P: Inline, on canvas Smart Object Editing (Symbols)

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Community Beginner ,
May 18, 2011 May 18, 2011

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Brief title for your desired feature:
Inline Smart Object Editting

How would you like the feature to work?
Make Smart Objects editable without double clicking them. Add a drop down arrow so that you can see all of the layers (just like folders). Then, you can edit right there. If you have multiple instances of the smart object, you can watch them all update together.

Why is this feature important to you?
For one, I could edit more quickly. Also, with this functionality I would be able to edit projects in an 'environment'. If I'm making a backdrop for a stage (which I do), I can take a picture of the stage, and work on the project within the actual stage, and make a better composition that is more cohesive with the surroundings. When you're done, you can just export the smart object, it's already got the right dpi, dimensions, color mode.... it's done. I could paint light shadows in the main canvas over areas that are in the dark, so that I automatically make those colors brighter in the 'smart object' (that feels like a folder) without even thinking. I could place objects in front of the smart object that will be covered by a speaker or a person. You could also use it for product design, to create a label directly on a bottle. Or if you want to create entire projects in one psd, where you've got an empty business card, dvd, dvd box, poster, all in one file and in one fell swoop you finish the whole job. I could see it used for billboard designs, and many other projects.

BTW, you could make two modes for Smart Objects. When you first place/create a smart object, it is in normal mode. But, as soon as you skew it (to give it perspective, or just to squash it), it enters perspective mode. When you choose the brush tool and paint on a layer in a smart object in 'perspective' mode, you see a light green square on top of the smart object that represents the smart object's boundaries if it were flat. As you paint in the light green boundaries, you see the edits happening in the skewed perspective of the smart object. That could be very handy for many different scenarios. Same with the type tool and every other tool.

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34 Comments
Adobe Employee ,
May 18, 2011 May 18, 2011

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Hi David, that's a noble idea and something we'd like to do, but as you point out it gets more tricky if the Smart Object has been transformed in a complex way.

John Nack has a couple of good articles on this:

Expanding Smart Objects

The Secret Life of Smart Filters

Using 3D technology, this might become more feasible.

Senior Product Manager - Customer Advocacy - Digital Imaging

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LEGEND ,
May 18, 2011 May 18, 2011

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Even without transformations, it is generally not possible.

The child document can be a different color mode, depth, and profile from the parent document.

Much of the power of smart objects comes from the fact that they are separate documents, edited seperately from the parent document. (for the geeks: providing an explicit update for the node in the compositing graph, allowing for more complex and time consuming conversions and distortions to be applied)

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Community Beginner ,
May 18, 2011 May 18, 2011

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It was probably equally as difficult to get an RGB monitor display to CMYK images at one point, but they found a way to convert it in a manner that was sufficient for professional designers. Not saying that it's worth your time and effort, but I wouldn't be surprised if you guys could do it, you've already done so many projects that seem so difficult from my perspective! 🙂

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Participant ,
Jun 05, 2011 Jun 05, 2011

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David, I love the idea of the nested layers/folders for Smart Objects...much better visual to keep track of stuff. Even if they can't do it....I'm impressed with the idea!

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LEGEND ,
Sep 02, 2011 Sep 02, 2011

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I'd also like this very much...

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LEGEND ,
Sep 27, 2011 Sep 27, 2011

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Hi,

Can you make smart objects editable inside their "host document"?
Comparable to the way i edit a movieclip on a stage in flash by doubleclicking it.

That way i could immediately see the changes i make.

Would love it.

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New Here ,
Feb 03, 2012 Feb 03, 2012

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Inplace smart-object editing like symbols in Flash (when you doubleclick symbol on a stage everithing else fades out a little bit but remains visible). It would be very useful. It will bring smart-object functionality closer to symbols functionality in Flash.

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Explorer ,
Feb 13, 2012 Feb 13, 2012

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With their own palette like in Fireworks, and it should be organizable. Smart Objects are not the same thing.

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Community Beginner ,
Apr 20, 2012 Apr 20, 2012

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When editing Smart Objects in a file is there a way to view the image that the Smart Object lives in rather than simply editing the smart object in it's completely separate file? Using:PS CS5/CS6 Mac OS Lion. It would be great if while editing a smart object such as painting into it if i could see the background file that it lives in. It's just so much more easy to make a change to something when I can see how the change makes it look in the overall image. I love that I can maintain detail if i ever need to resize and image all my smart objects have more detail to show but it's just a pain to edit them without being able to see everything else. Any suggestilons?

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New Here ,
Apr 20, 2012 Apr 20, 2012

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It would be great to have the similar editing option for Smart Objects as for Symbols, Compound shapes or Groups in Illustrator (Isolation). A simple double click with the Move tool on the image or on the layer thumbnail would open up the source of the Smart Object directly in the same document window and indicate the route just below the Document Tab with a Path bar (breadcrumbs). Photoshop would just simply dim all background elements and show the layers of the Smart Object in the Layers panel giving all the editing possibility without leaving the original document window.

If the user needs to see the Smart Object separately he would be able to get to the source itself by Alt+double clicking on the image or on the layer's thumbnail.

This would be extremely useful when there are several layers of Smart Objects inside Smart Objects and the user needs to see them in context. At the moment it is easy to get lost between lots of Smart Object document windows.



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LEGEND ,
Apr 10, 2014 Apr 10, 2014

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I'd love the ability to create smart objects, or smart groups, and edit them in the same document in the context they currently exist.

Example:

Say I have some text and icons in a group that I want to appear in multiple locations within a Photoshop document. I can achieve this currently with smart objects. Now if I need to change the text within that smart object, I would open the smart object and change it, but I completely lose the context of the object when it opens a new document, especially if the icons and text are alone in that object. If that is the case, the smart object has a transparent background, creating issues with contrast between the text/icons and the background.

If the smart object opened in an isolated view above the rest of the document, very similar to editing within groups in Illustrator, I could keep the context and the layers behind the object.

If this interests anyone, or needs any further explanation, I'd be happy to create visual mockups of the idea.

-Adam

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LEGEND ,
Jun 24, 2014 Jun 24, 2014

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Instead of opening a new window to edit a Smart Object, it would be great to edit it inside the document, or at least have the option to. Sometimes you need to see it in context with the rest of the document and you currently need to keep on saving in order to do that.

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LEGEND ,
Jul 03, 2015 Jul 03, 2015

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Now that artboards enhance the ability to have an overview of your "screens workflow", it would be a breeze to enhance smart objects too.
Today, when you edit a smart object, you leave the document, which makes it difficult to make right design decisions about the component without seeing it in its context.
Why then not doing as Illustrator, let us edit the smart object directly in the document and fade the context behind?
Thank you in advance,
François

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jul 04, 2015 Jul 04, 2015

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»Now that artboards enhance the ability to have an overview of your "screens workflow", it would be a breeze to enhance smart objects too.«
How did you arrive at that conclusion?
Have you given some thought to what artboards actually are?

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jul 04, 2015 Jul 04, 2015

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»Why then not doing as Illustrator, let us edit the smart object directly in the document and fade the context behind?«
When double-clicking a Symbol in Illustrator to edit it the preview will neglect applied rotation for example so how »good« is that really?
And the differences between pixel and vector oriented applications can make some of their behaviours »not easily or even at all transferable« to the respective other, I guess.

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Explorer ,
May 25, 2016 May 25, 2016

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Ability to edit a Smart Object "in place" like Flash supports with movieclips, so the user can choose to visually see the surrounding elements while editting the Smart Object.
Maybe the regions outside the Smart Object become transparent but still visible instead of only seeing the smart object in a separate PSB file, or at least bring the visual into the PSB so user can use as reference while editting Smart Object.

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LEGEND ,
May 25, 2016 May 25, 2016

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Imagine that we have a UI kit and that each component is a linked smart object saved as a .psb file.

Lets take a button for instance, a green button but it really could be anything. When you first create the button and its layers you create it in the context/place where it is going to be used or maybe within a UI kit design guideline PSD where you keep all your components. That UI kit file may have a white background which nicely contrasts the button you are creating. When you are done you create a smart object out of the layers and convert it to a linked smart object and save as a psb.

You've now "File -> Place Linked" the smart object into a new document that you're working on and you've positioned the button in its place. You decide that you want to edit the color of the button so you double click on the layers thumbnail to Edit Contents. No longer do you have that white background or the context that the button was created in or where it was placed, the canvas is a snug fit around the button.

I think it would help a lot of designers greatly if there was an option in Photoshop to edit a smart object's contents "In Context" or "In Place" as well as the normal "Edit Contents" where it jumps you over to the psb file, of course the "Edit In Context" would update the master smart object and save to the psb file.

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LEGEND ,
May 25, 2016 May 25, 2016

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Thanks to whoever put my post in this post. Yes it would be awesome to be able to edit a smart object in place.

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New Here ,
Jul 12, 2016 Jul 12, 2016

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I would like the ability to edit a smart object in the original document or artboard - without opening only the element in it's own document. This would help for speed of editing when working with artboards or things that need precise sizing within another document.

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LEGEND ,
Jul 12, 2016 Jul 12, 2016

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It would be nice to be able to edit the contents of a smart object in situ of its parent PSD. So when designing say a website, you have a linked smart object for the header. When double clicking it, instead of opening a new window with the smart objects contents it changes the layers panel to show its contents and fades out the rest of the design slightly (like illustrator does). That way you can edit the contents and see it with the rest of the design around it.

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LEGEND ,
Jul 12, 2016 Jul 12, 2016

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Ahhhh, isolation mode. Love it! And then turn any JPEG or PNG into a PSD internally so we don't have to flatten the contents every time we edit one of those placed as SOs. Not that I know what is or is not possible, but really, really would like that.

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Explorer ,
Aug 16, 2016 Aug 16, 2016

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Group and Smart Object isolation mode like in Illustrator would be amazing. Especially smart object editing within the parent file with the surrounding art faded back (exactly like Illustrator) would make layouts much more streamline and efficient.

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New Here ,
May 15, 2019 May 15, 2019

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I'm trying to find a way I could have a "master" layer style, and have changes I make to it apply to multiple layers that are in different groups.

For instance, if I have a mobile app design, arranged into multiple groups for each app screen, and I want to change the global header color- in each screen group, there are different items overlaying the header for that screen, so I cant just have a single master "header" group. I'd like to be able to make one color change, and have it apply to any number of designated layers that are in different groups. Is this possible? Edit: I realize I could make the header background be a smart object, but wondering if there is a way to accomplish this with layer styles within the master doc

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LEGEND ,
May 15, 2019 May 15, 2019

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From your description, I think you would be helped by the Layer Comps command.

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New Here ,
May 15, 2019 May 15, 2019

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Thanks- I think this may be on the right track-though looking into this initially, I'm not seeing the way I could use it to make a new global change to a master layer style that is applied to multiple layers in different groups without going into each group and applying that change- For example, say I have multiple elements, buttons, etc, located in different groups,  and I want to globally change all their color overlays to a new color without having to individually change all of them 

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