Tagged: CS5

Speeding up Photoshop CS5

PhotoshopThere is no shortage of advice for users to improve the performance of Photoshop. RAM is always king, the more you have, the better off you are. But having it isn’t enough, you have to know how to manage it.

Here are a few things that have helped me improve performance in Photoshop CS5 (though they’ll most likely work just fine in versions CS3 and CS4 as well).


Go into Photoshop’s preferences (Command + K) and select the Performance item from the source list on the left. The first thing to adjust is the Memory Usage. I generally keep the RAM set between 60-70% with the slider. This allows me to use a good amount of my RAM for Photoshop, but still leave enough for other apps and the System itself. However, if you have less than 4GB of RAM, you should probably stick to 50% max. Your mileage may vary.

Photoshop performance preferences

Memory use and cache settings improves performance

History & Cache

The next thing to adjust is your History & Cache settings. You can use the preset buttons (hover over them for a brief description of which you should use). Only my laptop, I use the settings you see in the screenshot above. Because I tend to use my laptop for web or other low-resolution work, the settings have worked superbly.


If you’re running Photoshop CS5 Extended, you can also check the 3D preferences and up the VRAM (video RAM) use to the max amount. I don’t do any 3D work, so I can’t tell you how well this works or not, but I keep it set to the max anyway.

Layers Panel

If you work with a lot of layers in your Photoshop document, you can reduce the size of the individual icon layer thumbnails. The smaller the icon, the less memory Photoshop needs to redraw those thumbnails every time you make a change to a layer. Just make a quick trip to the Layers panel flyout menu and choose the Panel Options… menu item. You can also turn those layer thumbnails off completely if you’re really organized with layer naming.

The Rest

There are numerous other tips that can help speed up Photoshop. Limiting the number of fonts installed and active is huge. You can also limit the number of files Photoshop remembers in the File menu list (adjust in the Photoshop preferences). Keep the layer count down as much as possible goes a long way, and not using Photoshop’s built-in Navigation panel with its giant thumbnail is a great idea as well.

Add HTML5 capabilities to Dreamweaver CS5

DreamweaverAdobe has made available an extension which provides initial support for HTML5 and CSS3 in Adobe Dreamweaver CS5, and helps you easily create HTML5 pages and CSS3 styles. It also includes updates and WebKit improvements for Design View and Live View rendering.

While HTML5 and CSS3 will not be finalized for some time, the extension provides support for a set of currently-implemented features in Adobe Dreamweaver CS5.

This extension enhances Dreamweaver CS5 in the following ways:

  • Introduces the Multiscreen Preview panel , allowing for Live View display on 3 different screen sizes, with Media Query support. (Window > Multiscreen Preview)
  • Adds code hinting for the HTML5 Tag Library with new tags, attributes, and properties.
  • Updates code hinting for new attributes and values in existing HTML tags.
  • Adds code hinting for the following CSS3 specifications: 2D/3D Transformations; Animations; Background and Border; Basic User Interface; Line Layout; Marquee; Media Queries; MultiColumn; Ruby; Text; and Transitions.
  • Updates Live View to support < video > and < audio >. (Requires Quicktime installation.)
  • Improved rendering for CSS3 in Live View.
  • Adds HTML5 starter layouts to the New Document Dialog box.
  • Offers better rendering for new tags in Design View.

You can download the HTML5 Pack here.

Easily adding a starting page number with Adobe InDesign CS5

I’ve already pointed out that Adobe InDesign CS5 adds many small new features. Another such feature is the ability to set your starting auto page number in the New Document dialog box.

Start Page Number in Adobe InDesign

The new Start Page # feature in InDesign's New Page dialog box

You’ll still need to create an Auto Page Number box on your page just as you always have, but prior to InDesign CS5, you had to manually set the starting page number to your document via the Numbering & Section Options contextual menu in the Pages panel. Now, you can set it right at the start of your document creation.

Not a huge feature, but a nice one for those who regularly create auto page numbers that don’t start with the number 1.

Create your own Adobe CS5 style icons

With the release of Creative Suite 5, Adobe brought with it a new set of icons for all their applications. Now I won’t get into the whole debate about whether or not they’re better or worse than the previous ones, but they are different. And if you’re like me, you may have an interest in altering them a bit, and creating similar ones for other folder and applications in your OS X Dock.

Icon Generator is a website and a companion Adobe AIR application, both free, that allow you to create your own CS5-style icons with little effort.

CS5 Icon Generator

Create your own CS5-style icons easily

As you can see in the screenshot above, you can type in your own letters (up to 15, but it looks bad beyond three), choose a face and font color, and even add or remove icon shadows and glare. I should also note that if you preferred the Adobe CS4-style icons, you can choose that style instead.

But it Icon Generator doesn’t stop there. You can choose to use an image on the face of your icon, rather than letters. You simply upload a 512×512 pixel JPG or PNG file. As you can see below, the results are pretty darn good!

Icon Generator

Icon Generator allows you to use images instead of text on your icons

Once you’re finished customizing, Icon Generator allows you to download a .zip file containing various sized PNG files of your icon, and even update your Twitter profile icon if you wish.

Icon Generator is free, so if you like the Adobe CS4 or CS5 icons and want to customize more icons to match, this little AIR app is just what the doctor ordered.

Adobe InDesign CS5 adds plenty of “little things” in a big upgrade

InDesign CS5Adobe has packed a lot of nice features into the Creative Suite 5 apps. One of my most-used applications is InDesign, so I was quite pleased to see so many of the “little things” I’ve wanted to see for years, be addressed with this latest upgrade. I’ll be covering some of these new features in future posts, but one new feature that I’ll be using daily in my job is the new object Corner Options feature on rectangles.

In InDesign 6 (CS4), creating rounded corners was serviceable at best. I could create rounded corners on my rectangle with a single radius amount, and the amount was applied to all four corners. To make matters worse for me, I had the need to only create rounded corners on two of the four sides of a rectangle. This meant I was forced to use a user script to create them – and once they were created, there was no going back to edit the radius. With InDesign 7 (CS5), Adobe has abolished all my Corner Option demons.

InDesign CS5 Corner Options

InDesign CS5 offers a more feature-rich Corner Options dialog box

Selecting a rectangle and choosing Objects>Corner Options… from the menubar brings up a dialog box allowing me to choose one of the familiar corner styles. As you may have noticed in the screenshot above though, I can choose a different corner style for each corner. And I can also choose a different radius amount for each of them. This is going to save me a ton of time, and many trips to the Scripts panel!

InDesign CS5 Edit CornersBut the corner-editing goodness doesn’t end there. For many designers, a more free-flowing workflow is more desirable. For those folks, Adobe added the ability to edit the corner radius without going into a dialog box at all. When you select a rectangle, you’re offered a small yellow handle on the side of the object (as seen at right). Clicking on that yellow handle activates the new Corner Option editing mode.

ID Corner radius bezelOnce activated, you can adjust the corner radius of all four corners at once simply by clicking one of the yellow handles which appear at each corner and dragging. A small bezel appears to let you know the radius amount. This in itself would be obscenely helpful to me, and I would have been happy had Adobe stopped there, but they didn’t.

ID Corner edit options

InDesign CS5 offers numerous ways to edit corners

You can also hold the Shift key down and drag a yellow corner handle to edit only that corner. Oh yeah, now I’m stoked! And if you really want to make a mess of your rectangle, you can hold the Option key down to adjust the shape of the entire rectangle.

I draw a LOT of rounded corner rectangles, so this feature was (believe it or not) a big selling point for me. Once you use it, I’m sure you’re going to love it as much as I do.

Adobe Creative Suite 5: Initial thoughts

I installed Adobe Creative Suite 5 last week, spent a few days testing out all the new tools and features, and have a few initial thoughts to share with you all. To be clear, while I have the CS5 Master Collection, I only reviewed the apps found in the CS5 Design Premium bundle.

First let me say that in case you missed it, I covered my thoughts on the new CS5 application installers last week. They’ve been greatly improved over the last few CS installers. But one thing they didn’t fix about the installation is where things get installed.

Adobe Creative Suite 5

Adobe Creative Suite 5 has me happy so far, but it's not without faults

Adobe everywhere

Like its predecessors, Adobe Creative Suite litters your hard drive with apps, utilities, preferences and documents. I mean they’re everywhere. And once you run the apps, you get even more folders appearing in the oddest places. Items get installed in all three of your Library folders, fonts reside in multiple locations, utilities get installed loose in the Utilities folder, as well as within sub-folders. There just doesn’t appear to be any rhyme or reason to it. I’m not sure why they can’t figure out a way to gather all these apparently necessary files into a single folder in the Applications folder. Heck, even Microsoft figured out how to do that!

Adobe finally fixes Creative Suite installers

When I installed Adobe Creative Suite 5 Master Collection this past week, the very first thing I noticed was that the installer has been greatly improved over the disasterous installers used in previous Creative Suite versions. Now let me qualify that by saying they still aren’t perfect, but I think most users will agree that they’re well on their way to being what they should have been all along. Simple.

First of all, they actually look like they belong on a Mac. In the past, they screamed of being a Windows port at best. Buttons looked out of place, and the overall layout of the installer options seemed convoluted and overly difficult.

Adobe CS5 Master Collection

Adobe's Creative Suite 5 GREATLY improves the installer application

Furthermore, the install process itself took an obnoxious amount of time to install the apps – and you were likely to end up with an incomplete install if you managed to get around the “Quit all your apps before we proceed warning message.”

CS5 InstallThe new version offers a simple list of icons you can choose to install on the left. On the right, you’re shown components included with the installation of each app you have chosen. You can choose to not install those “optional” components if you wish, but you’ll likely have to do it more than once if you’ve purchased the Design, Web, Production or Master collection. For instance, Adobe AIR is part of the install for more than one app, so turning off the install for one app will simply result in it being installed with another one. To be honest, I don’t think you have any choice in the matter, you WILL have AIR installed.

Another app you’ll have no choice in installing is Adobe Bridge. There’s no way to choose to not install it. That being said, the speed increase and integration with other Creative Suite apps is worth installing it anyway.

Finally, the speed with which the individual applications get installed has been greatly improved. Installing the CS4 Design Premium edition took nearly 7 weeks (or so it seemed). Installing the entire CS5 Master Collection took just over 35 minutes. That’s nearly twice as many apps in significantly less time. And you’re no longer forced to quit your web browser while installation is taking place. Nice!

Dear Adobe: Why I won’t upgrade to the latest Creative Suite 5

No CS5With the recent announcement of Creative Suite 5 by Adobe this past week, and the subsequent complaining that always seems to accompany such an announcement, I thought I would type-up a quick complaint letter that interested people can copy & paste into an email and send off to Adobe. Perhaps if those of you who aren’t happy with the direction Adobe is going in send this letter to them, they’ll completely toss 20+ years of successful software into the bin and start over from scratch!

Dear Adobe,

I’ve been a long-time user of Adobe products, and I feel like you’re not listening to all your users with this latest release of Creative Suite 5. I’ve outlined the reasons that I, your most valuable customer, will not be upgrading my single copy of Creative Suite Premium of CS1 I got off Limewire, because it runs just fine.

First of all, I think it’s pretty damn stupid of you to leave all us non-Intel Mac users out in the cold. I purchased a G4 about 10 years ago and don’t see any reason why I should upgrade my hardware just so I can run your new software. You clearly don’t care about your most important customer.

But that’s enough about hardware that you have no control of… let’s move on to your software.

Adobe to announce Creative Suite 5 on April 12th

Adobe Creative Suite 5 launch

Be the first to see all the new features in Creative Suite 5

Adobe is revealing the launch date for Creative Suite 5 to give the creative community time to register for their global online launch event that will take place on Adobe TV on April 12th (8 a.m. PST / 11 a.m. EST) to celebrate the unveiling of CS5. During this event, Adobe will announce the top new features of each CS5 suite, Photoshop, and our new CS Live online services. We invite you to please join us for this momentous event by registering at the Adobe CS5 Launch site.

Adobe drops PPC support for CS5

Adobe announced today that future versions of the applications in their Creative Suites will no longer support PowerPC (PPC) Macs. With Apple’s recent announcement that the next version of OSX (Snow Leopard) will not support the PowerPC chip set, there was really no reason to continue with future development for the pre-Intel platform.

Adobe Creative Suite 5

Adobe Creative Suite 5 drops PPC support

So if you depend on Adobe Creative Suite software for a living but have not upgraded from the G5 or earlier Macs, you might want to consider doing so sometime early next year if you plan to take advantage of all the new features that Adobe Creative Suite 5 will bring.