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For more information, please see full course syllabus of Adobe Photoshop CS6
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Setting Preferences

  • Getting your Photoshop Preferences set up will improve the efficiency of the program, and of your own work.
  • The key to working and getting the most from Photoshop is to become quick, efficient, and accurate. Personalizing and optimizing preferences to your workflow will improve efficiency.

Setting Preferences

Lecture Slides are screen-captured images of important points in the lecture. Students can download and print out these lecture slide images to do practice problems as well as take notes while watching the lecture.

  • Intro 0:00
  • Setting Preferences: General 0:21
    • Color Picker, HUD Color Picker, and Image Interpolation
    • Auto-Update Open Documents, Beep When Done, and Dynamic Color Sliders
    • Export Clipboard
    • Use Shift Key for Tool Switch
    • Resize Image During Place
    • Animated Zoom
    • Zoom Resizes Windows
    • Zoom with Scroll Wheel & Zoom Clicked Point to Center
    • Flick Panning
    • Vary Round Brush Hardness Based on HUD Vertical Movement
    • Place or Drag Raster Images as Smart Objects
  • Setting Preferences: Interface 6:33
    • Appearance
    • Options
  • Setting Preferences: File Handling 7:44
    • File Saving Options
    • File Compatibility
    • Camera Raw Preferences
  • Setting Preferences: Performance 12:35
    • Memory Usage
    • History & Cache
    • Graphics Processor Settings
  • Setting Preferences: Cursors 14:36
    • Painting Cursors
    • Other Cursors & Brush Preview
  • Setting Preferences: Transparency & Gamut 15:41
    • Transparency Settings
    • Gamut Warning
  • Setting Preferences: Units & Rulers 16:36
    • Units & Rulers
  • Setting Preferences: Guides, Grid & Slices 16:50
    • Guides, Grid and Slices
  • Setting Preferences: Plug-in & Type 17:52
    • Plug-in & Type

Transcription: Setting Preferences

Hi, Michael Brown back again, with another lesson for you in's Adobe Photoshop CS6 course.0000

This is the grinder basic lesson in setting your Photoshop CS6 Preferences.0008

Don't touch that dial.0014

You've got to do it, you've only got to do it once so let's grind on through it.0016

Alright, if you're on a Mac, under the Photoshop dropdown menu, go to Preferences, and General--if you're on a PC go to the Edit menu, all the way to the bottom you'll find your Preferences, and let's go to General.0021

Alright, we'll start at the top and work our way down.0037

Default is the Adobe colour picker, it's a beauty, leave it.0041

HUD, that's heads up display, colour picker, which is used for tools and setting your foreground/background colours, it defaults at the huge strip small, leave it there, it's fine.0045

Image interpolation--this is new in Photoshop CS6 for those of you who work in previous versions.0061

We used to have bicubic smoother and sharper, the other three are not as good.0068

Bicubic smoother is usually used when you're enlarging an image, which means you're opening up space between pixels, better to smooth the edges, or sharper when you're reducing and throwing away pixels to sharpen it back up.0074

You use to have to pick A or B, but now bicubic automatic will automatically sense whether you are enlarging, or reducing and pick the appropriate one for that.0087

Now you also have the option...I personally like bicubic sharper all the time, I'm going to set it there but for those of you that are learning this and may not have a preference, bicubic automatic as the default works just fine.0099

Alright, let's get down this list of options--these are the ones that are by default checked: auto update open documents, that's only if you're working in a network business where multiple people have access to your file and are not on your computer, that way if someone else works on it, it auto updates it.0115

If you don't need that, don't check it--I prefer not to anyway.0137

Beep undone, if you want to hear the beep all day, be my guest.0141

Dynamic colour slider, that's fine--export clipboard allows you to export the clipboard with something you copied from Photoshop and then pasting into another document in another piece of software, a good idea to leave that up there.0145

Use the Shift key for the tool switch, yes, and let me show you what that is...that means if I have a tool that has sub-tools and in this case the shortcut for this tool is J, and I hold my Shift key down and hit the letter J notice in the Toolbar, the highlighted tool is actually changing as I click and hold the Shift key down, that's what that preference allows you to do, a very cool idea.0161

A nice shortcut.0191

So that was use Shift key for tool switch.0193

Resize image during place...if you are copying from one image to another and you're bringing in a higher resolution, larger picture into the smaller one, obviously it's going to be bigger than the small picture.0195

By checking this, the computer will resize the image down.0210

It's OK in general circumstances but me personally, I like precise control, I would rather have the larger image come in large and I'll size it down.0215

But this is not a bad idea, go ahead and leave it, and if you find that you would prefer to do it yourself you can always uncheck that.0224

Animated zoom, I don't like this feature--I'll demonstrate it to you.0232

The animated zoom, what it allows you to do is just simply click or left click on a Mac and just hold and it zooms, and when I let go it keeps on zooming!0237


And if I'm doing it in the reverse it kept on zooming.0258

It doesn't allow absolute precision stops, so personally, I don't like that, I'm going to uncheck that.0261

Zoom resizes windows, a very good idea, if your windows are floating, and you have that--notice as it gets smaller the window itself sizes down and comes back and stays at the proper size.0271

Otherwise the image will enlarge or get smaller within a specific window size, so I suggest going ahead and leaving that one checked (I'm coming back to it).0288

Zoom with scroll wheel...if you've got a scroll wheel, check that box--it's really cool, you can scroll it using the scroll wheel.0302

Zoom click, point to centre--good idea to check this one.0309

In the old days, if you clicked on an area, it would zoom kind of toward that area, but with Photoshop CS6, when you click on a spot to zoom up an image, it will actually centre that spot in the window when it zooms, good idea.0313

Flick panning, I like flick panning, I'll show you what that is...that's flick panning and it allows you to let it slide to pan--it's kind of good otherwise you've got to click click click--this way you can kind of throw it across.0333

It's cool.0347

Alright, very round brush hardness based on a...this is an adjustment shortcut that normally allows you to change your opacity, if this is unchecked you do the movement, it's opacity, you check it and its hardness, better idea you just leave it alone.0349

Place or drag raster images as smart objects...uncheck this one.0366

Unless you work with smart objects, just let it come in as a standard raster image, you can always change a new layer or a new pasted image into a smart object at a later time if you want to.0372

So I just suggest for now, uncheck that one.0387

Snag vector tools to pixel grid, fine, that takes care of the General, let's go to the Interface.0390

We've already dealt with Appearance, but if you skipped my last lesson which you shouldn't do, Appearance allows you to adjust the appearance of the Interface or adjust the appearance of the three screen modes.0397

We already dealt with that option.0414

Everything here is just fine, I'm not even going to go through them, expect if you like the tabbed format, it defaults to opening documents as tabs as I showed you across here.0416

If you uncheck that it will open them up as floating windows, that's your call--just remember it's right here.0430

Enable floating window, floating document window docking means you (I'm just going to have that) if I have two windows that are floating, I can actually dock them separately to themselves away from the main docking area.0438

That's what that one was all about.0456

It's OK, everything else on there, just fine.0459

Click next and we'll go to File default, always saving an image preview, really really good idea, gives you a little thumbnail.0465

Append file extension, always, that's good, and it's going to use lower case, that's the standard on most programs, so that will keep your .psd like you see up here on this image, all those are psds, it will keep it in that lower case and will append it as you go along.0472

Alright, saving to original folder--great idea.0493

Really great idea, you don't want to get lost by, unless you need to, saving a file someone A, so in other words you don't want to go Command+S just to save it, it will automatically save it back into that original folder.0496

Saving in the background, this is really cool, this is something that's new to Photoshop CS6--in past versions if you went to save an image, you could not continue to work until the computer finished saving that image.0512

Now, with CS6, once you start to save you can just go ahead and work, and it will save while you're working behind you--this is great for really big files, good idea.0528

Automatically save recovery information every ten minutes, wow, what a feature!0538

All these years, if the computer crashes, or Photoshop crashes or you get a power outage and you lose everything, and you worked for three days on an image, you lost it.0544

Now, Photoshop will automatically save the state of your image and you can adjust it all the way back to five minutes and up as long as an hour, ten minutes is default, good thing, so if it crashes and you reopen, the worst you could lose is five or ten minutes worth of work on that image.0556

Really cool feature, I wish they could've had it twenty years ago.0576

Alright, down the File Compatibility...I prefer Adobe Camera Raw for supported wall files--absolutely...ask before saving layered tif files?0580

A lot of tif files save as a flattened image, I like to be reminded you can let that go if you want.0590

Maximise psd and psb file compatibility...just go ahead and put always, I'll tell you what that is, what that's doing is allowing Photoshop to save the version so it can be opened in previous versions of Photoshop.0598

You never know when someone's going to end up with a file of yours that's got a CS3 or something like that and they're going to want to work on it and they can't open it, so I just prefer to say "do it", it increases the file size slightly but no big deal, so just do it.0617

Alright, let's take a look at our Camera Raw Preferences button now...what we've got here by default, save image in a side card file...I talked about that in the last lesson, Camera Raw makes non-destructive edits and saves those algorithms as a separate file, that resides in the same folder and your original image, and all you have to do, if you want to get back to zero, is you just trash that file and the original file is never untouched--that's the way to do it, and apply sharpening to preview image--always.0633

In other words, if you had ten images opened in Camera Raw and you were synchronizing them so whatever action you were applying to the basic image applied to all of the others, it would then...if you did this all images, it would sharpen every image, just the images you're working on so leave it at preview images.0670

Default image settings...they're fine--Camera Raw cache is fine, png heading is fine, jpeg and tif want to have all supported jpegs--I'm not sure if your default is at open with settings, but all supported jpegs and all supported tifs.0695

This is important as far as I'm concerned, I love the workflow of Bridge, Camera Raw, then into Photoshop.0717

This way, all jpegs, tifs and raw files will automatically open in Camera Raw.0725

OK, that takes care of those--let's quickly go back, we're going to File Handling, we got that, we're going on to Performance (let me get back here) I'm going to click OK for just a moment...and we have indeed done General, the Interface, Camera Raw, we're going on to Performance.0732

Alright, memory usage...default is at about 70% is being used for Photoshop.0759

You could jack this up to about 90% if it's the only piece of software you've got opened, and it will speed things up ever so slightly...if you've got a bunch of software open you might just want to knock it down so they all don't slow down, but over all the years I have just left it at the default 70% and I can't tell if it's speeded up or slowed down at all--it just seems to work fine whether you have programs open or not.0768

I do suggest, personally, to have as few pieces of software open when you're working in Photoshop as you possibly can, obviously will speed up how Photoshop works.0793

I had an assistant work for me one time that had ten pieces of software open all the time and Photoshop was working like a slug, it took me a long time to get him to close some of those.0807

Anyway, history and cache...history states defaults at twenty--the computer will save every move you make by default of the twenty, if you've got three or four gigs or RAM at least, you can go up to somewhere between forty and fifty and never notice a slow down--of course the more you have, the more memory it uses because it has to remember everything.0816

I like it somewhere between forty and fifty, pretty good--cache levels fine, so on and so forth.0839

Use graphics processor...this allows you to access all sorts of functionality in tools such as some of the filters, a whole bunch of...actually it says down here, zoom methods and flick panning, previews, lighting effects, the blur gallery which is brand new in Photoshop, Puppet Warp, drop shutters for cameras--all these things, if you've got a decent graphics processor, leave it checked.0855

OK, let's go on to the next one here...cursors...default setting--normal brush tip, that means that you'll see a circle for a brush (let me check out of here) and you see the little circle?0875

That's what it is to talk about that particular brush right there, and what that circle is, is a 50% point, that's where if it was absolutely a hard edge, that's where the edge would be--if it's a soft brush that has a gradual spread to it, it's right in the middle.0889

You can do a full size which isn't really accurate, the normal brush tip you can do precise which is a crosshair, but you can always do the precise crosshair with a normal or the full sized brush tip simply by holding down your Caps Lock key, and standard is nothing but the icons.0908

So I kind of like it at the normal brush tip.0926

Other cursors standard is fine for me, I identify with the icons--it's always the tip, or you can have a precise cursor, whichever way you like, brush preview size read, that's fine.0928

Let's go to transparency and gamut...this is the transparency of a layer, the checkerboard pattern indicates there is nothing there, and it's grain white--that's traditional, leave it that way.0941

Gamut warning at gray...I would prefer not to--what that's telling you is that a color that you're utilizing is beyond the accessibility of the color space that you're in, in other words it can't be reproduced, and I'd like to be really warned, so I usually set mine at some disgusting bright yellow.0955

I'll make it this kind of obtuse, greenish yellow, and that way that attracts my attention and I realize that in that area the colors are not within the color space and it can be corrected, so if you want to change that go ahead, just click on the box, do the slider to whatever color you want and then move it up to the max point, click OK.0976

Alright, units and rulers...unless you're a graphic designer and want to change them, they are just fine.0996

Print resolution standard at 300 pixels per inch is good, screen resolution 72, perfect, the rest of it's just fine.1004

Let's go to guides, grids and slicers...guides are fine both ways, slicers are fine, a grid--I use it all the time in graphics, and it defaults at gray--I can't see a gray grid, so I suggest very strongly click on this and set that sucker up there in the corner at bright red (let me show you what that is) that's this, that's a grid.1011

And right now, you'll notice that the grid defaulted at a grid line every one inch...not very fine...I suggest that you take that, change the gridline every .25 inches every quarter of an inch, with a four in between so now we have a nice, fine grid that enables you to precisely arrange whatever you want.1043

That takes care of the guides, grids and slicers--let's go on to plugins, if you have any Photoshop plugins, you can check this folder and choose it so that it knows where they are, otherwise leave it as is.1070

For type, everything is fine, 3D...leave that in its basic default form, click next--we're back to the beginning, and now let's click OK (and let me make sure we ran through it) we did the cursors, we did transparency and gamut, units and rulers, guides and slicers, plugins and type and now, you have your Photoshop preferences all set up and ready to go.1083

That takes care of the lesson on Preferences, I'll see you back at the next lesson.1101