Extract Raw from Smart Object


Today’s Question: Is there a way to extract the original raw capture from a smart object layer in a Photoshop PSD?

Tim’s Quick Answer: Yes, you can extract the original file from an embedded smart object in Photoshop using the Export Contents command.

More Detail: When you open a raw capture in Photoshop via Camera Raw or Lightroom Classic you have the option to open that raw capture as a smart object. What that means is that the raw capture file will be embedded in the smart object. This provides a variety of potential benefits, including being able to edit that embedded raw capture within the layered file, and therefore have the existing layers continue to affect the interpreted raw capture.

If you later are unable to locate the original raw capture that was used to create the smart object, you can simply extract the original file from the layered document in Photoshop. Note that this same process works for any type of image that had been converted to a smart object layer in Photoshop, not just raw captures.

To extract the original file, open the layered image and make sure the smart object layer is selected on the Layers panel. Then go to the menu and choose Layer > Smart Objects > Export Contents. This will bring up the Save dialog so you can choose where you want to save the file that is being extracted and update the filename if you’d like. After designating the location and filename, click the Save button and the original image file used to create the smart object will be extracted as an additional file.

Note that extracting the original file in this way will not remove the image from the smart object layer. It is simply creating a copy of the embedded image as a separate file.