Next let's take a look at the File Handling Preferences. To begin, I chose to have the image previews always saved when I save a file. Even more important is to make sure that Photoshop always appends a file extension. I'm not sure why there's an option for Never, but I know that one of the most common questions I get is people claiming that they're saving their files and then they can't reopen them particularly in Windows because there's not a file extension. And that's the problem. Come back to your preferences and make sure that you've selected Always to append a file extension. It doesn't matter whether you use lowercase or uppercase. It does matter that there is a file extension. Make sure to check the option to Prefer Camera Raw for Supported Raw Files unless you want to use a different program for your Raw files. I don't want Photoshop to ask before saving layer TIF files. I just want it to do it but if you want to make sure you've flattened all your TIF files first, then check this option. Unless you're using Creative Suite, you don't need to worry about Version Q. Your recent file list is set by default to ten files. If you're working with a larger group of image regularly, you may want to increase this number but beware that it will take up some memory so don't make the number too large. Let's come over here to the Performance Preferences. The number that you see here will vary according to your unique specific computer setup. Photoshop is reading how much RAM you have available and then using a percentage of that. I recommend that you set your percentage to about 75 percent. You don't want to go any higher than 80 percent tops or else you're very likely to find that your computer crashes because in that case, Photoshop will be using RAM that's needed by other functions in your computer. History States I leave between 40 and 60. This controls how many undos you have, for example, when you're cloning. And if you use much less than 40, often it's not enough. You can set this much higher, to a hundred or more, but again, that requires memory and so I've found that between 40 and 60 is a good compromise. I leave my cache levels at the default setting of four. If you have another drive with a lot of space on it that you want to use as a scratch disk, you can choose that here. Photoshop uses a scratch disk for its graphic calculations when it runs out of RAM. Enabling Open GL Drawing makes some of the new features that have been added to Photoshop CS4 possible. But if your computer doesn't have a video card that will let you do open GL drawing or it slows your computer down too much, then you may want to uncheck it. Cursors is one of the most important preferences to check. Make sure that your painting cursor is set to a normal brush tip. It might seem that full-size brush tip would be better, but in reality, with a feathered edge, the effect is so transparent that you'll get misled with a full-size brush. Normal will work more intuitively. Many people find showing the crosshair in the brush tip helpful. That way you know where the exact center of the brush is and that's where the strongest effect is. Make certain that the other cursors options is set to Precise. If you set it to Standard, then you'll get an icon appearing that tells you what tool you're using but it doesn't show you precisely where you're using it. So you must set this to Precise. Transparency and Gamut control how the alerts will appear to show you that something is transparent or that something's out of gamut if you are soft proofing. Gray is a good choice because if it's out of gamut, it's going to be a saturated color and gray will show up unexpectedly to alert you that you have a problem in that part of your image. In Units and Rulers, I set my New Doc Resolution to 300, which is what I use for printing and you can set your screen resolution to 96 since most monitors now use 96, although if you leave it at its default of 72, it's not really going to be a problem for you. I leave Guides, Grids and Slices at their default settings; however, if you periodically want to check your image for the rule of thirds, set your grid line for every 33.3 percent. Initially it will be on the inches units. Then change the subdivisions to one. That way you can superimpose a grid over your image with a single click. That can help when you're thinking about how you might want to crop an image for a stronger composition. I leave the Plug-Ins and Type Preferences at their default settings. Make sure to click OK when you're done.
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