Familiar Problem With Photoshop Leads To Embarrassment

Nov 03, 2007 at 05:04 pm by staff


In my business, nothing is more embarrassing than having a computer glitch in front of an audience. Fortunately, that hasn’t happened to me in a long time. Well, not until recently. In October, I was speaking to a group in Little Rock, Arkansas. The morning session was an Introduction to InDesign class. During the afternoon, we covered Photoshop Tips & Tricks. It’s always a great feeling to have a session fill to capacity. Not only did this one fill, but the press association located a larger facility, which allowed us to involve even more students. The InDesign class was going great until something strange happened. Just when we were about to break for lunch, I mentioned that users could change the number of columns in a text frame by clicking on a box in the Character palette. Imagine my surprise when I went to click on the box and it wasn’t there. The group was nice and believed me - or pretended to believe me - when I told them the box should be there. However, I was pretty embarrassed. I hadn’t had a snafu like that in class in a long time. Then came the afternoon. The Photoshop lesson was going swimmingly. Then, toward the end of the class, I decided to show the group how to use the Bridge to do all kind of handy things like creating web photo albums and merging photos. Well, I wanted to show them. However, when I selected a few photos and went to click on the Tools menu, the tools were missing in the Bridge. I thought possibly the tools had been moved in the CS3 version and I had forgotten, but I hadn’t had this problem in previous classes. Finally, I opened the CS2 version of the Bridge and showed the class how the tools worked from there. But I couldn’t help feeling like I should have stayed in bed. When someone e-mails me with strange problems like these, it’s normal procedure to have them create new preferences for the offending application. In my embarrassment in front of the audience, I didn’t take a minute to do this. On the flight home, I decided to take my own advice. I trashed the Photoshop, Bridge and InDesign preferences and viola, my problems were solved. Over the years, it has been my experience that Photoshop preferences, more than others, become corrupt. Fortunately, it’s a simple fix. The Preferences file can become corrupted, leading to all sorts of strange behavior. If you delete the file, it forces Photoshop to create a replacement file the next time it opens. Without a Preferences file, Photoshop uses its original defaults. How do you know that the preferences have become corrupt in an application? A few clues include: - tools that don’t work - crashes - missing icons in the toolbox or items in a menu - unusual colors in windows and interfaces Most Mac users have become acquainted with the process of deleting offending preference files. PC users, on the other hand, had to know enough to locate invisible files. To simplify the process, Adobe has created a keyboard shortcut that can be used to trash and recreate preferences upon starting Photoshop. To replace the Photoshop Preferences file, close Photoshop and then, holding down Alt+Ctrl+Shift (Windows) or Cmd+Option+Shift (Macintosh), restart Photoshop. You will be asked if you want to replace the preferences. Photoshop will delete the Preferences file and revert to the default settings. So now you know. If you’re at a conference or class where my computer starts acting strange, slip up to me during a break and quietly remind me to check my preferences. Color Problems in Quark PDF Files This month’s question comes from Jeri in Indiana: “Since changing our workflow to print to an imagesetter, we’ve notice that our photos look muddy. We’re sending pages from Quark 6.52. Do you have any suggestions for us? Could there be settings in the image setter that need to be changed, or could it be a Quark or Photoshop issue?” The most likely cause of your problem lies in Photoshop. While there are settings in Quark (and your imagesetter) that affect photo quality, I’m guessing the root of your problem is in your Photoshop Color Settings. For information on creating settings that work, visit my Web site at www.kevinslimp.com.

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