Join Ted LoCascio for an in-depth discussion in this video Setting preferences, part of Photoshop CS3 for Designers.
In the last two movies I talked about working with the flexible CS3 interface here in Photoshop, and creating and saving custom Workspaces for designers. Now I would like to switch my focus over to Photoshop's preferences, and I would like highlight just a few of the preferences available in the Preferences dialog box that might make your workflow a little bit smoother. Now to access the Preferences dialog box, I think the easiest way to access the dialog box is to press Command+K on the Mac or Ctrl+K in Windows. So I am going to go ahead and do that. You can also access the dialog box from the Photoshop menu on the Mac, or the Edit menu in Windows.
But when you press Command+K or Ctrl+K, it takes you directly to the first panel in the dialog box, which currently is the General panel, which we are displaying here. Notice in the dialog box now, you can access the various panels by clicking in the menu off to the left. So we click on Interface, File Handling, Performance, Cursors, etcetera. So it's set up a little bit easier, it's a lot more like working with the InDesign Preferences dialog box, which I actually like. In the General panel, just a couple of things I want to focus on here; the first is this Automatically Launch Bridge preference. I think it's smart to turn that guy on, because Bridge is a really great asset management tool, not only for working with different images that you are going to be editing in Photoshop as a designer, but for any of your assets, any of your InDesign documents, any of your Illustrator art, anything that you are working with within the CS3, I recommend using Bridge.
Rather than having to launch the application separately, you can just have them both launch at once; anytime you open Photoshop, Bridge will launch at the same time, when you have this guy turned on. Also over here, we have Resize Image During Paste/Place that is turned on by default. That's a good idea, because this has to do with anytime you are placing artwork from outside of Photoshop, such as maybe an Illustrator file, and you would want that artwork to be sized automatically to your document window. I think it makes sense to keep that turned on, otherwise you are going to have to size it manually, and that can sometimes be frustrating.
We also have Zoom Resizes Windows. I like to turn that on. I also like to turn on Zoom with Scroll Wheel, so we have a couple of Zoom Preferences that I think are helpful. I am going to click OK just to apply these, to show you what they do. I currently have the View Mode set to Maximize Mode, so if I click down here and go back to Standard Screen Mode. Now, if I zoom in and out, let's say by using this keyboard shortcut, which is real common, because it works in all of the applications in the suite, Command+- on the Mac, or Ctrl+- to zoom out like that.
Zoom in, Command+ or Ctrl+ in Windows. Notice what's happening is the window is actually resizing along with the image. I think that sometimes can be helpful, I like to work that way. Some people like to keep the window, so that it fills up the whole screen, but I say if you are going to do that, then you might as well just work in Maximized Screen Mode. Now when we apply that, the image is being resized, but the window is still filling up the whole screen, so we are not seeing anything in the background there. I happen to have a Wacom mouse here, I am using a Wacom tablet.
This is a wireless mouse, and it has a scroll wheel. So if I use the scroll wheel, I can zoom in and out, and sometimes that's little quicker than applying those keyboard shortcuts that I just showed you. So that's something to consider. Let's go back to the Preferences dialog box, again, pressing Command+K, Ctrl+K in Windows. Let's go over here into the Interface panel. Real quick, we have this guy here that says Auto-Collapse Icon Palettes. Now, if I should turn this on, click OK, and then say access one of theses docked palettes that's been minimized, if I open it up by clicking on the icon, and then let's say switch tools, it's going to automatically collapse.
That's kind of nice because it gets out of your way when you are ready to move on to something else, and it's not covering up your image. Say if we were zoomed in a little bit more, it won't be covering anything up, especially like if it's something big, like this Brushes palette, switch tools, it goes away. That's kind of nice. Now keep in mind, you don't necessarily have to go to the dialog box in order to control that preference, because if you right-click up here in either of the docks, and you choose Auto-Collapse Icon Palettes, you can see the check mark, means it's already turned on. If I select that to turn it off, now that means if I access Brushes and then switch tools, well that guy still stays open.
It's blocking my view, getting in my way, and that's not necessarily a good thing. So this is the kind of thing that I actually toggle on and off, depending on the kind of work that I am doing, it just kind of depends. So it's important to understand that that preference is available to you and also that you don't necessarily have to go to the dialog box to turn it on or off. So I am going to go back; Command+K, Ctrl+K, and I am going to go into File Handling in here, and what I want to focus in is this stuff here, File Compatibility, where it says, Prefer Adobe Camera RAW for JPEG Files. You can actually use Camera RAW with JPEG files now, so you can use a lot of the tools that are in there to make edits to JPEGs, which is kind of nice.
If you turn this on, that means that if you should open a JPEG using the File > Open command in Photoshop, that it's automatically going to open the JPEG into Camera RAW first before you open it into the Photoshop environment. So that's an interesting way to work. There is also a preference in Bridge for that as well, something you may want to consider turning on if you like using Camera RAW for making edits to JPEGs. You can also do so with TIFFs, and we will talk about that in a later movie. But for now, know that this preference is here when you are opening JPEGs in Photoshop. We also have of course, Prefer Adobe Camera RAW for Supported RAW Files, and that you should definitely turn on.
If you are working with RAW files, you are going to want to use Camera RAW because you can't open them directly into Photoshop. You have to go through Camera RAW first, so definitely keep that turned on. We also have, Ask Before Saving Layered TIFF Files. You may want to turn this guy off because if you are going to save a layered TIFF file, you probably know that you want to do so, and don't need to be asked. So I am going to then turn that guy off, because saving layered TIFF files is a good idea. I recommend saving layered TIFFs- you can save layers in TIFFs, just like you can with PSDs. A lot of people don't realize that.
So I would go ahead and turn that guy off. Then we have Maximize PSD and PSB File Compatibility. This is kind of an old school preference and I usually turn this to Never, otherwise every time you try saving PSDs, it's going to bring up a warning dialog box, and we don't want to see that, so we are going to choose Never. Version Cue, if you are using it, it's a great way to save different versions and manage what's happening to your files in a production environment. If you have a lot of people working on the same files together, I recommend trying out Version Cue, if you have it installed with the Creative Suite and this is how you would turn it on and use it in Photoshop.
Performance, real quick here. I just want you to take note that Photoshop's actually being a lot more helpful these days in letting you know how much RAM you should allocate to using Photoshop on your machine. It actually calculates and tells you how much RAM you have installed, and then what the ideal range is for you, and then you can enter that value in here, and it's currently set to 70%. I have pretty decent amount of RAM on this machine, so it seems to be within the range and that's perfectly fine. A lot of people tend to over-allocate RAM. I wouldn't suggest doing that.
I would do what Photoshop tells you actually here, because this is useful information. There is no need to set this to 90% or anything like that, OK? So good to look at this Preference panel and see how much RAM you have allocated, and just try not to over allocate, because that can just bog your system down. There is not necessarily any real reason to do that. We also have History States over here; it's set to 20. Again, if you have a pretty decent amount of RAM, you may want to increase that because sometimes 20 just isn't enough, especially if you have done a lot of Brush work or something like that, added a lot of different Brushes when you are retouching, and then realized, you know what, I didn't like what I did.
So you may want to increase that, and you set that to something a little bit higher. Again, it depends on how much you are working with here. That's looks good to me. That really is all the preferences that we want to cover because they are just so many in here. I think these are the few that can help you in your workflow. So now that you know a little bit more about your preferences, you can go ahead and try and apply these to your workflow, and hopefully, they will make things run a little bit smoother for you.
- Setting up the workspace Understanding resolution Using the selection tools Working with brushes Applying, replacing, and removing color Combining layers Making tonal and color corrections Using layer styles and filter effects Reducing noise and sharpening Using automation features