Photoshop: Linked Smart Objects enhancement

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First of all, the new Linked Smart Objects feature in Photoshop CC (14.2) is just so cool :)

Here my suggestions to enhance Smart Objects:
• Add Import Options to choose which Layer(s) or Layer Comp you want to show in this "instance".
• This instance need to be like a placed PSD inside InDesign, I mean independent to other instances of the same placed PSD.
• Right+Click on the SO layer to edit the options after the importation.
• Regarding Illustrator SO, add the option to select one specific Artboard like in InDesign.

Here a video to explain the details of my request:
https://vimeo.com/84398033 (PW: request)

That could be, for me, a game changer for Graphic Design or Webdesign.

What do you think about that idea?
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Stephane Baril

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  • excited

Posted 5 years ago

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Kip

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YES PLEASE!

I'm an interface designer, and I make dozens of Layer Comps for use in image-based prototypes (I use InvisionApp.com). For things like active and hover states, being able to choose which layer comp is active in the linked object would be incredible.

My PSD that includes the Linked Smart Object should be able to use its own Layer Comps to specify which Layer Comp is active in the linked object. This would be similar to how the Layer Comp can currently specify Visibility, Position, and Layer Style.

For example, pretend I'm making a traditional tab-based menu.

Some example Layer Comps in my main PSD would be:

- Menu-Tab-1-Active
- Menu-Tab-1-Hover

And the Layer Comps within my Linked Smart Object (which contains just the menu itself) would be:

- Tab-1-Active
- Tab-1-Hover
- Tab-1-Disabled
- Tab-2-Active
- Tab-2-Hover
etc.

So, the "Menu-Tab-1-Active" Layer Comp (which is in my main PSD file) specifies that it wants the Linked Smart Object's active Layer Comp to be "Tab-1-Active".

Hopefully that makes sense :-)
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Stephen Nielson, Group Product Manager

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YES! Kip's suggestion is available in the latest version of Photoshop CC 2014 :)
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Behzad Ghaffarian

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Thanks for the quick reply Stephen,

I use PS CC 2014.2.2

so either I'm not used to layer comps or I got the Kip's suggestion wrong! here's what I need/want:

Let’s say we have a master .psd file includes just one instant of a linked smart objects that has itself two layer comps: A and B. Is it possible that in the master file I create a layer comp #1 that when it’s selected it shows comp A of linked smart object and another layer comp #2 that show comp B?

i.e. Could “selected layer comp of a linked smart object” be saved in layer comps of the master psd?

If it's same as Kip's suggestion, can you please guide me to a article/video tutorial?
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Stephen Nielson, Group Product Manager

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Ah, yes, you are right. The Layer Comp selection of a Smart Object cannot currently be saved as a properties of the Layer Comp in the master doc. We are still looking in to that capability. Sorry for the confusion.
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Daniel Haans Guusman

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Behzad you could kind of do this with the current implementation, but you would need two separate instances of the smart object. Not ideal, but you could have Smart Object 1 to display A in Layer Comp#1, and Smart Object 2 to display B in Layer Comp#2?

Layer Comp#1 > Smart Object 1 > A
Layer Comp#2 > Smart Object 2 > B

Hope this helps :-)
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Behzad Ghaffarian

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@Stephen that will be really useful capability. looking forward to see it in next versions. thanks

@Daniel Thanks for your suggestion. I already used it in a small file. but I have a few files with lots of linked layers that doesn't make sense to duplicate them all. will do manual on/off. Hope Adobe implement it soon.
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Mads Hensel

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This was the first thing that came to mind when I saw the update to linked smart objects. Hope this feature will come soon, it would take it to the next level.
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Stephen Nielson, Group Product Manager

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I like this idea. We are looking into it.
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Stephane Baril

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Thanks for looking into it :)
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Trey e

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I agree. This would helpful and speed up workflow.
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Stephen Nielson, Group Product Manager

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To everyone on this thread: can you give us some specific examples of what you want to accomplish with this capability?
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Trey e

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I like how Ps and Ai integrate with indesign . I just don't use indesign that much at all.
I'm either using photoshop and illustrator. Currently Ps is the "hub" for me. It's where I end up creating photography/imagery and interactive elements that deploy for web and print.

I use Ai heavily for graphic design work. I'm always creating outlines in Ai then copy pasting in Ps. Then creating a shape of the vector artwork in ps. Just b/c its quick for me.

But if I had the ability to save one Ai file with a number of graphics on a different art board and import with layer/artboard view options a la indesign method, that would speed up my workflow.

With generator in the mix I am able to get my client quicker proofs. I would think having this option would only increase my turnaround time.

Right now I have also been using generator for graphics I use in premiere pro, edge animate, and muse. A lot of those graphics are individual smart objects. Having just one file to deal with would be ideal.

For me its about

1. Less individual files to deal with on a project.
2. Faster access to my graphic elements like ui design, logos, and icons. I mainly design these elements in Ai.
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Chris Cox

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Which means you want to select the page per smart object instance, instead of per file.

But nothing would allow you to mix AI vectors, movies, animate, etc. in a single file.
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Trey e

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I'm just talking about the ai vectors. I link the files generated from Ps generator into premiere pro, edge animate, after effects, and muse.

But I do wish I could send photoshop video into premiere.Then do some simple edits and send back to photoshop. I really like using the actions I have in photoshop on my video. Video color correcting is over my head. But that's a totally different subject. lol
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Stephane Baril

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The primary usage would be on webdesign for Button States, set of icons...

But in general, that would allow to have one linked file containing its variations.
So, that would be easier to switch between versions and to maintain a unique file (layers alignment, text modifications...) compare to importing several external files and having to maintain all them!
For example, in an advertising creation, you'll simplify the Layers structure with an easy access to the

In a project that would reduce the number of dependencies and smooth the edits.

Another use case would be in "Swapped" Animation to switch between "states" in the timeline (ex: mouths in a Lip Sync anim), like we use Graphics (kind of MovieClip switchable via the Properties panel) in Flash Professional.
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dustin davis

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We're using them for large interactive projects.
In addition to the above suggested navigation items, we have a lot of pages that essentially use the same element (smart object), but they have minor variances (alt lines of text, colors, rollovers, etc) Being able to customize, like suggested, to choose which layer comp to display, would allow us to be able to constrain all these variances to a single smart object without having to get into version control issues.

This isn't necessarily topical to this thread, but using relative pathing to the objects would be great as well for team use and delivery to dev teams, etc for builds.
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Stephane Baril

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I also did another feature request which could resolve part of your suggestion:
http://feedback.photoshop.com/photosh...

By enhancing Layer Comps and targeting them in the instance of the Smart Object, I expect that probably be helpful in your workflow?
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Stephane Baril

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To enhance the graphic webdesign workflow, that also would be great to have the ability to have an option (in the Properties panel for example or in the Option Bar) allowing a Text layer, inside a Smart Object, to become a Variable.
So that, on each Instance of the Smart Object (in the main Photoshop file) we'll have the possibility to customize it in the Properties panel.

The behavior of this Text layer option will allow us some usages like in Flash Professional Button Component and its Label:
http://edutechwiki.unige.ch/en/Flash_...
(take a look at the section 1.2, step 1 to step 4)

And below, just a "brainstorm" idea which could be linked (and perhaps another thread):
This variable Instance "Label Field" could be placed in another place than the Properties panel if we add at Photoshop the support of some Metadas (keywords, description, ID...) at the Layer level
(right-click on the layer to open a dialog box or option just added in "closable" section of the Properties panel).
- In this case we'll add a "Variable Text Field" (Label) to the Metadata scheme.
- The benefit will be to have ability to inject these metadatas in the exported layer(s) if we think about Adobe Generator Workflow or Alternative text...
- And we'll have the possibility to filter layers via Keywords or Comments
- Extension Developper will also benefit of that level of informations...
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Daniel Haans Guusman

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This is currently the only thing holding us back from widely using linked smart objects in every workflow we do. For example in app interface design at the moment, if we were able to specify a text layer as a variable, we could use one single linked psb for pretty much all common elements ie. a navigation bar. Then using this linked file, you could change the title of the page for individual mockups and layer states. It could also be used for titles, buttons etc, the possibilities are endless and it would drastically increase our application design workflow!
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marcusjpotter

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It is now possible to modify contents of each duplicated 'Linked' layer/psd/instance using layer comps properties of linked files in ccPS 2014

Example
- Place a linked file with multiple layer comps (eg a btn with up, down, selected etc)
- duplicate the single linked PSD file 3 times (eg from within 'new.psd')
- Select linked layer > view properties panel > modify specific layerComp
- repeat for each duplicated layer
- You can now apply unique layerComp (states) to each instance :)

The UX is a little clunky, but fully functional, no more crazy duplicated .psb hacks!

http://bjango.com/articles/photoshopc...
June 18th 2014 Quote: "In a fairly unexpected move, Layer Comps and Smart Objects can now be used together — Layer Comps contained within Smart Objects are exposed to the host of the Smart Object, allowing many states to be saved within the Smart Object."

Big thanks to Stephane, adobe team and Bjango for actioning, this has saved me writing my own extension to do the same.
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Stephane Baril

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Thank you Marcus :)
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Stephane Baril

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Thank you Marcus!
And a big thanks to the Photoshop Team to considered this request and implemented it :)
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Daniel Haans Guusman

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled
Text Variables in smart objects.


Photoshop 2014 is an amazing update, based solely on the layer comps integration into smart objects alone. It's an incredible addition to our workflow, and I cant tell you how much time it is already saving myself and others, and also the opportunities it is opening up! Thanks so much for listening.

Just raising a feature request for something I have needed for a long time, and following on from Stephane Baril's excellent suggestion from a few months ago:

"To enhance the graphic webdesign workflow, that also would be great to have the ability to have an option (in the Properties panel for example or in the Option Bar) allowing a Text layer, inside a Smart Object, to become a Variable.
So that, on each Instance of the Smart Object (in the main Photoshop file) we'll have the possibility to customize it in the Properties panel."

http://feedback.photoshop.com/photosh...

Couldn't have put it better. This is currently the only thing holding us back from widely using linked smart objects in every workflow we do. For example in app interface design at the moment, if we were able to specify a text layer as a variable, we could use one single linked psb for pretty much all common elements in a project.

A good example would be a navigation bar. Using one single linked navbar psb, we could change the heading for each page in each individual mockup we do by simply editing it in the properties panel! Rather than having to copy the elements to each individual file.

It could also be used for titles, buttons, etc - the possibilities are endless and it would drastically increase our application design workflow!
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Stephane Baril

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Agree :)
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Stephane Baril

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Regarding Text Variables in smart objects, we could use the same trick than Text Template between Premiere Pro and Atfer Effects:
• Enable Text Variable
• Then Locked not editable Layers
• Non-Locked Layers Field on SO Instances in the Properties panel

And that would be important to memorize Text Label (variable) in Layer Comps, so that we could have several states of a button and variations...
For example, in some Photoshop Dialog Box the "Cancel" button have Normal and Clicked states, but with the Alt/Option key its label become "Reset".
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Daniel Haans Guusman

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Hi Stephen/Chris, any thoughts on our request? This would really help my workflow.

Stephane that sounds great. Getting way ahead of this request - but going meta and being able to switch smart objects within a smart object would make incredibly powerful.

So for example, if I am designing a friends list layout, I could have one smart object, with an instance of a profile image and a variable for the text.

I suppose I could have different layer comps inside a smart object that would allow me to change between a multitude of profile pictures, but making layer comps is currently a little time consuming since there is no layers > layer comp option. I would have to manually change the visibility until I get the layer I need, give it a name, rinse and repeat.

But if I were able to have the user picture as a smart object with a dynamic image inside of it, I would be able to repurpose it infinitely! If I were working on a huge grid of similar objects (which is quite a common scenario) instead of a smart object bloated with hundreds of images inside it, I could have one dynamic, lightweight and reusable tool!!

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Stephen Nielson, Group Product Manager

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Hi Daniel,

Yes, text as part of a Layer Comp is a really interesting idea. I'll talk to the developers about the feasibility of doing this.

Can we start a separate thread for this request?
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Daniel Haans Guusman

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Thanks Stephen! Glad you agree. I really appreciate your actions, this will be a critical upgrade to our workflow!

I originally opened it as a seperate thread, but it was merged onto this one. https://c.getsatisfaction.com/photosh...
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Daniel Haans Guusman

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Did you want me to open a new thread again?
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Stephane Baril

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Hi Daniel,
Since this topic in on "implemented", that would be effectively great to open a new thread yes!
Thanks for your support :)
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Daniel Haans Guusman

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Hi Stephan, I recreated the issue a month ago but haven't heard back from anyone. Did you have an update or any thoughts on the feature? I would use it every day! http://feedback.photoshop.com/photosh...