How to handle complex User Interfaces in Photoshop Layer Comps?

TL;DR – How does one create a complex User Interface in Photoshop in a way that Photoshop doesn’t slow down to a crawl?

I create a lot of complex User Interface scenarios with Photoshop and routinely get to 10-20 layer comps and hundreds (thousands) of layers.

For example:

  1. Layer Comp 1 has a list of items with checkboxes. There is a filter
    across the top (Aging Accounts that are less than 30 days old, more
    than 30 but less than 60 …). There are drop-downs which lets users add x to y;
    merge x; delete x; and icons which display different information
    depending upon the above mentioned filter.

  2. Layer Comp 2 has a drill-down (user selected on one of the items and
    gets a sub-item and a new set of checkboxes are displayed.

  3. Layer Comp 3. User selects drill-down line (checkbox selected) and goes to drop-down. (Drop-down revealed and selection highlighted)

  4. Layer Comp 4: Pop-up is displayed allowing user to ….

By the time you go through several scenarios you have dozens of comps; and dozens of variations.

I use smart objects as much as possible; and organize, group, and label my layers meticulously so finding items is simple. However Photoshop is slowing down tremendously.

My, not so good, solution is to create as many different .psds as is logical. But sometimes (too often) it makes “logical”,”organizational” sense to keep things in one file.

I hesitate flattening layer groups as I update them often as the requirements change (or more accurately stated they become more and more precise).

What is the best solution to this problem (so many layers that Photoshop slows down)?


This approach solved the same problem in my workflow:

Layer comps in Smart Objects

I use linked Smart Clips with nested Layer Comps for every section. For instance, create a Smart Clip for the header section with Layer Comps like home, mouse over, active etc. You can select the required Layer Comp of the linked Smart Clip using the properties panel for every Layer Comp of the main document. That way you can have many states separated in many files with a rather flat main structure.

Sorry, this sounds a bit weird, but I hope this helps in some way.

Additional Info: Adobe Help – Layer comps in Smart Objects

Source : Link , Question Author : Mayo , Answer Author : Mario

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