Photoshop: Smart View Layer (Smart object lite!)

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  • Idea
  • Updated 1 year ago
  • (Edited)
Elevator Pitch:
A layer type that is similar to a smart object but instead of being an embedded extra .psb it is a literal rastered reference view of another layer or layer group within the same file.

How would that work?
Hopefully, it would mostly leverage the existing UX/UI used by the smart object workflow. Under the hood, I'm not an engineer, but it *looks* like the nuts and bolts of it would be to grab the rasterized layer and *treat* that like a smart object layer with a new "flavor" called "View" or "Reference" or "Portal". Then you get Smart Object, Smart Link, Smart Cloud Object, Smart View.

But... why not just smart object that? I hear you, but there are two very real problems with smart objects in a production environment for 2D art:

1. Smart object-ception... Sometimes you have a group made from several smart objects that you need to instance with variations... if you embed that as a smart object and make a new copy from that smart object you get... un-smart copies of the second tier smart objects inside each. So now if you need to update those secondary objects you have to do it twice. Or three times.

2. Editing a smart object removes you from the context of the file you are working on... so if you are working on fancy title text that is in a smart object, you don't have the frame and background behind your title to work on. You keep having to save-update-check the main file constantly.

I love me some smart objects. Embedded, linked, even that wacky cloud object. They can, however, be very cumbersome when you are doing things like wrapping up a 4k multi-layered background image to use across several artboards or trying to manage multiple versions of something that is already comprised of smart objects without falling into smart-object-inception-hell.
Photo of Max Johnson

Max Johnson, Champion

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Posted 1 year ago

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