Photoshop Performance

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by kissmo, Jul 15, 2013.

  1. kissmo macrumors 6502a

    Jun 29, 2011
    Budapest, Hungary
    I have been having for a while some terrible performance with my Photoshop on my Mac.

    I have tried PS CC and CS6 both on Mountain Lion and Mavericks.
    However I continuously experience these:

    - Very slow responsiveness of the interface
    - Cursos disappears
    - Using healing brush will not update the changes until I click again
    - Interface not updating (for example when changing transparency of a layer) is not updated in realtime
    - Lasso tools behave odd - Polygonal lasso doesn't show the selection line until I click again somewhere else
    And I could go on and on with everything.

    I am using D800's NEF RAW files but on CS5 they seem to run without problems.
    I do have installed Google Nik Package.
    I have 8 GB of RAM running on a 2011 17inch Macbook Pro.

    Do you have any configuration tips or any ideas what could be wrong?

  2. phrehdd macrumors 68040


    Oct 25, 2008
    I don't recall everything about your model but here are some things to consider -

    Increase RAM to 16 gigs (it is if I recall correctly, unofficially able to do so)
    What drive speed is your hard drive? If it is 5400, then consider either a 7200 or better yet an SSD.
    Check out the Internet for tried and true set up tweaks for Photoshop on Macbooks. There are a couple of items that usually show up including reducing 'history' and testing whether to engage or not the video GPU etc.

    Sorry I cannot be more helpful but the above is a good place to start.

    I use Photoshop on a quad 2.0 Mac Mini with SSD and 16 gigs of Ram. It runs reasonably well along with some 3rd party filters.
  3. kissmo thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jun 29, 2011
    Budapest, Hungary
    It's a core i7 MBPro.
    The main OS and Photoshop are running on an SSD OCZ Virtex 2
    GPU is from ATI.

    I think History may be the issue - I will try it as soon as I get to my Mac.
    Never thought of that.... hmmm... Thanks for the Tip!
  4. phrehdd macrumors 68040


    Oct 25, 2008
    Well glad you are looking into all areas where bottlenecks and settings may impact speed and productivity. There are some settings within Photoshop (2 or 3 if I recall) that make a difference on items such as laptops and non powerhouse systems. Hope you find the best settings and enjoy.
  5. kissmo thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jun 29, 2011
    Budapest, Hungary
    For the file size of D800 you need a lot of RAM that is for sure. 16 GB is a must I believe.

    However reducing the history states did improve the responsiveness for Photoshop.
    Also disabling AppNapp in Mavericks has helped a little. Still I am facing Sluggishness for now - especially when I have iTunes, Bridge and Page Gallery (photo album design software) opened so I am guessing is the RAM issue.

    Still after I close all the other Apps Photoshop still doesn't recover unless I do a full restart.

    Anyway now I get a workable station - will think on improving HW in time.
    D800 is a money eater. Not just space but resources for the workstation.

    Thinking to build a High Performance Hackintosh for this or maybe an iMac but money is an issue for now.... :)
  6. Fuchal macrumors 68020

    Sep 30, 2003
    It seems like you shouldn't be having these issues on a machine that fast. You might want to try toggling Use Graphics Processor on Preferences > Performance. I've found in some cases disabling it can seem much faster than enabling it, with some system configurations.
  7. nburwell macrumors 68040


    May 6, 2008
    This right here. I know many D800 users who had to upgrade the RAM on their PC and Mac's when they purchased their D800. The RAW files are enormous!
  8. phrehdd macrumors 68040


    Oct 25, 2008
    I would imagine it would be wise not to open up other apps at all while you are doing the Photoshop work. Photoshop may be polite about working around apps using RAM but when they are closed, Photoshop will not exploit the previously used RAM per se usually. This is why you need to close and open Photoshop.

    For D800 work plus wanting some other apps open, you may indeed want to go to a machine that can handle 32 gigs of RAM or better - that leaves the iMac and Mac Pro as options. - Of the latter, you can research and probably get a reasonable deal on a refurb or used Mac Pro. For an iMac, find a good powerful model that allows you to upgrade RAM to 32 gigs.

    Glad you checked about history states and as I and another mentioned you may want to fiddle with the setting for the video/graphics card with respect to engaging the GPU. Btw, your laptop has both onboard and ATI, how do you tell which option for video is being engaged by Photoshop?
  9. codymac macrumors 6502

    Jun 12, 2009
    Having a hard time with memory being an issue. Especially considering CS5 runs OK.

    If you're shooting RAW + Fine, how does it handle the jpgs? I'd suspect either something with CS6 or something with CS6 reading NEFs.

    2011 MBP 2.3 i7, 16gb, 6750M, & dual SSDs here. Here's the last image I had open in CS6 and it ran like a champ.

    eta: Nik and a handful of other plugins installed. I was using Topaz DeNoise a good bit with this for some ridiculously aggressive noise reduction.

    Attached Files:

    • mr.jpg
      File size:
      72.9 KB
  10. kissmo thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jun 29, 2011
    Budapest, Hungary
    I am shooting clean RAW files no JPEGs.

    Photoshop just acts weird when it comes to some interface things. Like hiding a selection when I press CTRL+H. I have to press it twice sometimes...

    Not being able to see what on earth happens when I lower opacity.

    Healing brush doesn't update in the interface until I click again somewhere else.
    And recently I got some errors regarding the clipboard (forgot to save the screenshot but related to not being available - I assume RAM is full)

    These are clear indications of Ram being clogged. :)
    I will for sure look forward for an upgrade both on the MBPro and for the future for an iMac.

    Thanks guys for involvement and help!
    History states have helped a lot.

    Time to make money spending plans I guess... :) Not easy for an Eastern European.... not easy... :)
  11. steveash macrumors 6502


    Aug 7, 2008
    A 2011 Macbook Pro shouldn't have issues if you have enough ram. Ram is the overriding issue with Photoshop followed by scratch disk type and size. I use the current base model Mac Mini with 16GB ram for medium format images (40 and 60 MP) and it has no problem with these.

    Make sure your settings in Photoshop are optimised. In the preferences > performance increase the memory usage as high as you reasonably can (I use 75%). Set your scratch disks as the fastest disk first and then a large capacity disk if you have one. In History & Cache select Big and Flat and choose a big cache tile (I use 1024k). Also make sure OpenGL is enabled if it is compatible with your video card. Restart and you should see improvements.
  12. codymac macrumors 6502

    Jun 12, 2009
    Paging would be a clear indication.
  13. kissmo thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jun 29, 2011
    Budapest, Hungary
    Stupid Pen Pad

    So guys.
    I changed the settings to Photoshop to the ones visible in the image.
    This way seems to feel much better.

    I figured out something else that seems to disrupt the good functioning of Photoshop. It's my PenPad Tablet!!!
    Every time I plug it (since Photoshop CS6) Photoshop behaves weird.

    Anyway - the performance has improved considerably with the settings changed. More RAM will help for sure.
    Again Thanks everybody for feedback and help.

    Attached Files:

  14. Prodo123, Jul 28, 2013
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2013

    Prodo123 macrumors 68020


    Nov 18, 2010
    Well there is your problem. Your hard disk is almost full and Photoshop has almost no scratch space.
    When using Photoshop, it is best to connect an external hard drive for scratch space. Since you apparently have no such thing connected, the next best thing is using a big portion of the internal storage for scratch space.

    The way your hard drive is partitioned is not healthy for disk performance, especially considering that you don't have a dedicated scratch disk. What Photoshop sees is the free space available on the selected partition only, not the aggregated free space available on the hard disk. You could remedy this by selecting all three internal partitions as scratch disks, but then first your hard disk will have to skip around sectors looking for the scratch space, and second as a consequence of this your entire computer will slow down. Partitioning hard drives may be convenient for some uses, but this is definitely not the way to go for optimal Photoshop performance without a scratch disk.

    To illustrate, I'll show a screenshot of the space available on my external drive. If both partitions are set as scratch disks, the hard disk will have to travel the 1TB of data (blue space) to get to the other scratch space. And with more partitions, more such jumps the hard disk has to do.

    As for 8GB RAM, that's not enough. Get 16GB RAM, grab a set for ~$90 on Amazon and it will change your computing life. Page-outs are but a small indicator of Photoshop performance, since scratch space is Photoshop's own pagefile system for countering the relatively abysmal amount of RAM that most computers have.

    So my advice would be to let Photoshop use more of your RAM (~6-8GB), free up disk space, consolidate the partitions into one partition (if you don't mind the different management scheme), and get more RAM. Also, a dedicated external drive would really boost performance on heavy projects.

    With my computer (see sig), I can edit absolutely ginormous files, whether it be multilayer gigapixel projects, extreme panoramic stitching, or 700+ full resolution photo stacking for astrophotography. As codymac above put succinctly, it runs like a champ.

    Attached Files:

  15. Macman45 macrumors G5


    Jul 29, 2011
    Somewhere Back In The Long Ago

    This. My fiancée is shooting RAW on a D80 using a MBA with just 4GB of RAM and whilst the little Mac works hard, it has caused no issues at all. You could grab another 8GB but I'd look at the installation first. I know the SSD in her air does make a difference, but you really shouldn't be having such poor performance.
  16. adamneer, Dec 28, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2013

    adamneer macrumors 6502

    Apr 18, 2013
    Chicago, IL
    i wanted to reopen this dying thread because contrary to all of the suggestions in this thread so far, I can confirm with almost 100% certainty that the issue is in fact something to do with Mavericks and pen tablets. I have experienced EXACTLY the same issues you have listed on a consistent basis since upgrading to Mavericks in October. There are a few threads open in the Adobe forums regarding these issues, but so far, it seems no one has any fix for it and none of the developers have replied with anything more than a request for submitting error reports. This is extremely frustrating, seeing as not only did Adobe have months of developer preview time to correct this problem, but they have now had several months post official release to fix them. The issue is further complicated since it appears to be very much tied into the use of pen tablets (mostly Wacom of course), which makes it likely that both Adobe and Wacom are waging a battle of "not my problem" with each other, instead of correcting the problem in a timely manner.

    Again, I just wanted to stress that this is an issue entirely brought upon by the upgrade to Mavericks, since the symptoms displayed were not at all present in any previous 10.8.x releases, nor have I ever seen them in 10.7,10.6 or 10.5. Anyone experiencing this has undoubtedly updated every available driver and software version number. These are not the types of bugs that can easily be shrugged off, as they can very often cause major setbacks in workflow (particularly the polygonal lasso tool, which will auto close in the middle of long, complicated selections, forcing you to "undo" and start the selection all over again.) In fact, I am constantly checking for updates from Wacom and dying to see that little update indicator in the top right corner of the menu bar for an Adobe update.

    Oh, and one more thing - since I can imagine the likelihood of this response - "just don't use the tablet if that is what is causing the problems". Clearly this is not an option, as the tablet is what allows us to work properly and with the precision we need for such a program. Not to mention the fact that many of us have hundreds of dollars invested in expensive tablets, which makes forgoing their use on account of poor development planning unacceptable.

    *by the way, i forgot to mention that both of the machines listed in my signature experience the same problems.
  17. flyshop macrumors newbie

    Jan 28, 2004
    CS6 on MacBook Air

    I am using CS6 on a 2011 Mac Book Air, 128GB, 4GB Ram. My camera is a D800
    and CS6 runs just fine except when I load 10 GB of raw files on my HD. My HD only has 30Gb space left and if it gets reduced to 20GB it then starts running really slow which is normal. Therefore I preview all the images I want to keep, put them in a folder, and store them on a LaCie 1Tb backup drive to access later.

    My Lacie has about 160GB of info stored on it, while my MBA is at 90GB. It was not a problem until I bought the D800 and started storing 36MP files on my Air.
    So the Lacie 1TB drive is an affordable solution for now. If I had to do over again, I would get the MBA 13", 512GB SSD, 8Gb Ram.
  18. Designer Dale macrumors 68040

    Designer Dale

    Mar 25, 2009
    Folding space
    I ran a search on PhotoShop CS6 and NEF files and came up with a list of issues. Here's the search result page:

    CS6 and NEF Issues


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