Get Thumbnail view of a Document in Photoshop

A tutorial demonstrating two ways on how to get a thumbnail view of a document in Photoshop. A handy tip for digital Painters and Illustrators.

In this tutorial, I will be showing you two ways to get a thumbnail view of a document or canvas in Photoshop. This is one handy tip that digital painters and illustrators can use during drawing and painting process.

You can change the zoom level of the thumbnail window and even paint on it. The advantage of using the thumbnail is that it gives you the idea how your painting looks like when you zoom or shrink it. Let’s get started.

Step 1

Scene Setup

Since, this tip is specifically for digital painters so, I will be using a quick and basic painting of an axe/hatchet for demonstrating the process.

Step 2

The Thumbnail Window

Let’s go to Window > Arrange and choose New window for Hatchet.psd where Hatchet is the name of the file. This will create another window of the current document.

Let’s resize the new window to a desired size and set the zoom levels according to the dimensions of the window. Now, we have a thumbnail view of our painting that updates every time we paint on the original document.

The Navigator Panel

We can also use Navigator panel as the document thumbnail but there are some limitations with it like, we can’t paint inside Navigator window and it has a View Box as a marking of the visible area.

I don’t like the view box in the Navigator panel so I recommend using the first way.

The Navigator Panel

There is no way we can turn the Navigator’s view box completely off but We can get rid of it to some extent by using the same color as background for view box’s border but this will only work with solid backgrounds. Let’s do it in the next step.

Changing the View Box color

To change the view box’s color, click on the Panel Menu button on the top right corner and select Panel Options… from the list.

Changing the ViewBox color

From the Panel Options pop up box you can choose any color but in this case we are going to use a custom color. Let’s click on the color box and pick up the background color.

Since, the view box and the background now have the same color which makes it hard to see but you can notice that this doesn’t work when view box and the painting overlap.
That’s it. I hope you enjoyed this short tip. Stay tuned for more tutorials. Thanks!