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Managing Linked Images in Photoshop files

Community Beginner ,
Apr 11, 2019 Apr 11, 2019

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Using version 19.14 on a MacBook.

I'm attempting to use photoshop and it's smart object image file-linking capabilities the same way I would link an image file in Illustrator or InDesign: Within a project folder, I have a layered photoshop file with external links, along with a subfolder containing all those linked images. My expectation was that if I moved the project folder, Photoshop would still understand the location of the links relative to itself and the "links" subfolder, the same way Illustrator and Indesign handle it. I especially assumed this due to the way the "package" function will create a folder structure like what I'm talking about.

Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to work this way. Moving the project folder breaks the links, much like very old versions of illustrator used to. However, if all of the links are on the same level in the project folder, they will stay intact. This is less than ideal and makes me wonder why the package function works the way it does.

Is there a preference I need to check or something that will allow for relative linking to a "links" folder, or is this just how it works in this version? I'd like to work with links like this because I'm making several assets that would use the same links over and over again, so having them saved as externally linked files that serve multiple master files would greatly reduce file size.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Apr 11, 2019 Apr 11, 2019

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Have you tried : layer > smart objects > replace contents

Paul-M, ACP

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Community Beginner ,
Apr 11, 2019 Apr 11, 2019

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Yes, but that doesn't solve the problem of the links breaking when files are moved. I need to hand them off to others without requiring them to constantly repair the links.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Apr 11, 2019 Apr 11, 2019

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Have you explored the option of putting files into a Library and dropping these assets into other files?

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Community Beginner ,
Apr 11, 2019 Apr 11, 2019

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Using libraries is not an option due to limitations imposed by my organizations' IT protocols. Posting a file package with all required files (the way you can with other Adobe products) is a necessity.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Apr 11, 2019 Apr 11, 2019

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This is not a solution but a possible workaround. Could you build your projects using linked assets but when it comes time to hand off your file embed any linked smart objects via the Properties panel?

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Community Beginner ,
Apr 11, 2019 Apr 11, 2019

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That is possible, and what has historically been done. I'm looking for a solution that optimizes this scenario.

For example, I recently built a package with multiple assets containing redundant embedded images (banners, on-site, CRM, etc, etc) and in total, the package was 13GB. I went back and re-linked all my embedded images as external links, which reduced the overall file size to <3GB. The difference in size was due to the reduction of image data that was no longer repetitively embedded.

The difference in file size, —in particular the size of individual files— makes working with these packages exponentially easier for stakeholders. I'm not the last link in the production chain; I'm making templates on which more assets will be built, so simplicity and ease of use are of paramount concern.

This is the standard operating procedure for illustrator and InDesign print production workflow, and photoshop generally mimics the process you'd normally go by to achieve this. But unless I'm missing something, the way it handles the file structure seems to be fundamentally flawed.

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New Here ,
Nov 05, 2019 Nov 05, 2019

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OP, were you able to find a workaround? I find myself in the same boat as you.

 

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Community Beginner ,
Jul 12, 2020 Jul 12, 2020

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Baffles me, too, that Photoshop doesn't have, in the very least, the simple "relink to folder" option (as in InDesign) for it's linked asset management.  Likewise the very basic "relative to" functionality you're running into (and now as am I.)

 

HOWEVER - I am noticing that Photoshop WILL search the directory of an asset you've relinked to in the "missing links" dialog to automatically relink all the remaining missing links.  It just doesn't tell you it's doing that.  So only one asset needs to be relinked.  Still not a solution for portability, though.

 

This is also a workaround, but Photoshop will look for a missing link lastly within the same directory as the file itself.  So with some nomenclature management to aid in "what is the master file amongst all these files?", you could effectively move the project anywhere.

 

 

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Community Beginner ,
Aug 12, 2021 Aug 12, 2021

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Sorry to Necro, but how is this still a problem that Photoshop won't see the image in a folder you point to?

 

This should be fixed or Adobe should just tell us not to design anything in Photoshop and instead use Indesign's functional link system. 

 

Very frustrating!

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