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About Smart Objects and Layer Comps

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Trevor Gilchrist
About Smart Objects and Layer Comps
on May 5, 2013 at 4:44:36 pm

Hi all.

I've got quite a complex and demanding workflow on the go that I could really use some guidance and suggestions on.

I (like everyone else and his wife) am designing a new app. I'm a UI/UX designer and I'm building the entire thing in Photoshop as the representation of a complete walkthrough.

So, every screen; every button press; every area, layout, every hierarchical state of every part of the app is currently being saved as groups of layers that are then assembled into layer comps. Clicking on each layer comp then replicates the appropriate state.

All well and good. I'm up to about 300 layers and 45 layer comps. It's becoming a logistical nightmare already.

As I settle for a particular, finished layer comp, I save it out as a PNG and bring it into Keynote where the physical semi-interactive walkthrough gets animated. Click on button A and it jumps to the slide showing the PNg saved out that shows what happens after button A has been pressed.

So here, eventually, are my questions:

1. The biggest problem I have is when I need to make a change that affects more than one layer comp — say, it's decided that a new button is needed in the master navigation — immediately all my layer comps show the warning symbol and I have to spend hours adapting each and every layer comp. is there some way I could/should be using smart objects to overcome this, or am I just stuck with it?

2. Does using Smart Objects in anyway reduce PS overhead? I mean, if I have a group that I'm pretty sure isn't going to change and I convert it to a Smart Object, does that 'help' Photoshop (by reducing the number of layers) or does it still have to track the layers IN the smart object as if they were in the top hierarchy and all I'm doing is making even more work for myself?

3. Is there any way to have Layer comps recognize changes to the contents of Smart Objects or can it only see them as a layer?

4. Am I an idiot for attempting all this in this manner? Has anyone else done this and done it better?

FYI I'm working at Retina sizes 2048 x 1536. Everything is pixel perfect, using only shape objects; working to the pixel grid on even numbers/sizes.

Many thanks for ANY suggestions or input.

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