- File Saving Options: This controls the following behavior when saving files:
- Image Previews: This controls whether to save the preview thumbnail data to the file when you save the image. Options are Never Save, Always Save, or Ask When Saving.
- File Extension: This specifies to save the extension with uppercase or lowercase.
- Save As to Original Folder: When enabled, Photoshop defaults to the original folder the file was opened from when using File ➪ Save As.
- File Compatibility: This provides the following settings for file compatibility when saving files:
- Camera Raw Preferences: This launches a dialog box to set camera raw preferences.
- Prefer Adobe Camera Raw for Supported Raw Files: This causes camera raw files to be opened by Adobe Camera Raw instead of other applications, including Photoshop.
- Ignore EXIF Profile Tag: EXIF information is data about the photo that is embedded by a digital camera when the photo is taken. Cameras typically embed color profile data with the image to help ensure color correctness. However, if the camera has faulty color data, the image may not look as good as it should.
If your photos aren’t looking quite right, enable this option and see if they look better. If so, you may need to disable this option for images taken with that camera. You also may try assigning a different color profile to the image.
- Ask Before Saving Layered TIFF Files: This prompts you before layers are saved in a TIFF file to make certain you don’t want to flatten the file. Keeping layers in TIFF files is a great way to keep the file in a very editable state. However, saving layers in the TIFF file may result in a much larger file size, and some applications that support TIFFs do not support layers. Keep this setting on, just as a reminder when saving TIFF files.
- Maximize PSD and PSB Compatibility: This controls whether Photoshop tries to maximize the PSD compatibility between older versions of Photoshop when you save an image. Options are Never, Always, or Ask. Maximizing compatibility is good, but it comes at the cost of greater file size. This preference defaults to Ask, but if you know that you will never use an older version of Photoshop, disabling it saves you an extra mouse click.
- Enable Adobe Drive: This enables Adobe Version Cue through Adobe Drive that manages file versions when multiple people need to work on the same files. Version Cue can track changes to a file as different people work on it. This option should be enabled only if you are using Version Cue.
- Recent File List Contains: This specifies the number of files to show in the File ➪ Open Recent file list. You may want to tweak this option based on the type of project that you are working on.
The File handling settings in the Preferences dialog box allow you to save compatibility settings used when saving files.
The Performance preferences panel, shown in Figure 2.20, provides the following settings to control some of Photoshop’s features that are performance-intensive:
- Memory Usage: This defines how much system memory Photoshop is allowed to consume. This option displays the current system memory and gives a suggested range. The slider and text box defines the maximum amount of RAM Photoshop is allowed to use. Processing images is very CPU- and RAM-intensive. The more RAM you allow Photoshop to consume the faster it performs, but then less memory is available for other applications.
Allowing Photoshop to consume too much memory can lead to extremely poor system performance that affects all applications, even Photoshop. This is one case where more is not necessarily better.
- Scratch Disks: This displays a list of devices that you can select for scratch disks. Scratch disks are used by Photoshop to cache data not currently being used when processing data that requires more memory than the system has available.
You get the best performance when working with Photoshop if you use three separate disk drives to store the Photoshop application, scratch data, and image files. The reason for this is that the disks can be seeking the three types of data at the same time.
- History & Cache: This defines settings for document caching and history retention that can improve Photoshop’s performance. You have these choices:
- Optimize buttons: The first three buttons optimize the cache for documents that are Tall and Thin, Default size, or Short and Fat. This option takes into account your computer hardware and current system settings.
- History States: This specifies the number of History States to cache. A higher number gives you more states that you can use to backtrack changes but results in additional memory consumption.
- Cache Levels: This specifies the cache setting used to define the behavior of the cache. Caching improves performance by caching lower-resolution versions of the image to display in the document window. This allows for much faster rendering by Photoshop. A setting of 1 essentially disables caching because the full image size is stored in the cache. This gives you a more accurate view of the image but results in slower rendering times. Increasing the cache number caches more low-resolution versions of the image, which improves performance while sacrificing rendering quality in Photoshop. You need to restart Photoshop for changes to the cache to take effect.
- Cache Tile Size: This specifies the number of bytes that Photoshop stores or processes at once. Typically, the rule is to use a larger tile size when working with larger images and a smaller one when working with smaller images or images with lots of layers. You need to restart Photoshop for changes to the Cache Tile Size to take effect.
- GPU Settings: The GPU settings allow you to enable or disable OpenGL drawing by your video adapter. OpenGL drawing utilizes the processor on your graphics adapter to render images. Using the video adapter to draw can significantly improve performance in many of Photoshop’s tools such as the Zoom, 3D, and Paint tools. Enabling OpenGL also enables several advanced features in Photoshop, such as the rotate view, Birdseye zooming, pixel grid, and flick to scroll. Clicking the Advanced Settings button loads the dialog box, shown in Figure 2.20, that allows you to set the following advanced options for OpenGL:
- Basic Mode: This uses the least amount of GPU memory and has the least impact on other applications running OpenGL features on the system. However, this mode can result in slowness in some areas of Photoshop that are GPU-intensive, such as 3D.
- Normal Mode: This uses the most amount of GPU memory and enables additional OpenGL features, but may cause visual defects on some GPUs.
- Advanced Mode: This uses the same amount of memory as Normal mode but enables even more OpenGL features that can improve performance and enhance some of Photoshop’s rendering features such as zoom animation. This mode also may cause visual effects on some GPUs and interfere with other applications using the GPU.
- Vertical Sync: This synchronizes the OpenGL drawing with the vertical sync of the display which provides much smoother pixel transitions at the cost of an additional performance hit.
- Anti-alias guides and paths: This smoothes guides and path lines. Disable this option if your guides and paths appear too wide or heavy. The Open GPU Utility button launches a dialog box that guides you through the process of optimizing the GPU in your video card for Photoshop. This process is very CPU-intensive so you want to run it at a time that you are not using your computer. You also should disable you screen saver while it is running so the screen saver does not taint the results.
The Performance settings in the Preferences dialog box allow you to limit Photoshop so it does not consume too many resources on your system.
The Cursors preferences panel, shown in Figure 2.21, provides the following settings to define the appearance and size of mouse or stylus cursors:
- Painting Cursors: This defines the appearance and size of the cursor used with painting tools such as the brush. You have these options:
- Standard: This looks like the painting tool icon.
- Precise: This displays a crosshair, which is much better for seeing the exact center of the brush stroke.
- Normal Brush Tip: This creates a circle the size of the paint stroke, not taking into account any feathering caused by brush settings. This option is better for seeing the immediate area that will be affected by the brush stroke.
- Full Brush Tip: This creates a circle that is the full pixel size of the paint stroke, including any feathered edges. This option is better for seeing the full area that will be affected by the brush stroke.
- Show Crosshairs in Brush Tip: This displays a crosshair in the center of the Normal and Full Brush tips.
- Show Only Crosshairs While Painting: This changes from the Normal Brush Tip or Full Brush Stroke Tips to the Crosshair Tip when you are dragging the mouse. This allows you to see the size of the brush better before using the precision tip.
- Other Cursors: This defines the brush tip cursor used for tools other than the painting tool.
- Brush Preview: This allows you to use a color chooser to define the color that is used for the brush editing preview.
The Cursors settings in the Preferences dialog box allow you to set size and appearance of cursors when working with Photoshop’s tools.
- Photoshop Workspace
- Workspace Overview
- The Document Workspace
- The Application Bar
- The Workspace Presets
- The Toolbox and Tool Options Bar
- Cruising Main Menus
- Understanding Panels
- Understanding Tools in Toolbox
- Using Presets
- Setting Preferences
- Interface Preferences
- File Handling Preferences
- Transparency Gamut Preferences
- Customizing Shortcuts and Menus