Photoshop: Want to change Layer Comps inside a Smart Objects

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  • Idea
  • Updated 2 years ago
  • Implemented
  • (Edited)
I'm a Web Designer and I would like to combine Smart Objects and Layer Comps in my daily workflow more effectively. I would like to select which Layer Comp inside a Smart Object I want to display on the Root Document where it is placed and also store that again in a Layer Comp of the Root Document.

This could allow for example to store the Menu of a Website in one Smart Object but call different active states of this Menu from the Main PSD.
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Pascal Eggert

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Posted 6 years ago

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Chris Cox

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We can't do anything *inside* the smart object. The whole point of Smart Objects is that the child document is a black box (can't see inside) until you explicitly open it and change it.
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Josh Kopinski

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Even if this isn't done with an SO (maybe a new type of object instead), this functionality is really needed.
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Pascal Eggert

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Could you just store previews of the layer comp states? Like a set of tumbnails for the smart object, only of course in full resolution.

How about Smart Objects 2.0 ? :-)
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Slipp D.

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It seems like a reasonable request to me.

Layer comps conceptually, from my understanding, are already a method to predefine perspectives into a document. When a user sets up layer comps, they're defining a fixed number of static states in which to view the document.

Asking for a containing document (or for that matter, the viewer in Bridge, an OS-level preview renderer, a third-party tool like the Unity game engine, etc.) to have the ability to choose which angle they'd like to see into the black box from — which layer comp they'd like to use — does not seem to violate the design principles of layer comps, smart objects, or (as a general concept) black boxes. To me, the features seem to be made for each other.

I understand the implications may lie in that layer comps currently may not be powerful enough to validate a change like this— the folks at Adobe may want to prepare a true “Layer Comps 2.0” (with comping beyond visibility, position, and styles, I imagine) before it would be a remarkable improvement to tie to Smart Objects, not just a minor improvement. Bullet-point features sell upgrades, and users don't necessarily take well to things shifting around seemingly unnecessarily in each version.

My stance: I'd like to see it. I don't see any reason why it would be difficult from design or tech perspectives. And I'm a little surprised it isn't already present, given the nature of Photoshop to provide simple, usable pieces that combine well into something greater. In the last few major revs, it seems both Layer Comps and Smart Objects have been forgotten about.

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thibaud van vreckem

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Totally agree this is really needed.
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Josh Kopinski

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Whether this is done through an SO or some other method, this is *really* needed.
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bobo

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled
Make it possible that layer comps inside of smart objects can be accessible in parent file as maybe a part of layer setup.


For a web designer it would be ultimately helpful if i can make a smart-object for example a product item which is duplicated X times to interpret a product list in the e-shop design.
But the same way it can be a button or anything else what can have more states.

This smart object will be used X times in the design, but i need to show different states of it.
Like selected, Zoomed detail view on hover.. and any other states.

This i would like to have prepared inside of the Smart object as a Layer Comps.
And i would like to set in parent PSD which state should be used on which instance of it.

Imagine then all the consequences.
To define states of each object from which webpage is build up and one day maybe also export it as a files.

So in other words:

Make it possible that layer comps inside of smart objects can be accessible in parent file as maybe a part of layer setup.
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bobo

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i would only use it as a 2nd level of context menu.

like:

Display As >
........................menu item 1
........................menu item 1 hover
........................menu item 1 down
........................menu item 1 disabled
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raluca mit

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I agree with everyone, this is a really needed feature. I would love a way to be able to use layer comps with smart objects.

This reminds me of Flash Symbols that have frames to be displayed.
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Chris Lacey

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled
Linked Smart Objects with selectable states (determined by layer comps in the linked file).


OK, so we have linked smart objects now - sweet. But is there a way to take it a step further to combine smart objects with Layer Comps so that I can select different states of a linked smart object? For example - if I am building a webpage with smart objects that link to a header that contains all of my navigational elements - it would be amazing if I could create layer styles for dropdowns/active states etc etc and then be able to select them at will from the linked smart object so that it wouldn't require the save that changes the link across multiple pages (since I normally build out each unique page in it's own file). Just thought it would be a cool idea. Possibly undoable and/or un-useful to many. Linked files are already making me happier on a day to day basis - so this would just be icing.
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Chris Lacey

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thanks for the merge - I missed this conversation originally.
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Jkbp

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As of June 18th '14, it looks like almost have what we need. :)

Photoshop CC 2014 now offers the ability to select a Layer Comp inside of a Linked Smart Object (child PSD), from a parent PSD. This is a nice and welcomed improvement for sure.

*What we still need:*

A way to record individual/unique Layer Comp states of a Smart Object (child PSD) from the parenting PSDs Layer Comps Panel.

So close!...But not quite there based on what I'm seeing as of today.
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thibaud van vreckem

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indeed. i suppose it's a good step in the right direction, but I fail to understand how useful the new feature is if it can't be stored in layer comps.
So...are we supposed to make copies of the smart object and play with the visibility ?
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Jkbp

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Hey TVV,

Yeah, that's what I've been doing. It's the only approach that I can see for now.
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Kip

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Great update, and thanks to Thibaud+Josh for the "make copies of smart objects" workaround.

Of course, +1 for the ability to do this without duplicating smart objects :-)
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Bocephus

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+1 on need to make smart object layer comps saveable in the parent doc's layer comp.

Anyone know of a good scripting work-around in the meantime?
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Mattias Bregnballe

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Why is this tagged as "Implemented" when it is not? I still cannot save the state of the smart object inside a layer comp in my main file.
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Josh Kopinski

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As an extension of this feature, I'd really like to be able to record which Layer Comp of the SO is displayed in the parenting PSD via the parenting Layer Comps panel.

This will make the feature a lot more useful and I think quite a few folks would benefit from it.

Currently, the only way to get close to this is to duplicate the SO and then record different states for each SO in the parenting LCs.
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Chris Cox

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That's a different request, which already has a topic.
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thibaud van vreckem

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this idea his indeed diluted into several topics:
http://feedback.photoshop.com/photosh...
http://feedback.photoshop.com/photosh...
http://feedback.photoshop.com/photosh...
etc...

this unfortunate duplication, may explains the relative low interest generated by this topic.
for anyone working with layer comps and smart object this missing feature is a real shortcoming. It's surprising that no one in the dev team figured this out earlier.
This is a more than 3 years old request...
Is there any other channel where our voice could be heard more appropriately ?
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Mattias Bregnballe

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"I would like to select which Layer Comp inside a Smart Object I want to display on the Root Document where it is placed"

This has been implemented :)

"and also store that again in a Layer Comp of the Root Document."

This has not been implemented :(
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thibaud van vreckem

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indeed, to be rigorously correct this topic should not be marked as implemented. (as it is only partially implemented)
Also if anything could be done to consolidate all the disparate topics and votes into a single topic, that would be of great help, thank you.
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Vincent Le Pés III

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I would also like to see the further implementation of saving a smart object's layer comp state in the master document's layer comps. Here's a case study I use constantly in UI work:

Create smart object for header (so I can update across pages in one place)
Create layer comps in that smart object for each active page state (to easily cycle through which nav item is active)
Create layer comps in master PSD for each page (each one needs an instance of the header object, but I'd prefer to just have one instance and for the layer comp state to be recalled)

Basically where layer comps have options to capture visibility, position and effects of layers, it would be SO useful for people who use layer comps as a workflow to also save smart object states.
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thibaudmail

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for what it's worth, an alternate and more convenient workflow for what you describe is to rely on artboards rather than layercomps in the master psd.
page components (header, footer, etc...) as smart object are very useful, but you have to lay out pages states with artboards (thus copying the smart object) if you want to solve the current smart object limitation
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Mattias Bregnballe

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This is also what I have found to be the easiest workflow at the moment. 
Artboards containing smartobject that may contain layer comps for different states.  
Other than that, I am looking forward to seeing what Adobe XD can bring to the table. 
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Vincent Le Pés III

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I have tried this approach, but there are a couple problems with it in my experience. One is simple but annoying; it's difficult to navigate documents with many artboards. I know it's a small thing but it slows you down. The bigger issue I run into is performance. At my job it isn't unheard of to be doing anywhere from 7 to 20+ pages of an application or site in 2-3 screen sizes. Photoshop handles the large documents well when not all layers are on at once, but as artboards stack up it gets slower and slower. Artboards are also still a bit buggy, although they are consistently improving, which is a good sign.
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thibaudmail

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if the numbers of artboards make it difficult to navigate you can try using ctrl click on the artboard in the layer panel to navigate.
as for the performance issues, I suspect, you may be an osx user.
I'm sorry to say that the windows version performs just waaay better in that regard in my experience
also for the most part in my workflow all artboards in a psd share the same smartobjects (often linked) I believe displaying 10 states (via smartobject layercomps) of 10 different smart objects should have a far lesser impact on performance than displaying 100 different text object for exemple)
my intuition is that smartobject as being black boxes should perform better than other (in place editable) element 
(Edited)
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Kirk

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+1  The feature is  pretty  useless till we could save smart objects  comps within parent file layer comps and switch them instantly .    Now I have to do 10 copies of a smart object to represent it's different states.It turns layer stack into an utter mess

Another problem:  re-saving and updating  hi res 16/32  bit smart objects takes forever .   I love how Affinity Photo updates master file instantly once you do something in embedded doc .   Would like to see same in Photoshop.   As an option maybe.