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Thread started 24 Aug 2009 (Monday) 14:57
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Is there any way to "external reference" images in Photoshop?

 
C2S
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Aug 24, 2009 14:57 |  #1

Hello all,

Simply put, I'm wondering if the following is possible to do:

For example...
1) Have images A, B and C somewhere on the computer
2) Image A contains a black background
3) Images B and C contain photos of two persons with backgrounds removed
4) You open images B and C, set image A as the background to both, while somehow linking it to the actual file of image A
5) You later open image A and slightly brighten it up to, say, dark gray
6) You then open images B and C, and find out that the backgrounds in those images have changed to dark gray as well.

And that's what you were after.

Is this possible? I spent a short while looking for "external reference" or a similar option, but couldn't find anything. There was "Place"-command in the file menu, which added the selected image file as a layer (and apparently as a smart object at that), but it was in no way linked to the actual file I had chosen in the Place-dialog - that is, if I opened and edited the image I chose, the changes wouldn't automatically carry over to the other file, when opened.

So if you've understood what I'm trying to do here, do you know if something like this is even possible in Photoshop CS2?


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Faolan
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Aug 24, 2009 15:59 |  #2

No Photoshop version has this, it's a feature that was recently talked about on John Nack's blog but nothing around at the moment.

You may want to consider Smart Objects but I can't remember if CS 2 has this I think it does. It's similar but doesn't refer to external images but rather an internal .PSB file which is then preserved. This means you can apply an effect ,or a filter in later editions, and then change the smart object later (or the filters on the fly) with no loss of quality.


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C2S
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Aug 24, 2009 16:08 |  #3

Shame to hear that, but thanks for the reply. I guess what you suggested won't be very similar to what I described, but I'll take a look - maybe it will be a viable alternative approach, in some way...

EDIT:

Well I just gave it a try, and actually the "replace content"-feature in smart objects can do a very similar job reasonably quick, when combined with a custom action bound to a shortcut key. Again, thanks for the suggestion.


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PixelMagic
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Aug 24, 2009 16:26 |  #4

Here's how I would do it....perhaps someone else will come up with a more elegant solution.

1. Open image B. Double-click on the background layer to convert it to a regular layer.
2. Use the File>Open as Smart Object to open image A in a separate window.
3. Use the Move tool to drag Image A into Image B.
4. Rearrange the layer stack to put Image B above Image A.

Now whenever you click the Smart Object icon for layer (image) A; it will open the actual file and you can make edits there. Those edits will then be reflected in Layer (image) A.


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kirkt
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Aug 24, 2009 16:39 |  #5

You can try using Variables and Data Driven Graphics - here is a short tutorial I cobbled together:

https://photography-on-the.net …php?p=8174357#p​ost8174357

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C2S
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Aug 24, 2009 17:21 |  #6

I'll definitely save a copy of that thread for the future, but at the moment I'm too tired to focus on it. :)

Meanwhile, I'll use my simplistic action approach: first edit the background image, then mass open the images requiring a background update, and then repeatedly ram the shortcut key of the action, since it includes:

1) The actual swapping of the background,
2) Saving the file,
3) Closing the current document window, thus activating the next document window.

So currently I don't have very complex requirements (just a bit repetitive), but if/when I do, I'll be sure to read through your tutorial more in depth, as it seemed interesting and potentially very, very useful.


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Is there any way to "external reference" images in Photoshop?
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