Idea: SmartCopy - Copy layers with childs which you can update afterwards

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My work is creating packages for boardgames, and I usually use the same logo or settings for all 4 sides of the box.

Normally when I make a logo for the game, with shadows or other blending modes, the layers with those blending modes are flattened when making a Smart Object and all effects are gone. 
The benefits of the Smart Object, nondestructive, the parent used to update all linked smart objects is great! But the downsides is that you delete any blending modes used.

Other way is creating a separate PSD file with only the logo, but then also all blending modes are cancelled. No multiply is being transported to the new file.

In the ideal world, I would be able to copy a layer or group with SmartCopy and it immediately creates a parent with the child being the layer or group that was copied.If I then update the current layer or group, the copied layers group gets the same updates.
It's like the SmartObject function, but then in the same file (so no other file is created).

Would this technically be possible?
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Thomas Briët

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Posted 2 months ago

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Max Johnson, Champion

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That sounds very... doubtful from my experience. I can recommend an existing workflow that would work. Especially if you only need a few layers to have blend modes... not so great if you have, like 15 layers that all need to have blendmodes separated.

I use this technique constantly for puppeting out parts for animation, but it will work exactly the same way for you to separate logo parts to blend together. The secret is that:

Smart objects with Layer Comps in them, can have those layer comps applied to their instances.

Why is this useful? Because you can have a linked logo psd with layer comps for "Logo Front", "Logo Glow", "Logo Shine", "Logo Shadow", "Logo BG", etc.  Then you can create a group with an instance of that smart object,  then make a stack of duplicates and set each duplicate to be the correct blend mode.

Now, as long as you keep the layer comps updated, any changes you make to the linked file update ALL the smart objects. You can duplicate and scale that whole group in multiple locations or even in other documents.

http://veerle.duoh.com/design/article/using_linked_smartobjects_in_combination_with_layercomps_in_ph...

Also, if you haven't brushed up on Layer Comps in the past couple years, there have been improvements to the way they can be updated, so you don't have to step through one at a time to just add a single layer.
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Cristen Gillespie

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Thanks for the link. I'd never thought of using the two features together. I'm not sure where I have the need, but knowing how to do it will probably reveal the need for me one of these projects.
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Max Johnson, Champion

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Like, I said, I use it to separate objects for 2D animation... so I have a large character psd, but have layer comps for the head, eyes, arms, legs, etc. Then I link it into a preview or export file scaled to whatever size it needs to be in production. Seems roundabout, but has saved a lot of time when art gets changed in review or the art director wants it just a liiiiittle bit bigger.
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Thomas Briët

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Thanks for the link, I will try this and see if it saves the time updating all layers one at a time.