I am designing a very large concept layout for a Single Page Application.

I only have CS5, so I don't have access to the concept of linked smart objects, which is unfortunate as this would save my life.

I am keeping a lot of the design in one large .psd file, as many components are re-usable and if I want to change something, I don't want to open 400 files and change each one.


This file is starting to get very big and so very slow. I am learning about smart objects to see if this will help solve my problem:

Does saving a large layer group as a smart object speed up the general render and handling time? In other words, does Photoshop start unloading some of the payload when my page modules are represented as smart objects?

Supposing I had 10 layer groups with 80 layers in each, would making each of those 10 layer groups a smart object speed anything up, or is there no point?

2 Answers 2


Converting groups of layers to Smart Objects does improve rendering performance in Photoshop. Once the Smart Object is generated, Photoshop will use the flat bitmap of the group as source for any operation. Therefore, moving objects or showing and hiding is significantly faster.

  • Thanks for the direct data. I downloaded a script that easily "undoes" smart objects so I can do it by hotkey, and now having my groups compressed into these is definitely making the page nav faster.
    – dthree
    Commented Dec 31, 2014 at 18:54

Is it less resource intensive, depends. Its less resource intensive in that the data is cached. But then your using more memory, ultimately the document can be on disk so its not necessarily burdening your computer. But in a sense its a trade of between more memory used versus rendering speed.

The impact on my computer is minimal tough. But maybe that is because I have lots of memory to spare (I have 64 Gigs). Your situation actually sounds like your paging stuff on disk.

  • Thanks for the data. I have a decent amount of RAM so haven't degraded to disk yet - it more seems like the main suffering is in the page redraw, or moving large groups of objects.
    – dthree
    Commented Dec 31, 2014 at 18:55
  • @dc2 Sure but theres no reason why adobe couldn't cache groups of layers they just dont.
    – joojaa
    Commented Dec 31, 2014 at 19:42

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.