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Photoshop takes the RAM-Burning Cup

Sunday, 29 April 2007 memory leak messenger personal photoshop

Oli weighs up the cost for the immensely improved photomerge feature in Photoshop CS3: 1.1gigs of RAM. Includes a comparison between CS2 and CS3 photomerge results.

I’ve just being playing around in Photoshop CS3 and most relevantly, with the photomerge wizard. For starters: Oh my good God, have they improved it! It’s possible to take horrifically mis-matched photos over a landscape and it will merge them with amazing precision.

You may remember my Bel photo from France this Easter. I merged it with Photoshop CS2 and it looked okay. Here it is again just in case you missed it. Click for a larger version (2megs).

PSCS2's view from Bel

But the PSCS3 version is so much better! It has blended the sky and the horizon is level. The brown patch is part of Harri’s head that I didn’t account for when taking the photos but that’s my fault really. Again, click for a bigger version (2.7megs).

PSCS3's view from Bel

For the first panorama, I had to be quite conservative over which photos I could use. I spent a very long time manually aligning things to ensure the best output. In CS3, you just chuck all your photos in and it gives you a splendid result! Sure individual results may vary but there is such an improvement that I think we’re going to see a lot more pictures like this.

One downside to this was the memory usage. ~20 5megapixel photos (in RAW format, no less) takes up a lot of storage space and for PS to do its magic, it loads them all into Memory.

Here’s what the Task Manager was telling me 10 minutes after I’d done the merge:


Now I’m sure this is no worse than what PS2 may have been but damn that’s a lot of RAM to be holding on to. I should state that the ram usage only dropped another 5 megs after I closed the file. There is some heavy leakages going on there.

As the title suggests, I’m handing the memory-hog award over to Photoshop for this. Messenger won the original award for using 12megs shy of an entire gigabyte of RAM. You could say that Messenger isn’t a massive graphics editing suite and that’s fair enough… But isn’t that also a great reason why PS should be so much more careful with leaks?

The Messenger version was also BETA whereas PSCS3 is a final version. Messenger was also hacked open to remove adverts so that may have also caused issues.

Either way, the benefits of CS3 far outweigh little problems like gobbling up gigabytes of RAM. The results from CS3 are spectacular and I’m looking forward to making a photomerge with 100s of photos.