting it into photoshop. No need to re-arrange your artwork again in photoshop, everything is in its place!
Also, when you open a smart object to edit it, the object will appear exactly where it was in your illustrator document so when you save it and photoshop updates its layers, everything will be where it should.
Remember, even basic smart objects take up a lot of space in a file so if you can, rasterise layers where possible. This will allow photoshop to work faster. To rasterise a layer simple right click the layer and select 'rasterise' from the menu. It then becomes a simple bitmap layer and is no longer an editable vector smart object.
Well done! Now you can work on each object individually without too much pain in getting the artwork into photoshop!