Home > Tutorials > CGArena Tutorial : Optimizing Photoshop

CGArena Tutorial : Optimizing Photoshop

Sometimes, Photoshop can get slow. You can make it perform better by following the steps posted here:

http://www.cgarena.com/freestuff/tutorials/photoshop/optimizeram/optimize.html

Since this is useful information, I will also post it in this blog in case the original tutorial disappears.

How much RAM does your PC have? If you run Windows XP, it is probably in the range of 512 MB to 1 GB. Older Windows versions will do the job with less than that, but as soon as you execute demanding applications or more than one application at a time, anything below 512 MB will likely translate into performance bottlenecks.

The best way to improve Photoshop performance is to make better use of your RAM. Here are several tips to show you how to try this before you buy more. No matter how much memory you have, you could always use more. Installing more RAM is generally the quickest way to better performance. But you can also speed up Photoshop by making better use of the RAM you already have. There have been a lot of times when I’m working in Photoshop and things really start to slow down. When this happens it usually means it’s time to take a look at my RAM and see how much of it is allocated to Photoshop. In this tutorial, we’ll look at how you can speed up your Photoshop performance by using your RAM more effectively.

What is RAM – Random access memory (usually known by its acronym, RAM) is a type of data storage used in computers. It takes the form of integrated circuits that allow the stored data to be accessed in any order — that is, at random and without the physical movement of the storage medium or a physical reading head. The word “random” refers to the fact that any piece of data can be returned quickly, and in a constant time, regardless of its physical location and whether or not it is related to the previous piece of data.

As you’re working in Photoshop, click on the right-facing triangle on the status bar near the bottom left of your image window, and choose Show>Efficiency from the pop-up menu. You can use this indicator to determine how Photoshop is doing with the current amount of allocated RAM. If the efficiency indicator goes below 95% then you are accessing the scratch disk which, in turn, will begin to slow Photoshop down. But if your efficiency starts to go below 70%, then you may see Photoshop’s performance increase if you change your RAM allocation or add more RAM.

Tip 1: Go to Preferences > Memory & Image Cache and If you’ve never made changes to this, then the Maximum Used by Photoshop setting should read 55% by default in Windows. Increase the amount of RAM in 3-5% increments to start. Click OK to close the preferences. And restart the Photoshop for viewing any performance improvements. Don’t allocate too much RAM to Photoshop because don’t forget that your operating system still needs RAM.

Tip 2: If you increase the number of History States that Photoshop saves to large number, then you’ll really slow down your editing and image creation in Photoshop. At any rate, the decision is yours and it depends on the way you work, as well as how much RAM you have on your computer. Go to Preferences (under the Photoshop menu on a Mac, or the Edit menu on a PC) and choose General. My suggestion is that if you have at least 1 GB of RAM, then you should set the History States to 50 and Photoshop will now save 50 History States instead of only 20. If you find this slows Photoshop down too much, then try changing to something lower.

Tip 3: When you work on your images in Photoshop, it breaks your image into sections called tiles. By default, the maximum size of each tile is 132 KB of RAM. However, in CS2 you can increase this tile size by activating the Bigger Tiles plug-in. This means that Photoshop can process large images faster because it won’t have to draw as many tiles. Go to Adobe Photoshop CS2/Plug-Ins/Adobe Photoshop Only/Extensions/Bigger Tiles folder and remove the ~ (Tilde) from the file name. Now Photoshop redraws more data at a time because each tile is larger, it will process your images faster.

Tip 4: Go to Photoshop CS2’s Plug-Ins folder, and in the File Formats folder add a tilde (~) in front of any file types that you don’t use to speed up Photoshop’s startup time.

<!–
google_ad_client = “pub-9774468933317159”;
google_ad_width = 468;
google_ad_height = 60;
google_ad_format = “468x60_as”;
google_ad_type = “text”;
google_ad_channel =””;
google_color_border = “FFFFFF”;
google_color_bg = “FFFFFF”;
google_color_link = “336600”;
google_color_url = “990033”;
google_color_text = “333333”;
//–><!–
google_ad_client = “pub-9774468933317159”;
google_ad_width = 468;
google_ad_height = 60;
google_ad_format = “468x60_as”;
google_ad_type = “text”;
google_ad_channel =””;
google_color_border = “FFFFFF”;
google_color_bg = “FFFFFF”;
google_color_link = “336600”;
google_color_url = “990033”;
google_color_text = “333333”;
//–>

Tip 5: Pixel doubling is an option that lets Photoshop redraw your images faster whenever you use tools or commands to move the pixels in the image. Whenever you have an image open and you move the pixels, Photoshop must redraw the entire image. This can take some serious processing power if you’re working with a large photo from, say, an 8-megapixel camera. To speed the process up, turn on the Use Pixel Doubling checkbox in the Preferences dialog (under Display & Cursors). Photoshop will temporarily double the size of the pixels in the photo (essentially cutting the resolution of the image in half) for a fast redraw. It doesn’t make any permanent changes to the photo and as soon as you’re done using the tool, it returns the image to its normal pixel data.

Few More General Tips:

a) The Task Manager’s Performance tab, provides the best way to monitor memory use. To run the Task Manager, press Ctrl-Alt-Delete, then click on the Performance tab. With it, you can interpret the information and make better use of your memory.

b) Over time, your PC’s hard disk can become damaged or fragmented. If there is not enough contiguous space for the system to save a file, it saves pieces of the file to different locations on the disk. It takes an application longer to read a fragmented file whose pieces are saved in several locations. To optimize and defragment the hard disk on a PC, use the Windows Disk Defragmenter or if like to use more professional utility then use the Diskeeper software.

Along the way, I found this tutorial on how to load photoshop faster:

http://whiterbunny.wordpress.com/2006/04/20/loading-photoshop-faster/

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