Aug 04, 2016

How to Use Libraries in Photoshop

How to Use Libraries in Photoshop CC

For those of you not currently using Libraries in Photoshop, this is a MUST SEE episode. Learn how to browse stock images, create character Styles, sync colors and collaborate with people around the globe — all within Photoshop.

Search Adobe Stock within Photoshop

Adobe Stock offers thousands of images, video, and vector illustrations available at a reasonable licensing rate. You can use the images as part of a design or Composite Photo, or save them as-is.

Click on the search bar in the ‘Libraries’ panel to search adobe stock. You can Filter your results to show photos, illustrations, vectors and videos. Once you find the right stock asset, click on the cloud icon to save a preview in your library. Once the preview is synced to the library, you can drag it into any document.

You will be working with a lower-resolution watermarked file, which is usually good enough to figure out if it is the right stock asset for you. Once you decide on the asset, right-click on the thumbnail in the library and go to ‘license image’. The watermarked preview will be replaced with the full-resolution non-watermarked version instantly!

Sync Colors for Marketing and Branding

There are many cases when you want to work with consistent colors from one document to another. You can now save color swatches to libraries, making them available for later use.

Use the Eyedropper Tool to select a foreground Color, then select the ‘Add Foreground Color’ button at the bottom of the Libraries panel. You can rename the color by double-clicking on the original name.

Saving Colors in a Library will help maintain a consistent brand identity when working with new assets.

Create Character Styles

Most brands follow strict guidelines when it comes to Colors and typefaces. To maintain consistency, you can add character Styles to a Library by clicking on the “Add Character Style’ button on the bottom of the Libraries Screen.

To use the character styles, simply type your message using the Type Tool, then select the type layer and choose the character Style from the Libraries panel. It will automatically change the existing type to match the character style defined in the library.

Add Images and Groups to Libraries

You can add layers, images, groups and entire PSD documents to a library by clicking on the layer or groups of layers and pressing the “Add Graphic” icon at the bottom of the Library panel.

To work on the assets, right-click on the icon and go to ‘Edit’. From here you can drag the asset into other documents or edit it in the same window.

Share and Collaborate

Once you have filled your library with all the assets to create an image, you can share it with clients or other artists quickly.

If you are working on a project involving multiple people, click on the ‘Collaborate’ button within the ‘Libraries’ menu. This will take you to Adobe’s website and open a prompt asking you to invite other people to work on the document. Simply add their email address and they will receive a link to work on the files in the library.

To share a library with a client, click on the “Share Link’ button. The recipient will be able to view the library’s assets, but they won’t be able to edit. This is useful for proofing a design.

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    Kris Spelce

    Very neat tip, thanks! I work at an ad firm and I’m working on files all the time that have libraries connected to them, and I always closed that window immediately, now I can actually use it!

  • user image

    You helped me out even more Aaron working with libraries…love watching your videos. Now, can you save your libraries to your harddrive or external drive and access them; similar to saving your brushes/actions….etc?….sometimes you may not have access to the internet if you are working in REALLY remote areas…..

  • user image

    Great tut… what is the ‘graphics tablet’ that you use?
    …can you ‘transfer’ (ownership) of a Library (to another graphics company) on the CC?

    • user image

      Aaron uses the same tablet I use and love – The Wacom Intuous Pro (Small)

      It is fantastic!

  • user image

    Fantastic as always! Thanks for the great content, Aaron, this one helped me a ton!

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    Alex Barkaloff

    Thanks, Aaron. I’ve been using libraries and linked smart objects in Libraries but you just expanded my knowledge here – thank you. I work on multipage documents in InDesign but using each individual page as a PSD linked smart object. (I would rather do all work in Photoshop and then use layer comps (vs artboards) and then output a multipage PSD but there is no setting to reduce the output size, unless you know a way.) When I want to edit Indesign page then I click on the smart object in Indesign and I can go ahead and edit away in Photoshop. Anyway, would love advice on best practices for multipage layouts. Thank you.

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    Kelly Ann Wensley

    Love, Love, Love your videos Aaron! I didn’t see the patterns video using Adobe Capture that you mentioned at 2:32. Could you let me know where I can find it?

  • user image

    Great video, I have been playing with library. I do have a question. If I share a file and want the
    graphics to be downloadable for the recipient who may not be in the cloud, how to I set up the
    options for making that happen. I have tried several options, but have not found the solution!
    Thank you!

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    Gregory Tutin

    How do I get to see the programs from your trip to Adobe. Was unable to see them due to time differences and being ill. Love the Tutorials. Have bought several of the pro Tutorials. I am also loving the free ones which are really helping my knowledge of Photoshop

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    Mike Newby

    You are a great instructor. You can take everything down to a level where anyone can grasp it. The only thing I can’t figure out is, how many hours are there in your day? You run a business and do these great in depth tutorials. Well however you manage it, keep up the great work and I want you to know how much I appreciate the time you put in and to allow us to benefit from these tutorials… Thanks again..

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    Mohammed Zahirul Islam Bhuiyan

    Nice video and tutorials help man who work in this field. I am also loving the free ones which are really helping my knowledge of Photoshop.

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    Raymond Ménard

    Bravo ! Aaron you’re simply the best at explaining things quickly and clearly. Been a fan for a few years now and i learn so much every time i dial in to you channel.

    Thank’s a million 🙂


    Montreal, Canada

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    Paige West

    Could you do a video on how to use libraries when editing photos? Maybe with compositing?

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    This is a fantastic episode. Adobe keeps asking me if I want to save stuff as libraries, and I never did so, till now.

    Absolutely marvellous!