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Files as Symbols/Smart Objects?

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If you use files as symbols, do you need symbols? It seems like Photoshop basically treats symbols as files, but neglects to let the user know that's what's going on "under the hood", so why not just be upfront about it, and add some instancing abilities to embedded documents.

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Seriously, please consider this approach.

 

I won't often give kudos to Adobe (nothing personal, they just most things wrong), but the way Pre-Comps work in AE is masterful.

 

And, conversely, once you understand this component of using a file as a symbol, and have the ability to instance them with their own transforms, effects, blend modes etc... it's fantastic. Addictive. 

 

If you were to provide the ability to save out a "pre-comp" of layers and their content, to a cropping, clipping or masking that defines their size, and then immediately import that file as an instance of the file, you've got full symbol functionality, and then some.

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For further reading on the flexibility of this approach, Xref "symbols" in 3ds Max:

 

http://knowledge.autodesk.com/support/3ds-max/learn-explore/caas/CloudHelp/cloudhelp/2015/ENU/3DSMax/files/GUID-F9CE15BD-FD57-4671-8F3A-8E742B766555-htm.html

 

Please, I'm BEGGING you to more deeply consider this approach. 

 

The end benefit to your users will be enormous.

 

The saving in programming time and effort, and UI effort will also be significant.

 

And this is what a symbol really is, and its an approach that works across all your intended products, and then more.

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