I'm working with non-destructive layers in PS CC. I have a stack of three layers where each layer outputs to the next one in the stack (1st layer outputs to the 2nd which outputs to the 3rd).

I'd like to have my workspace divided into three views of that document, only with each view displaying a different combination of layers active. To be clearer, here's an example : Multiple layer dynamic editing

Here I'm looking to convert an image to pure black and white, working in three stages : original, intermediary color reduction with Posterize, final result with Threshold. I'd like my workspace to display those three stages at the same time and have them update live, so that when I modify the original, the other views follow. The objective being to be able to fine-tune more easily.

I'm aware I could wrangle this through Smart Objects, but I find it clumsy and unpractical. I often work with more than 2 filters, so the idea of having a number of objects embedded, which I'd need to go and save in turn so that the final result may update, seems like a bit of a headache and not very dynamic. I'm looking for something a little more viable.

Does anyone know of any way to accomplish this ? I couldn't find much searching here and on Google. Thanks !

1 Answer 1


You can not do this with Photoshop, at least not elegantly. You may however want to work in a node (not layer) based graphics application instead (since they have no layers they need a more flexible way to monitor pipeline of images).

You can cheat though by copying same layer across many tiles and then mask them off certain layers. But no Photoshop has no ability to show different stages of layers.

  • Alright, thanks for your advice. I'm not sure I understand what you're saying about copying the layers on tiles. If I copy a layer across different tiles, it's not going to be the same layer, is it ? Which means that it wouldn't update in time with the others ?
    – user112823
    Jan 20, 2018 at 15:23
  • 1
    @Pierre-OlivierFons you can mask sections off from adjustment layers.
    – joojaa
    Jan 20, 2018 at 15:26

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