Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Saving large Photoshop documents (PSD)

Most other applications and older versions of Photoshop cannot support documents with file sizes larger than 2 GB. There is new Large Document Format (PSB) that is supported in Photoshop CS and CS2. All Photoshop features, such as layers, effects, and filters, are supported by the PSB format. Other applications and older versions of Photoshop cannot open documents saved in PSB format.

There are three steps that Photoshop takes in saving a file: Generating Full Resolution Composite, Preparing to Save, and Writing Photoshop Format. When dealing with files approaching the 2GB limit, you can quicken the “Generating Full Resolution Composite” and the “Preparing to Save” step by hiding all the layers (Alt+click one layer’s visibility icon will hide all other layers on the PC). The documents will still take a few minutes to save, but some time will be shaved off the beginning of the save.

If there is one layer or more (adjustment, bitmap, vector, or text) and the "Maximize Compatibility" feature is turned on, Photoshop saves two copies of the same image. One is flattened (Full Resolution Composite) and the other is in layers. If you deselect the “Maximize Compatibility” feature, this might even reduce your file size by half, and eliminates the reason to hide all the layers for “Full Resolution Composite.”

--Stephen M. James


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