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Join Justin Seeley, lynda.com staff author and design enthusiast, each week for a new 5-minute, self-contained tutorial that you can use to instantly improve your design workflow. This series covers techniques for print, digital, and web design, addressing the tools that creative professionals like you use most. Learn new ways to leverage layer styles and vector shapes in Adobe Photoshop, work more efficiently with text in Illustrator, and embed videos and even tweets in WordPress posts, and much more. Check back each week for a new installment, and a new design hack.
Hi there, welcome back to another episode of Creative Quick Tips, My name is Justin Seeley and this week we're talking about Adobe Photoshop and how to speed it up so that it works a little bit faster for you. Now this is a question I get all the time, especially with people who have older computers or not a lot of RAM is, how do I make Photoshop run faster? In this movie I'm going to take you through some of the things that you can do to help increase the speed of Photoshop, but all in all, your best bet is to do two things. Either add RAM to your computer or switch to something called a solid state hard drive.
But there are little tweaks you can do inside of Photoshop to make it run a little bit smoother. So, let's take a look. First things first. We're going to open up our Preferences panel. We're going to do that by clicking Cmd or Ctrl+k on our keyboard, and once we do that, we're going to go down here to the Performance tab. Once we're on the Performance tab, there's a couple of areas that we can look at here. And so the first one is going to be Memory Usage. The Memory Usage area basically tells your computer how much RAM are you allocating to Photoshop at any given time. Now, it should be noted here that as you crank this number up you're giving Photoshop more RAM, but you're also taking RAM away from other applications on your computer.
So, Photoshop might run faster, but something else might run significantly slower, so, you have to be aware of that trade off. Like I said, the easiest way to make Photoshop or any application run faster is to throw RAM at it. In this case, if you wanted to you could bump this up anywhere between probably 70 to 80%. You don't want to bump it up too much higher than that though because you really start to take resources away from your machine, so I generally keep this around 70, 75. It just depends on your personal choice, how much RAM you actually have in the machine. Now you can also, conversely, do something called a scratch disk.
And a scratch disk allows you to sort of offload certain processes that Photoshop is doing to an alternate hard drive. And if you do this, it really does speed up the process of Photoshop. You will need an extra hard drive in order to do that though, so you might want to look into something like that. Other things that you can do are over here on the right hand side. History States. By default, Photoshop saves 20 history states. That means you get 20 undos for whatever it is you're doing. Now in most cases you don't need 20 undos.
Maybe you can back that down to something like ten, or maybe even five. The less Photoshop has to remember, the more resources Photoshop can devote to doing what you're doing at any given time. Just remember, you're increasing the memory by decreasing what it has to remember. You can also adjust the Cache Levels. Now, you do have to be careful with Cache Levels, depending on what type of image you're working on. But if you wanted to you could back this down to something like one, and that would definitely speed up the process but that's going to be for when you're working on probably smaller types of images.
And if you wanted to, you could increase that something like three or four when you're working on larger types of images. It tells you right here at the bottom to set the Cache Levels to two or higher for optimum GPU performance, so, when you're working on bigger images, you might want to increase that number. My recommendation is, before you start a project, think about the types of intensive processes and things like that, that you're going to have to go through. Then jump into this dialog box, and dial in all of the settings that are appropriate for that particular project. Worst comes to worst, you can always just come in here and reset anytime you want, or simply Cancel to get out.
But once you press OK, Photoshop now has all of those different settings now built in and it should run a little bit smoother.
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