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)
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.
So, if I understand this correctly, Smart Objects are not Compact Objects: they create a link between source file and its occurrence in the destination file, facilitating easy editing and updating. They do not reduce the overall disk space, in comparison with Stupid Copies?
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.
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.
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.
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