Photoshop professional tips & tricks

Setting Up Workplace

If you want to get most from Photoshop, you have to give something to it. If you won't think about Photoshop, it won't think about you. Remember that. There are preferences you can adjust to you tastes. But there are some system requirements you have to know about as well. And if you'll tune them right, your work will be more productive and fast.
These tips are more interesting for those who work with big files, because if you work with small documents, you may not care about anything. Even on a slow computer you won't get much speed increase if your image is about 100K.
If you work with files bigger than 20 MB, these recommendations will help you. Largest images I was working with were about 100 MB in size (that's A3 paper size at 300dpi).
So here are some tips for working with big files:

  • Give Photoshop as much RAM as you can. But leave some free RAM for system use (like 500K).
  • Set Disc Cache (in Memory control panel) to 32K.
  • Turn MMM (Modern Memory Manager) on if you're on PowerMac. I wouldn't recommend this if you use System version before 7.5.3.
  • Turn on 32-bit addressing if you're on 680x0 Mac. Otherwise you won't be able to use more than 16 MB of RAM (on different Macs this amount varies).
  • Turn off virtual memory. It slows everything down. Besides that Photoshop utilizes its own virtual memory techniques.
  • In Layers palette set Thumbnail Preview to «none» (in palette options). Reason for that is simple — Photoshop has to render all of your image to thumbnail preview size. If you have more than 1 layer, situation gets worse. Again, it's ok if your file is smaller than 15-20 MB. But imagine working with 500 MB image in 2 layers (friend of mine was working with file of this size without knowing this tip).
    When you save such a file it takes about a minute or two just to write preview. Each time you change a pixel, Photoshop starts to render your image to thumbnail size, to display your changes in the layer palette. And it consumes huge amounts of time. Your time, by the way.
    Not to loose your navigation abilities, name each layer descriptively.

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