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Tutorial | Reduce .psd File Size for Extra Storage

By Thursday, July 23, 2015 (MDT) 8 Comments

Creative Team Member, Suzie shows us how to create extra space on a hard drive by reducing .psd file sizes.


The .psd files associated with DigitalART can really eat up your hard drive space. The more layers each file includes, the larger the file size.

The following tutorial will enable you to reduce your Adobe Photoshop file sizes and maximize your hard drive usage.

1. Assess the Photoshop File. Check to see how many layers have the visibility icon turned off and look for multiple layers clipped to a mask. You may also have grouped layers in your DigitalART .psd files.


2. Remove Superfluous Layers.  Select all the layers by holding down the CTRL button on your keyboard and clicking on all the layers in the Layers panel. Click the right mouse button and press the DELETE button on your keyboard. You can also delete all hidden layers by going to Layer> Delete> Delete Hidden Layers.

3. Merge Clipping Masks. Hover your mouse over the clipped layers, press the mouse button and select the Merge Clipping Mask option from the fly-out menu to combine multiple layers into just one. Note that there is an important difference between Merge Layers and Merge Clipping Mask. When you use Merge Layers, you will lose the Blending Modes and Layer Styles attached to the individual layers. If you use Merge Clipping Mask, you will only merge the mask and what is clipped to the mask. The Blending Modes and Layer Styles will remain editable.

These 2 techniques enabled me to reduce the original file-size from 320 MB to 93.2 MB.

4. Add an Archive Layer. An Archive Layer  is a term I use to refer to a layer at the top of the Layers Palette which has been filled will white. The color white does not contain any pixel data and therefore produces a smaller file size. You will notice this when you compare darker and lighter colored pages.

The file size is now down to 59.9 MB.

Tip: Create a Photoshop Action if using the full version of Photoshop to quickly and easily add an Archive Layer to all your DigitalART files.

I applied these techniques to 53 DigitalART files on my hard drive and reduced the overall file size from 8.34 GB to 5.5 GB.

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Anna Aspnes

Author Anna Aspnes

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