Background save and autosave in Photoshop CS6

In the version of the program Photoshop CS6, there are two new features designed to improve the quality of our work and reduce the number of annoying interruptions and pauses. The first of these two functions is called Background Save, and it allows us to save our file without interrupting work with the image. The second, more important function is called autosave (Auto Save). Its task is to consistently save backup copies of the image during certain time periods. Thus, even if the program crashes during your work, you will not lose anything, and you will be able to restore the file and continue working from the place where you finished. In this lesson we will look at how these new features work.

Background Save

If you have been working in Photoshop for a long time, then you know that the more layers we add to the document, the larger the file size becomes. You may also know that the larger the file size, the longer the program takes to save your work in this file. When working with a version of Photoshop CS5 and earlier versions, saving a large file resulted in a forced break, because the program ceased to work adequately as the file was saved. You could not do anything with the image and had to wait until the save process was completed. Thanks to the new feature “Background Save”, which appeared in the version of Photoshop CS6, this problem has been solved.

Below is the image that I opened in version CS6:

Image opened in the program

If we look in the lower left part of the document window, we will see that the current file size is 121 MB. This is a fairly small size for Photoshop program files:

File size is displayed in the bottom left of the document window.

If we look at the layers panel, we see that at the moment my document contains only one layer, which is why the file size is relatively small:

Layer panel in the program version Photoshop CS6.

To keep a file of small size, like ours, is not a problem. The process of saving occurs so quickly that it is almost not noticeable. When we start working with files of hundreds of megabytes and more, then the Background Save feature can be very useful.

To show how this function works, I will quickly increase the file size by creating copies of my image. To do this, I repeatedly press the key combination Ctrl + J (Win) / Command + J (Mac). Each time I press a keyboard combination, I create a new copy of the original layer with the image. Below you can see that my document now contains eight layers — the original Background layer with the image and its seven copies located above it:

The document now contains 8 layers.

If we look again in the lower left part of the document window, we will see that the file size has increased from 121 MB to 967.9 MB:

After creating copies of the image, the file size has increased significantly

Saving a file of such a large size will take some time, and, as I mentioned, in Photoshop CS5 and earlier versions, we would have to wait, without the possibility of performing any actions, until the saving process is completed. Let’s see what happens when I save the file in Photoshop CS6. To do this, I will go to the “File” section in the menu bar at the top of the screen and select “Save”:

Choose File> Save (File> Save)

The first difference in the CS6 version is that the program now shows us the degree of completion of the preservation process with the help of several progress indicators. The first indicator can be seen in the file header at the top of the document window, where the progress of the save process is expressed by a percentage. In our case, the program notifies us that the save process is 34% complete:

The first progress indicator is located in the file header at the top of the document window.

The second indicator can be found in the lower left part of the document window, and it is more visual for us, because it reflects the process of saving not only as a percentage, but also as a familiar blue scale of the process indicator:

The process of saving is displayed both as a percentage and as a scale of the process indicator in the lower left part of the document window.

Along with the appearance of these progress indicators, which make the program interface even clearer, the main use of the Background Preservation feature, as the name implies, is that the save process now takes place completely in the background. What does this mean? This means that our work in the program will no longer be interrupted by the process of saving large files, and we can continue to work with the image, even when it is saved!

As an example, in our case, I started translating my image into black and white (adding a new black and white adjustment layer), while the progress indicators at the top and bottom of the document window indicate that the save process is completed only on 51%.

The Background Save feature even allows us to switch to another image and work with it while the original image is in the process of being saved. In Photoshop CS5 and earlier versions this was not possible:

Using the “Background Save” function, we can continue to work while the program saves the file. We can even switch to work with another image while the original image is saved.

Auto Save

The second, even more significant function, which appeared in the version of Photoshop CS6, is autosave. Despite the fact that Photoshop is considered a reliable and solid program, there is always the likelihood of its failure or failure. When this happens, we often have to start work again, because all the actions performed with the image disappear. At least, this happened when working with Photoshop CS5 and earlier versions of the program.

The “AutoSave” function allows you to save backup copies of the image for certain periods of time, so if the program hangs, we can restore the file and continue working from the place where we finished.

You can set time intervals for saving backups in the “File Processing” section of the “Settings” section. To do this, on a Windows computer, go to the “Edit” section at the top of the screen, select the “Preferences” option and then click “File Handling”. For Mac operating system, you need to select the section “Photoshop” (Photoshop), then – “Settings” and “File Handling” (File Handling):

Choose Edit> Preferences> File Processing or Photoshop> Preferences> File Processing (Edit> Preferences> File Handling (Win) or Photoshop> Preferences> File Handling (Mac))

In this section, you will see the Automatically Save Recovery Information Every option, where the default is 10 minutes. This means that every 10 minutes the program keeps a backup copy of your file. You can reduce the gap to 5 minutes, as I did in our case, or increase the interval for saving a backup copy to one hour if you are a player by nature and like to take risks (it is also possible to set intervals of 15 and 30 minutes):

We can set the intervals to save information in 5, 10, 15 or 30 minutes. It is also possible to select an interval of 1 hour.

It is important to note that Photoshop does not save information in the source file (which would be very bad). Information for recovery is stored in a separate backup file. If suddenly the program hangs while you are working with an image, simply open it again, and it will automatically open the backup that was saved last. This copy will contain all the information about working with an image that you managed to do before the automatic saving (it is assumed that you worked with the program for a long time, and at least one backup copy of the file managed to be saved). You will know that this is a backup file, because the program will add the word Recovered to the file name (this will be reflected in the document header at the top of the window):

The program adds the word “Restored” to the name of the backup so that it can be distinguished from the source file.

And here we are done! We briefly reviewed the new features of the recently appeared version of Photoshop CS6! Visit our Photoshop Essentials section to learn about other lessons, or look at topics that interest you!

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