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external viewer for layered files

Explorer ,
Aug 13, 2021 Aug 13, 2021

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I would like to use Photoshop to create a multiple layered maping system for distribution and use by others.  By that I mean a file in which a basic map is always visible on the bottom layer and many additions or overlays to the base map are layered above it with "eye" control over whether they are visible or not.  In this way one can create maps of the chosen area with a wide variety of chosen features (roads, structures, utility lines, special areas, etc.) visible or not.

I can get what I want by creating a multiple layer PSD file in Photoshop.  Now I want to be able to distribute the layered strructure to clients who don't have Photoshop to view and print.  Is there a layered file format to which the psd file can be exported and an easily available viewer / printer for the files with user control of which layers are visible as overlays?  If going at this through Photoshop can't be made to work, is there another approach to get to the desired product?

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correct answers 2 Correct answers

Adobe Community Professional , Aug 14, 2021 Aug 14, 2021
Gimp is a free open source image editor that supports psd layers and layer groups. Has printing functions. It runs on windows, mac and linux. https://www.gimp.org/

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Adobe Community Professional , Aug 15, 2021 Aug 15, 2021
Hi @imagexREK  PDFs from InDesign and Illustrator support Layers, while PDFs from Photoshop do not. Here's one idea: INDESIGN Place the PSD into InDesign properly as a linked file Once it is properly placed, you can copy inside InDesign and paste, as you will be pasting the link to the original. Watch your Links panel. Put each copy of the image on its own layer and name the layer appropriately For each copy, go to Object > Object Layer Options and display the layer (or layer comp) whil...

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Aug 13, 2021 Aug 13, 2021

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I would suggest PDF format. I have done this with Illustrator and InDesign...

 

Sadly, the standard PDF save options don't include the ability to save layers.

 

Saving layers is accessible via scripting, so a custom script will be required.

 

EDIT: It appears that you may need to do this with InDesign or Illustrator –

https://community.adobe.com/t5/photoshop-ecosystem/photoshop-layers-to-pdf-layers/td-p/11484654

 

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Aug 13, 2021 Aug 13, 2021

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There are alternative free applications that will open PSD files and view individual layers.  Most of them are probably still too complex for a layered mapping system though.  I wonder if there is an HTML solution?  I can think of plenty of web pages that do exactly what you are describing.

 

@Nancy OShea   ? 

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Aug 14, 2021 Aug 14, 2021

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Paint.NET is a free graphics editor for Windows. I believe Paint's PDN files support layers.

https://www.getpaint.net/

 

9 Layering Photo Apps

  1. Adobe Photoshop Mix: iOS | Android - Image editing without distortion
  2. Pixlr: iOS | Android - Supports image editing in Google Drive
  3. PhotoLayers: iOS | Android - Works great for photomontages
  4. Multi-Layer Photo Editor: Android - Allows background layer zooming
  5. PicsArt: iOS | Android - A layering app with brushes
  6. Canva: iOS | Android - Ready-made templates
  7. Snapseed: iOS | Android – Works with photos in RAW
  8. Aviary: iOS - Supports multiple languages
  9. PhotoDirector: iOS | Android - Great photo layering app for novices

 

Nancy O'Shea, Adobe Product User & Community Professional
Alt-Web Design & Publishing ~ Web : Print : Graphics : Media

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Aug 15, 2021 Aug 15, 2021

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Nancy what I was hoping you could answer is if the OP could use something like Dreamweaver to turn on and off overlays for his mapping system.

 

  @imagexREK  if you could give more detail about what you want to achieve here it would help.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Aug 15, 2021 Aug 15, 2021

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quote

Nancy what I was hoping you could answer is if the OP could use something like Dreamweaver to turn on and off overlays for his mapping system.

 

========

@Trevor.Dennis,

This needs an experienced programmer to develop a custom web app that can do exactly what's required. 

 

In a nutshell, the web app would open with several transparent PNGs stacked in layers.  Boolean switches could turn layers on/off.  Other buttons could provide functions for saving & exporting the stack to a flattened image for printing, etc... I don't know of any off-the-shelf app that can do this.  Sorry.

 

Nancy O'Shea, Adobe Product User & Community Professional
Alt-Web Design & Publishing ~ Web : Print : Graphics : Media

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Aug 14, 2021 Aug 14, 2021

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Gimp is a free open source image editor that supports psd layers and layer groups.

Has printing functions.

 

It runs on windows, mac and linux.

 

https://www.gimp.org/

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Aug 15, 2021 Aug 15, 2021

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Hi @imagexREK 

 

PDFs from InDesign and Illustrator support Layers, while PDFs from Photoshop do not.

 

Here's one idea:

INDESIGN

  • Place the PSD into InDesign properly as a linked file
  • Once it is properly placed, you can copy inside InDesign and paste, as you will be pasting the link to the original. Watch your Links panel.
  • Put each copy of the image on its own layer and name the layer appropriately
  • For each copy, go to Object > Object Layer Options and display the layer (or layer comp) while hiding others
  • Create a PDF with Acrobat 6 or later and enable the Layers option

TIP: test after creating 3-4 layers to make sure it is working properly

 

ACROBAT PRO

  • The Layers panel will show up on the left automatically.
  • In the Layers panel, set which layers will open when the PDF is opened
  • In File > Properties > Opening View tab, set that the Layers panel will open automatically
  • Users can click the eyeballs in the Layers panel
    or
    You can set up other controls to hide/show Layers

 

ACROBAT READER

  • Users will only need the free Acrobat Reader, but you need to confirm they are using Reader and not another PDF viewer.

 

I have not tested this. Others may tweak it.

 

~ Jane

 

 

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Explorer ,
Aug 15, 2021 Aug 15, 2021

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Thanks to all who've responded.  Clarification on what I'm trying to do.  I want to be able to provide a layered map to clients who don't have Photoshop or any of the Adobe products (except perhaps Reader).  The map will have a base layer map which is locked and always viewed.  Over the base layer there will be at least 10 optional overlay layers which the client can chose to view or not, individually or several at a time.  For example, one could view the base layer with overlayer 1,4, and 8; or any combination the user chooses.  What is viewed could also be printed, or exported to a standard single layer file for printing.  The user should not have any layer control other than visibility or not.  

I have downloaded GIMP and am trying this as a client viewer using the multi layered PSD as distribution files.  It will work but has the drawback of being much to powerful.  All panels except the layer panel will need to be closed so the users won't have the opportunity to be tech-shocked and run amok.  I'll try jane-e's suggestions for converting the PSD to a multilayer PDF if I can't find a simpler PSD viewer.

By the way, almost all my client users will be on Windows computers.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Aug 15, 2021 Aug 15, 2021

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Hi @imagexREK 

 

In addition:

If you place one PSD into InDesign multiple times, then use the Object Layer Options to show one layer for each copy of the image, there is a huge advantage if you need to make edits to the PSD later. This is a best workflow.

  • You update the link to the image in InDesign and all instances update.
  • You use the Replace Pages command in Acrobat Pro to keep any buttons, etc., on the pages and just replace the underlying image.

~ Jane

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