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Changing multiple duplicated layers at once


Rivash187

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Hi Guys

I use photoshop to draw fire detection system drawings... I have designed a big project with multiple floor plans all having HEAT detectors and now the scope of work has changed to SMOKE detectors.
So basically all the HEAT detector symbols on my drawing I need to change to SMOKE detector symbols. There are around 800 symbols on different drawings. Can someone tell me how I can change multiple layers at once.

example1.jpg
 

polarwoc

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Hi @Rivash187
Welcome to PhotoshopGurus.

Can someone tell me how I can change multiple layers at once.
Here, I would like to know about the organisation of layers inside the Photoshop file. Are individual elements grouped for better management? Do you have all of those Heat Detector symbols duplicated and numbered within a group? Or, do you have all the Heat detector symbols arranged on one layer with transparency?
 

polarwoc

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I am afraid in that case, your best bet is to
1) Group all the Heat Detector symbols (Layer 5 clones) into a folder.
2) Make a new Group ABOVE the Heat Detector Group
3) Create many Smoke Detector images and drop each one over the Heat Detector images manually until all images are superimposed
4) Disable the Heat Detector Group.

That way, you would be able to turn on/off the Smoke Detector Group when you need to.
 

Rivash187

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that means manually placing the new symbols on the drawing... thats what im trying to avoid by looking for a replace layer with new layer?
 

JeffK

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I think what you're looking for is a "find-and-replace" function in Photoshop. A common function in programs like MS Word but not in PS.
Although you can replace objects in smart layers, in your case you'd still have to do it one-at-a-time. I can't find what might be a batch function to do that.
Possibly someone else can come up with a labor saving solution...
- Jeff
 

hawkeye

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I gave this some thought and the best solution I can think of is make a circle and fill with white, then stroke it with red. Add the text in red, rasterize and combine the two layers. Transform the resulting image into the correct size to cover the existing SD circles. Select the new "HD Circle", and paste into a new layer on top. Alt drag with the selection tool to make as HD Circles as you need covering up the old SD Circles. Still time consuming but the fastest way I can think of doing it.
I made a short video to demonstrate, obviously I made no attempt to be precise or match the font, etc.
 

IamSam

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Can someone tell me how I can change multiple layers at once.
I agree with @polarwoc on both accounts, you have a limited option and you should use smart objects.

thats what im trying to avoid by looking for a replace layer with new layer?
This can easily be done using smart objects.

My suggestion is to do what @hawkeye stated here.......
make a circle and fill with white, then stroke it with red. Add the text in red,
Stop here.

And then use "synched" SO layers in the following manner....
Convert the two layers created above into a "smart object". Name this layer "Original".
Copy the original SO layer and move into position.
Repeat this process until you have replaced all of the symbols. (you can Alt/Opt + drag and drop......each one will create it's own layer)
Place all of duplicated SO layers into a group.
In the future you can easily change all of the symbols by editing the original SO layer (Or any of the copies for that matter!) which will open as a PSB file.
You can even add a new symbol to the SO layer (PSB file) to replace them all with!

Unfortunately, you may have to chalk this one up to a learning experience.

It actually goes extremely fast!!!
Screen Shot 2021-03-10 at 1.10.46 PM.png
Screen Shot 2021-03-10 at 1.10.51 PM.png
 

IamSam

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Also, in order to save time, you can copy an entire group of duplicated SO's and move these into position.

Group 1
Screen Shot 2021-03-10 at 1.37.29 PM.png

Group 2 slightly moved for demo.
Screen Shot 2021-03-10 at 1.37.42 PM.png
Screen Shot 2021-03-10 at 1.37.51 PM.png

All edited in a matter of seconds.
Screen Shot 2021-03-10 at 1.39.45 PM.png
Screen Shot 2021-03-10 at 1.43.40 PM.png

If you start off using "linked" SO's, you can do this across multiple documents and (Adobe) platforms.
 

JeffK

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@IamSam - I'm trying to follow this and also look into linked smart objects. I think in the OPs case, he has a current document filled with HD symbols that he needs to change to SD symbols. He would still have to replace each HD symbol individually? Even with smart objects?
- Jeff
 

IamSam

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He would still have to replace each HD symbol individually? Even with smart objects?
Yes.............I don't know of another option. It really would not take that long. It's a technique he needs to learn for future projects. He needs to do this for any repetitive symbols that may be used in a project.

All of these symbols need to be created as synced (or possibly linked) SO's so that they are immediately and incredibly easy to edit!
Screen Shot 2021-03-10 at 4.10.51 PM.png

Remember.........linked SO's and synced SO's are different.
 

thebestcpu

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Hi @Rivash187
There is a way to do this manually as shown above, yet there are also is a semi-automatic way to do this, and if one created a pretty simple script, it could be automated (I am pretty sure)

Yet first, to reiterate, you can select and replace pixel Layer with another pixel Layer yet this will not provide the desired result. When you create a pixel layer with your individual symbol, you also move that symbol to a specific location. This positional information to the first degree is lost. The specific X, Y location of your symbol is not embedded with the Layer (whereas it can be with shapes and Smart Objects)

So if you replaced all the Layers at once with the Smoke Detector symbol, all you would get is a bunch of Layers each with the Smoke Detector symbol yet all it the exact same position where they would all need to be manually moved --- bummer.

The above posts point out how to replace each and every single Heat Detector Layer with a Smoke Detector Layer either as pixels or a linked embedded Smart Object (preferred) What I mention below is how to do the positioning with some Photoshop help.

1) Save your Smoke Detector Image as its own separate file already trimmed down to the exact size needed. Lets call it SD.jpeg (or whatever format you want)
2) Make sure in your photoshop Preferences that automatic resizing when placing is checked on
3) This approach also assumes one symbol on each Layer that only has transparency for the rest of the pixel Layer
4) One at a time select a Layer with the HD symbol and do the following
- Layers > New > Frame from Layers (you can accept the defaults). This command is also available if you right click the Layer
- then use the Command File > Place Linked and choose the same size SD symbol file you already used

Step number three automatically positions where the Linked Embedded File should go and resizes to fit inside the Frame
- Repeat the above for all of the Layers with the HD symbol.

The above can be automated with a script to search all of your Layers for a Layer name that has e.g. "Layer 5" in the name to perform these steps yet I suspect that it may be more work to create the script unless you have a ton of the HD symbols across many many files.

Just another path to consider
John Wheeler
 

hawkeye

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The user would be better off using Illustrator for this type of work. In Illustrator you would create a symbol for the smoke detectors. If required you can change all instances of the symbol by simply editing the main symbol.
 

JeffK

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@IamSam - All above is understood. Never worked with smart objects that heavily but now get the idea of linking objects for updating documents.

For this particular instance,

1615480918961.png

Since the OP has all the SD symbols on separate layers, couldn't the OP also do the following:
- Create new symbol (SD) as a separate document and saved in the size the OP needs
- For all the layers already created (HDs), convert those layers to smart objects;
- Then go to Layer - Smart Objects - Replace Contents

You'd still have to go one-by-one but only need a single new image created.

Here's one that I tried (different symbols) - I had 4 flame symbols as separate SOs, created 1 snow symbol separate document, then ran thru above steps to edit the layer:

1615480979375.png

Just trying to wrap my head around all the options...

- Jeff
 

IamSam

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- Create new symbol (SD) as a separate document and saved in the size the OP needs
- For all the layers already created (HDs), convert those layers to smart objects;
- Then go to Layer - Smart Objects - Replace Contents
Unless I'm misunderstanding you, this will not work. I'm not certain that I made it clear that synced or linked SO's only work if they are together. You can't convert multiple layers into smart objects and have them work together. Each converted layer would be it's own free standing SO. SO's must be associated by syncing or linking.

The only way this works is if he converts the newly created document into a SO and duplicates it. Then replaces all the other HD/SD symbols with the duplicates. Please forgive me if this is what you're trying to say!!!!


Converting the layers that are already created HD's will only make them a smart object file that's not synced or linked to any other files. Going to layer and edit contents will only open the PSB file containing the already created HD's and allow you to edit them. You would have to edit all of them within the SO. So there's really no reason to convert them into a SO.

Here's one that I tried (different symbols) - I had 4 flame symbols as separate SOs, created 1 snow symbol separate document, then ran thru above steps to edit the layer:
Yes, but you only edited one of the four. The idea is to be able to edit all of the flame symbols with one simple edit of the SO.

Here is a Twitter symbol..........one layer.
Screen Shot 2021-03-11 at 9.08.02 PM.png
Screen Shot 2021-03-11 at 9.07.25 PM.png

Now I've converted that one Twitter Symbol layer to a SO.
I will duplicate that original and now converted SO layer into four copies.
Each of these copies are synced to the same SO which is the original Twitter Symbol layer.
Screen Shot 2021-03-11 at 9.11.56 PM.png
Screen Shot 2021-03-11 at 9.12.18 PM.png

Now I will double click on the original SO..........or any of the synced copies and edit the color, then save the changes.
This now changes the color of all the synced copies.
Screen Shot 2021-03-11 at 9.14.15 PM.png
Screen Shot 2021-03-11 at 9.17.28 PM.png

If I group them, and duplicate the group, I can now edit all the copies contained within the groups by editing the original Twitter Symbol layer SO.
Screen Shot 2021-03-11 at 9.21.34 PM.png
Screen Shot 2021-03-11 at 9.23.45 PM.png
Screen Shot 2021-03-11 at 9.24.34 PM.png
 

IamSam

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Also remember that each copy layer of synced SO's can be transformed in and of it self.
Screen Shot 2021-03-12 at 7.59.30 AM.png

But the the content of the SO of the synced copies can still be edited...
Screen Shot 2021-03-12 at 8.02.06 AM.png

Even if I edit how the symbol appears!!
Screen Shot 2021-03-12 at 8.13.12 AM.png

Also to expand on what hawkeye stated, that if a file (such as the symbol) is created in Illustrator and embedded as a linked smart object in several Ps documents. Any of the linked smart objects which are double clicked, the original Ai file will open for editing in Ai. Any saved edits in Ai will also be seen in any of the associated (embedded) SO's in the Ps documents. This is how linked and embedded SO's work across Adobe platforms.
 

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