Is it possible in Adobe Photoshop, via Adjustment Layers or Scripting or some other means, to enable an alternate processed view of the working document?

Ideally some kind of two-up view, where the alternate view is visible alongside the main document and updates in realtime. But a keypress/buttonclick to toggle between views would work too.

To give an example, say my working file is a 16x16 RGB icon. I want to edit the file at 16x16 in RGB, but I want a quick preview available of how it would look at 64x64, grayscaled and thresholded, with some 64x64 mask applied to it.

If it was simply converting to grayscale and thresholding, I could use adjustment layers and toggle their visibility on/off to get my preview. It's the upsizing and applying a mask at that size, which I don't know how to do.

Is it possible somehow, perhaps with scripting?

  • Try using Layer Comps. You can toggle Layer visibilities.
    – LeoNas
    Jan 28 '18 at 3:08

Window > Arrange > New Window For [document tile]

The views for each window stay set as you put them. So you can set one window to be a zoomed out view and the other to be zoomed in. Any change in either window is reflected in both windows.

  • that handles zoom, yeah... but i want to apply grayscale+threshold+mask to the zoomed version... and the mask is higher resolution than the source file (it's at the zoom resolution)
    – pixelcat
    Jan 27 '18 at 9:10

Use Smart Objects

  • Create your 16x16 document and add whatever layers you need.

  • Select all layers, right-click and select Convert To Smart Object.

  • Resize the document to 64x64 pixels.

  • Now double-click the Smart Object, and it will open as a .psb in its own window.

  • Now select Window > Arrange > 2-up Vertical to see the original 16x16 document alongside the upscaled 64x64 version.

  • Now you can preview and edit both versions.

    NOTE: Every time you make changes to the nested Smart Object, you need to save it to update the "mother" document.

This technique is not limited to scaling. Another good use is when you need to make a grayscale or CMYK image from an RGB image. Then you could nest the RGB image inside the grayscale/CMYK image to keep everything editable.

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