Photoshop 2014.2.2: "Smart Object via Copy" not an option for Linked Images, only Smart Objects

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Version 2014.2.2 has a serious problem with Linked Images. After placing a linked image, "Smart Object Via Copy" is not an option until after that object is converted to a Smart Object.

This was not the case in version 14.2.1 (I actually have a system running that version in my office right now). This is a serious limitation - converting the image to a Smart Object loses the link. Any transformations the original object may have undergone are also lost when the Smart Object is replicated with "Smart Object via Copy" and I try to "Replace Contents" with a different file, despite the fact that the contents I'm replacing it with are the exact same dimensions as the original Linked Image. I work primarily on product packaging where I rely on being able to link and swap out images - currently working on multiple variations of product display renders.

What I need to be able to do, as I have been able to up through version 14.2.1, is place a linked document, transform it as necessary, and create a Smart Object via Copy that retains all of the transformations when I "Replace Contents" with a different, though identically sized, image.

Please let me know if I haven't explained this well and I'll try to clarify.
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Jeremy Bawcom

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Posted 4 years ago

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Jeremy Bawcom

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Update: Further confirmation that this issue is unique to 2014.2.2

I saved a document from 2014.2.2 and opened it on my system running 14.2.1. From there, I was able to use Smart Object via Copy on Linked Images. That function is not available when the same document is opened in 2014.2.2
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Jeffrey Tranberry, Sr. Product Manager, Digital Imaging

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That's by design. With an embedded Smart Object, the file is duplicated and saved inside the PSD.

With linked, you are referencing a file on disk. You can't break the link and create a new linked file. The workflow for linked files would be to duplicate the SO layer and choose "Replace Contents" to reference another file on disk.
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Jeremy Bawcom

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Thanks very much for the quick reply! I'm still a bit confused. Are you saying that the functionality I described in the original post was removed between versions 14.2.1 and 2014.2.2?

I've attached an image that I hope might illustrate what I'm talking about.

On the first render, the client requested that all of the cartons be the same carton. So on the original build, I placed a linked .PSD of the carton front panel (1a) and duplicated it twice to create the line-up on the top row (1a-c). I grouped those objects and skewed them. I then duplicated that original group three times and moved and skewed each to create the bottom three rows of cartons. So at this point, because I've just been Duplicating, every carton face is linked to the same .PSD on disk. As such, updating all of these cartons at once is as simple - I just have to Replace Contents of one instance and they all change.

Where my problem lies is when the client requests that some, not all, of the cartons change. A follow-up request, for example, was that every carton be a different flavor.

In previous versions of Photoshop, I could, from the Layers palette, select Linked Image "1a" and create a Smart Object via Copy resulting in a new layer "1a_copy." Initially, the contents of "1a_copy" would be linked to same source file as the contents of "1a." However, because "1a_copy" wasn't a Duplicate, I could relink its contents to a new source via Replace Contents 1) without losing any transformations applied to it and 2) without relinking the contents of all the other Duplicated objects.

As I mentioned in the follow-up comment, I was able to do all of the above on my system running 14.2.1 just this afternoon.

I am uncertain how to achieve the same result in Photoshop 2014.2.2. Now, "Smart Object via Copy" is greyed out when I have Linked Image "1a" selected in the Layers palette. The only option available to me is to "Convert to Smart Object." When I do so, and then try to Replace Contents, any transformations applied to the original object are lost; the new source file appears at full size, untransformed.

I hope I'm making sense here and apologize if I'm confusing any terms.

Thanks for your help and insight!
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Brianna Makinster

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I am experiencing this same issue 2 years after the fact. Any solution?