Join Chris Orwig for an in-depth discussion in this video Tune-up time, part of Photoshop: Working Faster.
- [Instructor] It is time to tune up Photoshop so that you can improve its performance. So here in this movie, I want to highlight a few essential preferences that we can fine tune in order to increase Photoshop's performance. I have some notes here which we'll come back to in a moment. So we will review everything that I'll highlight here, and the way that we'll fine tune, or tune up Photoshop is we'll go to our preferences, and let's start off in general. Inside of general we're going to two areas, file handling and performance.
Let's start off with performance, and let's focus in on memory usage. This little area right here is one of the areas, or one of the settings which can most dramatically affect the way that Photoshop performs. Photoshop loves RAM. So here it's showing me my available RAM, and then down below, I can allocate a certain amount of that to Photoshop. What this means, it's going to devote a lot of the computer's RAM power to Photoshop. Now you may be tempted to think, well let's crank this all the way up, let's go really high.
Well the Photoshop team actually recommends that you don't go above 85%, because what will happen is you won't have enough RAM, perhaps, for other operating system issues, or tasks, or other applications that you may have open. So what I do is I bring mine all the way up to 80%, and I find that that allows Photoshop to perform very well. Now let me exit out of this for a moment. Here I'll click okay. One of the ways that you can check that number is if you go to where you can view your document here.
I just exited out of fullscreen mode. I can see the doc info. If you click on this arrow, you can go to an option which is called efficiency. Now it's showing me my efficiency is at 100%. If you see that efficiency percentage dropping down maybe below 90%, what that then means is you need to go back to your preferences, and performance, and then increase whatever this value is here. So again, that's a way to double check how your RAM allocation setting is actually going.
So as you're working on files, as big files, just take a peak at that little efficiency number down there, and that can help you to fine tune this number here. Alright, next let's talk about history and cache. When it comes to those values, we have the ability to click on these default settings. Notice as I click on those, it changes these values here. The cache tile size and the cache levels. So what I want to do, because I'm a photographer, is use default photos, these values work very well, so you just want to make sure you're choosing the option for your type of work.
Next, you want to modify your history states. I think by default, this was set at 50, or somewhere around there, and what this means is that it's remembering every step that you take. So any time you edit something, or adjust something, we can always undo that up to a certain number here. We can crank this all the way up to a thousand, which is kind of crazy, but if you imagine, if we take this to a thousand, Photoshop has to remember the last a thousand things that we have done.
So that's obviously going to have, we're going to have to dedicate some energy to that process, and it's going to decrease Photoshop's performance. In a way, this is like your safety net, and you have to ask yourself this question, how big of a safety net do I need? How many history states do I want to save? The more you have, the more it will also decrease Photoshop's performance. The less, it will run really fast, but then if you make a mistake, you can't undo it, so you have to find the right spot there for you. In my workflow, I go to 25, and that number allows Photoshop to run really fast, but I also have some history in case I make a mistake.
Alright, well that's all we're going to do here in performance. Let's jump over to file handling. Now in file handling, we have these file saving options, and one option which is turned on by default is to automatically save recovery information every 10 minutes, or you can change this to other values here. What this means is that if you're working on a file, and let's say you've been working on it for, I don't know, five minutes, and all of a sudden your computer crashes, or Photoshop crashes. When you reopen Photoshop, it will open up a recovered version of the file, so that you're not losing all of this work that you've done.
Now if you increase this value, say, only save this in the background every 30 minutes, well then Photoshop isn't going to have to work on saving in the background very often, so Photoshop is going to perform a little bit better. That being said, you would lose a lot of work there. You would lose whatever you did over the last 20, or 25, or 30 minutes. So the number that I choose here is 10 minutes, so that it's saving every once in a while in the background, every 10 minutes, so that in case a crash happens, I haven't lost a ton of work.
Alright, well those are the preferences that we're going to highlight here in order to tune up Photoshop. Let me just review those notes that we have here so that we can make sure we have all of this stuff, or make sure you have all of this. For your RAM allocation, what I recommend is cranking this up to 80%, although you can go all the way to 85 if you like. Your history states, I take this down. I work with a pretty small safety net. I'm also pretty confident, and pretty, I have a pretty good skill level in Photoshop, so if you need a little bit higher number, if you want to go to 30, or 50, that would be fine as well, but just know that that does affect performance.
And then auto save recovery, I leave that at every 10 minutes. So every 10 minutes it's saving the image in the background, which in my workflow, that has just saved me so many times, so while that's a decrease in performance a little bit, the payoff of having that recovery file is often worth it for me. Alright, well there are a few tips for you so that you can tune up Photoshop so that it can work fast, and it can work effectively for you.
- Advanced masking tips
- Creating new layers
- Layer clipping mask adjustments
- Selecting and merging layers
- Improving black-and-white photographs
- Using blend mode shortcuts
- Rapid retouching
- Faster sharpening