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Photoshop is the world’s most powerful image editor, and it’s arguably the most complex, as well. Fortunately, nobody knows the program like award-winning book and video author Deke McClelland. Join Deke as he explores such indispensable Photoshop features as resolution, cropping, color correction, retouching, and layers. Gain expertise with real-world projects that make sense. Exercise files accompany the course.
Download Deke's free dekeKeys and color settings from the Exercise Files tab.
Now unless you think that more pixels are always better inside of Photoshop, I want you to realize that there is a caveat. Well, more pixels lead to greater clarity inside of your images, they also lead to greater complexity and more processing on Photoshop's part. Because you're going from asking Photoshop to handle several thousand or several hundreds of thousands of pixels per operation to handling several millions of pixels per operations, and this file is a great example. Now, this is the original layered version of the full resolution image and it's 1200 pixels per inch, so it's quite huge and I'll show you how huge in just a moment.
I am not providing this image for you, because that would be madness. It would take up more than a gigabyte of space on your hard drive. It will take forever to download from the site and it would consume more than a-quarter of the space on the DVD. So instead of giving it to you, I'm going to walk you through the file. Now notice that it contains several layers, although not that many, about a dozen layers in all. This is the original scanned line-art, with no cleaning up, so I have a bunch of smeared graphite, I have some very dark details that need to be brightened up, and I've got these little rings along the side from the sketchbook, as you can see.
And so I needed to clean up all those details, and turn it into a piece of Photoshop artwork, suitable to the series, and that's how I came up with this effect here, which of course is a result of many layers working together. So why can you expect to slow down, well, basically everything. For example, I created these texture effects using a series of filters, inside of Photoshop. Another thing that takes a long time, if you go to the File menu and choose the Save command, on this machine which is a state-of-the-art PC, it still takes more than 30 seconds just to save this file.
All right, so you can mitigate that by having lots of memory in your machine. That's always a good thing. Also if you have fast hard drives and you have open room on those hard drives and Photoshop can use the hard drive as a memory backup and that makes the program work faster. Let's take a look at how big this image is, if I click on the i Button, in order to bring up the Info panel, you will see that in addition to the fact that the Resolution is 1200 pixels per inch which only matters for print, I would never print an image with that higher resolution. That's craziness.
I would either downsample the image or increase its dimensions on the page in order to reduce that Resolution value and I'll show you how that works in the next exercise. But notice that it measures 11,916 pixels, almost 12,000 pixels Wide by 8,020 pixels Tall, you do the math. You multiply those numbers and you get 95.5 million pixels, inside this image, which is a whoppingly big image, as indicated by these values. The dock value is right here.
You can see that the image is 273.4 megabytes in memory flat that is not taking into account the layers. Taking into account the layers, its 1.24 gigs at least. If your image contains smart objects, it's actually bigger than that. Now note this Scratch Disk value right here, if the first value is bigger than the second value, you're also going to see Photoshop slow down, because you're basically seeing, this file requires 2.8 gigs to process so far and I haven't done anything to it since I opened it, so it just get worse as I was piling on History states.
That is undoable operations. Whereas in Memory I've got 1.47 gigs waiting around, so Photoshop is going to have to go to the Scratch Disk on a regular basis. Now one other way to speed Photoshop up a little bit, on big huge files like this, is to press Ctrl+K or Command+K on the Mac to bring up the Preferences dialog box, then switch to the Performance panel right here, there is where you can add Scratch Disks, but I've got 400. 64 gigabytes of space open right now, so I don't need to add anything, I've got a ton of room.
You should not have less than 10 gigs open on one of your hard drives if you are using Photoshop, because then you're in danger, if Photoshop runs out of space on the Scratch Disk, it will refuse to move forward inside of a large file and it will tell you it has to quit. It will actually stop working on you, so you've really got to watch out for that. Again this really only becomes a problem with super-big images or if you're not paying any attention to your hard drive and you are letting the free space dry up. The other thing you can do with really big images like this is you can click on this Big and Flat button and that's what this image is. It's super huge.
It has very few layers. It would definitely benefit from Big and Flat, at least where Screen Refresh is concerned. Now that's not going to improve the speed of the Save command, but if I'm trying to get my Screen to update, that will help. Really for the files that I am working on, on this machine with you. It's mostly tall and thin. That is to say, I might have a lot of layers but the files aren't that big. But between you and me, I'm going to this set to Default. And go ahead and actually cancel out of this dialog box, but I just wanted you to see that.
So there is a penalty associated with lots of pixels and that is slower processing inside of Photoshop. But don't let that get you down. If that's the way it's got to work, that's the way it's got to work. You need the pixels in order to create beautiful artwork. In the next exercise, I'm going to show you how to change the Print Resolution, without resampling the image.
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