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Photoshop Setup

Customizing Photoshop


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After installing a new version of Photoshop, you will want to apply your personal settings.  Below are my personal preferences.
 

  1. Color Settings.  Tell me more
    1. Read the Photoshop Color Settings page to learn how to customize the color settings in Photoshop.
       
  2. Keyboard Shortcuts  Tell me how
    1. Click Edit > Keyboard Shortcuts. The Keyboard Shortcuts and Menus dialog box will be displayed.
    2. Click on a Menu Command to expand it.
    3. Highlight the desired command and type the entire keyboard shortcut.  For example, if you wish to change the shortcut Ctrl + O to Ctrl + P, do not type the letter P over the letter O. Type Ctrl + P.
    4. Click Accept
    5. If you wish to save the shortcuts, click one of the diskette icons.
       
  3. Menu Customization  Tell me how
    1. Click Edit > Menus. The Keyboard Shortcuts and Menus dialog box will be displayed.
    2. Click on a Menu Command to expand it
    3. Click in the Visibility column to make a menu option visible or hidden
    4. Click in the Color column to change the background color of the menu item
    5. Click OK
    6. If you wish to save the shortcuts, click one of the diskette icons
       
  4. Edit > Preferences > General.  Show the details
    1. Color Picker: Adobe
    2. Image Interpolation: Bicubic
    3. Options Auto Update: unchecked
    4. Options Beep When Done: unchecked
    5. Options Dynamic Color Sliders: checked
    6. Options Export Clipboard: checked
    7. Options Use Shift Key: checked
    8. Options Resize Image During Place: unchecked
    9. Options Animated Zoom: checked
    10. Options Zoom Resizes Windows: your choice, I prefer unchecked
    11. Options Zoom with Scroll Wheel: your choice, I prefer unchecked
    12. Options Zoom Clicked Point to Center: unchecked
    13. Options Enable Flick Panning: unchecked
    14. Place or drag raster images as Smart Objects: your choice
       
    15. History Log: unchecked
  5. Edit > Preferences > Interface  Show the details
    1. Standard Screen Mode: Gray None
    2. Full Screen with Menus: Gray None
    3. Full Screen: Black None
    4. Show Channels in Color: unchecked
    5. Show Menu Colors: checked
    6. Show Tool Tips: checked
    7. Auto-Collapse Iconic Panels: unchecked
    8. Auto-Show Hidden Panels: checked
    9. Open Documents as Tabs: checked
    10. Enable Floating Document Window Docking: checked
    11. UI Language: your choice
    12. UI Font Size: I prefer Medium
       
  6. Edit > Preferences > File Handling  Show the details
    1. Image Previews: Always Save
    2. File Extension: Use Lower Case
    3. Save As to Original Folder: checked
    4. Prefer Adobe Camera Raw for Supported Raw Files: checked
    5. Ignore EXIF profile tag: unchecked
    6. Ask Before Saving Layered TIFF Files: unchecked
    7. Maximize PSD and PSB File Compatibility: Never, unless you also use Lightroom or your codec needs it, then use Always
    8. Enable Version Cue: unchecked unless you work in a team
    9. Recent file list contains: your choice
       
  7. Edit > Preferences > Performance  Show the details
    1. Let Photoshop Use: The MB value that would equate to about 80%
    2. History States: somewhere between 10 and 20
    3. Cache Levels: around 5
    4. Scratch Disks: depends on your computer configuration
    5. GPU Settings: checked only if your video card can support OpenGL
       
  8. Edit > Preferences > Cursors  Show the details
    1. Painting Cursors: Full Size Brush Tip
    2. Show Crosshair in Brush Tip: checked
    3. Other Cursors: Standard
       
  9. Edit > Preferences > Transparency & Gamut  Show the details
    1. Grid Size: Medium
    2. Grid Colors: Light
    3. Color 1: ffffff
    4. Color 2: cccccc
    5. Gamut Warning: ff00ff
    6. Opacity: 100%
       
  10. Edit > Preferences > Units & Rulers  Show the details
    1. Rulers: pixels
    2. Type: points or pixels.  This value determines the default font size in the Character panel.
    3. Column Width and Gutter: your choice.  The column value lets you specify image width in columns when creating a new file, resizing a file or changing its canvas size.  This is useful if you prepare images for a page-layout program.
    4. Print Resolution: your choice, I use 360 ppi
    5. Screen Resolution: your choice, I use 96 ppi
    6. Point/Pica Size: PostScript
       
  11. Edit> Preferences > Guides, Grid & Slices  Show the details
    1. Guides Color: Cyan
    2. Guides Style: Lines
    3. Smart Guides: Magenta
    4. Grid Color: should be Custom as this was set in Transparency & Gamut
    5. Gridline every: your choice.  I typically use 1 inch for web graphics work.  If inches, gridlines will be placed based on the ppi resolution of the file.  For example, if the file has a resolution of 96 ppi, then a gridline will be placed every 96 pixels.
    6. Grid Style: Lines
    7. Subdivisions: 4
    8. Slices Line Color: Light Blue
    9. Slices Show Slice Numbers: checked
       
  12. Edit > Preferences > Plug-Ins  Show the details
    1. Additional Plug-Ins Folder: If you have Photoshop plug-ins, you will want to use the Choose button to define their location.
    2. Allow Extensions to Connect to the Internet: checked
    3. Load Extension Panels: checked
    4. Show CSLive in application bar: checked if you use CS Live
       
  13. Edit > Preferences > Type  Show the details
    1. Use Smart Quotes: my preference is unchecked
    2. Show Asian Text Options: your choice
    3. Enable Missing Glyph Protection: checked
    4. Show Font Names in English: your choice
    5. Font Preview Size: Medium
       
  14. Edit > Preferences > Camera Raw  Show the details
    1. Save images settings in: Sidecar *.xmp files
    2. Apply sharpening to: Preview images only
    3. Apply auto tone adjustments: unchecked
    4. Apply auto grayscale mix when converting to grayscale: unchecked
    5. Make defaults specific to camera serial number: unchecked
    6. Make defaults specific to camera ISO setting: unchecked
    7. Camera Raw Cache Maximum Size: you choice; mine is 1.0 GB
    8. Select Location: set to the Camera Raw Cache folder.  On a Windows based computer, it would be C:\Users\[user name]\AppData\Local\Adobe\CameraRaw\Cache.
    9. DNG File Handling Ignore sidecard .xmp files: unchecked
    10. DNG File Handling Update embedded JPEG previews: checked and Medium Size
    11. JPEG: Automatically open JEPGs with settings
    12. TIFF: Automatically open TIFFs with settings
       
  15. Actions
    If you have any custom Photoshop actions, you will want to move them to the new version's Presets\Actions folder.  Show the steps
    1. After the new version of Photoshop has been installed, use your computer's file browser to navigate to the Presets\Actions folder of your old version.  On a Windows based computer, this is located in the following folder.
      C:\Users\[user name]\AppData\Roaming\Adobe\Adobe Photoshop[old version]\Presets\Actions

      Copy your actions to the new location.  On a Windows based computer, this is located in the Presets\Actions folder of the new version.
      C:\Users\[user name]\AppData\Roaming\Adobe\Adobe Photoshop[new version]\Presets\Actions

    2. In the Actions panel, click the flyout menu Flyout menu and select Load Actions.
    3. Highlight the desired actions and click Load.
    4. Test the action to be sure it still works.
       
  16. Plug Ins.  Tell me more
    1. Plug Ins usually have to be re-installed.  Before installing them, check with the plug in provider and make sure the plug in will work with your new version of Photoshop.
       
  17. Set your Save for Web & Devices file settings.  Tell me how
    1. Open a small to medium sized image in Photoshop.
    2. Click File > Save for Web & Devices
    3. Select your starting file format, such as GIF, make your settings and then click the flyout menu Flyout menu to save your settings.  Listed below are my personal settings for the gif, jpeg and png 8 formats.
    4. Show the GIF settings
      1. Color reduction: Selective
      2. Dither algorithm: Diffusion
      3. Transparency: checked
      4. Transparency dither algorithm: No Transparency Dither
      5. Interlaced: unchecked
      6. Colors: 256
      7. Dither: 100%
      8. Matte: White
      9. Amount: cannot be set
      10. Web Snap: 0
      11. Lossy: 0
      12. Convert to sRGB: checked
      13. Metadata: your choice.  If you select Copyright and/or Contact Info, that data must be in the original file's meta data.  Otherwise, it will not be in the file you are creating.
    5. Show the JPEG settings
      1. Compression Quality: Very High
      2. Progressive: unchecked
      3. Optimized: checked
      4. Embed Color Profile: checked
      5. Quality: varies, but I use 80 a lot
      6. Blur: 0
      7. Matte: White
      8. Convert to sRGB: checked
      9. Metadata: your choice.  If you select Copyright and/or Contact Info, that data must be in the original file's meta data.  Otherwise, it will not be in the file you are creating.
    6. Show the PNG-8 settings
      1. Color reduction: Selective
      2. Dither algorithm: Diffusion
      3. Transparency: checked
      4. Transparency dither algorithm: No Transparency Dither
      5. Interlaced: unchecked
      6. Colors: 256
      7. Dither: 100%
      8. Matte: None
      9. Amount: cannot be set
      10. Web Snap: 0
      11. Convert to sRGB: checked
      12. Metadata: your choice.  If you select Copyright and/or Contact Info, that data must be in the original file's meta data.  Otherwise, it will not be in the file you are creating.

       
  18. Set other display options.  Tell me how
    1. If you are a Mac user, click Window > Application Frame to activate the gray background in the Photoshop window.

      Tip

      For both Windows and Mac users, double clicking the gray background will display the File Open dialog box.

       

    2. Click File > New.  Set Background Contents to Transparent.  Set bit depth to your usual value.  Expand Advanced options.  Set Color Profile to your usual color profile.  Click OK to create the document.  You can discard it later, but a document needs to be open to set the following options.  In the Layers panel, click the Create a new layer icon Create new layer to create a new empty layer.
    3. In the lower left of the document window, click the right arrow and select Document Profile.  This will display the color space and bit depth.
    4. Click Edit > Convert to Profile.  Destination Space Profile can be whatever Photoshop defaults to.  Engine should be Adobe (ACE).  Intent should be Relative Colorimetric or Perceptual.  Use Black Point Compensation should be checked.  Use Dither should be checked.  Flatten Image to Preserve Appearance should be unchecked.  Click OK.
    5. Click View > Rulers.  The horizontal and vertical rulers will be displayed.  They will be in the units you set in Edit > Preferences > Units & Rulers.
    6. Turn Snap on or off according to your preference by clicking View > Snap.  If turned on, set View > Snap To to your preferences.
    7. In the Color panel, click the flyout menu Flyout menu and select RGB Spectrum.
    8. In the Swatches panel, click the flyout menu Flyout menu and select Small List.
    9. In the Adjustment panel, click the flyout menu Flyout menu and select Expanded View.
    10. Make sure the empty layer is active.  In the lower right of the Adjustment panel, make sure the Clip to Layer icon Clip to Layer icon says 'New adjustments affect all layers below (click to clip to layer)'.
    11. In the Histogram panel, click the flyout menu Flyout menu and select Expanded View.
    12. Create a Curves Adjustment layer.  In the Adjustments panel, click the flyout menu Flyout menu and then click Curves Display Options.  Click the icon for Display detailed grid with 10% increments.  Click OK.
    13. In the Info panel, click the flyout menu Flyout menu and click Panel Options.  Set First Color Readout to Actual Color.  Second Color Readout should be set to represent your typical output.  If you send your images to a vendor for offset printing, select CMYK color.  If you use your images in web design work, select Web Color.  Set Mouse Coordinates to your preferred unit of measure.  In Status Information, check your preferred options.  I use Document Sizes and Document Dimensions.  I do not check Document Profile because that was set in a previous step.  Set Show Tool Hints to your preference.
       
  19. Set tool options.  Tell me how
    1. Clone Stamp tool Clone Stamp tool.  Activate the Clone Stamp tool.  In the options bar, change Sample to Current and Below.
    2. Eyedropper tool Eyedropper tool.  Activate the Eyedropper tool.  In the options bar, change Sample Size to your usual choice and make sure Sample is All Layers.
    3. Line tool Line tool.  Activate the Line tool.  In the options bar, click the Geometry Options down arrow.  It is to the right of the Custom Shape icon Custom Shape icon.  If you typically create arrows, check either the Start or End option and set Width and Length.  My personal setting is a width of 450% and a length of 500%.
    4. Magic Wand tool Magic Wand tool.  Activate the tool and set Tolerance to your usual level.  Turn on Anti-alias.  Set Contiguous and Sample All Layers to your usual settings.
    5. Move tool Move tool.  Activate the tool.  In the Options bar, check or uncheck the Show Transform Controls option according to your preference.
       
  20. Soft Proofing profiles.  Tell me more
    1. You should not have to reinstall your soft proofing profiles because these profiles are stored in an Operating Systems folder, not a Photoshop folder.
       
  21. Window > Workspace
    Many of us customize the location of our Photoshop panels and want to reuse these locations when we install a new version of Photoshop.  You might be able to copy your old workspace to the new using these steps.  Show the steps
    1. After the new version of Photoshop has been installed, use your computer's file browser to navigate to the workspace folder of your old version.  On a Windows based computer, this is located in the following folder.
      C:\Users\[user name]\AppData\Roaming\Adobe\Adobe Photoshop[old version]\Adobe Photoshop [old version] Settings\WorkSpaces

      Copy your settings file to the new location.  On a Windows based computer, this is located in the WorkSpaces folder of the new version.
      C:\Users\[user name]\AppData\Roaming\Adobe\Adobe Photoshop[new version]\Adobe Photoshop [new version] Settings\WorkSpaces

    2. If Photoshop is open, close and reopen it.
    3. Once reopened, click Window > Workspace, and click the name of your workspace.  If you get a dialog box that states the workspace is not compatible, you will not be able to use it.  If Photoshop accepts the workspace file but you did not get the results you expected, it may be due to differences between monitor configurations.  You may need to rearrange the panels and save the workspace.

      Tip

      Before laying out your workspace, be sure to set UI Font Size in Edit > Preferences > Interface and set both the Histogram panel and the Adjustments panel to Expanded View.

       

    4. Shown below is a screen capture of my workspace.  My work environment consists of two monitors; the main monitor where the image is displayed and a secondary monitor where the panels are displayed.  In any multi-monitor setup, the panels you interact with the most should be closest to the main monitor.  The panels you use the least, and information only panels, should be the furthest from the main monitor.  In my setup, my secondary monitor is to the left of my main monitor.  Therefore, the most used panels are on the right side of the secondary monitor.  And the panels I use the least, and information only panels, are on the left side of the secondary monitor. 

      Photoshop Workspace
      Figure 1.  Web Author's Photoshop Workspace
       

  22. Download and install custom brush set.  Tell me how
    1. Go to the Downloads page.
    2. Select one of the four brush options, click the Download button and save the file in the Presets\Brushes folder.  On a Windows based computer, this is C:\Users\[user name]\AppData\Roaming\Adobe\Adobe Photoshop[version]\Presets\Brushes
    3. In Photoshop, activate the Brush tool Brush tool
    4. Right click in the image area.  The brush panel will be displayed.
    5. Click the flyout menu Flyout menu icon.
    6. Click Replace Brushes.  The Load dialog box will be displayed.
    7. Navigate to where you saved the brushes file.
    8. Highlight the file and click Load.  The brush set will be loaded.
       
  23. Download and install the Tone Selection script.  Tell me how
    1. Go to the JavaScript Download page.
    2. Select one of the two scripts, right click the download link save the file in the Presets\Scripts folder.  On a Windows based computer, this is C:\Program Files\Adobe\Adobe Photoshop[version]\Presets\Scripts.
    3. If you wish to install the other Tone Selection script, repeat the previous step for the other script.
    4. If Photoshop is open, close it and reopen it.
       
  24. Verify your DNG and PSD codecs.  Explain this
    1. If you purchased a third party codec to be able to view thumbnail images of your DNG and PSD files in your computer's file browser, then you will want to test to be sure your codecs still work with the DNG and PSD files created by the new version of Photoshop.
    2. You will first have to create a DNG or PSD file using your new version of Photoshop.  For a PSD file, you can easily do this by opening an existing file and using File > Save As to save the PSD file under a new name.  Then view the new file outside of Photoshop to be sure you codec is working.  You can delete the file you saved once you have completed your testing.  DNG files have to be created in Camera Raw.
    3. Be sure to use a 'complicated' file for your PSD testing.  For example, if you typically use any of the following features; adjustment layers, alpha channels, vector layers, text annotations, text layers, etc, in your images, you will want to be sure your test image has all these features.
    4. Use your maximum bit depth for testing.  For example, if you work with 16 bit images, be sure to test your codec with a 16 bit image.
    5. If your codec no longer works, make sure Image Previews in Edit > Preferences > File Handling is set to Always Save.  If you still have an issue, try turning on Maximize PSD and PSB File Compatibility.  If that does not fix the problem, then you will need to contact the publisher of your codec for an updated version.