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Photoshop: Smart Objects non-editable when imported as images

If you drag an image into the canvas and have the option enabled to convert it to a smart object automatically, when you try to edit that smart object you are unable to save it to update it. Instead you get the usual save dialog and if you save in the default folder (temporary items) it doesn't actually update the smart object.
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  • Jeffrey Tranberry (Chief Customer Advocate) April 05, 2011 19:41
    I think this is because you are placing a file type without layer support - like JPEG.

    The workaround is the save the file to a new location as a PSD after you've edited and choose Layer> Smart Objects>Replace Contents... and select the PSD you created to replace the JPEG file you originally placed.
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  • EMPLOYEE
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    Brett N (Official Rep) April 05, 2011 21:35
    When working on a Smart Object (by double-clicking its thumbnail in the Layers panel or by going to Layer>Smart Objects>Edit Content) do not use the File>Save As command when you are finished. This will create a copy (Save As always creates a copy) of your smart object. The saved edits will then be in a new file that is not a smart object in your original file. Always use the Save command, you should not see a dialog asking where to save the file at all (smart objects are not separate files, they are embedded in your original file but become a file in your Temp folder when you open them for editing).
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  • These are the steps to replicate my problem.
    1- Create new PSD file
    2- in Preferences > General, enable Place or Drag Raster Images as Smart Objects
    3- drag a JPG from finder into the newly created PSD file (it should make it into a smart object)
    4- double click on smart object and it'll open up the JPG - make any changes to it and try to Save. It'll bring up the file path dialog for me.
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    • Chris Cox (Sr. Computer Scientist) December 13, 2012 23:50
      I'm pretty sure I have not changed any of my code in that area since I added Smart Objects.

      If you save to a different filename, the connection is lost - and that includes the file extension.
    • Hmm, I'd love to get to the bottom of this, if you think this discussion has value...

      I was not intentionally saving to different filenames, etc. I was simply editing a placed image converted to a smartobject.

      Just now, I fired up Photoshop CS3, and made a test doc, consisting of a transparent "layer 1". saved it as psd. Then, I placed a 24bit png image into it, accepted the default size, then made this image (now existing on the original layer) into a smart object. [aha, here is the crux of the matter!]

      The image has already become a smart object, by the act of placing... I missed that graphical icon tag on the layer thumbnail.

      So I was converting this smart image *again* to a smart image, not realizing it already was one... So when I then went to edit it, I got a warning about rasterizing. I did so. then, any edits to this ".psb" image window were reflected immediately in the main photoshop layer in my original window. Does this make sense?

      Somehow the act of making a smart object into another smartobject layer was obviating the need to ever be asked to "save as"... so when I began using CS6, the prompting for "save as" and not updating my edited smartlayer was seeming to me to be a change in functionality... hmm, let me ponder this in CS6 now, and report back.
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    Brett N (Official Rep) April 06, 2011 00:07
    That's the exact workflow I used (except I used a TIFF originally, I double-checked with a JPEG). It works correctly for me. I go to File>Save, no save dialog, the changes are saved, and now viewable back in the New PSD (what I previously referred to as the "original file").

    Sounds like Photoshop is acting up on you. You many want to try resetting the preferences and trying again.
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  • It does the same thing with my work colleague though :-\
    Tried it with PNG?
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  • Hi Genius,

    I am using PS CS3 and one of my PSDs became a Smart Object somehow.......... WHen I opened it ... all layers were merged........... I clicked on the Smart Object part in the Layer window and my layers were restored........... not I made a lot of updations & changes to it........... I saved the file ..... closed it and opened it............. all my latest changed have gone......... How can I get them back......... please help.......... Lots of time wasted............ Thanks in advance........

    Regards,
    Thendral
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  • I found this randomly while searching for an explanation as to why CS6 keeps opening the "save as" dialog everytime I update and save the contents of an smart object. I don't know iF something changed from cs5 to cs6 in this regard, but strangely enough, I don't recall having this trouble before. Maybe I was being lucky?
    Anyway, thanks to you I've found out that including a jpg as smart object via dragging or replacing smart object contents is the culprit of the "save as" dialog appearing everytime. Honestly, I don't really understand the explanation (I mean, I get it, but... come on, I think "smart" objects should be a little smarter in this regard, shouldn't they? Or at least include some warning) but nevermind, at least now I know how to prevent this issue from happening. THANKS!
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  • 1
    I'm adding to this thread since I just upgraded from 5 to 5.1. Just so people know, the "save as" dialog started occurring after that upgrade. I never had a problem with jpg smart objects before that.

    Just so we're clear, the "save as" dialog box is a BUG that Adobe needs to fix quickly. There should never be a dialog box, ever after saving a smart object and regardless if the image is a jpg or not.

    Adobe, fix this problem! Until then, I'm asking my IT guy to downgrade me to photoshop 5.
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    • Chris Cox (Sr. Computer Scientist) December 02, 2012 21:55
      Glad I could help you understand more about Photoshop.
    • I agree wholeheartedly, Josh
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  • I have Adobe Photoshop CS5.1 on Windows 7 64 bit. I have been getting this same problem as from this week.

    Resetting or deleting the settings file does not solve the problem.

    I also only get the Save As window after pressing Save and the Smart Object NOT being updated even after I had saved it anywhere in the Temp folder.
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    • Hi Chris,
      On the contrary, many of us do expect PS to track the smartobject from creation to editing, and if the format does change (real world use: we place a jpg or tiff, then need to silo it via alpha channel) we expect PS to know about it, and even if we're asked to save to a new file format (e.g. psd), then PS should automatically link to the new saved version.

      Imho, software developers need to think like how we use the product, and not let limited coding forethought dictate that we're "holding it wrong"... make sense?

      I'm not trying to be a know it all, sorry if it comes across like that. I am pointing out again what is obvious in this thread... you devs all are kicking against the goads. We want more useful, intuitive editing flow!
    • Chris Cox (Sr. Computer Scientist) January 12, 2013 19:18
      This is not limited coding, this is practical limitations because the user explicitly placed a file with specific content. The user can save that file to other names while they are working, and Photoshop should NOT try to track every variant that is saved - just what the user placed. That's part of why you get a warning when you first edit a smart object - to remind you that saving to new filenames or formats won't update the contents.

      It even works the same way in other applications that allow externally linked files (not just embedded). If you change the filename, or format, or duplicate the file -- the parent document won't see the change, and will ask how to proceed because it is still looking for the original filename and format.

      Really, you're expecting something totally unrealistic.
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