Join Richard Harrington for an in-depth discussion in this video Making sure your computer is ready for motion, part of Photoshop: Editing Video and Creating Slideshows.
- While your computer may be well-suited for working with stills, it might start to show its age when it comes to working with video. You see, video files are incredibly demanding. While the individual frames are typically about two megapixels, you're asking the computer to play back anywhere from 24 to 30 frames per second. Over the course of a 10-second clip, this can mean as many as 300 files being loaded back into RAM. As such, it's important that you have a properly beefy system. You could find the Photoshop system specs available on Adobe's website, and it doesn't matter if you're using Photoshop CC 2014, an older version of CC or a newer version, the system specs are approximately the same.
First off, make sure you have a 64-bit version of the application. This will remove the RAM cap. In previous versions of the software, you were only effectively able to see two to three gigabytes of RAM. With a 64-bit application, this barrier is removed. Of course, if you don't have enough RAM, it doesn't matter if there's a barrier or not, so you're going to want to beef up the RAM in your system. Adobe recommends eight gigabytes of RAM, and this is a good idea. If you have more RAM available your system can use it, and it will increase the amount of playback time you have for video clips.
You'll also want to have a good video graphics card. The video graphics card provides real-time acceleration for a lot of different things, and it has a huge impact on playing back video. Make sure you consider investing in a card that supports things like CUDA technology from NVIDIA if it's an option, or the latest NVIDIA cards or ATI cards will help you out. Ideally, you'll have the correct drivers loaded and ensure that Photoshop can see them, so you might have to do a little bit of troubleshooting with your system, checking the System Preferences.
For example, in Photoshop you could choose Photoshop, Preferences, Performance, and this is where you'll see if it's able to identify your GPU. In this case, it's found my graphics card and I've checked the box to use the graphics processor. If you're not able to see the graphics card or it doesn't properly initialize, make sure you update your graphics driver and check the Photoshop Support page to see if your card is listed as one of the supported cards that works inside of Photoshop.
Under Advanced Settings, you'll see other options here. I generally stick to Advanced, and tell it to use all of the additional processing options for the card to speed up the computer. You can click OK to close that. Back on the system specs you'll also see that it recommends an OpenGL card. OpenGL is tied to the graphics card, and this is going to give you the best overall performance. Remember, the key here is that you have a properly configured system with the hardware that's needed.
Video is incredibly demanding, and we'll talk a little bit more about hard drive needs a bit later. But try to make sure that your system is as beefy as possible. Ideally, you're going to go ahead and boost that RAM, taking it up to at least eight gigabytes, make sure you have adequate free disk space for the scratch disk in your computer, and that your operating system and all of the drivers are in alignment. If anything will slow your computer down, it's video. And this might be the first opportunity for you to experience that your system is becoming a bit dated.
In any case, we will explore technologies and techniques to reduce this burden, and I recommend that you do the best with what you have. But, if upgrades are an option, a little bit of RAM goes a long way.
Working with an earlier version of the program? Check out Editing Video in Photoshop CS6.
- Understanding the video file formats supported in Photoshop
- Organizing media
- Controlling playback in the Photoshop Timeline
- Building a sequence
- Adding transitions and effects
- Adjusting volume
- Working with audio
- Fixing exposure
- Color balancing a shot
- Adjusting contrast
- Adding text and graphics
- Building a slideshow
- Exporting to H.264 or QuickTime