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Huge file size while using smart objects?

May 2, 2012 7:15 AM

I'm laying out some big panels containing smaller images, so I am adding these using 'File>Place'. However, while the empty panel takes up about 70 MB, placing 3MB worth of smaller images makes the file size explode to a whopping 150MB, making it impossible to fill up the entire board. So far, I've seen file sizes of 500 MB, with Photoshop eating up 50GB swap files. Any idea what is going on here?


(I'm using Photoshop CS4 on OS X 10.7.3)

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    May 2, 2012 8:09 AM   in reply to Izak van Langevelde

    Making a Smart Object adds considerable size to a picture.  I opened a 3 mb jpeg as smart object and then used "save as" as a .psd and the image size was 19 mb.


    So there is no free lunch.

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    May 2, 2012 8:16 AM   in reply to Izak van Langevelde

    In my experience with a flat image placed as a Smart Object (that is placed at roughly 100% size in a file of equal resolution) you have to roughly expect a size increase of twice the SO’s size (well, actually the compression of the original plays into this heavily, too, and possibly also if the psd file is saved with Maximized Compatibility etc.) – one for the SO proper (again depending on the compression of the source …) and one for the instance in the containing document.

    Plus one time more for every additional instance of the SO.


    So, yeah, using Smart Objects can bloat a file. I personally usually consider the benefits worth the trouble, though.

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    May 2, 2012 8:48 AM   in reply to Izak van Langevelde

    They have no link to an external file (by default, but there is a Panel available that utilizes metadata to store the link information and update placed SOs if so wanted), the placed file is embedded in its entirety in the containing file and the instances exist as Layers.

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    May 2, 2012 9:05 AM   in reply to Izak van Langevelde

    So, if the source is updated, the embedded file will be updated?

    Not by default if by »source« you mean the original, separate file.

    If you open the SO in the layered file, edit and save it all instances will be updated, though.

    Also if you use »Replace Contents« on the SO.

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    May 2, 2012 10:49 PM   in reply to Izak van Langevelde

    If you are familiar with Indesign and Illustrators and how they handle placed images that can lead to expectations that are not met by Photoshop’s Smart Objects.

    But the Smart Object-approach in Photoshop offers other advantages – there is no need to collect the linked images when handing on a file, because they are part of the document.


    You may want to check out: a_references_tool_to_create_links_to_layers_or_folder_groups

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