6 Sets of Settings to Save in Photoshop - Digital Photography School
Close
Close

6 Sets of Settings to Save in Photoshop

One feature of Photoshop is its ability to store things like custom shapes, brushes and workspaces so you can use them again and again. Saving settings you use a lot in Photoshop will save you time in future when you need to repeat the process.

Here are six handy ways to speed up your work in Photoshop by saving custom settings:

1. Curves (and other) Dialog presets

6 Sets of Settings to Save in Photoshop 1.jpg

One of my favorite fixes is one involving a curves adjustment in the LAB color space which I introduced in my blog post “Turn Ho-Hum Color into WOW! with Photoshop“. The fix involves taking an image to LAB color mode and then, on a duplicate of the background layer, applying a particular Curves adjustment. Once you’ve done this once, you can speed up the process next time by saving the Curves settings as a preset. To do this, click the down-pointing arrow icon to the right of the Presets list, choose Save Preset and type a name for the preset. Next time you need to apply the same adjustment all you need to do is to select the preset from the list in the Curves dialog to save yourself the effort of creating the curves manually.

As you work in Photoshop, look out for dialogs that offer the ability for you to save your settings as presets you can use anytime in future.

2. Image Vignette Layer Style

6 Sets of Settings to Save in Photoshop 2.jpg

Another type of preset you can save to reuse is a layer style such as one that applies a vignette to an image. To configure this, convert the background layer of an image to a regular layer and choose Layer > Layer Style > Inner Glow. Configure an Inner Glow with settings such as Blend Mode: Multiply, Opacity: 50%, Noise: 0%, Color: Black or Dark Brown/Grey. Set the Technique to Softer, Source: Edge, Choke: 10%, Size: 250px (or to suit the image).

Click the New Style button and type a name for your style. Select both the Include Layer Effects and Include Layer Blending Options checkboxes and click Ok.

In future, you can apply this effect to an image by selecting Window > Styles to display the Styles Palette. Your new layer style will be the last one in the dialog and you can apply it to any image by clicking on it.

3. Saving the Presets themselves

6 Sets of Settings to Save in Photoshop 3.jpg

Certain Brushes, Styles, Gradients, Shapes and Tool presets need to be saved to disk or your run the risk of losing them if, for example, you reinstall Photoshop, delete your preferences file or choose Replace instead of Append when adding presets to a panel.

To save these presets to disk as files, choose Edit > Preset Manager and select the type of feature to save, such as Styles if you have created a custom style. Select the style or styles that you want to save, click Save Set and give the style set a name.

Once they’re saved as file on disk, you can load them into Photoshop at any time in future using the Preset Manager dialog or the feature’s own flyout menu.

4. Save a record of your work

6 Sets of Settings to Save in Photoshop 4.jpg

Sometimes what you want to save in Photoshop is not preferences or brushes but, instead, details of the work that you’ve been doing on your images. You can save details of the steps you have performed to individual files or to a log file by choosing Edit > Preferences > General and enable the History Log checkbox.

Select to save the Log Items to Metadata, Text File or Both. If you choose Text File, a dialog will open from which you can select the folder and text file name to save the information to. Select Sessions Only, Concise or Detailed – to learn more about these options check out this blog post. Click Ok and in future the work you do on all your files will be recorded and stored for you.

5. Save your Actions

6 Sets of Settings to Save in Photoshop 5.jpg

When you create Photoshop Actions to speed up the work that you do in Photoshop, like Brush and Presets, these will be lost if you lose your Photoshop settings. To make sure that these are backed up to external files so that you can recover them if they are lost, view the Actions palette, select the group of actions that you want to back up and click the flyout menu. Select Save Actions and, when the dialog appears, save your actions in a file so you can load then into Photoshop at any time.

6. Save your Workspace

6 Sets of Settings to Save in Photoshop 6.jpg

I like my Photoshop workspace to be a certain way so I use the workspace feature to store my preferred layout for the Photoshop window and Palettes. To see how to do this, arrange Photoshop the way you want it to look, including hiding any palettes you don’t want to see and showing those that you do. Choose Window > Workspace > Save Workspace (New Workspace in Photoshop 5) and give your workspace a name. Select whether to include Panel Locations, Keyboard Shortcuts and/or Menus.

In future, you can use your Photoshop workspace by choosing Window > Workspace and select your saved workspace. Unlike other preferences, workspaces are automatically saved as external files.

Those are my six favorite things to save in Photoshop – now it’s over to you. Are there other features that you regularly save, and if so, what are they?

If you enjoyed this article, you might also like...

Read more from our Post Production category.

Helen Bradley is a Lifestyle journalist who divides her time between the real and digital worlds, picking the best from both. She writes and produces video instruction for Photoshop and digital photography for magazines and online providers world wide. She has also written four books on photo crafts and blogs at Projectwoman.com.

  • Dick Brigleb

    Why did you use inner glow for the vignette instead of inner shadow?

  • http://bit.ly/oufr4c Gnslngr45

    This is probably my biggest downfall. I take every advantage of every shortcut at work, but in my hobby of photography, I find myself having to reset and redo so many things that are repetitive. I have got to sit down and save many of my presets and actions so that I don’t continue to waste time. Yes most of the presets and actions I would use only take a few seconds, but if I was doing this professionally, it would take up tons of time added up.

    Flickr:

    http://bit.ly/oufr4c

  • john smith

    please Sir … how can I save all changes I have made to a photo to one preset so I can apply them all on another photo by one click ?

    THANKS

  • peter

    @ john smith: create an Action

  • http://marybaum.com Mary Baum

    Adtually, this should work (at least for the last ten or twenty steps):

    In the History palette, take a snapshot of what you’ve done so far.
    Now hit the Open button. Or the top step in the palette.
    NOW make an Action that records the History palette going through it all again.

    Then you’ll at least have that.

Some older comments

  • Mary Baum

    February 28, 2012 09:59 am

    Adtually, this should work (at least for the last ten or twenty steps):

    In the History palette, take a snapshot of what you've done so far.
    Now hit the Open button. Or the top step in the palette.
    NOW make an Action that records the History palette going through it all again.

    Then you'll at least have that.

  • peter

    February 23, 2012 06:09 am

    @ john smith: create an Action

  • john smith

    January 21, 2012 04:24 am

    please Sir ... how can I save all changes I have made to a photo to one preset so I can apply them all on another photo by one click ?

    THANKS

  • Gnslngr45

    October 7, 2011 11:50 pm

    This is probably my biggest downfall. I take every advantage of every shortcut at work, but in my hobby of photography, I find myself having to reset and redo so many things that are repetitive. I have got to sit down and save many of my presets and actions so that I don't continue to waste time. Yes most of the presets and actions I would use only take a few seconds, but if I was doing this professionally, it would take up tons of time added up.

    Flickr:

    http://bit.ly/oufr4c

  • Dick Brigleb

    October 7, 2011 08:51 pm

    Why did you use inner glow for the vignette instead of inner shadow?

Receive a FREE SAMPLE of our Portrait Photography Ebook

  • Guaranteed for 2 full months
  • Pay by PayPal or CreditCard
  • Instant Digital Download

Receive a FREE SAMPLE of our Portrait Photography Ebook

  • Guaranteed for 2 full months
  • Pay by PayPal or CreditCard
  • Instant Digital Download

Receive a FREE SAMPLE of our Portrait Photography Ebook

  • Guaranteed for 2 full months
  • Pay by PayPal or CreditCard
  • Instant Digital Download

Sign up to the free DPS PHOTOGRAPHY COURSE

  • Guaranteed for 2 full months
  • Pay by PayPal or CreditCard
  • Instant Digital Download

GET DAILY free tips, news and reviews via our RSS Feed

Sign up to the free

DPS PHOTOGRAPHY COURSE

  • Guaranteed for 2 full months
  • Pay by PayPal or CreditCard
  • Instant Digital Download

GET DAILY free tips, news and reviews via our RSS Feed

Sign up to the free

DPS PHOTOGRAPHY COURSE

  • Guaranteed for 2 full months
  • Pay by PayPal or CreditCard
  • Instant Digital Download
DPS NEWSLETTER
DPS NEWSLETTER
DPS NEWSLETTER

DPS offers a free weekly newsletter with: 
1. new photography tutorials and tips
2. latest photography assignments
3. photo competitions and prizes

Enter your email below to subscribe.
Email:
 
 
Get DAILY free tips, news and reviews via our RSS feed