I am working on a project in which I am designing a top-down tile map (think about the GameBoy world of Pokémon for instance). In my main file I am using many “sections”, for instance part of the map is a forest: each tile in this section is a copy of a forest-tile, or I have a house-tile that is placed in different locations on the map.
The thing is, that these tiles are based on custom PSD files. So each tile is a PDF file, and the world map contains copies of these tiles. To improve my workflow, I’m looking for a way to make the world map behave as a template with containers. E.g. it would be useful to say that a defined shape is actually a PSD file named forest.psd. So each time I change something in the forest.psd file, my world.psd gets updated with the new contents of the forest.psd file.
I have never seen or heard anything like this, but it seems like such a useful feature! For instance, let’s say you are making a poser (poster.psd) and you want a logo in there (logo.psd) you would just be able to define a layer with a certain size and say
source:logo.psd, which would then fill that layer in these dimensions. In this latter example it might not be all that necessary, but especially when using a PSD file as a source multiple times (as is the case in my tile example) this would allow designers (and especially teams of designers!) to work so much more productively.
Tl;dr: is it possible to define a “section” (layer) in a file, which would fetch the contents of another file? A way to embed a PSD file in another.
I should’ve searched better before typing such a long post…
This is indeed possible in Photoshop CC! You can link files in Photoshop. See this great video tutorial on the Photoshop website.
Do note that there’s a difference between linking and embedding a file. It’s explained in the first part of the video:
When you embed an image into Photshop into a new layer, you’re saying
to Photoshop “Give me a copy of it, and you know what? When you’re
done; throw the original away, I don’t need it any more!” When you
link, you are saying “Keep an eye on the original for me, and if
anybody changes the original, I want to see these changes reflected in
this document. (Or documents!)
Basically, to import (link to) a PS file in your current file, go to
File > Place Linked...