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How to work faster in photoshop

At nearly every stage in the Photoshop workflow, graphic designers and photographers can experience delays. Making Photoshop run faster is often a concern. From launching the app to loading images, applying effects, rendering, saving, and outputting files to clients, waiting on your computer can be a normal part of the day – but it doesn’t have to be.

If you find yourself wondering how to speed up Photoshop, then let us help! Upgrading your computer’s hard drive to a solid state drive (SSD) and maxing out your memory can speed up every step in your workflow and help you spend less time staring at spinning cursors. Read more about the benefits of an SSD.

How can memory and an SSD speed up Photoshop?

More RAM and an SSD will help you:

  • Boot up faster
  • Transfer images from camera to computer faster
  • Load Photoshop and other applications faster
  • Load images and files faster
  • Edit and create faster
  • Save and output faster
  • Multitask faster

The role of memory in Photoshop

Everyday actions that rely on memory: Processing images, manipulating images (adding layers and effects), rendering, reverting files, running Photoshop and other applications. Learn more about memory.

Why memory is so important: Applications like Photoshop need memory (RAM) to store and quickly access data during use. Memory is also needed to access every image you’re working with. Having more memory means you can handle more images at a time — and work on everything in real time, not lag time.

More memory also means you can save and revert files faster. Because most Photoshop files are extremely large, they consume a lot of memory. If the files try to use more memory than is available, your computer will convert (swap) them into long-term storage, which will slow down your productivity even more.

If you need a memory upgrade, try the Crucial System Scanner or Crucial System Selector. Max out your memory and experience how this increase will speed up Photoshop. If you order on and use one of these tools to purchase an upgrade, we guarantee compatibility – or your money back.

The role of storage in Photoshop

Everyday actions that rely on storage: Booting up, opening Photoshop and other applications, loading images, saving files, rendering and manipulating media when your computer uses virtual memory (in place of memory, or as a scratch disk.)

Why an SSD is so important: Your system’s storage drive is what loads and saves every image and document you’re working on. It’s also what loads Photoshop, and it’s what your system uses to manipulate images and render when you run out of memory (a common occurrence when multitasking).

Switching from a hard drive to an SSD in Photoshop is like moving from dial-up internet to broadband – it’s that big of a jump and the speed never lets up. That’s the power of an SSD, and it really kicks in if you frequently save incremental versions of a project.

When you factor in ever-increasing resolution requirements, growing file sizes, and the need to save projects constantly in case clients change their mind, the ability to save and call up files quickly is a gift to yourself. It’s also a gift that keeps on giving because SSDs have no small moving parts, meaning they’re less prone to failure — and you’re less likely to lose a client’s files.

Crucial offers numerous SSD options for creatives looking to make Photoshop run faster. From SATA and NVMe SSDs to external SSDs, Crucial has what you need.

  • The P5 NVMe SSD: delivers impressive speeds and fierce data protection with sequential reads up to 3400MB/s.
  • The MX500 SATA SSD: built on quality, speed and security.
  • The X8 Portable SSD: runs up to 1.8x faster than other portable SSDs and up to 7.5x faster than portable HDDs(1)

What our performance testing in Photoshop revealed

While it’s well known that more memory and faster storage speed up graphic design in general (and slow-running Photoshop in particular), we wanted to put our theory to the test and quantify the impact you might see. By testing four configurations of the same base system, we were able to isolate performance variables and assess how DRAM and SSDs impacted a typical graphic design project – creating a poster.

Our design team took one of our finished files and created a script that delineated 72 steps that culminated in the finished poster. These steps were then turned into a script, which would allow us to remove the human element from poster assembly and look at pure component performance.

Before running the script, however, we launched six other applications and left them running in the background because we’ve found that most designers are constantly multitasking between project elements, and we wanted to simulate a real-world design scenario as realistically as possible.

While the system we tested was an older model that was capable of installing only 16GB of memory, it provided a good baseline to assess the role memory and storage play in completing a sample workflow.

Tweak Photoshop’s performance on your machine by optimizing your operating system and hardware.

Your computer must meet certain minimum system requirements to run Photoshop optimally. Running Photoshop on underpowered or unsupported hardware—for example, on a computer having an incompatible graphics processor (GPU)—may result in performance issues.

If you’re interested in modifying your current hardware setup (or perhaps if you’re buying a new system), use the following information to optimize it for Photoshop.

Use a fast processor

The speed of the computer’s central processing unit, or CPU, limits the processing speed of Photoshop.

Photoshop generally runs faster with more processor cores, although some features take greater advantage of the additional cores than others. However, you’ll get diminishing returns with multiple processor cores: The more cores you use, the less you get from each additional core. Therefore, Photoshop doesn’t run four times as fast on a computer with 16 processor cores as on a computer with four cores. For most users, the increase in performance that more than six cores provide doesn’t justify the increased cost.

If you are running Photoshop in a virtual environment, Photoshop’s GPU use can cause performance issues. Virtual machines cannot access the GPU.


Photoshop uses random access memory (RAM) to process images. If Photoshop has insufficient memory, it uses hard-disk space, also known as a scratch disk, to process information. Accessing information in memory is faster than accessing information on a hard disk. Therefore, Photoshop is fastest when it can process all or most image information in RAM.

For the latest version of Photoshop, at least 8 GB of RAM is recommended.

For instructions on how you can specify how much RAM to allocate to Photoshop, see Adjust memory usage.

Use a discrete graphics card

A discrete, dedicated graphics card uses its own memory (VRAM), has greater processing power, and doesn’t eat up RAM

Ultralight laptops and low end desktops, often use an integrated graphics card that uses less power to preserve battery and shares memory with your CPU.

Use a fast, large disk

Photoshop reads and writes image information to disk when your system doesn’t have enough RAM to contain all of it. The Efficiency indicator can help you determine whether getting a faster hard disk or solid-state disk would improve your performance. If the efficiency number is usually above 95%, spending money on a faster scratch disk has little benefit.

To improve Photoshop performance, use a disk with a fast data transfer rate. For example, use an internal hard disk or an external disk connected directly to your computer.

Network servers (hard disk accessed over a network) have slower data transfer rates and are not recommended for use with Photoshop.

Use a solid-state disk

To gain the greatest benefit from an SSD, use it as the scratch disk. Using it as a scratch disk gives you significant performance improvements if you have images that don’t fit entirely in RAM. For example, swapping tiles between RAM and an SSD is much faster than swapping between RAM and a hard disk.

If your SSD doesn’t have much free space (the scratch file grows bigger than can fit on the SSD), add a secondary or tertiary hard disk. (Add it after the SSD.) Make sure that these disks are selected as scratch disks in the Performance preferences.

Also, SSDs vary widely in performance, much more so than hard disks. Using an earlier, slower drive results in little improvement over a hard disk.

Adding RAM to improve performance is generally more cost effective than purchasing an SSD.

If the Efficiency indicator is already high, an SSD doesn’t improve performance. The lower the Efficiency indicator, the greater the improvement an SSD offers.

Fast RAID 0 arrays also make excellent scratch disks, especially if you use the array exclusively for your scratch disk.

Use the following information to set up and use your operating system efficiently with Photoshop.

  • Close unnecessary applications and startup items
  • Run Disk Cleanup (Windows)
  • Defragment the hard disk (Windows)
  • Turn on automatic OS updates
  • Set power options

Close unnecessary applications and startup items

Other open applications and startup items decrease the amount of memory available to Photoshop. To free up additional memory, quit unnecessary applications, startup items, and extensions.

Run Disk Cleanup (Windows)

From time to time, run Disk Cleanup to remove temporary files and any other files that are not being used.

Defragment the hard disk

Photoshop takes longer to read or write a fragmented file than one saved to a contiguous location.

Solid-state disks do not require defragmenting, because their performance doesn’t degrade significantly with normal levels of fragmentation.

Fragmentation is rarely a problem on macOS, unless you normally run with the drive nearly full.

Turn on automatic OS updates

Updates to the Windows or macOS improve performance and compatibility with applications.



Set power options

Ensure that Photoshop is using a high-performance graphics card rather than a lower-powered integrated graphics card for computers that have two graphics cards.

Changing these settings will use your battery more quickly.

When you purchase Photoshop CC license, you can start using it straight away. However, there are some adjustments you can make to have the program run much faster and more smoothly. In this video, Colin Smith of photoshopCAFE will give you ten lesser-known tips for speeding up Photoshop that will make your workflow much faster and more efficient.

1. Lose the welcome screen

The first thing you can do to speed up Photoshop is get rid of the welcome screen. Go to File > Preferences > General (or hit Ctrl/Cmd + K). Check the “Disable the Home Screen” option, and when you restart the program, it will be gone.

2. Shrink the “New Document” window

Under the same set of Preferences, you can also make the “New Document” window smaller. Again, hit Ctrl/Cmd + K and select the “Use Legacy ‘New Document’ Interface.”

3. Increase recent documents to 100

Next, under “Preferences,” go to “File Handling.” You can increase the number of recent files to 100. This way, when you go to Start > Open Recent, the last 100 files will be accessible, which can make your workflow much faster.

4. Use 80% of RAM memory

The next category Colin adjusts under “Preferences” is “Performance.” Within this category, you can increase the use of RAM to 80%. Colin suggests that you can also go up to 90% if you only use Photoshop, but generally, 80% is a good number.

5. Fix display issues

If you’re experiencing some display issues in Photoshop, Colin notes that this can often be fixed. Under “Preferences,” go to “Performance” and turn off the GPU. If this doesn’t help, go to the advanced settings and turn off the features one by one until you find which one was making a problem.

6. Legacy compositing

You may have experienced some problems with blending modes in Photoshop CC 2019. You can fix this by checking “Legacy Compositing” under the “Performance” panel.

7. Scratch disk

If Photoshop runs out of RAM while you’re processing an image, it moves the work to a hard drive and works from there. But, if you only have one hard drive set, and it’s nearly full, Photoshop will become sluggish. You can fix this by applying more than one disk. Colin suggests that you install another hard drive and make it an SSD. Under “Performance,” go to “Scratch Disks” and select that disk to be primary.

8. Don’t copy and paste

Copying and pasting one image to another can take up some memory. So, Colin suggests that you rather drag and drop one image into the other, because it doesn’t copy the photo to a clipboard and saves you memory.

9. Free up resources

If you try to apply a filter and Photoshop warns you that it’s out of resources, you can fix this too. Go to Edit > Purge and select “All.” This will clear history and anything on the clipboard and free up some resources.

10. Resetting your preferences

If you want to reset Photoshop to factory settings, you can easily do it, and it can fix a lot of problems you may experience with the program. But, make sure to save your presets before doing this. Go to Edit > Presets > Export/Import Presets and save any custom presets that you’ve made.

Now, you can reset your preferences. Exit Photoshop, and before opening it again, hold Ctrl + Alt + Shift on Windows or Cmd +Option + Shift on Mac. You’ll see a dialog box asking “Delete the Adobe Photoshop Settings File?” Click “Yes,” and you’re done. Your Photoshop is now reset to factory settings.

Have you used any of these tips so far? Have they helped you fix Photoshop issues? Share your experiences in the comments.

How to work faster in photoshop

Hey everyone, welcome to FilterGrade. If you’re reading this post, then Adobe Photoshop is probably running poorly or slow on your computer. In this tutorial, we’re going to share our knowledge of the Adobe creative suite and suggest a few things that can make Photoshop run faster for you.

Watch the video tutorial!

How to tell if Photoshop is struggling:

Besides the obvious signs of sluggishness, you can tell that Photoshop is running poorly by looking at the Efficiency Bar. You can enable this by clicking on the little pop out menu at the bottom of the screen, and checking “efficiency”. If the number stays at 100%, then you’re looking good. If it goes below 100%, that means that Photoshop is using all of your computer’s RAM and you need to allocate more to Photoshop, add more RAM to your computer, or

Turn off the home screen:

The home screen in Photoshop shows your most recent projects and some Adobe education suggestions. If your Photoshop takes a long time to open you can try to speed it up by removing the home screen. Just go to Edit, Preferences, General, then uncheck the box titled “Auto Show the Home Screen”. Next time you start Photoshop, it won’t open to that screen.

Don’t use the clipboard:

If memory is an issue, you should avoid copying and pasting, and instead drag and drop elements in your design. Copying adds that item to your clipboard and uses memory, meaning a large file can bog down your system and slow Photoshop down.

Use a scratch disk:

This tip is incredibly useful for Premiere Pro as well as Photoshop. A scratch disk is an additional storage drive, usually a fast solid-state drive, where Photoshop will move some processing work if the RAM is too saturated. To change to a new scratch disk, go to Edit, Preferences, Scratch Disks, and check the disk of disks that you’d like Photoshop to use.

Increase Photoshop’s RAM capacity:

If you have limited RAM and Photoshop is maxing it out, you can adjust how much RAM is devoted to Photoshop and how much is devoted to other programs while Photoshop is running. To access this, go to Edit, Preferences, Performance, and adjust the RAM amount. Around 80% should be ideal, but you can even bump it up a little higher if you generally don’t have much else running while you work in Photoshop.

Be aware of image dimensions:

Working with a massive file on a huge canvas can really slow down your work. Keep in mind the image size you require. If you only need a 1000 by 1000 pixel image, there’s no reason to work on it in an 8000 x 8000 canvas. Working in an appropriately sized canvas will ensure that your Photoshop doesn’t try to use more resources than it has to.

Purge history and clipboard:

If you have a long history of changes and a lot of content on your clipboard, you can purge the history by clicking Edit, Purge, and then selecting All. This can clear up some memory on your computer, especially if you’re at a point where you don’t need your edit history.

Upgrade your graphics card:

Current versions of Photoshop actually make use of dedicated graphics cards to accelerate many effects. Photoshop’s own minimum specifications ask for a Nvidia Geforce GTX 1050, and recommend a NVidia Geforce GTX 1660. These are lower-end gaming graphics cards, but users who work on a more basic PC, standard mini office PC, or another device not made for gaming or professional content creation, may need an upgraded system in order to use these features. Photoshop has several features that require a GPU, although the built-in display graphics on any computer should be able to handle these to some degree. Other effects are GPU-accelerated, meaning they can render much faster on a computer that has a dedicated graphics card. While a new graphics card won’t fix everything, it may speed up the specific tasks Adobe mentions.

Upgrade your computer:

In addition to the graphics card, Photoshop has recommended specs concerning other PC components. In terms of the CPU, or processor, Photoshop’s minimum specifications are pretty vague, but they do suggest that a six-core processor should be ideal for Photoshop work, and that going with a CPU with more cores might result in diminishing returns. They also recommend a minimum of 2 gigabytes of RAM and suggest 8 as a recommended amount. If your machine is slow, it’s probably due to a low RAM amount. It’s difficult to find a computer with as low as 2 gigabytes of RAM these days, and 8 has been a common minimum for a while now. Adobe also recommends using a fast, modern SSD as a scratch disk, but reminds users that it’s unnecessary if your efficiency rating is above 95%.

Turn off visual aids:

Many of the helpful visual aids in Photoshop use valuable resources, and you may not need them on. The first is guide lines and overlays. To hide guide lines, go to View, and uncheck Rulers. To disable overlays, go to View, Show, then uncheck any elements you want to turn off. Layer thumbnails also update every time you change something, but you can disable those by right-clicking on the layers panel and selecting small thumbnails or no thumbnails – you just might want to be very specific in your labelling.

Hopefully at least one of these tips helps speed up your Adobe Photoshop on your computer. If it doesn’t, then go ahead and type in the comments below and hopefully the FilterGrade community will be able to help you solve your problems!

The majority of programs that serves to process photos are highly demanding of your computer resources, and our favorite Photoshop – is the leader as far as “voracity” is concerned. Even if you don’t work with huge TIFF files and don’t make a complex processing with dozens of layers, nevertheless you can make Photoshop work faster. We have created a list of simple and effective methods that will help to speed up Photoshop performance.

1. Memory usage adjustment

As you see, the more memory is allocated for Photoshop, the faster the program operates. In memory settings you can see the memory available for the program, namely not the whole amount of memory, but the free memory that can be allocated precisely for Photoshop. By default, Photoshop uses 70% of available memory.

For the majority of users of 32-bit Photoshop version, 70% is enough for optimal work. If you need more, try to add by 5% and watch the performance indicator (read about it a little bit below). For 32-bit version, the usage of 100% of the available memory can cause problems.

To change the amount of allocated memory go to (Windows) Edit > Preferences > Performance or (Mac OS) Menu Photoshop > Preferences > Performance.

If possible, you should use 64-bit Photoshop version, which allows allocating up to 100% of memory for your work. (2020 UPDATE: See this article for managing performance in Photoshop CC 2020).

2. Page file

When a program works with an extensive amount of information and this information doesn’t fit random access memory (RAM), the program starts to record data into a “page file” on a hard drive. Namely, the file fulfills the role of RAM. The trouble with the page file is that the data recording on hard drive goes on slower than on RAM. Moreover, your operation system also saves its data to the page file, and this loads the hard drive with additional work.

The best option is to use a separate disk as a page file. The ideal variant is to use SSD disks, which are much faster than their HDD prototypes. However, even the usage of general HDD will reload the primary drive, which will be busy only with OC work.

You can choose the hard drive for the page file in the same menu (Windows) Edit > Preferences > Performance or (Mac OS) Menu Photoshop > Preferences > Performance.

3. History and cache settings

This setup panel is located in menu (Windows) Edit > Preferences > Performance or (Mac OS) Menu Photoshop > Preferences > Performance.

Cache Levels

Photoshop uses cache to display an image quickly. If you work with small or average files, 1280×1024 pixels and many layers (50 and more), set cache levels to 2. If you work with large files, 10 MB and more, set cache levels to 4 and more. The higher value of cache level speeds up the display process.

Cache title size – responds to the volume of data, that photoshop processes at a time. Larger volumes speed up the overall manipulations with an image, for example, sharpening. Smaller volumes work faster when you change small areas of the picture, for instance, work with a brush. For new processors, it’s recommended to choose 128 K or 1024 K. For old ones (very old) 132 K or 1032 K.

History States

Each operation saved in the history increases the “page file”. Accordingly, the less data you will be storing in history, the less place Photoshop will take. If you always work with the copy of your layer, it’s enough to leave ten last actions in history.

4. GPU Settings

Photoshop CS4 and CS5 uses the capabilities of your video card to speed up the display of the image. To allow Photoshop get access to the video card resources, it should supportOpenGL standard and have minimum 128 megabytes of memory.

To have the access to your video card resources just place a mark. And to enjoy the maximum of the available opportunities we advise you to update the driver for your video card. After we have finished to setup the basic parameters, we can move to the general advice relating the optimization of the Photoshop performance.

5. Watch the efficiency indicator

The efficiency indicator will show you when Photoshop will deplete the available memory and start to save data to the page file.

To display an indicator, press an arrow under your image and choose Efficiency.

The values below 90-95% indicate that Photoshop uses a page file, and consequently this slows down the system and points out that you should provide more memory in photoshop settings or add RAM to your computer.

6. Close unused windows

In Photoshop CC windows with documents use more memory than in previous versions. A lot of open documents slows down the work intensely and can lead to the lack of memory notification.

In Mac OS, there is a function “Application frame” (menu Window > Application Frame), it’s turned on by default. If you choose to use it, remember it’s also using memory.

7. Decrease the amount of patterns and brushes in Photoshop CC

Photoshop brushes, patterns and layer styles significantly overload the system. Besides, each of them overloads little by little and as a result, the system is clogged with junk, that is rarely used.

To see the patterns in Photoshop go to the menu Edit > Preset Manager and choose Preset Type > Patterns или Brushes.

The Clone Stamp tool is a powerful option in Photoshop for removing or duplicating parts of an image. There are some tricks and shortcuts that will increase your productivity with the tool, and this 5-minute video from Unmesh Dinda of PiXimperfect demonstrates how you can use them.

How to work faster in photoshopThe stamp has been rotated to fit the curve of the t-shirt collar

To rotate your sample, you can open the Clone Source dialog under Window>Clone Source, but a quicker way would be to use a keyboard shortcut. By holding Alt (Option on Mac) + Shift + &gt or How to work faster in photoshopThe petal stamp has been enlarged from the sample at the back

The second handy shortcut is useful when you want to increase or decrease the size of your stamp — in Unmesh’s example, he wants to clone a rose petal and increase the size to fit in an empty part of his image. To do this, you can hold Alt (Option on Mac) + Shift + [ or ] to decrease or increase the stamp size. Just be careful when you’re increasing the size of an object, as it can result in a blurry/pixelated stamp.


How to work faster in photoshop

The key to quick and painless retouching is creating a workflow that works for you. Photoshop has a highly customizable workspace that you can set up in a way that best suits your needs. Here are some tips on how to declutter your Photoshop workspace for a seamless and efficient workflow.

How to work faster in photoshop

Photoshop workspace preferences

A workflow that’s effective for one photographer may not be as helpful for another.

Your Photoshop workflow has to be built around your preferences and your most-used tools and windows. For example, the tools that I use most for my food photography may not be as useful for wedding photography or street photography.

For this reason, you may want to have multiple workspaces set up for different applications, especially if you shoot in more than one genre.

You may want to have a workspace for black and white photography only, and another you use for color retouching. It’s up to you if you want to have multiple workspaces and how you organize them.

The important thing is that you arrange your workspace in a way that you’re best prepared for the type of retouching that you want to do. This will keep distractions to a minimum and make the process of retouching go faster.

Photoshop comes with some pre-configured workspaces, depending on what you use the program for. You’ll find these, as well as your various options to set your preferences, under the Window tab at the top of the Photoshop workspace. The panels that show up in your workspace are denoted with a checkmark. Click them on or off accordingly.

Choose the default Photography workspace as a base and customize it from there.

When setting up your workspace, I recommend always showing your Layers and Histogram panels to keep you on track while retouching. I also like to sometimes have my History and Actions visible.

How to work faster in photoshop

Rename your workspace in a way that will help you quickly differentiate it from other workspaces, if you have them. I personally only use one workspace because I mostly shoot in one genre – food photography.

Creating a new workspace

To create a new photoshop workspace:

go to > Window
navigate to > Workspace
choose > New Workspace
Give your workspace a name
Hit >Save

How to work faster in photoshop How to work faster in photoshop

Toolbar and windows

The toolbar and various menus in the Photoshop workspace can be easily dragged to where you want them. In the default workspace, you can find the toolbar on the left-hand side. However, you can drag it to the right-hand side of your workspace, so you have all your tools and menus on one side. This can make the workspace cleaner and more effective because everything you need to access will be consolidated in one area, and your eyes won’t be bouncing around, looking for things.

Make sure that your most important windows are visible, and that you hide or collapse any that are unused, or rarely used.

Observe which windows and tools you use the most and make sure that they are prominent and easy to navigate to.

You can make your menus larger or smaller in relation to the rest of your workspace, depending on your preference. If you have a large screen, you might feel comfortable having several wide menus.

How to work faster in photoshop

In my Photoshop workspace, I want to see my Histogram and Navigator panels at the top, where I’m used to seeing them in my RAW editor.

Below that, I have my Adjustments and Actions, which I access regularly.

I also always have my Layers panel open so I can see them all and know exactly which one I’m working on.

You can minimize a given window and have it noted by an icon. For example, I have minimized my History panel to a small icon because I want it accessible in case I need to step back in my retouching process, but it’s not a panel that I constantly use, therefore I don’t need to expand it.

How to work faster in photoshopHistory panel denoted with an icon.

When you move your panels around, note that they will be saved as such in the organization of the current workspace. If you go to another workspace and then come back, all your panels will be found in their most recent arrangement.

Floating menus

Any of the individual panels can be moved onto the screen. They can be moved outside the Photoshop window, or even onto other monitors, if you use a double or multiple monitor set-up.

Some photographers like to work this way, while others find floating panels annoying and intrusive.

How to work faster in photoshop

Docking panels

You can dock panels with other panels to create panel groups.

To do this, you hover the pointer of the mouse over the boundary of another panel. A blue outline will show you where the panel will be docked.

You can also dock several panels into columns, as I did with my History panel. Again, you probably want to do this with the panels that you need but use less often.


An organized workspace is one of the most important factors in working effectively in Photoshop. Arrange your tools and panels in a way that makes sense for you.

This might mean:

  • creating multiple workspaces with various preferences for different applications
  • consolidating your toolbar and panels on one side of the screen
  • hiding unused menus and collapsing those that are used less often
  • docking floating panels and tools together or using floating panels on another monitor
  • minimizing the number of panels in your workspace to avoid distractions

At the end of the day, your retouching process has to make sense for you. Hopefully these tips will help you declutter your Photoshop workspace for a faster and efficient retouching workflow.

If you have any other tips for decluttering your Photoshop workspace, let us know in the comments.

How to work faster in photoshop

What you’ll need

Find the perfect image for your project with Adobe Stock

Open Photoshop and click the Search icon (magnifying glass). In the Search field, type a search term. Click the image you wish to use and the Libraries panel will open with a watermarked preview of the image.

How to work faster in photoshop

Double-click the image in the Libraries panel to open it in your document.

How to work faster in photoshop

Choose File > Save.

Change the feel of an image using an Adjustment layer

To change the feel of the original photo in the upper left corner, choose Window > Adjustments and select Hue/Saturation (circled).

In the Properties panel, adjust the values for Hue, Saturation, and Lightness, and then select Colorize to create a duotone-like, single color cast.

How to work faster in photoshop

Create a cool type effect with a clipping mask

Create a new document. Select the Type tool and type a letter or word on the screen. We used Bodoni Poster at 400 pt.

Click anywhere on the canvas to place the type.

How to work faster in photoshop

Drag an image from your computer or place an image from Adobe Stock over the entire letter.

Open the Layers panel (Window > Layers).

How to work faster in photoshop

In the Layers panel, select the photo layer, and then choose Layer > Create Clipping Mask to clip your photograph to the type. With the image layer still selected, use the Move tool to move the image under the type until you get the ideal composition.

How to work faster in photoshop

Now you can add other elements to the composition to complete your design.

How to work faster in photoshop

Select part of an image and add it to another

To follow along, download the two images located in the What you’ll need section at the top of this page.

Open the SunnyPath image in Photoshop, and then add the FloatingWoman image, which will appear on a separate layer. If you’re not sure how to get two images on separate layers, see this super-quick tutorial on adding and arranging images.

Choose Window > Layers to open the Layers panel. Click the Eye icon to hide the SunnyPath image from view.

How to work faster in photoshop

Choose Select > Select and Mask from the main menu.

Use the Quick Selection tool to select just the woman, without the background.

When you’re satisfied with the mask you’ve created, go over to the Properties panel and choose Output To: New Layer with Layer Mask. Click OK to return to the regular page view.

How to work faster in photoshop

In the Layers panel, click the Eye icon to hide the original FloatingWoman layer, and reveal the SunnyPath layer.

With the Move tool selected, select the FloatingWoman layer with the layer mask that you just created, and position it so that the woman appears to be floating above the path.

Choose File > Save.

How to work faster in photoshop

Share your Photoshop creation

You love what you’ve created — now it’s time to share it with your friends.

To export your file, choose File > Export > Export Preferences.

Under Quick Export Format, choose a format to use as your regular export setting. For example, to export a small file size that’s easy to include in social media or email, select JPG as the format, and Quality as 100.

Click OK. From now on, when you want to use these settings, simply choose File > Export > Quick Export.

How to work faster in photoshop

If you want to fine-tune your settings each time you export your Photoshop file, choose File > Export > Export As. Learn more about Export As settings.

Contributors: Photocreo Bednarek, Michael Jarrott, Christin Lola

Premium Lightroom & ACR Presets, Photoshop Actions, and eBooks For Photography Enthusiasts

Most photographers use some photo editing software for post-processing their images. Adobe Photoshop is one of the most popular photo editing tools out there, and it’s the preferred choice for many photographers.

But, let’s not kid ourselves, Adobe Photoshop can be a bit tricky when it comes to creating an efficient post-processing workflow, and it can be a little harder to get started with it than Lightroom Classic, for example. With that said, let’s look at some practical and actionable tips and tricks that will help you use Photoshop’s features more efficiently and accurately. Let’s dive in!

Learn Keyboard Shortcuts

By far, learning keyboard shortcuts or hotkeys is the fastest way to speed up your photo editing process. You can access most of Photoshop’s tools by pressing a key or a series of keys together without using the mouse.

How to work faster in photoshop

It eliminates the hassle of having to dig through different tabs and menus to do a task. Putting aside some time to learn and practice all the keyboard shortcuts that Photoshop offers is a fair trade for the efficiency you get in return. Remember that time saved during the editing process often equates to money saved.


Once you start learning post-processing, you’ll certainly repeat similar tasks multiple times. For instance, duplicating or renaming a layer, activating a blending mode, and applying a certain filer can add up and make your editing session longer than it needs to. After all, the more time spent at the computer, the less you’re spending out there shooting.

How to work faster in photoshop

Instead of repeating the same steps all the time, create an action instead. A Photoshop action is essentially a file with a series of pre-recorded steps that you can recall at the press of a button.

If there is one thing that can really speed up your editing workflow, it’s Photoshop actions. They’re a no brainer.

Batch Resize Photos

Resizing photos is one of the most common things that almost all photographers do.

If you are not familiar with batch resizing, you’re doing it wrong. Resizing individual photos can add hours and hours of work that you could save by applying a simple action to a large batch of images.

How to work faster in photoshop

You’ll need to use a script – but don’t worry, it’s not as difficult as it might sound.

First, navigate to the “File” menu, then look for the “Script” menu. You’ll then find the “Image Processor,” which will further have a few options.

You can easily run the script on all of the photos you have currently opened, or you can apply the script to any of the folders. Photoshop also allows you to select the exact folder location you want to save the resized photos.

Photoshop Layers Organization

If your photoshop layers are organized, it will save you time in the long run, although keeping all of them organized can take some time, so it’s a bit of a trade off.

I personally prefer to always name my layers properly because it allows me to navigate the exact layer I want to work on without having to look up each layer separately. You can easily rename any layer by going to the Layers panel and double-clicking the layer’s text. The Layers panel can get out of hand very quickly. But, if you always name your layers right away, the whole process will soon become second nature, and you’ll thank yourself later on.

How to work faster in photoshop

Photoshop also allows you to create separate groups of a set of different layers. All you need to do is select the layers you want in a certain group, right-click them and click on “Group from Layers.” If you got a good handle on keyboard shortcuts (which you should; see the first point in this article), navigating between layers and groups should be a breeze.

Menu Customization

Customizing menus is one of my favorite functionalities that Photoshop offers. Not only does it allow you to get to a specific menu very quickly, but you can also rearrange the panels. Photoshop also allows you to hide specific items that you don’t use, and you can also color code the ones you use the most.

How to work faster in photoshop

It might not save you quite as much time as the shortcuts or actions can, but you still won’t have to go through all the menus to find the one tool you need.

All you have to do is to go to the “Window” tab, then “Workspace” to find the “Keyboard shortcuts and Menus” option. It allows you to alter any menu that you want and add custom keyboard shortcuts to be more accessible to you while you work.

Bear in mind that if you change the default keyboard shortcuts, you’re on your own. The default shortcuts that come with Photoshop have become a standard. So, I advise you to learn the built-in ones rather than changing them.


Once you start learning the basics of Photoshop, your efficiency will improve. I hope these tips and tricks will allow you to choose the functionalities that work the best to speed up your workflow.

About the Author: Jon Phillips

Jon Phillips is a photographer, product engineer, guitarist & musician, and all-around web nerd. He’s the founder of Contrastly which he launched in late-2012. If something is broken on this site, it’s his damn fault. He also co-founded DailyPhotoTips, another photography site where you can get crazy good photography tips in your inbox. 5 days a week.

So you’re trying to paint in Photoshop, but each stroke takes about a minute to load. And if this problem keeps up, there’s no way you can see an end to the project you’re working on.

There are many things that can slow down your work in Photoshop. One of them is brush lag. Brush lag makes it incredibly difficult to draw or paint, because the Brush Tool isn’t matching the speed at which you’re trying to draw each stroke.

So how do you solve this problem? Let’s take a look at these quick solutions.

How to work faster in photoshopHow to work faster in photoshop How to work faster in photoshop

Solution #1: Manage Your File Size

No matter how much you think Photoshop can or should take, eventually it will slow down. And often, larger files equal a slower performance. Here are a couple of things you can do to make sure that the file size doesn’t create brush lag:

  • Merge multiple layers together, or flatten often.
  • Reduce/start with a lower document resolution.
  • Consider saving your project over multiple .psd files.

Solution #2: Use Less Hardware Acceleration

If you’re having problems with the performance of Photoshop, you can, of course, adjust the performance to the needs of your workflow. To do this:

  1. Go to Edit > Preferences > Performance.
  2. Under Graphics Processor Settings, go to Advanced Settings.
  3. Change the Drawing Mode to Basic.
  4. Restart Photoshop to allow changes to be applied.

How to work faster in photoshopHow to work faster in photoshopHow to work faster in photoshop

Know Any Solutions?

Don’t let this common frustration get to you. Try out these simple solutions and get back to your designs as soon as possible.

Have you ever experienced brush lag, and tried something else that worked? Let us know in the comments below!

How to work faster in photoshop

Photoshop is a peerless image editing app, by far the No.1 tool among professionals since its 1990 release.

How to work faster in photoshop

Professional image editors know all the tricks that can help them save time and finish certain tasks quicker. To begin with, filling large areas on an image with solid colors. You could use the painting and drawing tools here, but it’s entirely possible to do it much faster in Photoshop.

Why Not Use Paint and Drawing

The devil might be in the details, but if you spend too much time dealing with every single detail, you’ll waste valuable time and might lose patience and focus, which can only show up in your work.

Instead of painting and drawing, there are two cool ways to fill areas of the same color. You could use either the Paint Bucket tool or the Fill Command. Both are equally efficient and, depending on your preference and the situation, you might prefer one over the other.

How to work faster in photoshop

Paint Bucket

Here’s how to use the Paint Bucket tool in Photoshop:

  1. Enable the Color Picker by navigating to the foreground color swatch in the toolbox. Now, either find the color that you want to use and select it or select a shade from one of the color libraries. Clicking OK will lock in the selected color.
    How to work faster in photoshop
  2. To select the Paint Bucket tool, press the G key on your keyboard. If this doesn’t work, you’ve probably been using a tool that is in the same toolbox as the Paint Bucket (the Gradient tool, for instance). If this is the case, press Shift + G and click/hold on the Gradient tool in the toolbox, which should reveal the Paint Bucket.
    How to work faster in photoshop
  3. Now, you need to set options for the Paint Bucket tool and this is done in Options. If you want to use a particular pattern fill rather than the foreground color, you need to open the fill-source menu and change the setting to Pattern rather than Foreground. Now, select the desired pattern from the pattern gallery. Open the Mode menu, choose a blending mode, and find the right opacity for the fill. The Tolerance field defines how closely the area that you fill should resemble the area color. In other words, how closely the pixels should resemble the area in question. The Contiguous, Anti-Alias, and All Layers checkboxes help you define the edges of your fill area.
    How to work faster in photoshop
  4. Finally, click the image with the Paint Bucket tool in the target area (the color that you want to replace).
    How to work faster in photoshop

Fill Command

Here’s how to use the Fill Command in Photoshop:

  1. Use the Color Picker tool to select the background (foreground) color. To do this, click on the background/foreground color swatch in the toolbox. Pick a color by selecting one from the color libraries or by entering the corresponding formula. Click OK to set this color.
    How to work faster in photoshop
  2. To bring up the Fill dialog box, press Shift + Backspace on a PC, or Shift + Delete on a Mac. Choose between Background Color or Foreground Color in the Use Should you happen to change your mind, overriding these colors is as easy as choosing Color to bring up the Color Picker. The Use menu can be set to History, White, Black, 50%Gray, or Pattern. The Pattern option will open the Custom Pattern gallery for you to select your fill. Make sure that you choose the Content-Aware option for the selection to fill itself by drawing details from the adjacent areas of the image.
    How to work faster in photoshop
  3. The Mode menu allows you to control the fill’s blending with existing colors in the target area. Opacity determines how opaque your fill is going to be. The Preserve Transparency checkbox helps you make sure that the fill doesn’t affect the transparent areas within the image. To apply the fill after personalizing it, click OK.
    How to work faster in photoshop

Things to Keep in Mind

Although this sounds basic enough, there are things that you need to pay attention to. First of all, the mentioned Content-Aware fill can often have random results. This means that you’re going to be playing with the Undo command quite a bit.

The 50% Gray setting isn’t quite like setting a CMYK color in the Color Picker. The results tend to vary. Essentially, 50% Grey gives you a color that measures 128 in the RGB file across all three channels, plus 50% in each channel of the CMYK file.

How to work faster in photoshop

A True Time Saver

We can promise this much. Once you’ve learned the ropes of using the Paint Bucket tool and the Fill Command, whatever work you do in photoshop is going to become much more efficient.

How often do you use these two commands? Do you prefer taking the long road of painting and drawing? Why? Why not? Discuss!

One of the most frequent tasks I do in Photoshop is moving layers so they’re in the center of other layers or sections, so I decided to figure out how I can do it faster. If I can save a few seconds every time I need to center something, I can take less time drawing out my ideas on screen.

The Slow Way

To get an idea of how much time I’ve gained, let’s first look at how I used to do it. Previously I would make use of guides to center layers. If I needed to center something, I would have to setup a guide first, which can be quite long winded.

It’s simple enough to create a guide in the center of the canvas (View > New Guide… > Vertical orientation with position set as 50%)

I would then move the layer into position by pressing CMD + T (free transform) and lining up the handles in middle to the guide.

What if I want to center a layer to a part of the design that isn’t the middle of the document? Well, I used to create a guide in the center of the area I needed by either pressing CMD + T on and existing layer or using Select > Transform Selection and moving a guide to the center of the bounding box indicated by the handles.

That seems like madness now, even though I was used to it and it didn’t seem to be a problem. It seemed like the fastest way at the time but I got stuck in my ways and I now have a much faster way of doing it.

The Fastest Way: Center via Marquee Selection

The fastest way to center element(s) in photoshop is by using the marquee selection tool and I didn’t even know it was possible until recently. It’s one of those things you discover, use for five minutes and think “why didn’t I know about this before?!”. Then it quickly becomes second nature and an important part of your Photoshop process.

The Process

First, let’s look at how we can use this technique to center a layer in the middle of a document. With the layer you want to center selected and the marquee tool active, press CTRL + A to select the whole document and then within the move tool (keyboard shortcut: V), click either the “Align vertical centers” or the “Align horizontal centers” button (highlighted below). Click both to center the layer exactly in the middle of the document.

You can also drill down in the menus by going to Layer > Align Layers to Selection and clicking on the appropriate alignment choices there but who wants to do that? Not me and in fact, I have an even quicker way than even selecting the move tool and clicking the icons.

Custom Keyboard Shortcuts

I’m not happy with moving my mouse and clicking on a button. I’m lazy, so let’s make this process even faster by creating our own keyboard shortcut to center the layer.

The keyboard shortcuts I use to center horizontally and vertically are:

  • Vertically: ALT + CMD + 1
  • Horizontal: SHIFT + CMD + 1

The important thing here is these combinations aren’t being used by Photoshop for any built-in keyboard shortcuts and it’s quick and easy to trigger with your left hand. They do feel a little odd at first but once you get used to these keyboard shortcuts it saves a tremendous amount of time over locating icons in the UI.

If you want to use a different keyboard shortcut, you can create your own by going to Edit > Keyboard Shortcuts… but I find this works really well.

More Power!

This now allows you to center one layer in the middle of another simply by selecting them both and using the keyboard shortcut. You can also center layers by any marquee selection you make yourself which can come in handy at times, especially if you want to center a layer along the third column of a layout for example. Just make the selection (super easy if you’re using guides for your grid) with the layer selected and hit the keyboard shortcut and you’re done.

Take it even further and sign keyboard shortcuts to other alignment functions. I use the top and left align functions almost as much as center so I have keyboard shortcuts setup for those as well.

Photoshop now includes smart guides which appear on the screen as you move layers around, informing you of the location of the layer relative to other layers.

You can position layers to be centerd vertically and horizontally using these smart guides but it can get confusing in a complicated document with many layers as it can be hard to tell if it is exactly in the middle of a particular layer or if it is actually aligning with another layer. This is why I still recommend using the method above most of the time.

How to work faster in photoshop How to work faster in photoshop

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How to work faster in photoshop

Photoshop uses a lot of RAM. It will take as much as you can throw its way, and then some more. As a way to use ‘more’ RAM than a computer had available physically, the developers took to creating scratch disks on your Hard Disk Drive (HDD), as an extension of the data that Photoshop held in RAM.

Table of Contents

I Don’t Have Infinite RAM, So How Can I speed Up Image Editing?

First, remove any performance bottlenecks. Now, remember that any data on a HDD is many orders of magnitude slower in terms of access speeds and data throughput when compared to RAM, and so if the data that photoshop needs to process is not found in RAM, but on your HDD, accessing it will be much slower. Advertisements

Enter, the Solid State Drive (SSD). It stores data on silicon microchips much like your RAM; but unlike RAM, it does not lose information when power to it is turned off (aka, non-volatile memory). The benefit of it not needing physically moving parts to access data is that all the data is accessible all the time, and can be read and written much quicker.

There are in fact, two different types of SSDs, SATA SSDs and NvME SSDs, and they have two different interfaces. You can read all about SSDs, and more in this article.

Now, SSDs are quite a bit faster than HDDs, and cheaper than RAM. So, if you can’t afford 1TB of RAM, but you can afford an SSD, it makes sense to tell photoshop to use your SSD instead of your HDD for its scratch disks/paging files. This will be our primary angle of attack, with some further improvements.

Our Suggested Optimal Setup

At Beyond Photo Tips, we actually suggest having multiple SSDs for optimal bandwidth usage: one SSD for the OS and programs, one separate SSD for your Scratch Disk & Caches, and one separate SSD for your active project files.

By doing this, you have multiple parallel pathways from the processor / RAM to your storage devices with minimal interference and bottlenecking of resources. We go into all this, plus more detail in this article. In addition, we suggest having HDD or NAS storage for Archival purposes.

Here’s how you do it.

1. Install Your OS & Programs On An SSD

Speeding up your program executable files, and access to the various files it needs for its functioning will have an immediate effect on the performance of these Photoshop and Lightroom.

2. Set The Photoshop Scratch Disk To Use An SSD

Setting up Adobe Photoshop CC to use your dedicated SSD scratch disk is rather easy. Here are instructions for you whether you use Photoshop on Windows or on an Apple computer.

In Windows:

In MacOS:

  1. Open Adobe Photoshop CC
  2. Click on Photoshop menu, and then Preferences.
  3. From Preferences select Scratch Disks…
  4. The Preferences dialogue box will open with the Scratch Disks section open. There you will see all your available drives.
  5. By default the primary drive will be selected as the active scratch disk. You will know which one this is, by the small tick (check mark) in the box to the left of the drive letter.
  6. Ensure that the box next to the drive letter of your Dedicated Scratch Drive SSD is checked (ticked), and that all the others are not checked.
  7. Click OK in the top right-hand corner of the dialogue box.
  8. Shut-down and then restart your computer and Photoshop. You’re ready to experience the speed boost of using an SSD as your Scratch Disk.

3. Set Up Lightroom Cache & Catalogue files Correctly To Use An SSD

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Classic requires you to set up two different parts to use your dedicated SSD. The first is your Camera RAW Cache, and the second is your Lightroom Catalogue file (.lrcat file).

Let’s start with the Camera RAW Cache since this offers the most potential for an increase in speed.

What is The Camera RAW Cache?

The Camera RAW cache is where Lightroom stores previews, thumbnails, and Smart Previews for the images in your library. There are hundreds of small files that need to be accessed quickly in order for Lightroom to seem responsive and fast. This definitely needs the power of a speedy SSD.

Setting Up The Camera RAW Cache To Use Your SSD

In Windows:

  1. Open Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Classic (phew, what a name!)
  2. Open the Edit menu, and scroll down to Preferences. Click on it. (You can also press Ctrl+, as a shortcut).
  3. Open the Performance tab.

In Mac OS:

  1. Open Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Classic
  2. Open the Lightroom menu, and scroll down to Preferences. Click on it. (You can also press Ctrl+, as a shortcut).
  3. Open the Performance tab.

What Is The Lightroom Catalog File?

The Catalogue file is where all your edits, tags, keywords, star ratings, and metadata lives even if you’ve saved sidecar .xml files. Access to this file would ideally be as quick as possible.

Setting this up is as simple as copying your current lightroom catalog file to the SSD that you want it on, and opening Lightroom by double-clicking it. This should speed up access to it.

In Summary:

This technique can be used with multiple drives no matter whether they are SSDs or HDDs. As long as you have multiple data streams for different types of data, you will be able to improve the performance of photoshop and lightroom.

Advertisements Saving your RAW image files to an SSD will have the most immediate, and greatest impact on their performance.

SSDs will speed up the performance of almost any operation that involves data transfer. Today, their price and capacities are at a place where we can begin using them for daily computing and using the slower, but cheaper HDDs solely for archival and mass data storage.

Further Reading

  • What’s the Diff: RAM vs Storage
  • SSD vs HDD Speed
  • How to Speed Up Lightroom Classic – Finding and Removing Bottlenecks

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Published: June 26, 2020 | Last Updated: August 15, 2021

Here are a few ways to enhance Photoshop performance:


The faster the processor you’re using and the more random access memory (RAM) you have installed on your computer, the faster and smoother Photoshop will run.

If upgrading your computer is not an option, read on to find out how you can help Photoshop run more efficiently.

Performance Preferences

When updating your Photoshop or computer, adjusting your Photoshop Performance Preferences should be your first priority. Here are two important settings you should consider adjusting:

Efficient Use of Memory

Photoshop really likes RAM and will use as much spare memory as the settings will allow. The 32-bit Photoshop version on both Windows and Mac are subject to certain limitations in the amount of RAM that the system will allow the program to utilize (roughly 1.7-3.2GB depending on the OS and PS version). Conversely, the 64-bit versions will take as much RAM as you can give.

The best way to keep it under control is to optimize the Memory Usage settings via Edit > Preferences > Performance on Windows and Photoshop > Preferences > Performance on Apple computers.

How to work faster in photoshop

> Recommended settings for Memory Usage

  • PC – 50-55% of the total available RAM
  • Mac – 70-75% of the total available RAM
  • Keep the number of History States as low as possible (20 is the default number of steps). Learn to use non-destructive and reversible methods, so you don’t have to rely on History States. Read more about History Panel settings: Photoshop Basics: Getting To Know The History Panel.
  • Keep Cache Levels at their default number 6. Increasing Cache Levels will increase the rendering speed, which is particularly effective with working with “heavy” high-resolution images. Try working at the default state and increase the number when necessary only. Read more about Caches: History, Caches & Performance-Friendly Work Habits.
  • Use Purge command when necessary: Edit > Purge > ( option ). It will eliminate the extra image data that is consuming your RAM. Keep in mind that clearing History when Purging will delete all your current history states and you will not be able to undo your latest actions.

Photoshop CC does not have increased memory usage over Photoshop CS6. Its memory behavior is identical to Photoshop CS6 (and CS5, CS4, etc.). If Photoshop is taking more than 20 seconds to load something is wrong with your system. Normal launch is under 7 seconds, and with an SSD it’s under 2 seconds.

If the Memory Usage is set higher, the Operating System (OS) of your computer will start competing with Photoshop for the remainder of the RAM. The result will slow down the entire computer – not good. Photoshop may be happy, but your computer may crash or freeze. It does little use to run Photoshop at a faster speed if everything else slows to a snail’s pace and you loose work to a system crash.

Once your Memory Usage limit is set, check the efficiency status in either the Info Panel Efficiency readout, or in the bottom left corner of any of your open PSD files.

If the value is below 100%, it indicates that if you allocate more RAM to Photoshop, the operations will perform faster. You can close other applications running in the background as well as images that you are not working on to increase efficiency.

Photoshop allocates memory up to the limit you set in Memory Usage Preferences, then reuses that memory. It won’t release the memory until the OS needs it, or you exit Photoshop.

If you are experiencing any troubles with your Photoshop CC performance it is possible that the issue is due to external factors such as corrupt fonts, third party plugins or utilities. Try cleaning up or re-installing your plugins, utilities and fonts, some of them may be significantly slowing your PS.

Purge command for Mac users

Mac OS X has fairly good memory management but it’s not perfect, and sometimes RAM can be held unnecessarily in the “inactive” state despite the contents no longer being used. If you need to free up some RAM to speed up your computer performance you can force Mac OS X to clear out inactive memory.

  • Launch Terminal, found in Applications/Utilities and enter the command purge
  • Give your Mac a minute or two to complete the process

Purging History and Undo make more RAM available immediately. However, those unused history states are automatically moved from RAM to scratch disk anyway as you work. So purging History and Undo are only useful in limited circumstances.

Scratch Disks

Hard drive space on your computer is used by Photoshop as temporary “swap” space, or virtual memory. When your system does not have enough RAM to perform an operation, this “virtual memory” is accessed. The Photoshop scratch disk is your internal hard drive and/or any plugged in external hard drives. Scratch disks work as the secondary memory resource.

Having a lot of free space on Scratch Disks for Photoshop to utilize helps, but accessing information in RAM is still much faster than accessing information on a Scratch Disk. Therefore, Photoshop is fastest when it can process all or most image information in RAM.

A few valuable notes from Australian retoucher Gary Alan:

Going a step further in gaining max efficiency in Photoshop, a lot is hinged on the configuration of the disks to avoid performance bottlenecks.

Without saying the more RAM the better but additionally one wants 4 drives, preferably all SSD.

#1 – A dedicated drive that PS is installed on, separate from your C: or the drive the OS starts from, 256 gig should be enough. Also keep Lightroom, Capture One ect. on this drive;
#2 – A working drive where you save and open your PS documents while you are working on them, 128 gig should be enough
#3 – A dedicated scratch disk that is kept absolutely clean, 64 gig should be enough. This should be the primary scratch disk. Can fill up if large amount of documents are open at once, getting a 128 or 256 gig will help.
#4 – A storage drive to archive completed jobs, for which a standard HDD is good enough.

Configure your scratch disks so that the disk the OS and PS are installed on are not at the top, the Dedicated scratch disk should be first, then the working drive then the storage, like in the screenshot below:

How to work faster in photoshop

Click to enlarge. Screenshot by Gary Alan.

While Adobe Lightroom has the capability to import and cull images, it’s not necessarily the best tool for the job. For high-volume photographers, Photo Mechanic is the tool of choice for reviewing images. When every second counts, the speed and efficiency of Photo Mechanic is a big advantage. In this tutorial, you’ll learn how to use Lightroom and Photo Mechanic in tandem for a fast, full-featured workflow.

Meet Photo Mechanic

Photo Mechanic is fast, much faster than Lightroom, for reviewing images. This killer speed makes it a great choice for importing and managing images. Images load almost instantly. Keyboard shortcuts switch between photos with no delay, and tagging an image with a rating or label is rapid.

How to work faster in photoshopHow to work faster in photoshop How to work faster in photoshopPhoto Mechanic is a tool favored by photographers with many images to work through. The interface is

Photo Mechanic has long been a popular choice for sports photographers and photojournalists, but it’s extremely useful for any photographer who wants to spend less time in the review stage, no matter the subject.

My ideal workflow combines Photo Mechanic with Adobe Lightroom. Lightroom is powerful and where my images will live long-term, but the speed issues can be a concern. It makes good sense to use Photo Mechanic to review and cull images, and then hand off a limited set to Lightroom.

From Photo Mechanic to Adobe Lightroom

We’ve established that Photo Mechanic is a great fit for the offloading stage. Now let’s look at how to use Photo Mechanic to do what it does best:

Use Photo Mechanic for Offload and Ingest

Photo Mechanic is a photo organizer, not a full editing suite. It doesn’t store images in a catalog or database. This means the program doesn’t have every tool you might need. On the other hand, with Photo Mechanic there’s no complex Library to build, no previews to create and slow you down. Photo Mechanic works directly with the file system. You browse to a folder of images and just get to reviewing your latest shoot.

The best way to use Photo Mechanic is as a lightweight application to help you get the files off your card and sorted before you get into heavy image processing with another app, like Adobe Lightroom.

Set Up Photo Mechanic to Work With Lightroom

Star ratings and color labels are two pieces of metadata that work with both apps. Let’s look at how to apply them to images in Photo Mechanic and then carry them through to Lightroom.

There are two tweaks that I like to make before I begin using Photo Mechanic. Let’s adjust the color labels to match the ones in Adobe Lightroom. On the Preferences panel, switch to the General tab. In the Color Classes section of the pane, click the lightning bolt dropdown and choose Adobe Lightroom to replace the default color labels.

How to work faster in photoshopHow to work faster in photoshop How to work faster in photoshopOn the Preferences > General option panel, click the lightning bolt and choose “Adobe Lightroom” to change the color labels to the same ones used by Lightroom.

Next, let’s make the keyboard shortcuts easier to use. Find the section that’s labeled Single Key Shortcuts and change the option to 0-5 sets Rating.

How to work faster in photoshopHow to work faster in photoshop On the Preferences > Accessibility panel, change the “Single Key Shortcuts” option to “0-5 sets rating.” These keyboard shortcuts seem much more natural for setting ratings and

With this option enabled, the keyboard shortcuts become easier to use. Here’s a list of shortcuts to tag images with color labels and star ratings in Photo Mechanic:

  • Press any number key 1 through 5 with an image to selected to give it a corresponding number of stars
  • Press the 0 number key to remove a star rating
  • Press Command-1 to add a red color label
  • Press Command-2 to add a yellow color label
  • Press Command-3 to add a green color label
  • Press Command-4 to add a bluecolor label
  • Press Command-5 to add a purplecolor label

Image Review in Photo Mechanic

This screencast will walk you through setting up Lightroom to work perfectly with Lightroom. Check it out!

For the first year after I started working with Star Trail photography, I’ve used StarStax to blend my individual frames together into the trail photo. Unfortunately, StarStax has some limitations, and I have suspected that the resulting star trail image wasn’t as high of quality as the input images. So I started researching other options, including stacking manually in Photoshop. The root of the idea is to set each of your layers above the bottom layer to blending mode = ‘lighten’ – so the bright starts shine through on each subsequent layer. The problem is, when you have 200+ layers, that can take a long time to go through each photo and update the blending mode on each. Knowing that there were plenty of smart photographers out there and that Photoshop had multiple ways to extend and enhance with actions, panels, scripts, and the like, I knew there had to be automated ways to do this. The real question became, how much work would it take to reduce the amount of work.

I found several panels and the like that worked in CS5 or CS6, but not the latest Photoshop CC which I am a subscriber to. But fear not! Photoshop made it amazingly simple to set all those annoying layers to the same blend mode without needing a script, an action, or anything. It’s right there in Photoshop CC for the finding. If you know where to look.

First, load all your base images into Photoshop into a single stack (File -> Script >- Load Images into Stack from Photoshop, load from Bridge, or Lightroom, etc).

Original Method:

Second, scroll to the bottom of your stack and select the second to the bottom layer – the first layer you want to set to Lighten, and set the blend mode.

How to work faster in photoshop

Set Layer Blend Mode = ‘Lighten’

Next, Right-Click on your newly set ‘Lighten’ layer, a context menu will open up and scroll up and find ‘Copy Layer Style’

How to work faster in photoshop

Copy Layer Style

Select all the remaining Layers above your current lighten layer – all those annoying 200+ layers you want to quickly blend together.

Now for the magic, right click again on your selected layers and find that menu item that says ‘Paste Layer Style’ – try not to fall out of your chair at this point.

How to work faster in photoshop

Paste Layer Style

I just ran a stack of 200+ layers, results were near instantaneous. The star trail appeared within a blink of an eye (example below was done with around 70 frames)

How to work faster in photoshop

FASTER Method! – added April 2020

Time for a small update to my most popular article as I’ve recently discovered an even easier way to achieve the same results! I’m not entirely sure if this is a new feature to the latest 2019/2020 versions of Photoshop CC or not as I no longer have older versions on my computer, so I have not removed the original version above. But certainly try this too!

First, just select all your layers, yup, all of the layers you want to stack, select them all in the layer panel. Got them all selected? Good. Now just change blend mode to Lighten. That’s it. That’s seriously the entire process.

How to work faster in photoshop

Just select all, and change blend mode from ‘Normal’ to ‘Lighten’

Again, I can’t promise how old of a version of Photoshop this works on, if you have an older version of Photoshop CC or v6 still in use, give this a go and let me know what you discover.

Next Steps

Star trail images are rarely as simple as selecting all the images and hitting ‘go’ on Lighten mode. Aircraft trails, foreground lighting, etc, all can turn an awesome set of trails into a cluttered mess.

For aircraft trails, I usually go back to Lightroom and scan through the base files there for where the trail starts/ends and note those file numbers. Finding them in the Photoshop stack, with a very narrow hard brush set to 100% opacity/flow, paint black over the trail of light on the offending frames. Hitting ‘Alt’+Left-click on a single layer’s ‘eyeball’ will turn off all layers except for that one, letting you just paint as much as needed on each layer. Hitting Alt+click again turns everything back on.

Foregrounds! Maybe you or someone else was walking around with a headlamp at some point, maybe a car drove by or the moon came out more than you wanted and it lit up the foreground more than desired. This is where more complex masking techniques come into play. I highly recommend reading my ‘Photopshop 101 – Part 1 – Understanding Layers‘ article for tips on how to mask in an extra copy of a foreground layer that gives you the look you want.

What this Method Won’t do

At the beginning I mentioned StarStax and why I didn’t want to use it. But here’s why you may not want to abandon it all together. The decision is yours, and knowledge is power. Zoom waaaay in on your star trails, 300% or more. You’ll see small gaps in the lines created by the stars. This is due to the short moment your shutter is closed between each shot. Some cameras/intervolmeters create a wider gap than others, and depending on how long each of your shots are will determine how many gaps you have. StarStax has a ‘gap filling mode’ option that attempts to fill in these gaps. I’ve personally had mixed luck with this tool, but it’s your image, compare the two and see which you like more. A more advanced option would be to merge the two versions in Photoshop to try to get the best of both worlds.

Another thing this method won’t do is any sort of spiral or comet modes. This is a quick and easy straight-forward stacking method.

Want to see this technique in action? I demonstrated it during a Webinar on Coz’n Linda’s Happiness Hour in August. You can watch the entire session on YouTube, which covers the three primary building blocks of Photoshop – Layers, Selections and Masks – or jump directly to the star trails demo a little more than half way through. Unlocking the Power of Photoshop on YouTube

Since we first wrote some Wacom Pen Tablet reviews there has been a massive interest in new versions of the hardware, how different they are, and particularly how to set them up for different applications. We are happy to oblige, and in the coming weeks we have a review of the new/current Wacom Intuos Pro and the Wacom Cintiq Pro 13, and additionally have some sample set-ups for applications like Photoshop, Capture One, Affinity Photo, and Lightroom.

It warrants stating that one of the reasons these units are so valuable is that aside from the obvious natural feeling of using a pen, they allow for a faster, less broken, and more efficient workflow. Much of that is achieved through personalization and set-up (takes experimentation), which is really one of the big differences between the standard and higher-end models in the range; the Pro line lets you personalize to a higher degree, and allows for much quicker access and alterations.

*If you’re looking to become adept at Photoshop and Lightroom at record pace, CreativeLive’s Photoshop Week is upon us, and as a partner SLR Lounge is offering high discounts on the week. Check it out here.

Now, that said, there is one relatively basic configuration you can make which can have a profound effect on your experience, and I’m surprised how often I see people using tablets who don’t know it, and how often I’m asked about it. Simply, it’s setting up your on-pen buttons to allow you to adjust brush size, hardness, and ‘undo’.

Setting up a Wacom tablet from the get-go can be a little tedious, but the rewards are reaped quickly when done. If you’ve ever tried then you’ll be familiar with the following screen:

And, incidentally, the above setting is the setting you can set yours to, to have the functionality described.

Most Wacom pens will have two buttons, and if you do a lot of brush work, as is typical when using a pen tablet, this button set-up is a good one. Perhaps ‘undo’ isn’t a priority for you, and that’s fine, but being able to change brush size and/or opacity without touching the keyboard, any hotkeys on the tablet or looking away from the screen, is a joy. The caveat here is that it doesn’t work the same on all. Here are some suggested settings:


Photoshop gives you the greatest flexibility when using this set-up compared to the other applications mentioned in this post. With the button set-up as shown below you can hold down the bottom button and hardness will change as you move the pen up/down across the tablet, and brush size will change as you move left to right.


Lightroom will allow you to change brush size by moving either up or down or side to side with setting shown, however, it doesn’t seem to work as smoothly as with photoshop, but it does work.

[RELATED: Why You need A Wacom Tablet & How To Set Up A Wacom Tablet For Lightroom]

Capture One

A Wacom pen, I’m sorry to report as a Capture One fan, cannot currently be programmed to function in the ways above. If mapped as done in Photoshop (see below) it’s a little bit more of a protracted process, but not much.

Holding down the pen button and tapping on the tablet will bring up the brush adjustment parameters dialogue, and you can either continue to hold the button or let go and be able to quickly adjust the brush sliders and as you move the pointer out of the dialogue window you’re back to work.

Again, this is sort of pen-tablet 101 here, but as with so many things, the most basic are often the most useful. Hopefully this is of some utility to you, and if there are things you’d like to know specifically drop a comment below.

Recommended Tablets:

Wacom Intuos Pro Medium (Small is gone but Med is now the same size)

What does it mean to rasterize in Photoshop, and how to rasterize in Photoshop? Here you will find the detailed information from MiniTool about the operation process and get to learn more on raster vs vector.

Before we begin with how to rasterize an image in Photoshop, we must understand why we rasterize an image.

There are two types of image files, and they are raster and vector. It is because of their differences we need to rasterize in Photoshop sometimes.

About Raster Images and Vector Images

Raster Images

When you surf the web, you are likely to see raster images anywhere. Raster images are created with pixel-based programs or captured with a camera or scanner. These pixels contain bits of color to build image. The more pixels, the higher quality the image enjoys.

When you zoom in a raster image, the jagged pixels become more apparent and you are able to view and edit each pixel, which is most significant for you to judge whether this is a raster image.

Raster images are commonly used in photography and digital applications. When you take a photo, the image is recorded as pixel data in the form of general image files such as .jpg, .gif, .png. When these images are on the web, the end result is raster images. To access and edit these images, you can use Adobe Photoshop.

Vector images

Vector images are much more different. They are created with vector software like Adobe Illustrator and are made of paths and curves dictated by mathematical formulas. It is due to the algorithmic makeup, vectors are infinitely scalable. No matter how many times magnified, the images remain smooth, clean and good quality.

Vector images are perfectly applied onto physical products and design work. Also, they are used in CAD, engineering, and 3D graphics for accurate mapping. Common vector graphics are .svg, .eps, .pdf, etc.

Raster VS Vector

How to work faster in photoshop

Vector images are great, but not always perfect. Obvious shortcomings of vector images can be summarized as follows:

  1. One problem is usually related to the number of colors. Vector images aren’t generally used to handle numerous colors (like 10,000+). However, Raster images have no problems with that.
  2. Also, there are compatibility issues when shared. You must have access to vector-based programs in order to edit the native files.
  3. Furthermore, almost all output devices (such as printer, monitor) expect to work with raster images. To turn images to real products, you would need a raster image, which means converting the vector to a raster.
  4. With raster images, you can also do some fine-tuning work. You can more easily add smudges, highlights and do color corrections, blending colors and making photo-realistic artwork. What’s more, if you want to make video from pictures, you need to raster an image.

From these perspectives, sometimes we do have the demand to convert vector to raster.

Can you rasterize a vector image?

Knowing the difference between raster and vector, you might be wondering: can I rasterize a vector image? In fact, you can convert vector to raster easily using Photoshop. Read on to get the details.

How to Rasterize in Photoshop

What does it mean to rasterize in Photoshop?

Rasterizing an image in Photoshop converts a vector layer to pixels. Vector layers can be enlarged randomly without getting blurred. However, this format leaves the image unsuitable for artistic effect. Thus, it is better to rasterize the layer and then you are able to edit using pixels.

Here is how to rasterize an image in Photoshop:

  1. Open an image in Photoshop.
  2. Select that image from Layers.
  3. Right click on it and then choose Rasterize Layer.

How to work faster in photoshop

Then how to rasterize text in Photoshop?

  1. Add text to the selected picture.
  2. Select the text layer and right-click on it, from the menu select Rasterize Type. Then the text turns into an image.

How to work faster in photoshop

By doing these, you get a raster image. From now on, you are able to edit this image with your imagination.

How to Undo Rasterize in Photoshop

To undo rasterize in Photoshop, you have two options:

  1. Press Ctrl + Z if you have just rasterized an image as the previous step.
  2. Go to Photoshop History, where you are able to revert the image state to any recorded point. Click on the state before you rasterize to undo rasterize in Photoshop.

If you’ve ever used Photoshop on a Mac, you’re probably familiar with this guy. Would you like to send him packing and never see him again? If you answered yes, strap on your Photoshop helmet and get ready for the blog post of your life.

For this blog post I am using Adobe Photoshop CS5 on OS X.

Need for speed

If you’re new to Photoshop, Adobe has included a lot of helpful tools and settings to keep you from flying blind. But I know that you’re a Photoshop superstar! You don’t need any of that stuff, so let’s turn it off!

General Preferences

Turn off Export to Clipboard

Export to clipboard is only useful if you’re copying things from Photoshop and pasting them into other applications. Why would you do such a thing?

Go to Photoshop > Preferences > General (Mac OS) or Edit > Preferences > General (Windows) and uncheck Export to Clipboard.

Interface Preferences

Turn off Drop Shadows and Tabs

Now that you’re in the preferences pane, select Interface.

There are three dropdowns here for Standard Screen, Full Screen with Menus, and Full Screen. Set the border to None on all of them. Drop Shadows around your window just add unnecessary visual clutter and probably a small performance dip, too. We don’t need any of that noise.

This is a personal preference, but I don’t like the tabs feature in CS4, CS5, and CS6. I like to see all of my windows open at once.

Uncheck Open Documents as Tabs and uncheck Enable Floating Document Window.

File Handling Preferences

Turn off Image Previews and set Maximize PSD Compatibility to Always/Never

Now Switch over to the File Handling panel. The first thing in there is the Image Previews setting. Image previews are a thumbnail version of your file. They are useful when you’re browsing through folders in finder/explorer, but they also slow you down every time you save. Go ahead and set it to Never Save.

Maximize PSD and PSB File Compatibility is a dialog box that pops up the first time you save something in Photoshop. If you choose yes, it will make it easier to open your files in different versions of Photoshop, but it will also add a fair amount of bloat to your file.

If you work with other people who have different versions of Photoshop, you want to set this to Always. If you are working by yourself, set it to Never. Either way, you won’t have to see that annoying pop-up anymore.

Performance Preferences

Get more RAM

Now we come to the most important panel in the preferences window with regards to speeding up Photoshop. Select the Performance Panel, and take a look at the Memory Usage box.

RAM is the workhorse of Photoshop. If you don’t have any RAM, you’re gonna have a bad time. Drag the slider as high as you can without breaking the rest of your computer.

Use fewer History States and set Cache Levels to 1

History States allow you to go back in time and undo your mistakes. If you’re terrible at Photoshop, you probably need a lot of these. But we talked about this already. You’re a Photoshop samurai, so cut that in half.

While you’re at it, set the Cache Levels to 1. This will allow you to open your Photoshop files faster. If you set the Cache Level higher, files will open slower but Photoshop will be more responsive while editing larger files.

Buy an SSD

When Photoshop runs out of RAM, it will write to the hard disk. This is called your scratch disk. For best results, get another hard drive besides the one Photoshop is installed on.

If you can, get a solid-state drive and use that as your scratch disk. Solid-state drives are more expensive than hard disk drives, and you get less space, but the write speeds are incredibly fast.

Type Preferences

Turn off font previews

Finally we arrive at the Type Preferences Panel. If you don’t have any idea what font you’re using, I suppose this would be useful. But let’s be honest, you’re only using Helvetica.

Set the Font Preview Size to NOTHING (uncheck it).

Obligatory conclusion

If you followed the steps above, Photoshop should now be running as smooth as butter. You’ll never have to see the spinning beach ball again. Do you think I missed anything? Do you want to fight about it? Let me know in the comments.

If you’re searching for a method to make your text stand out, undoubtedly, you can try to outline the text. Photoshop, a comprehensive design editing software, can allow you to do it. If you don’t know how to outline text in Photoshop, don’t worry because this post will describe the step-by-step guidance.

Sometimes, you may need to make the text on an image more striking, adding outline text in Photoshop is the top choice to meet your needs. The following sections will present detailed instructions on how to outline text in Photoshop. Moreover, if you want to put text to video or gif, MiniTool MovieMaker should be the top priority.

How to Outline Text in Photoshop

Step 1. Download and install Photoshop on the computer.

Step 2. Open it, tap on the File > New, and then click the Type Tool to enter your text. And you can also the File > Open to import a desired picture, and then create your text.

Step 3. Select the text, and then you can change the font, size, and color of the text.

Step 4. In the lower right corner, right-click the Layer and choose Blending Options.

How to work faster in photoshop

Step 5. In the pop-up window, choose the Stroke on the left.

Step 6. Move the slider to change the size and width of the outline.

Step 7. Change the color of the text to make it more visible.

Step 8. If you need, you can choose the Gradient or Pattern in the Full Type section.

Step 9. Tap on the Position to select a position for the outline: Outside, Inside, and Center.

How to work faster in photoshop

Step 10. Move the Opacity slider to adjust the degree of transparency for the stroke.

Step 11. Click OK to save your settings.

The above is the detailed content about the Photoshop text outline. But do you know how to outline a few letters in Photoshop? Continue to read this post and learn how to edit the outline text separately.

How to Outline a Few Letters in Photoshop

Sometimes, you might try to outline some of the words to highlight them. Here’s the clear steps on how to outline a few letters in Photoshop.

Step 1. Launch Photoshop, click File > New, and then create your text.

Step 2. Copy the text layer and rename it.

Step 3. Add outline text with methods in the previous part.

Step 4. Right-click the layer and choose Rasterize Type.

Step 5. Select the text you don’t want to add outline text and hit Delete.

Step 6. Click the Layer button and merge all the layers.

Bonus Tip – How to Add Text to Photo in Photoshop

The following will show you how to add text to photo in Photoshop.

Step 1. Download, install, and launch Photoshop.

Step 2. Click File > Open to upload the image into Photoshop.

Step 3. Tap on the Windows > Tools, choose the position where you desire to put the text.

Step 4. Enter your text, and then choose the words to adjust the desired color, size, and font.

How to work faster in photoshop

Bottom Line

Do you master the way on how to add outline text in Photoshop? Now, it’s your turn to practice putting outline text in Photoshop.

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About The Author

How to work faster in photoshop

Author Cora enjoys taking photos and recording videos, so she has invested a lot of time and effort on multimedia. She mainly concentrates on photo, audio, and video editing. After a-long-time studying, she has gained much experience. And she is skillful at writing. With great enthusiasm and confidence, she joins the editorial section of MiniTool, aimed at providing users with effective solutions to solve problems related to image, video, and audio editing.

Working with Adobe Photoshop can be more fun when you understand the tools it has to offer to its users. Some of the effects include strokes, adding shadows to the object you just drew, and rasterize. When you work on a layer in Adobe Photoshop, there are a number of tools which can be used on one certain layer to make your work look even better and to bring out the best of your work.

How Does ‘Rasterizing’ an Image or a Shape Help the Designer?

Designers, who work with Adobe Photoshop or are new to designing must know that in Adobe Photoshop, whatever you create, whether it is typography or a shape/image, it is formed in a vector layer. This means that if you take a close look at these vector layers, the edges of the object would be clear and very sharp.

By rasterizing a certain layer, you make the image/shape editable in a pixel format. Now, if you take a closer look at the image or shape, you will notice the small box-like edges to the shape. And once you have chosen to rasterize a layer, there are chances you might lose the quality if you continue to edit it. So make sure that you always keep the original layer saved, and work on a duplicate instead of such quality errors. And being a designer myself, working with layers is much easier as you can always duplicate the original layer and keep making the changes until you get the output you have been expecting.

How to Rasterize a Layer?

There are two ways to access the option for ‘rasterize’ when working on Adobe Photoshop.

  1. Open your already existing work on Adobe Photoshop, or open a new artboard. How to work faster in photoshopOpening your Adobe Photoshop file. I am using the Adobe Photoshop CC 2018 version
  2. Draw the shape as you wish. Or Type. Design as you have planned. How to work faster in photoshopDraw an object. write some text, or even import a smart object
  3. Now on the right, where you can see all the layers. Right click on the layer you want to rasterize. This will open a dropdown list of all the settings and options for effects you can implement on your design. This is where you will find the option for rasterizing. Click on that to rasterize a layer. How to work faster in photoshopMethod 1 for rasterizing a layer in Adobe Photoshop
  4. The second way of accessing is by selecting the layer on the right panel, and then clicking on the ‘Layer’ option on the top toolbar. A dropdown list will appear which will show you the option for ‘rasterize’. Click on that for more rasterize settings, and you are good to go. How to work faster in photoshopMethod 2 to access the option to ‘rasterize’ a layer

Why Do You Need to Rasterize a Layer?

As I mentioned earlier, when you rasterize a layer, you change the format from a vector layer to a pixel layer. Since everything in a vector is clear when you zoom in, this sometimes might not be the preferred effect that a designer wants. To play with their design, to make the design a bit more arty, pixel layers is what some designers need.

For instance, you drew a shape on Adobe Photoshop and wanted to add the ‘distort’ effect over the shape. But when you try to add this effect on the design that you created, a dialogue box appears which asks you to rasterize the layer. So for similar effects on Adobe Photoshop, ‘rasterizing’ the layer becomes a compulsory action for the designer. Some of the filters might not work if you don’t rasterize the layer. You can always try all the different filters and effects available in the program and experience the difference in the shape before and after you rasterize it.

Should You Rasterize a Layer Before or After Adding Filters?

The requirements of every designer vary from one another. But you should understand the effect rasterizing a layer before and after adding a filter would have on the image/shape or text that you just added.

Say for example that you added a shape to your artboard, added an effect over the shape, and then rasterized the layer. This would keep the effects that you just added, and the shape that you added, as separate objects of your work, and still make the effects editable for you. While on the other hand, if you add some filters after rasterizing a layer, the filters will only be applied on the text and the shape that you added, and not the effects, which can turn out to be a disaster for you.

Using Smart Objects

Smart Objects, make a layer editable while keeping the quality of the layer intact. The option for converting an image to a Smart Object often appears when a specific filter has to be applied. You can choose the option ‘convert to smart object’ instead of clicking on rasterize.

Harry Guinness is a photography expert and writer with nearly a decade of experience. His work has been published in newspapers like The New York Times and on a variety of other websites, from Lifehacker to Popular Science and Medium’s OneZero. Read more.

How to work faster in photoshop

Photoshop is the biggest name in image editing, but it has a reputation as a complicated and difficult app to use. While it’s certainly feature packed, it’s nowhere near as difficult to get the hang of as it first appears. Let’s look at how to learn Photoshop without getting stuck in the weeds.

Decide What You Want to Use Photoshop For

While Photoshop is a single app, it’s a versatile one. It’s used by designers, developers, photographers, and pretty much everyone else you can think of in a visually creative field. The number of tools and features is insane and incredibly intimidating, but the reality is you only need to learn a subset of them for each task. If you’re only interested in editing images, you can ignore huge amounts of the stuff to do with paths, shapes, vectors, and the like (at least initially). Similarly, if you’re interested in design, you don’t need any of the photo specific stuff.

How to work faster in photoshopThat’s a reeeally complicated interface.

When you’re starting out, decide what you want or need to use Photoshop for. You should also consider whether it’s really the app you should be learning. There are great alternatives out there and—especially for image editing—unless you’re going to do some serious pixel pushing, Photoshop Lightroom is actually a better go-to tool.

If you’ve decided you definitely want to learn Photoshop and know how you want to use it, then let’s dive in.

Learning the Basics for Everyone

Although you don’t need to learn every bit of Photoshop, it helps to have a grounding in the basics that are common across pretty much every use. We’ve got an eight part series that introduces you to Photoshop, the layout of the app, and some of the basic tools. It was written for CS5, a predecessor to the current Creative Cloud app, but it’s all still relevant.

The first four tutorials are the most important, so start with them. The second four really just give you an idea of some of the ways you could use Photoshop.

After that, you should read our deeper dive into layers and layer masks. They’re a huge part of Photoshop, since most people now do really basic editing in other apps.

If you prefer to watch videos, we highly recommend Deke McClelland over at I personally learned how to use Photoshop from his courses. If you’ve got the time, dive into Photoshop CC 2018 One-on-One: Fundamentals. at more than 16 hours long, it’s a monster, but it covers everything you need to know. There are even two equally long followup courses that will make you a Photoshop master if you put the time in.

How to work faster in photoshop

Photoshop CC 2018 Essential Training: The Basics, at less than five hours long, is also a good starting point. We really like Lynda’s courses because they’re well organized and professionally produced. You get one month for free, so you can try them out for yourself.

Learning to Use Photoshop for Image Editing

Once you’ve got a handle on the basics, it’s time to start drilling down into the specifics of what you want to learn. If you’re interested in photography, start with my guide on how to improve almost any digital photo. This tutorial takes you through a full workflow that I regularly use when editing my images.

You’ll also need to learn how to use adjustment layers, and in particular, how to use curves in adjustment layers. They’re the tools you’ll use most regularly to edit your images.

The next step is to pick a few things you want to do to your images and learn how to use the appropriate tools for the job. Check out some or all of:

Each of those articles covers how to do a single task. If you can’t find what you want to do on our site, you can search either Google or YouTube for a how-to guide.

Over on Lynda, I’d recommend checking out Chris Orwig’s Photoshop CC 2017 for Photographers. He covers most of the common techniques photographers need.

Learning to Use Photoshop for Design Work

If you’re more interested in design or digital art than photography, then your first steps should be to learn the difference between pixels and vectors, and then learn to master the pen tool. They’re at the core of a lot of design work.

We actually don’t have a lot of Photoshop coverage that focuses specifically on design work here at How-To Geek (most of our Photoshop writers come from photography backgrounds), so we’re going to look to once again.

How to work faster in photoshop

Photoshop CC 2018 Essential Training: Design follows on from the Essential Training: Basics course I recommended earlier. It introduces most of the main design-centric tools and shows how they fit into a workflow.

For going further, I’m a big fan of Nigel French. He has a load of different courses covering everything from textures to type. Work through a few of his courses that catch your interest and you’ll be set.

Once you get past the basics, learning Photoshop becomes much easier. Since you understand the tools and how Photoshop generally approaches things, you can quickly identify what techniques you’re lacking and pick them up from a few YouTube videos or a Lynda course. It’s getting to that point that takes the work, but follow this guide and you’ll manage.