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Adobe Photoshop CC - Advanced Training

How to speed up Adobe Photoshop if it’s running slow

Daniel Walter Scott

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Hi there, this video is all about getting the most out of Photoshop. If you're working with a super fast laptop or iMac, or something that's really new, probably don't have to do any of this, but if you're struggling along with an old second hand laptop, then this stuff can be really helpful. 

So the first one, and real easy one is, say we're working on this, got multiple layers on multiple Artboards, you just find, after a while it starts going slower, and slower, and slower. You can click 'Edit' and go down to here, and go to 'Purge', just go to 'Purge All'. Know that it clears out your undos, and clears out all the history and video cache, if you're working from a Mac. Just tidy the RAM up so that you can get back to what you're doing. If you have to do this a lot you might set up a shortcut for this. There's the shortcuts there. 

Now just something to be aware of, is I'm using Smart Objects and all these pictures of me. I made this kind of, for the graphics for my Intro course, but these are all Smart Objects. The Smart Object here contains a lot bigger file, then I'm using it here, this is actually only a few pixels across, but it's using a Smart Object which is really, really big. So it can stress your machine out, if you don't need it, you can right click the name over here, and just say 'Rasterize Layer'. And it gets rid of the Smart Object. It's a bit sucky because you lose all of that kind of hidden resolution in here, but if it doesn't need to get any bigger, and you are just working with a file that needs to get smaller, that's one of the tricks. 

Now in the previous video-- I'm going to show you how to undo exactly what you did. So under 'Performance', so 'Preferences', 'Performance', and bits under 'Edit', 'Preferences' if you're on a Mac. Down here, the 'History States', if you crank it up to '100', it might just slow down your machine. You need it down as low as you like. Where it says File Handling, turn down this Auto save, you might turn it up to an hour. Just like, please don't crash, but please run fast. Otherwise every five minutes it's going to be stopping to pause to try and save maybe a potentially really big and slow document. 

Now back under 'Performance', this little bit here, now before we had History States, and Cache Levels, and Cache Tile Size, nobody knew what it does, I really do. So what they did is they added these kind of, like three handle little bits here. It says, if you're doing Web design click on this one, if you're doing kind of photograph, kind of like the standard stuff, you can see, it changes it over here. And huge big pixel dimensions. If you're a photographer working on real high resolution images, with very few layers, this is the one to do. This is kind of a bit of both worlds, but if you're doing UI design, which I do a lot of, with lots of little bits and pieces, and loads of layers, if you've got like 50 layers, then lowering the Cache Levels just means it's not going to try and make a really good preview of a zillion different layers. 

It's just going to do a really small tile size and only do it twice, whereas if you're working with a huge, big-- I love how they just call it huge pixel dimensions. Good work, Adobe, that's exactly what it is. Just means the cache level's going to go really high, because you're only probably going to have one or two layers, probably just one if you're working on like a, maybe you're retouching a really big image, you may only have a couple of layers. It's just getting the most out of your graphics processors. You can toggle between these two. You'll forget, so just stick it on default. 

If you're nerdy like me you can switch between the two, and basically I leave it on Web UI because that's a lot of my life these days. Digital products, small file sizes for lots of layers. Now that's what you can do to kind of tweak what you-- just the system that you have. If you're looking to upgrade your machine, if you're in a Mac, and you've got a reasonably new one it's pretty much impossible to upgrade them. Apple are making it super, super hard to upgrade them, you can't find places that will do it. If you're on a PC it's super easy, it's the opposites, like you can take it to any kind of corner shop and get it upgraded. 

So if you are looking to get a computer upgraded there's three things you look at. The cheapest and easiest is something called the RAM. When people talk about having 16 Gigs of RAM, 8 gigs of RAM, or 4 Gigs of RAM, you can see the ideal range here is somewhere between 7-10 Gigabytes of RAM. I have 16, but the computer takes-- so I have 16 gigabytes of RAM. It says 13, just because the system takes some for itself, and leaves me 13 alone that I can use in Photoshop. So I'm well above what the ideal range is. If yours is at like 4 Megabytes or lower, Photoshop's probably not opening these days, but even if it's 8 or 16, most PCs, you can take into a shop for reasonably-- it's not-- how much? I'm going to guess. It's going to cost you like 150-200 bucks to get somebody to stick some new RAM in it. Just to get it higher, and that can be like one of the quickest and easiest ways to get your computer running faster. 

What you also might do is that, say you're doing like me, using Photoshop but you've also got After Effects and Premiere open, and Illustrator and InDesign. Photoshop here is really system demanding, it's saying, I want 70% of what is available up here. So of that 13 I want 9 of it, please. You can say, actually Photoshop, just calm down a little bit. And I need InDesign to be running really fast, not you. But my computer is pretty awesome, so I'm just going to leave it up there at 70. 

The next thing you can do to kind of get your computer running a lot faster, in my experience has been upgrading the Hard Drive, so a typical Hard Drive, especially on a slightly older machine is a Tape Drive. It's this thing that kind of whirs to life. You've plugged your Hard Drive in, and it goes, Whoo, whoo, Those tape drives are quite slow. Photoshop finds them hard to kind of read/write to. So if you upgrade it to something called a Solid State Drive or SSD, don't worry too much about it, like if you go into a computer shop and say, "Hey, I want a Solid State Drive”, they can put that in there for you. It costs a lot more. It can really be what you want. 

The trouble with Solid State Drives is, say it's the Hard Drive space. Say your current drive has a Terabyte of space, the new SSD drive, you probably can't afford a Terabyte SSD at the moment. They're quite expensive, so you might have to go for a half a Terabyte. So you're going to lose Hard Drive space, but you're going to gain a lot of speed. I've got an old Mac that I did it to, oh my goodness, it just flew. Like it was about, I was like throwing it in the bin, and was frustrating. Did some research, SS Drive, and it gave it a new life. I do it for all the-- I've got a lab of computers where I run classes. I did it for all of those and I got another year or two out of them. Wasn't that expensive, but if you are buying one new, say you're going to a website, you're like, "Oh, this one's cheap", it's probably because they're using the older style of Hard Drive, Tape Spinning Hard Drive ones rather than these Solid State Drives. You can even get one of those, I find they're phenomenally good. A little bit harder to upgrade, but worth it. 

The other thing is the graphics card. That can be really hard, problematic to upgrade. If it's not kind of built into the machine, upgrading the graphics processor to something better, it's called the GPU. I haven't had much success upgrading them but if you're buying one, see if you can get the Graphics Processor to be as good as you can get it, but I wouldn't go and upgrade it, just stay with what you got. It matches the rest of the hardware, in my experience. 

Last thing to do is, just make sure your Hard Drive is not full up. Where is my Hard Drive? How much have I got left in this thing? Here it is, I've got another 216 Gigabytes of a Terabyte drive. I'm getting down to kind of like the last 20%, but it's still enough to work. If you look at your available Hard Drive space, not sure how to do it on a PC, but on a Mac, generally it's just in the bottom here. If you've only got a couple of Gigabytes, it's just your computer's going to be dead. It just means your Hard Drive is full, and Photoshop needs a chunk of extra available space, even though it doesn't really use it, it uses it temporarily while it's working. 

You can kind of see down here. You see at the bottom here, this file is actually only 90 Megabytes, but when it's open it's 365, and it's not a very big image. These are all just web graphics. So very often I'll see something that is say 100 Megabytes on my Hard Drive, but over here it'll be like 1.5 Gigabytes open. Just means while it's open, in Photoshop it needs 1.5 Gigabytes to stick it while it's working. And when it closes it down, it takes it off your Hard Drive, compresses it back down into the PSD. 

We might have got a little bit nerdy in that one. If you zoned out you've probably skipped on. Let's get into the next video.