06 Speeding Up Photoshop

Convert io Smart Object

The first step to using the Find Edges filter to confine sharpening to just the edges of a picture is to make a copy of the background layer (Layer > Duplicate Layer) and desaturate the color (Image > Adjustments > Desaturate).

Next, apply the Find Edges filter (Filter > Stylize > Find Edges) to the grayscale layer and then invert the results (Image > Adjustments > Invert).

Now to add the sharpening to just the edges with the aid of the new Smart Filters technology. Start by converting the image layer to a Smart Object layer (Layer > Smart Objects > Convert to Smart Object). Next switch back to the filtered layer and select all of the image content (Ctrl/Cmd A) and copy this to memory (Ctrl/Cmd C).

Now click back to the new Smart Object layer and select the Unsharp Mask or Smart Sharpen filter from the Filter > Sharpen menu. Click OK to the dialog without making any changes and then Alt/Opt click the Smart Filter's thumbnail mask to display it in the main work area. Now paste the memory contents to the mask (Ctrl/Cmd V). With the edge mask now in place, doubleclick the Unsharp Mask filter entry in the Layers palette and adjust the sharpening settings to suit.

Scratch disks

Menu: Edit > Preferences > Performance

Shortcut: -

OS: Mac, Windows

Version: 6.0, 7.0, CS,

See Preferences, Photoshop

CS2, CS3


The preferences settings for Photoshop are located under the Edit > Preferences menu. Here you will find a series of settings that allow you to adjust the default workings of the program. To change or allocate scratch disks select the Performance or Plug-Ins & Scratch Disks option.


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The Performance dialog has settings to allocate all the hard disks you have installed as extra RAM. It is best not to use the same location for Windows/Mac OS virtual memory. It is also worth selecting your fastest drive first as the extra speed will also help increase performance.

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You can also allocate the amount of RAM set aside specifically for Photoshop in this dialog. With the scratch disks now set up click OK to close the window and then quit Photoshop as the changes will not take effect until you restart the program.



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