Apple Final Cut Pro No Longer Dynamically Links to Adobe Photoshop Files

Something changed in how Final Cut processes Photoshop files. In the past, when FCP imported a Photoshop file, it created a dynamic link to that PSD file. Any changes made and saved to a PSD file were automatically reflected in Final Cut.

Today, running version 10.7.1, that is no longer the case, When an existing Photoshop file is changed, nothing I can do in FCP updates the imported file to the revised image.

(Click to see larger image.)

For example, here’s a four-layer image in Photoshop, which I saved as a PSD file.

(Click to see larger image.)

Importing this PSD file into Final Cut, using Leave files in place, and adding it to the timeline is straightforward. FCP brings in all layers individually, which can be viewed or animated by double-clicking the clip in the timeline.

NOTE: Using “Leave files in place” means, in theory, that if a file changes, FCP will reflect the changes.

OK, so far, so good.


The client sees this image and, of course, wants changes. Rather than summer, they want a path in winter and they want the text repositioned.

Photo by Maria Orlova, (Click to see larger image.)

So, I went back to Photoshop, made changes and saved the file.

The icon on the desktop updated to show the new version.

Back in Final Cut, the project icon indicated something had gone offline, but the image in the timeline did not change.

The event also indicated something went offline.

However, while something may be offline, FCP does not provide any reports or guidance that details what is missing.

In fact, looking at the imported PSD file in Final Cut does not show anything amiss, even though this is the older image, not the updated one.

There is no way I could find to update this changed Photoshop image. The only option is to delete the existing image, reimport the new image, then reset all my effects and animation keyframes.

This inability to update PSD files makes working with Photoshop images very, very difficult.


This seems a major step back from how FCP used to dynamically handle updated Photoshop images. I’m checking with Apple to see if there is a workaround.

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10 Responses to Apple Final Cut Pro No Longer Dynamically Links to Adobe Photoshop Files

  1. Hi, Larry.
    FCP used to link dynamically to PNG files as well. This very was useful because PNGs are an easy way to deliver GFX with alpha channels fro keying and are a little less cumbersome that Photoshop files. Could you ask Apple please to re-instate this dynamic attachment.

    PS I did a little test after reading your article and I found that if I re-saved a Photoshop file I could import it again into FCPX even with the same file name. Thus I had an older and a newer version of the Photoshop file which, in FCPX, were indistinguishable by file name. What is the world coming to?? David

  2. Jim Addie says:

    I found that while PSD files do not dynamically link, TIF files do. You can save a PSD as a multi-layer (uncompressed) TIF, still get all the benefits, and have it live-update in FCP. Frankly, I’ve never used many PSDs in projects anyway, mostly I’ve used TIFs.

    But yeah, stupid move from Apple. Unfortunately, just another in a long series.

    • Larry says:


      This is a VERY cool workaround. I’m using layered TIFFs in a Premiere project currently. I never thought to test them using FCP.



    • Hi, Jim.
      This is good news, but I seem to be stuck.
      How do you save a multi-layered TIFF in Photoshop [2024]?


      • Jim Addie says:

        Photoshop saves layered TIF files by default. You have to flatten the image if you do not want the layers.

        There’s also an option in Preferences > File Handling to “Always ask before saving layered TIFF files. I have that turned on, but no real reason.

  3. Jan de Bloois says:

    Why on earth is it, the developers make something WORSE then it was? Can they explain that? And even better: can they repair that mistake?

  4. Evan Fitzer says:

    Hi Larry:
    Not sure if these observations help or not, but, here’s what I’ve discovered…If you import a 16bit layered PS file into FCP (leave files in place), it comes in as a solid graphic. FCP does not recognize the layers. However, if you make changes to it in PS, it does dynamically link, and the changes carry over into FCP. If you import an 8bit layered PS file into FCP, the layers are recognized and you can open that file as a compound clip, however, if you make changes to it in PS, those changes are not recognized in FCP. I guess an ugly work around is to delete the file and re-import it to have the changes take hold, and that sucks.

  5. Rich Davis says:

    Ditch PS and use Pixelmator with FCPX; roundtripping works well.

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