6 Settings to Speed Up Photoshop
As a microstock photographer, efficiency is the name of the game. There are many steps in getting your images from shoot to upload – and waiting for Photoshop shouldn’t be one of them. Here are a few simple steps to speed up Photoshop.
Edit > Preferences > Performance
The majority of speed settings are tucked away in Edit > Preferences > Performance.
Once you reach the performance settings, check out the following options.
If you have more than one drive on your computer, make sure your scratch disk (where Photoshop stores temporary files) isn’t on your main C: drive (where Photoshop probably runs from). If you have several drives, make sure your cache is also not on the drive where your images are stored. What I have done is purchase a small SSD drive and dedicate it as a temporary work drive (cache). I have set it as the cache drive for a number of programs – making the cache read and write speeds extra speedy. I also use this drive for temporary storage of miscellaneous files.
The history states setting determines how many clicks and button presses Photoshop will remember. If you can handle not being able to ‘step backwards’ (ctrl+alt+z) very far, you can reduce your history states. 25-50 history states is probably enough for most people. If you are having a lot of speed problems, you could reduce this to 10 at the risk of loosing some undo power.
The best cache level depends on your computer. If you have a fast computer, set the cache level to a high amount. As long as your computer can handle the setting, Photoshop will redraw the image (while editing) or create live previews quicker. If your computer has a problem keeping up with your edits, pull the cache levels down. Photoshop may draw slower by default, but you’re computer will be able to keep up to what Photoshop is asking it to do.
Cache Tile Size
CS5: If you are working on large images with few layers, put the tile size to a high amount, small images with many layers, use a low tile size amount. This setting determines how big of a ‘chunk’ Photoshop tries to work with at a time.
CS4 and earlier: You won’t have this setting. Instead you have to head to Applications/Adobe Photoshop CS3/Plug-Ins/Extensions/Bigger Tiles Inside that folder you should see the Bigger Tiles Plug-in with a ‘~’ in front of the file name. Enable the plug-in by taking out the ‘~’
The RAM setting is fairly easy to understand. Move the slider to the right and give Photoshop control of more RAM. Don’t move it all the way to the right though, the rest of your computer needs some RAM too. Leave at least 1GB for Windows and other programs to use.
Layer Thumbnail Previews
Photoshop shows you a little thumbnail preview of the layers you are working on. These take processing power to create and update. If you make the thumbnail shown smaller, or non shown at all, you will speed up Photoshop. You can adjust the thumbnail size by going to the layers pallet (press F7 if it isn’t showing), then click on the little arrow (menu) button, and select “Panel Options”
That’s it. Now restart Photoshop and your speed settings should take effect.
Adobe has also written a fairly long guide to speeding up Photoshop which you can check out here. A long read, but worthwhile checking out if you are serious about getting the most out of the program.
Alternatively, if you like video tutorials more than text tutorials, you can check out a tutorial I created for TutorVid on Speeding up Photoshop.
Did I miss anything? Do you have a speedy tip?