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Thread started 10 Feb 2009 (Tuesday) 08:13
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Question about Smart Objects (PS CS2)

 
C2S
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Feb 10, 2009 08:13 |  #1

Hey all,

Some of my post-processed images contain identical layers, the only differences being their blend modes, blend opacities, and the possible adjustment layers targeted to them. This got me thinking if I could save some disk space using the "smart objects"-feature. (since I always save my recent files with full layer information without flattening the image, for possible future uses)

If I've understood correctly: when you create a smart object out of a normal layer and duplicate it, the duplicates aren't independent since they change together with each edit made to one of them. (excluding layer blending options and adjustment layers, of course) Apparently they can also be transformed losslessly multiple times, but let's not get into that for now.

So if I create smart object out of a layer and then duplicate it, say, 5 times, the memory usage should be only 1/5 compared to duplicating regular non-smart layers - is this correct? After all, all five change together when edited, which would indicate that there's only one copy in the memory and the other four are instances of that copy.

When such file is saved on disk though, the file size doesn't decrease - instead, converting identical layers into instanced smart objects increases the file size.

I was hoping to shave off about 100-150 MB of my 600 MB (still editable) image files, but apparently that doesn't seem to be possible with the "smart objects"-feature. Is that correct or is there something I should still try?

Another thing that crossed my mind is that perhaps the LZW / layer compression options of TIF-files are already capable of optimizing the file size by finding layer similarities and attempting to merge them into such instances, in which case my file was already optimized for what I was attempting to do manually. But I could be wrong, since I don't know exactly what the compression options are capable of. I'll do some reading about those meanwhile.

Hmm, any thoughts?


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Damo77
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Feb 10, 2009 16:17 |  #2

I think you've misinterpreted Smart Objects.

I think they're largely bunkum. Forget about them.


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Peano
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Feb 10, 2009 17:40 |  #3

C2S wrote in post #7294484 (external link)
Hey all,

Some of my post-processed images contain identical layers, the only differences being their blend modes, blend opacities, and the possible adjustment layers targeted to them. This got me thinking if I could save some disk space using the "smart objects"-feature.

Don't forget about smart objects. They're very useful for some purposes, but they won't help you here. You can, however, get the effect of those various blend modes without duplicating the image layer. Use "null" adjustment layers instead.

Example: Open an image, then open a levels adjustment layer and close the dialog box without making any adjustments. Change blend mode to screen. You'll get exactly the same effect as duplicating the image and changing that layer to screen mode.

This works for other blend modes as well -- multiply, soft light, overlay, etc. -- and it doesn't increase file size. You can also adjust layer opacity and use the layer mask to apply these effects selectively.


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Bobster
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Feb 10, 2009 18:06 |  #4

even though you are using a Smart Object, its information is still stored within the PSD, although when you alter it, a Temp file is created until the working file is closed

Damo77 wrote in post #7297903 (external link)
I think they're largely bunkum. Forget about them.

but doesn't mean they don't have their uses! ;)


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Damo77
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Feb 10, 2009 18:10 |  #5

I view Smart Objects the same way I view Adobe RGB - advantageous in the right circumstances and when used correctly; dangerous to noobs.


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C2S
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Feb 10, 2009 19:43 |  #6

You can, however, get the effect of those various blend modes without duplicating the image layer. Use "null" adjustment layers instead.

Good idea, this worked great. There was only a very slight difference when compared to an actual duplicated layer, which I assume was caused by a rounding error by Photoshop since I was still working on an unflattened document. Of course, the flattened end result looks identical when done either way, but now I was able to reduce the filesize by 16%. Thanks! :)

As for smart objects, I'll get back to them when I actually need the lossless resizing or distortion, for example.


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Peano
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Feb 10, 2009 20:27 |  #7

C2S wrote in post #7299367 (external link)
Good idea, this worked great. There was only a very slight difference when compared to an actual duplicated layer,

Hmmm ... that's odd. I tried it with an image that showed a document size of 22.8M/31.3M. I duplicated the layer and had a document size of 22.8M/54.1M. If I add a null adjustment layer instead, the size remains 22.8M/31.3M. No measurable increase. This is without any merging or flattening.


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lnterestlng
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Feb 10, 2009 23:55 |  #8

You will only get an increase in file size if you alter the pixels i THINK. A duplicate layer command still uses the original pixel info a second time. No need to add it again in the saved file.

Just a theory




  
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C2S
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Feb 11, 2009 03:08 |  #9

Hmmm ... that's odd. I tried it with an image that showed a document size of 22.8M/31.3M.

Heh, I wasn't talking about the document size... it was a visual difference. When working in Photoshop, you don't see the full quality composite of your image until you flatten all layers, which I guess explains the slight difference. But it's not significant enough to bother me at all. The document size information is working correctly and shows exactly what you described.


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Question about Smart Objects (PS CS2)
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