Is it possible to have Photoshop layers automatically export and update in Illustrator?

Participant ,
Feb 09, 2021 Feb 09, 2021

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I have a project that involves going back and forth between Photoshop and Illustrator. Essentially, in Photoshop I'm creating a base raster layer, and then in Illustrator I have a few layers on top of text and other vectors. Sometimes what I do with the vectors changes how the raster layer should look, so I go back into Photoshop to manage it.

 

I'd like to have a way to coordinate between the two programs better than always exporting the relevant Photoshop layers as a PNG and opening them in Illustrator.

 

Is it possible to have selected groups or layers in Photoshop be automatically saved and/or exported so that when I open the Illustrator file, the relevant raster images are automatically updated in Illustrator?

 

I thought this was possible with libraries, but I can't seem to get it to work the way I would expect it to work.

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How to, Import and export

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Adobe Community Professional , Feb 11, 2021 Feb 11, 2021

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Feb 09, 2021 Feb 09, 2021

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File > Place in Illustrator. This gives you a linked file that can be edited in Photoshop, and the link updated in Illustrator.

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Participant ,
Feb 09, 2021 Feb 09, 2021

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Thank you for this response.

 

However, if I place the whole Photoshop file in Illustrator, I will end up displaying many unwanted layers and components that are duplicated in Illustrator, so I think this might not be a complete solution for me.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Feb 09, 2021 Feb 09, 2021

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Hi

I do this a couple of ways, depending on the image:

  • In Illustrator: File > Place Linked (checkbox in Place dialog) of the PSD, then update links in the Links panel
  • In PS: Place AI file as Smart Object and double click the SO to edit in Illustrator
  • In Illustrator: Export as PSD if I want to use Photoshop's blending modes

I set the measurements in both files to pixels and confirm the color settings are the same. I never "double-link" (place a linked file back into itself). I only link in one direction, because instinct says it's safer. Excel would call it a Circular Reference.

  • That being said, when I change the image in PS and know my final will be in Illustrator, I need to see it all together. I'll bring the Illustrator file over as a SO (drag and drop works; select only the vector first), make the PS changes, and delete the SO from PS. You have to be very careful with this workflow, but I do it all the time and am used to it now.

~ Jane

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Participant ,
Feb 09, 2021 Feb 09, 2021

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Thank you for this response.

 

As you describe, I need to be able to see how all the component parts will interact, so I need to frequently switch back and forth. I can't see a way of placing the whole PS file, or using the whole Illustrator file as a smart object that wouldn't result in duplicates or circular references.

 

I was really hoping there was a more modular way to share parts of Photoshop files with Illustrator and vice versa. Perhaps that is simply not possible.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Feb 09, 2021 Feb 09, 2021

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I honestly don't see how Place Linked could be made any more convenient. It should do exactly what you need.

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Participant ,
Feb 10, 2021 Feb 10, 2021

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Doesn't "Place Linked" place an entire file, though? I'm looking to be able to place only certain layers or layer groups from an Illustrator file.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Feb 10, 2021 Feb 10, 2021

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The point is that it's linked. It's not embedded. The file isn't in the Illustrator document - it's wherever you want it to be.

 

You edit the original file wherever it is, by whatever application, and then update the link in Illustrator. This brings in all the changes.

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Participant ,
Feb 10, 2021 Feb 10, 2021

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I'm not sure where the miscommunication is happening between us, but I don't think you're understanding my issue.

 

I understand that a "placed" file is embedded in a way that it references the original file, and if I edit the original file, those changes will appear in Illustrator.

 

The problem is that in my Photoshop file, I have, for example, four layers, but I only want to see layers 1 and 2 in Illustrator. I don't want to include layers 3 and 4.

 

"File-Place" has no option, so far as I know, to only show selected layers. It will include the whole Photoshop file, all or nothing.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Feb 11, 2021 Feb 11, 2021

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Ah, sorry, I read too quickly and missed that part.

 

The problem is, of course, that layers in Photoshop and layers in Illustrator are two very different things. Illustrator has no idea what Photoshop layers even are.

 

At some point there is a limit to how much you can treat raster and vector content the same way. It seems this is it.

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Participant ,
Feb 11, 2021 Feb 11, 2021

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Fair enough. Thanks for trying to help!

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Feb 11, 2021 Feb 11, 2021

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Participant ,
Feb 11, 2021 Feb 11, 2021

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This basically does what I needed.

 

It would be nice if there were settings options, to have more control over output directories, and have names separate from layer names. But, I can essentially get to where I need to go a little easier with this feature for now.

 

Thanks for pointing it out!

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