How to work with giant Photoshop CS3 documents?

Discussion in 'Design and Graphics' started by Aljovido, Nov 16, 2009.

  1. Aljovido macrumors member

    Mar 30, 2008
    I am attempting to work with very large Photoshop CS3 documents (120x160" @ 300dpi), and the program is almost non-responsive. These are large documents, so I naturally expect some lag, but it has become impossible to work with. However, I don't feel like I am the only person on earth who has to deal with a couple documents this large. I was hoping someone could give me some recommendations on how to set up my photoshop preferences to best work with large documents. I searched the internet for help, but only found confusing answers.

    I have an 8-core 2008 Mac Pro 3.2 Ghz, 6GB of RAM. According to activity monitor, I do get some page outs (about 1GB after an hour or two of struggling), so I know adding more ram would help. But I am hopeful there are things I can change in preferences to have a more immediate effect.

  2. heehee macrumors 68020


    Jul 31, 2006
    Same country as Santa Claus
    When you have posters or whatever your are working on that big, you don't need 300 dpi. 150 dpi should be more than enough for that size, no one is going to look at the poster up close.
  3. AdeFowler macrumors 68020


    Aug 27, 2004
    Allocate some space to a Scratch Disk; preferably blank and of a decent capacity.
    Convert your image to RGB if you haven't already.
    Close the Navigator Palette and thumbnail previews in the Layers Palette.
    Reduce your Saved History states to one.
  4. apfhex macrumors 68030


    Aug 8, 2006
    Northern California

    I can't recall if setting cache levels to 1 (AKA "off") is better for really huge images with fewer layers or tiny images with many layers — but either way it will probably speed things up if you're low on RAM.
  5. Kwill macrumors 68000


    Mar 10, 2003
    Re: Giant PS documents

    150 ppi should be sufficient in most cases
    (if creating giclee artwork, resolution may depend upon paper texture)

    If you can, get some more RAM sticks for that awesome machine of yours. It supports up to 32GB

    Scratch disk is crucial.

    Bert Monroy routinely works on massive layered files by dissecting them into parts. After a large image is color balanced, it can be sliced into multiple squares for further manipulation with layers. These separate files can later be flattened and combined more easily.

    Keep your clipboard memory clear. Don't copy the entire image and paste it. If you do find the need to copy and paste, keep a 1-pixel square document open with select all (marching ants) on it. After copying and pasting in your real file(s), click on the tiny document and copy the single pixel.
  6. snickelfritz macrumors 65816


    Oct 24, 2003
    Tucson AZ
    For billboards, banners, etc... that are to be viewed at longer than normal distances, scale the document down to 1/12 @ 900dpi.
    ie: 10" x 13.33" @ 900dpi

    BTW, use Illustrator for vector elements. (type, logos, etc...)
  7. studio¹³¹ macrumors 6502


    Jul 31, 2009
    convert the main image to low res and save as something else. then just use it as placement only. when youre done, swap the larger image back into place...
  8. Consultant macrumors G5


    Jun 27, 2007
  9. Aljovido thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 30, 2008
  10. design-is macrumors 65816


    Oct 17, 2007
    London / U.K.
    Also thanks from me!

    I've recently been having problems (albeit on an old G5) with some hi res poster images which will be looked at close up. I'll remember these tips for next time...

    Much appreciated :)

  11. covisio macrumors 6502


    Aug 22, 2007
    The biggest file I ever worked on was 6800 x 5285 pixels in RGB, i.e. A1 at 205 dpi approx.
    The resolution of this, once printed out at maximum quality on my HP DesignJet, was just about okay. The subject was a very detailed rendering of a luxury sports coupé with transparent views into the innards of the car, so detail was required as it would be scrutinized closely.
    Some differences though:
    1. There were over 150 layers, many of which had layer masks and/or effects, plus assorted adjustment layers.
    2. I was doing all the work on a PowerBook G4 Aluminium with 1 Gb of RAM.
    The worst part was saving the file, which took about 30 minutes every time I did it, a couple of times it did actually refuse to save it, at which point I switched to using Large Document Format (.psb) which seemed to help.
    The uncompressed size of the document was 1.53 Gb.

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