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In Photoshop CS6 for Photographers, author, photographer, and teacher Chris Orwig explores Photoshop from the perspective of the photographer.
The course details the features and techniques behind enhancing and retouching photos, preparing them for print and online publishing, and much more. Chris demonstrates how to make basic edits in Camera Raw, develop and save color profiles, work with layers and selections, tone and sharpen, and retouch images while retaining their natural character.
Chris also shares some creative tips and project ideas, such as converting a photo to black-and-white and enhancing a portrait with hand-painted masks. The course also covers workflow details, such as organizing images in Bridge and Mini Bridge, optimizing Photoshop preferences, and calibrating your monitor.
Here, we're going to take a look at our Performance Preferences, and these preferences are obviously important because who doesn't want Photoshop to perform at its peak? These preferences, they're also dynamic. They're tapping into your own specific hardware configuration. These will then help you try to figure out how you can best set these up so you can work with Photoshop most effectively. Let's start off with Memory Usage. Here, it's going to show you your available RAM, and then you can define how much RAM you want to dedicate to Photoshop.
Now, Photoshop really likes RAM. It's hungry for it. The more that we can dedicate to Photoshop, the better it will run. Yet this really depends on our overall workflow. Let's say that when you work in Photoshop, it is the only application you have open. Well, in a situation like that, you might want to dedicate even more RAM to this application so that it's really taking up almost all of your RAM on your computer, therefore, it will just run incredibly well. Yet perhaps in another scenario, maybe you're running Photoshop and also your web browser, and iTunes, and maybe you're also doing some video editing in another application as well.
Well, in situations like that, you're going to need to decrease this amount so that you can share the RAM between these various applications. Well, here the default setting is 70%. What you'll need to determine is how you use Photoshop and also other applications. In my own workflow, I typically--when I'm working with Photoshop--I am really focused. In other words, I don't have a ton of other applications open, so I really crank this up. I bring it up to something like 80 or sometimes even 90%. And again, the preference you choose here is really depending upon your own workflow and also your machine and the other applications that you'll be using.
The next options are called History & Cache. You notice that there are three buttons here. You can click on these in order to change these options. Now, these options are kind of curious. The first one is Tall and Thin. It's valuable when you have those documents which have smaller dimensions, perhaps, you're designing something for a web site, yet you have a lot of layers. Well, in situations like that, you'd want to choose this option. Well, when we change this to Default, you'll notice it changes our Cache Level up a little bit. It also increases our Cache Title Size.
Now, the Tile Size is kind of interesting. This is telling Photoshop how much information it can process at once. We want to have a larger Cache Tile Size when we're working with larger files. So the default setting for most people will work really well. We also though have this other option, Big and Flat. What this is helpful for is those situations where we have really high resolution files, or you have these files which have really large dimensions but not a lot of layers. So again, depending upon your own workflow, you want to make the choice which makes sense to you.
For most people, this Default setting will work really well. The last thing I want to highlight here in this area is History States. This is how much Photoshop remembers what you've done. In other words, as you're working in Photoshop, it's going to remember your brush strokes, the adjustment layers that you make, the filters that you apply. It's going to save those, all of those last 20 steps that you've taken. You can either increase or decrease this. If you increase it, well, it might slow Photoshop down because it has to remember more. Yet sometimes by increasing it, it's going to give you a little bit of a bigger safety net.
If you're new to Photoshop, I recommend that you take this up a little bit so that you can always step backwards, and you can move back between what you've done in the past. Well, if you're really good at Photoshop, I mean if you are an expert, you don't need a safety net. In other words, if you're a rock climber that doesn't use ropes, well, then you can go ahead and take this down and use a smaller number. But in this case, you know that you just won't have as many history states. So, perhaps in your own workflow you want to start off with the default setting or maybe just a little bit more so you have a bit more of a safety net.
The next thing to highlight is our Graphics Processor. It's really important that you turn this option on because a lot of our different filters like Puppet Warp or lighting effects or Liquify, well, they tap into the graphics processor and that processor allows us to make changes really quickly on the fly. As we're actually making the adjustment, we can see what's taking place. So again, just make sure that you have that option turned on so that you can take advantage of your graphics processor when you're working with those different types of adjustments.
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