Photoshop ends up using 800 GB of scratch disk for a 24 MPx photo

Community Beginner ,
May 01, 2021 May 01, 2021

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Hello,

since the last update i'm having an annoying issue with Photoshop: it eats virtual memory.

It literally eats it.


I noticed it happens anytime i work with adjustment layer masks: each brushing (either it covers most of the photo or just 1 px dot) in the mask is equivalent to 2-3 GB of temporary file increase, ending up having something like DOZENS of 16 GB temporary file in the two SSDs i have (and which i set as scratch disks).

While if i avoid any adjustment layer mask the temporary file is kind of the same of previous versions, now i need 150-180 GB of temp files for a 4 adjustment layer masks workflow, each 24 MPx photo.

I received the out of space advice after a pair of hours of postprocessing (5 photos), it ate all the free space of the ssds (avg ~500 GB).

 

Before the last update i never ever exceeded 60-70 GB of temp file even after hours of postprocessing of big panoramic files (~100 MPx).

 

What happened? Is a common issue?

 

My computer specs:

Ryzen 9 3900X
64 GB RAM
MSI B550 Tomahawk

GTX 1070 8GB

Two 1 TB SSDs (m.2 and SATA)
Two 4 TB SATA Hard Disk

Windows 10 Professional (last update)
Photoshop CC 2021 (last update)

TOPICS
Bug, Performance, Problem or error

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Adobe Community Professional ,
May 02, 2021 May 02, 2021

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Is more than one image open? 

What are the Scratch Disk and Performance Preferences settings? 

https://helpx.adobe.com/photoshop/kb/optimize-photoshop-cc-performance.html

https://helpx.adobe.com/photoshop/using/scratch-disks-preferences.html

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Community Beginner ,
May 02, 2021 May 02, 2021

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Hello, thank you for the reply.

It happens even with a single image open, a 24 mpx 14bit Nikon RAW.
The temp files start to become huge (and a lot) when i start to work with adjustment layer masks, which is like the base of a lot of common workflows.

 

Yesterday and today i'm working on a few panorama files, all between 70 and 100 MPx, and it gets crazier than ever, i have to save (as psb), quit, restart, reload literally 3 - 4 times per each file, and my workflow on these files is merely simple, mostly based on adjustment layer masks.

 

I assign 40 GB of RAM to Photoshop (it barely goes over 20 GB although), gpu support activated, history states 200, cache levels 4, cache tile size 1028kb, it has been always in this way, never changed since january (when i got this computer).
I have assigned two scratch disks, my two SSDs, in this order:
- 1 TB SSD SATA (120-130 GB free)
- 1 TB SSD M.2 PCIe (380 GB free)

 

Right now, with a 70 MPx panorama file open and TWO adjustment layer masks Photoshop is using 12 GB of RAM and 225 GB of temp files.

I noticed this issue no more than a dozen of days ago, after the last update, no settings have been changed since january.

 

Just another feedback: until the end of december (PS 22.3 i think) i used to work with a i7-2600k, 32 GB DDR3, 500 GB SATA SSD (with ~200 GB free) and GTX 1070 with no issues at all, and right on the mid of dicember i worked on a 260 MPx panorama (something like 45 photos), same workflow of these days, no problems at all: 200 GBs were more than enough to handle this.


Right now 200 GBs are not enough even for a 24 MPx portrait.

OH, last thing: i just noticed a 3-4 GB increase of the temp files only ZOOMING IN.

Let me know if there are more informations needed.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
May 03, 2021 May 03, 2021

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I think you should try reducing »history states 200« to something like 20. 

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Adobe Community Professional ,
May 03, 2021 May 03, 2021

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Indeed. 200 history states is pushing your luck. I didn't see that when I first read the post.

 

Each history state potentially adds the full memory size of that state. Even if all states aren't realized, Photoshop will anticipate future needs and allocate the required space.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
May 03, 2021 May 03, 2021

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If you tell us why you think you need 200 History states, we might be able to help you with a different approach to editing your portraits.

 

~ Jane

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Community Beginner ,
May 03, 2021 May 03, 2021

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Uhm, well, i rarely go back to more than 10-15 states while i work, but when you retouch the skin with a tablet you touch the skin like 30 times a minute, having only 20-30 states wouldn't make me feel safe, although, again, i rarely go back to more than 10 states ever.
By the way, i've been set 200 history states since i can remember, probably since CC 2017, always had this setting, and never had any kind of problem, until few weeks ago.
I remember i often showed to my friends / fellow photographers-retoucher as a joke "look, photoshop is using 50 GB of temporary files after all this night and 10 photos" and it was something like "WOAH that's a lot".
Now i have 50 GB temp files just opening the 24mpx raw and working with first two adjustment layer masks, then it goes up to the sky (pretending the sky is the entire free space of all of my SSDs).

 

I set it at 50 now, let's see how it works and if it reduces the space allocation / used.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
May 03, 2021 May 03, 2021

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You didn't say if you are doing the retouching on a separate layer?

~ Jane

 

 

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Community Beginner ,
May 04, 2021 May 04, 2021

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quote

You didn't say if you are doing the retouching on a separate layer?

~ Jane

 

 


By @jane-e

 

During my workflow i tend to create a pair of dozens of separate layers, half of them are adjustment layers selectively applied using the masks, which are the ones giving me the issue.
Working on the normal levels as layers or smart objects (such as the first skin retouch before the frequency separation or for some smart filters) doesn't cause this huge temporary file issue, it appears only when i use adjustment layer masks.

I reduced the history

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Adobe Community Professional ,
May 03, 2021 May 03, 2021

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Hm, there is something odd going on here. I've opened 6 or 7 large files (50 - 70 MP) and keep adding masked adjustment layers. I still haven't exceeded 25GB scratch space.

 

No doubt it will grow as I keep on working (I have 50 history states) - but so far I'm actually amazed at how small the scratch file is.

 

I normally don't pay much attention to this. I have 1.5 TB available on two NVMe's, and an additional 4 TB on a spinning drive, so there's enough for any thinkable situation.

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Community Beginner ,
May 04, 2021 May 04, 2021

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quote

Hm, there is something odd going on here. I've opened 6 or 7 large files (50 - 70 MP) and keep adding masked adjustment layers. I still haven't exceeded 25GB scratch space.

 

No doubt it will grow as I keep on working (I have 50 history states) - but so far I'm actually amazed at how small the scratch file is.

 

I normally don't pay much attention to this. I have 1.5 TB available on two NVMe's, and an additional 4 TB on a spinning drive, so there's enough for any thinkable situation.


By @D Fosse

 

I didn't set any mechanical drive as scratch disk, considering i have 2 x 1TB SSD (NVMe PCIe and SATA) and approx 500 GB free... and mostly considering i've been using Photoshop for decades and never ever had this kind of issue, not even on WAY less powerful computers, with way smaller disks.

My workflow has been the same for months, as well as the performance settings on PS, the issue appeared suddenly shortly after the last update.

At the moment i ordered another 1 TB SSD SATA in order to make a quick (temporary) fix, i can't literally stop the postprocessing of bigger photos 3-4 times and/or close the app after each photo, the time required is multiplied x 5 at least.
However i hope i can figure out what happened. I'm going to do some tests i thought during the day, and will write an update shortly.

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Community Beginner ,
May 09, 2021 May 09, 2021

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Hello and sorry for the late reply, i've had several very busy days, and i haven't even opened Photoshop since 4 days ago.

First at all i want to thank you anyone replying and spending time trying to help me.
I finally managed to do some deeper tests.

Reducing the history state setting gave a small benefit, didn't reach those huge temporary files anymore, but still... 150-160 GB instead of 240-250 GB, with the same problem: these amounts are only referred to a single postprocessing workflow, if i want to postprocess several photos in a row, i can't, because the temporary file will keep increasing, so i have to save everything, wait until the image is saved (for big panoramic shots it would mean even 3-4 minutes, no matter how powerful is your computer, you know that) close Photoshop and open it again, maybe open again the last PSD (if the photos are strictly related, i.e. same scene, multiple shots) and, et voila, at least 10 minutes are gone. Per each photo.

 

I never ever had this kind of issues, as i stated before, i've also frequently worked on >100 MPx pictures, doing a deep postprocessing workflow with dozens of layers, masks, smart objects and adjustment layers and, yes, had big temp files but NEVER this big until 1 month ago, kind of.

 

Then i revived an old laptop i haven't turned on in 1 1/2 years, (i5 6th gen, 16 GB DDR4, SSD 256, integrated graphics, Windows 10 updated) still working, Photoshop version 20.0.1 already installed (not updated to the current one), updated Windows, and while it was updating i postprocessed on my main computer a 24 MPx portrait, using the usual workflow: 148 GB of temporary files.
Then i connected the laptop to the tablet, connected to the monitor, luckily the color-profile is still there and works like a charm, and worked to the same 24 MPx portrait, trying to do the exact passages of my workflow in the exact way.
Results: 29 GB of temporary files on the laptop.
With a huge difference: history states setting on the laptop is at 200 and not 50 like my main computer.

 

Not happy with the results, i went to the studio i work with (well i had to go there anyway), grab a computer, a i7-9700k with 32 GB DDR4, UHD 630, 256GB SSD NVMe + 500 GB SSD Sata, and tried to postprocess the same photo there, trying to repeat in the exact way the workflow. Photoshop version: 21.2.7 (the owner of the studio doesn't want to update a tested version of Photoshop unless it becomes absolutely necessary).
Results: 41 GB of temporary files, with history states setting at 400.

 

After these tests, and after a little disappointment even because i had to buy a new 1 TB SATA SSD (now i can postprocess more than 1 photo in a row, yeee), i came home, and with a sad mood created a very light 1000x1000 cover for a eBay listing (two replaced hard drives from my home NAS) on Photoshop.
4 layers, basically writings and small images, 1 mpx.
Results: 14 GB of temporary files.

 

There is something definitely wrong in my Photoshop installation, can't believe the last update has seriously changed the program in a deep way it now requires a storage farm to work properly.


Hope to figure out together what's wrong.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
May 09, 2021 May 09, 2021

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If you believe something is wrong with your installation (and the posts and tests you have done above suggest that there is) I would do a preference reset, which resets both the user preferences, but also internal settings that are saved each time Photoshop closes and can become corrupt.

Save any presets etc then go to Preferences > General >Reset Preferences on Quit and close and restart Photoshop.

 

Dave

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