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Now we are going to take a look at how to optimize your settings, so that you can get the peak speed performance here inside of Photoshop CS3. So I am going to go ahead and I am going to open up my Preferences dialog box by hitting Command+K on the Mac, Ctrl+K on the PC. That is just going to launch my General Preferences dialog box here. There is a couple of things that we want you to be aware of inside of this dialog box. For instance, I want you to go ahead and turn on Automatically Launch Bridge. This is just going to save you the time of having to launch Bridge by itself later on in your workflow. So if you go ahead and click this button, each and every time you launch Photoshop, Bridge will automatically launch with it.
So that's just a great way to make sure that you have that asset management program launching right alongside with you, each and every time you start your workflow. The other thing I am going to have you go ahead and turn off in this dialog box is the Export Clipboard. I am having you turn this off simply because of the fact that when you switch between applications, if you have this turned on, Photoshop is automatically going to try to compile all of that clipboard data and make it usable for that other application. A lot of times the clipboard will be too large to import into the other application, you are going to get error messages, you are going to get lots and lots of hassles, if you have this turned on. So it is best to just keep this turned off, just as a general preference as we go through here.
Also, what I want you to do is go ahead and turn off Use Shift Key for Tool Switch. We are going to turn that off simply because of the fact that when you are using the quick access commands for the tools over here on the left hand side, which we are going to go over in just a few moments; what we are going to do is we are going to turn that off, so that you can have easy access to each one of those tools over there that lie inside of a toolbox. We will explain exactly what that means in just a little bit.
The last thing I am going to have you do is turn on Zoom Resizes Windows. Now on the Mac side, this should already be turned on, on the PC side, you will have to turn that on for yourself. So go ahead and turn that on. What that allows you to do is have your image window, which is just a big window where your image is inside the application, it will resize as you zoom in and out.
So that's just going to be a great way to make sure that you have an accurate placement of exactly what you are viewing inside your image window. It is also going to be great for an accurate zoom on your image as well. You don't want to get lost when you are zooming in and out because of the fact that the image does not fit inside the image window properly. So go ahead and turn that on, if it is not already set there.
Then also the last thing here, make sure that you have History Log turned off. If you have History Log turned on, which you shouldn't, it should be turned off by default, but if you have accidentally turned this on, go ahead and turn that off right now, simply because of the fact that it is going to just increase file size, which also increases the load time for when you are opening and closing documents here inside of Photoshop. So make sure that is turned off.
Now we are going to go ahead and we are going to click Next a few times here, until we get into the File Handling portion of the Preferences. What we are going to do inside of here? There is nothing really specific that we need to worry about, except for the Maximize PSD and PSB File Compatibility. What this is, is the compatibility that Photoshop has with other applications and previous versions of Photoshop. So unless you are going to be opening these documents in older versions of Photoshop besides CS3 or in other applications, such as After Effects or InDesign or something like that, I am going to go ahead and suggest that you set this to Never, simply because of the fact that it is going to get rid of that annoying dialog box that pops-up each and every time you save a file. It is also going to cut down on file size which also cuts down on the load time. So go ahead and set that to Never, if you are not going to be switching between those applications. I will go ahead and set that to Never, simply because of the fact that we are only going to be working in Photoshop for this particular series and plus, it is just an extra little speed burst that we get there.
We are also going to take a look at, down here, the Recent file list. This automatically contains 10 files, by default. So if you want to keep those 10 files default, that are listed in the Open Recent section of Photoshop, go ahead and keep that at 10. However, if you want to shrink that down to maybe 5 or something like that, that is going to give you just a little bit extra speed too because that is one less thing that Photoshop has to remember. So go ahead then and turn that back to 5, if you wish. If you feel like you needed the full 10, go ahead and leave it at 10.
Now we are going to click Next again and we are going to jump into the Performance section of the Preferences. Inside the Performance section, we are going to take a look first over here at the History & Cache portion of this dialog box. What we want to look at here is the History States. Now by default, Photoshop saves 20 history states in its History Log which is located inside the History Panel. What this means is it will record up to 20 steps of whatever you do to an image. So for instance, if you run 20 levels commands on a particular image, it will keep a reference of each one of those commands inside of the History States of the History Panel.
So what this does in essence is increases the amount of RAM, Photoshop has to use in order to remember all that information. Now I am going to be showing you a trick later on in this series, that is going to eliminate the need for this large number of History States. So I am going to recommend that you go ahead and turn this back to 10. You might even be able to get away with 5, if you use the trick that I will show you later on properly. So go ahead then and set this to 10 right now. Later on, if you feel like you can turn it back even more, you can go ahead and do so. So I will go ahead now and I will change this value to 10, like so.
Next we are going to take a look at the Cache Levels. What the Cache Levels are is the cached image preview of your image as you zoom in and out of it. So for instance, when you zoom in and out of an image, you automatically get a preview at 331/3% or 50% or 66.7% and things like that. What this will allow you to do? If you turn this back, it will eliminate those image caches and allow you to zoom in and out of this file a little bit faster.
So if you don't have a lot of RAM in your machine, let's say, you have less than a gigabyte of RAM in your particular computer that you are using, I would suggest turning this back to maybe 2 or 3. You definitely don't want it up in the higher ranges of 6 to 8, it will only go to 8. So if you have above a gigabyte of RAM, like say, 2 gigabytes of RAM, you could leave this at 6 or even push it to 8, which would not decrease your performance but it would give you better previews as you are zooming in and out of your images. So for lower amounts of RAM, lower the cache level; for higher amounts of RAM, raise the cache level, and so forth.
Now the last thing we are going to take a look at in this dialog box is the Memory Usage. Now for those of you, again, who have less than a gigabyte of RAM in your machine, I would suggest that you keep this between 50-70% simply because of the fact that there a lot of background processes that run on your computer that really need to be there and they don't need you to be allocating all of your RAM to Photoshop as it is running. So go ahead and keep this between 50% and 70%, if you have a lower amount of RAM. If you have 2 gigabytes or more of RAM in your computer, you can leave this at 70% or even push is higher to 80% or 85%. That's just going to give Photoshop an extra performance boost because you