Alternative to snapshots using smart object - thoughts?

Engaged ,
Jun 29, 2022 Jun 29, 2022

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I never used snapshots before, but today I was doing some research and it seems like a great feature, but the issue is that it doesn't save them with the file. If the idea of a snapshot is that we can compare multiple versions, it would make sense that we could come back a few hours/days/weeks/months/years later and maybe make some changes, after not looking at it for a while (fresh perspective).

 

Some could argue that this approach would require too much memory, the file size would increase, etc, but let's be honest: would you rather have that "huge" file, but being able to have access to early edits or instead always live on the "edge", because your computer could freeze or Photoshop suddenly quits, etc, and you lose all the alternatives that took you so much time to create?

Sure, you can create a new document based on a snapshot, but you will end up with the same space being used on your drive, the only difference is that it won't be on a single file, but now you're jumping around documents/tabs. To me, this is not a good workflow. Just my personal taste anyway.

 

So my workaround, which creates an alternative to snapshots, but allows us to save them as "snapshots" is to create a smart object as soon we create a new document (snapshot #1), then work on that smart object as if it was our main document. Once we want to take a snapshot, we go to the main document, right click the smart object and choose "New Smart Object Via Copy" (snapshot #2). Open that smart object (snapshot #2) and work on it. When we want to compare different snapshots, we just go to the main document and while holding ALT, we make each snapshot visible, which pretty much mimics the same behavior as the normal snapshot feature.

 

This approach also has another advantage: you can update the current snapshot, instead of creating a new one (if you don't want to) with slightly different modifications, so again, you have the behavior of the default snapshots (you can create a new one), or you can simply make the changes and save that single "snapshot" (Smart Object).

 

This is just my workaround, but I'm happy to know if there are any disadvantages to this, other than the file size and the memory it takes, of course. Let me know your thoughts

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jun 29, 2022 Jun 29, 2022

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Another alternative for making multiple versions that I would recommend would be to use layer comps. A layer comp is a snapshot of a state of the Layers panel that can store the layer's visibility, posiition, appearance (Layer Style), and layer comp selection for Smart Objects. Here's more information on layer comps:

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Engaged ,
Jun 29, 2022 Jun 29, 2022

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Hi Myra,

 

Thank you for the suggestion. I also thought that was a good alternative, but after testing, it's not. For example, if you move a layer up or down, all comps will reflect that order. The same if you delete a layer. Another test was adding a LUT to a layer. After saving different comps and changing the LUT for each, the latest LUT was also reflected on all comps.

I'm sure there are probably other disadvantages to comps over snapshots and the method I just described, but these are the ones I tested and I believe those are big ones compared to principle of snapshots.

I would assume that for particular cases, comps are useful, but I don't see them replacing snapshots.

I just really think Photoshop could have that option where people could save the snapshots inside the file. Let the user decide if they want a huge file or not. Not all projects are super heavy to begin with anyway.

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