Photoshop CC 14.2 update – Linked Smart Objects

Smart Objects have been progressing nicely for a while now, and up to now in Photoshop CC have really started to change the workflow options. Photoshop CC 14.2 update now takes Smart Objects to another level and provides Linked / Embedded Smart Objects.

Let me demonstrate how this works.

I’ve have already created a document that has my Photography signature that has been created using just 3D in Photoshop CC. I am planning to use this on my images, but I don’t want to embed this file into each document that I want to use it in. Embedding it will :-

  • Cause an increase in the file size of the file of the host file.
  • Give me the flexibility to change my mind and update the associated documents quickly, without having to re-embed each one.

Photoshop CC 14.2 update now includes Linked Smart Objects. I can now link to an existing file and Photoshop will update if it changes. If i am  editing the linked file at the same time as the host file (applies to Illustrator linked objects as well), the host document will update automatically (but they both need to be open). I can of course manually update later in my editing cycle, and Photoshop CC tells me if something has changed, once the document is opened.

Here is the logo that I have created.

Screen Shot 2014-01-03 at 19.07.33

I would like to use this file in the following image. I can now use the “Place Linked” from the File menu and link this object rather than embed it “Place Embedded” into the document.


Screen Shot 2014-01-03 at 18.41.35 copy

You can see that the file is placed as per normal (I cannot access the layers of the linked object until i open it, also, if I embed it I will see only the result layer).

Screen Shot 2014-01-03 at 18.43.06

You can see that the Object has now been linked (marked Red below), and is denoted by the small chain icon. The Smart Object layer now has properties associated with it (marked Yellow). The Object itself is displayed as it usually would be (marked Purple).

Screen Shot 2014-01-03 at 18.54.35 copy


As soon as I added the logo, I realised that the white background needs to be removed. I can edit the contents of the Smart Object direct from within the properties panel (marked yellow above), this is also available on the fly out menu on the layers panel (marked Blue in the image above). You can also see that once Photoshop recognises a change (marked Yellow) i can update the linked object. If the linked file is an Illustrator file, it will be opened in Illustrator.

Once I have opened the logo file, I can edit it and remove the white background layer and save it.

Screen Shot 2014-01-03 at 18.45.23

As soon as I have made the modifications and saved the file, the original host file (still open) will be updated with the new contents. You can see the results in the image below.

Screen Shot 2014-01-03 at 18.45.36

What if we had not edit the contents of the Linked Object direct from the host file, but instead, editing the contents direct within the logo file. The original object was a 3D layer, which I would like to change, maybe to refresh my presence. I can open the file directly and edit my 3D art work and re-render it.

Screen Shot 2014-01-03 at 18.50.01

If I open the host file, you can see that Photoshop CC recognises that the file is out of sync with it’s linked object by showing an exclamation mark in the box marked in yellow. The contents can be modified by opening the fly out menu and choosing the “Update Modified Content” (there are also other places to update the linked content). You can also replace the contents at any point as well, also, it may be that you decide to embed the content rather than link it, you can click “Embed” (marked in the Yellow box below).

Screen Shot 2014-01-03 at 18.54.35 copy

Once updated, the new logo will be displayed (the white background was removed and the type face was changed).

Screen Shot 2014-01-03 at 18.55.18

The Photoshop CC 14.2 update includes a Smart Object search within the layers panel (marked Red below), that can be used to find Smart Objects, Broken links, Content that needs updating etc.

Screen Shot 2014-01-03 at 18.54.52 copy



2 Responses to Photoshop CC 14.2 update – Linked Smart Objects

  1. Steve says:

    This is absolutely BRILLIANT, I’ve been waiting for this for so long!

    I’m wondering if you can help me out with an issue I ran into:
    I have a set a linked Photoshop files with smart objects in them that are working great just like yours, they are all in one folder. But when I go and make a copy of that entire folder to use these linked files elsewhere for another project…the linked smart objects keep trying to find the links from the original directory, and not in it’s new local directory.
    Perhaps there is a way of “collecting” the files, sort of like After Effects?

    Thank you!

  2. Steve says: