Ok, I've been looking around for a couple hours now and can't seem to find what I'm looking for, but maybe I'm searching for the wrong things.
In any case I'd appreciate any help I can get with this!
I'm trying to make some cards for a game prototype that have a lot of iconography on them but that iconography is very specific, and is laid out on a grid. In each space on the grid (which is 12 spaces), there will may or may not be an icon, which will have several elements that are similar, or possibly entirely similar to other spaces on the grid. I've included a picture below, showing all the layers visible.
As you can see, each space on the grid has for potential arrows coming out of it, and it could also be 1 of 3 colors and be 1-6 in value (dice sides), not to mention the lock and other possible symbols. I will be creating around 100 unique cards, so naturally my first idea was layer comps or data set, but I will be changing the values of these cards as we change the game, so data set makes sense, but since there are so many layers the width of the data set is well over 100 columns and is difficult to work with.
Since each of the 12 spaces on the grid has the exact same layers, I was wondering if anyone has any clever method (or can invent one!) for somehow reducing this process to a point where I can simply use one data set for the icon itself, and then build the cards by specifying the location of that icon. rather than having a million layers and columns. Any combination of InDesign and Photoshop is fine, I'm quite experienced in both.
This screams out at me as being a vector job, so why Photoshop (apart from having variable data)?
I think that Illustrator or InDesign would serve you better. Both have variable data (data driven graphics) and scripting support, while Illustrator also has (often rudimentary) actions.
Unfortunately I am not understanding the exact requirements to offer any helpful advise how to automate this project at this point. Can you provide images of say 3 different card layouts or a file sharing link to a low resolution layered file so that the forum can better understand the build/requirements.