I'm using the CS5 suite of Adobe applications.

I'm familiar with the method of copying an object in Illustrator and pasting into Photoshop, thus making a Smart Object that opens in Illustrator. Is there any way to create these "vector" Smart Objects directly from within Photoshop so that I don't have to create dummy shapes in Illustrator first and paste it into Photoshop?

2 Answers 2


For a Smart Object to open in Illustrator for editing, it has to be in an Illustrator file format, such as .AI or .EPS, so they have to be created in AI, then placed in the Photoshop document.

If you only need simple vector shapes, why not just make them in Photoshop with the pen or shape tools? No need to make the Smart Objects at all.

  • Sorry, but that's not completely true. You can place close to everything as smart object in ps. Even (and I just tried that - yea, it makes no real world sense) the file you're just editing in itself. Double (c)licking the layer brings you to the file itself again without the smart object of itself. :)
    – kaiser
    Sep 8, 2011 at 15:18
  • That's true, but the question was about creating an Illustrator SO, which can't be done from within Photoshop. A PS vector object turned into a SO will open in PS, not in AI. Sep 8, 2011 at 22:31
  • In this case: yes. But "such as .AI or .EPS, so they have to be created in AI, then placed in the Photoshop document." is a bit missleading.
    – kaiser
    Sep 8, 2011 at 23:25
  • What did you find misleading? I always try to be as clear as possible, and it seemed necessary to be explicit, since it does apply to .AI or .EPS or any such format that would be manipulated in AI from a Photoshop Smart Object. Is there an exception that I missed? Sep 9, 2011 at 0:01
  • No, you're right. What's strange is the Q itself, as it's - to me - not clear what's the goal could be. Even after re-reading my own A & the OPs comment, I'm still not sure if I really understand what's the Q here.
    – kaiser
    Sep 9, 2011 at 0:42

There are dozens of reasons - including that AI simply has a better pen tool and other related tools for vectors - that should bring you back to do vectors in AI and pixels in PS. I don't want to list all of those (mainly technical) reasons. The best reason is simple: Workflow. You got smart objects that are scaleable without loss of resolution. Why not use them?

  • Yes, I agree. That being the reason I'd love to be able to just create those on the fly in PS, double click them and have it immediately open in Illustrator. Shame that that's not possible, really.
    – Mike
    Sep 8, 2011 at 12:15
  • Oh, it's possible. You have to write a script for that or use some automated protocoll. But opening in Illustrator? Why and what for? It's a sprite. You seem to have something wrong(?) in your workflow or didn't explain too well what you're trying to acchieve. Please update your Q with more detail and maybe some example.
    – kaiser
    Sep 8, 2011 at 12:58

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