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I shoot with Sony A7r4 and I use sections from multiple photos to stitch together a perfect shot. I work with 16 bit layers only and typically my PSD files reach the size of 10GB+. My shots have appeared on billboards so I will need to retain every bit of quality possible.

Once a file becomes too big, saving takes a long time so my strategy so far is to break a workflow into multiple files.

For example: Let say I have a photo (let's call it base) that involves 5 operations A, B, C, D, E

v1.psd will be the base image + operation A. 
v2.psd will be the output from performing merged visible in v1.psd + operation B
v3.psd will be the output from performing merged visible in v2.psd + operation C  
v4.psd will be the output from performing merged visible in v3.psd + operation D
v5.psd will be the output from performing merged visible in v4.psd + operation E

The merged visible of v5.psd will become the final output.

The only issue with this is that if I make a change in v1.psd, I will have to propagate the changes by merging visible in v1, copying that to v2, merging visible in v2, copying that in v3 etc etc.

It would save me a lot of time if it is possible to create a live layer in PS based on another PSD file. What this means is that if the imported file is modified, the corresponding layer will automatically update. If this is possible, I wouldn't have to merge visible multiple times for every file downstream from the change I made.

Does such functionality exist?

How do you deal with really large files?

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    File > Place Linked... – Scott May 30 at 8:59
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    Hi. Welcome to GDSE. Usually billboards do not need to be so high resolution. Speak to your print provider, they should be able to advise you on what resolution is best. See this possible duplicate question What resolution should a large format artwork for print be? – Billy Kerr May 30 at 9:51
  • Hard to tell what would be the best workflow in your case without knowing what kind of "operations" you perform. Sounds like you are making multiple copies of the same image. Isn't it possible to just use adjustment layers with masks or have duplicates of the same smart object with different filters? – Wolff May 30 at 10:41
  • You could merge the files in InDesign, by "linkin" the original .psd files. In this way you'll be able to work on the individual files, and will also have them "composed/combined" in indesign. – Adriano Jun 2 at 4:52

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