Is there a way to link a smart object to a specific single layer of the linked file?

What I want to do is this:

  • have the same smart object multiplied
  • each copy of the smart object to be linked to a specific layer in the linked file
  • dump the images in the linked file
  • adjust setting for each smart object (lighting, shadows, reflections, etc)
  • and have photoshop save all smart onjects (which are nested in groups, named accordingly) through Export -> Image Assets

Thank you.


I have many mockups and hundreds of images organized in collections.

I want to:

  • create a smart object with a "collection" (a set of approx 20 images) that needs to be inserted in the mockup
  • use the mockup as a background image
  • create a group around the smart object plus additional layers for settings
  • make the group show only the first layer of the smart object
  • duplicate the group and "relink it" to the second layer of the same smart object etc
  • adjust settings for each group
  • export as image assets.

Until now I:

  • made the mockup
  • load the set of images into the SO and scaled, moved, applied a ICC profile to the Smart Object, etc
  • made visible a layer with an image from the SO
  • switch to the mockup tab
  • adjust settings
  • export image (mockup + SO overlay)
  • repeat

I don't use a script to automatically cycle through the SO layers because I need to adjust the setting for each image of the collection.

A link to the site that uses the mockups and collections enter link description here.

Again, thanks.

  • The description didn't make it any clearer to me. My head is just about ready to explode trying to figure it out. SO links to an entire file, but what you want is for the Linked SO to target a specific layer, rather than the entire file? I don't know what that would achieve... - It's further complicated by the description where you say you want to dump the images in the linked file... but if you'd target a single layer in a file, then there would be a single layer to dump, not multiple images.
    – Joonas
    Jan 17, 2022 at 10:58
  • I think I'd personally need images to understand it. Perhaps images of the closest you can get and a description of why it's not doing what you want (or what you'd want to happen).
    – Joonas
    Jan 17, 2022 at 11:04
  • Sorry about the confusion and headache. I'm working on an edit to explain better. Jan 17, 2022 at 11:22
  • Not sure I fully understand the question even after the edit, it seems very complex, but a cursory glance suggests perhaps that Smart Objects might not the way to go for this kind of automation. Photoshop has data driven graphics functionality. It's a bit like mailmerge used in word processors, but for graphics. You might be better using that.
    – Billy Kerr
    Jan 17, 2022 at 12:04
  • @Joonas Despite the rough description, you understood exactly what I wanted. The SO has a different ICC profile than the mockup, and I also need it for basic editing to the "dumped" images: scale, move, repeat, rotate, etc. Thanks. Jan 17, 2022 at 12:18


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