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In Photoshop Lightroom 3 Advanced Techniques, photographer Chris Orwig shows how to master the subtleties of Lightroom 3 and maximize its efficiency. The course begins with an in-depth exploration of Lightroom catalogs to keep track of photos, collections, keywords, stacks, and more. Along the way, Chris shows how to integrate Bridge and Photoshop in the Lightroom workflow and shares advanced techniques, including image editing with the adjustment brush, automating actions, using plug-ins and extensions, exporting to email or an FTP server, and more. Exercise files are included with the course.
Here I want to share with you a few tips and tricks that will help you significantly improve Lightroom's performance. For starters, you want to be working with fast hard drives that have fast connections. You also want to have more RAM. If there is anything that Lightroom loves in regards to performance, it's RAM. So be sure to always upgrade that, or buy a system with a lot of RAM. The other things that we can do have to do with a few preferences, so let's go ahead and take a look at those. for starters, we're going to go to the Lightroom pulldown menu and then click on Catalog Settings.
Now, if speed is a priority, you definitely want to have this check box turned off. You do not want to automatically write changes into XMP. That will definitely slow down Lightroom. Now, if you're new to catalogs and new to this topic of catalog settings, it may be worthwhile to go back and watch one of those previous movies where we talked about catalogs. Yet that being said, if speed is your priority, check this box off. Now, the next thing that we want to do is to go to our Lightroom Preferences and look at File Handling. And then we're going to go all the way down to Camera RAW Cache Settings.
Now, this is an interesting area of Lightroom that many people have never even really visited because they didn't know what this Camera RAW Cache was really all about. Well, what this has to do with is that every time Lightroom reads a file, it has to build some kind of a preview, right, because that doesn't exist. And as it builds this preview, it caches these previews, and eventually, it adds up. There is a lot of file size involved in viewing a lot of images. Well, once you go through and you view a number of images, it's going to then create a new preview. And if there isn't space for it, well, it's going to kick out the oldest preview.
Well, in this case, by default, Lightroom is only allocating 1 gigabyte to these Camera RAW Cache Settings. Well, here's a secret. You can actually crank this up to 200 gigabytes. Now, what this will do is it will increase your performance of Lightroom by leaps and bounds. Now of course, if you use a high number--and bigger is better--it's going to speed things up, but you will need space on a hard drive to deal with this high amount of space, right, because 200 gigabytes is a lot of information.
Now, that being said, it may be more realistic for some of you to have a number, perhaps, that is a little bit lower. Even 25 gigabytes is going to be better than 1. Whatever the case, if you're really interested in going for it, and if you really want to push Lightroom hard, you may want to consider making sure you have freed up space on a hard drive, and you may want to consider increasing your Camera RAW Cache Settings. Now, here's one last tip for you in regards to speed: If you're in the Library module, what you may realize is that it's always rendering these previews of these different images. And again the older ones are going to be pushed out of the cache as newer previews are brought in.
Well, there is a little trick, or workaround, of forcing Lightroom to render previews, so that it will speed up your workflow. What you can do is go to your Library pulldown menu, click on Previews, and then simply click on Render Standard-Sized Preview, even though you only have one image selected here, because this dialog will say, "Hey, do you want to build standard-sized previews for all your photos or only one?" In this case, what I would want to do, if this was the folder that I was focused in on, if this was the task at hand, I would say, you know what, those other previews aren't as important, but these ones are.
I want these one to be at the top of the pile, so to speak. I would then click Build All, and what that would do is it would render these standard-sized previews for all of these images. And ultimately, this would help speed up our workflow.
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