Photoshop Crashed – I Lost A Full Day’s Work

October 17, 2007 at 6:36 am (computer art, Digital Art, Photoshop tips and tricks) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

Farewell To Summer

I spent two days and nights making this digital art piece, approximately 35 hours or more. It is the first one I’ve done on my new computer, with its 6 gigs of RAM and high octane processor. But I still ran into problems because in the Preferences for Photoshop, the maximum RAM that I’m able to allocate is 2 gigs. I did this but Photoshop was still running slow on this file, which at times ran upwards of 7 gigs!! (the image you see here is only 5% of the original size).

Late last night, after I had almost finished, the PSD file with all its layers had expanded to more than 5 gigs. I hadn’t yet merged layers in order to bring it down to 2 gigs (which is the maximum that can be saved in Photoshop’s PSD format). The unthinkable happened. It was a Catch 22. I couldn’t save because I wasn’t ready to merge layers, and I had worked since early morning. I’ve never known Photoshop to freeze, but it did, and shut down. My entire day’s work was lost.

The error was actually my own. The crash happened when I was dragging an image from another file into this file. I did it very quickly and I think I might have closed the source image file before the other file had fully received the image. I won’t make that mistake again. Then I got that pop up window saying that Photoshop has encountered an error and has to shut down (the message apologizes if any unsaved work has been lost) … I didn’t want to close that little pop up window because as long as it stayed open, the frozen image still remained. I sat in shock looking at the image for about 15 minutes, thinking what I could do to save it, before I finally had no choice but to close the pop up. Everything shut down.

This image’s original size is 8640 x 11520. I think this is the largest size I’ve ever worked with, however there were far fewer layers than in many other files I’ve worked with in the past.

I was impressed when I was able to use the Liquify Filter on an image this size. On my old computer, Photoshop would have told me I didn’t have enough RAM. Although it took more than 4 minutes for the Liquify window to open, and another 7 to save the changes, it was well worth it, because I used to have to slice copies of portions of my images & open them in another file in order to use the Liquify on such large images.

For about half an hour I was in shock and wondered if I should just forget the project. Then I decided to start all over again from scratch. The other version was completely different. Emina was in water and the background was completely different. Her dress was also entirely different. Although it was a horrible experience, it turned out to be interesting seeing how the piece morphed into something so different from the first version. I think I like this one better, but I also really liked the mood of the other.

It’s now back to school (I had a week off). I’ve finished Term 2 and am beginning Term 3, taking New Media and Web Development, which includes design, Photoshop, Flash, After Effects, Final Cut Pro, Pro Tools, Adobe Illustrator, etc. It’s a great course but the course load is so heavy that I rarely have a moment to immerse myself in digital art.

I’ve used the face of the beautiful Emina, but the body is comprised of so many bits and pieces. I made the dress entirely in Photoshop.

Visit my website: The Graphic Groove
Or my gallery on Flickr

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  1. red-head said,

    oh my god, the same thing happened to me. i lost my file that i spent a two weeks on. i feel so bad 😦

  2. Cstar said,

    Just happened to me. Lost all my work for a school project. 😦 -___-

  3. galefraney said,

    Oh !! That’s terrible. I feel so bad for you ! 😦

  4. IanGM said,

    The same thing just happened to me. I have Photoshop CS3! I can’t believe they don’t make temp saves/backups. That would be strange for a program like this even 5 years ago, let alone 2008! Since the picture stays on the screen though, I pressed Prt Scrn and passed the original picture in a new file before I clicked “Ok” so I at least have the original image as one flat file.

  5. galefraney said,

    Wow, you are lucky to have the flattened version. I presume the reason that Photoshop can’t keep a version is that it would require tons of RAM to remember what’s on each layer, each setting, blending mode, opacity level, filters, etc. So it would rob the RAM from working on the actual document.

    But for some strange reason, on my brand new computer with heaps of RAM and processing power, Photoshop frequently freezes and I lose anything that I hadn’t saved. It never did this on my other computer with less horse power … so I’m not sure what is causing it. It drives me bananas because it often happens when I’m applying a critical filter or transformation. Last night it froze at least 3 times while I was working on one document, but the file size was close to 2 gigs (that’s not a typo … I mean gigs, not megabytes) 🙂

  6. mezz said,

    shit happends

  7. galefraney said,

    🙂 doesn’t happen anymore because I’m now using Photoshop CS4. It’s much more stable than CS3 on my computer.

  8. SOLLOMAN said,


  9. galefraney said,

    Hello Solloman,

    So sorry to hear about your crash. What version are you using? I’m now using CS4 and it seems to be more stable on my computer. How large was the file and how long had you been working on it since your last save?

  10. yoo said,

    This fuken peace of shit program should work out with all the crashes, cos i just lost my work too fuken retartds programmer, peace of shits

  11. galefraney said,

    Hello yoo,

    The problem is usually not with Photoshop itself, but is often caused by insufficient RAM installed on the computer, or a processor that is not sufficient. I’ve also noticed that Photoshop seems to become a bit glitchy on Macbook Pro laptops. Another factor can be the scratch disk space that is allocated.

    What were you doing in Photoshop at the time of the crash?

    Photoshop CS4 is very stable on my PC. I’ve not had any problems, but did have some problems with CS3, but that might have been the way I set up the Preferences.

  12. elvis said,

    In my state electric stops some times…!
    I just lost my 4h project!
    project = 400$
    Just want to share with you!

    • Gale Franey said,

      Sorry to hear that you lost 4h work. These days I am saving more often. It doesn’t take as long to save as it did with my old computer so I save approx. every 45 min.


  13. Bro said,

    OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! MY PROJECT IS DUE TOMORROW, I FINISHED EVERYTHING, AND ON THE LAST STEP, IT CRASHED ON ME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I CANT EVEN REMEMBER HOW LONG I HAVE BEEN WORKING ON THIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  14. ivan said,

    Normally it doesn’t happen to me, but I was so inspired today working on the new website, I forgot to save the document and lost 5 hours of design 🙂

    The good think is that I remember every single thing I did there, so now it is all coming back together in one beautiful design for the new website.

    I guess I just need more RAM, always more ram 🙂

  15. Erica D. Lawson said,

    I’ve been using Photoshop CS2 for some time now, really feel like getting the newer CS4. Reading the posts makes me even more keen to upgrade. I’m a kind of a noob when it comes to learning a new program. Is there a major difference between the 2 programs, or can I easily start using CS4 as I’ve used CS2 before?

    • Gale Franey said,

      The latest version is CS5.5. The newer versions some great new tools and features, most allow users to continue using older techniques that they may have gotten to like. There are some changes to the interface such as tabbed windows, Adjustment panel, new Masks Panel.

      Depending on the kind of work you do and your preferred workflow, these new enhancements may or may not be essential to your work. If you are just touching up photos, then the upgrade might not be worth the expense. But if you are using more advanced functions for digital art or graphics, then I’d say that upgrades are always well worth the investment. Keep in mind that newer versions of Photoshop require a good processor, quality graphics card, fairly current operating system and lots of RAM. If you are using Photoshop as a hobby, CS2 is fantastic, but otherwise I’d say the upgrades are well worth it.

      If you are a professional user, you should note that each Photoshop version comes in 2 varieties, Standard and Extended. Although Standard has most of the functionality, the Extended versions offer even more features for advanced or professional users.

      I would suggest phoning the Adobe toll free call center and ask to speak to someone who can explain the comparative features of the various versions. But first make a list of the kind of things you want to be able to do in Photoshop, ie: if you will need the 3D or video features, or doing digital art (where the Open GL and rotating canvas are wonderful enhancements that were introduced in CS4), etc. Puppet warp was introduced in CS5 and so forth.


    • Gale Franey said,

      Hello Erica,

      I’ve moved to another province and have not checked my WordPress comments for awhile. I guess you’ve likely already upgraded to CS4 or maybe even CS5 by now. Each upgrade version contains new features, often very useful ones that make your work flow much quicker and easier. But of course the draw back can be that each new version requires more powerful graphics card, additional RAM and more powerful processor. Before deciding to upgrade make sure that your computer is sufficient to fully support the upgrades. But CS2 is still fantastic. When it first came out we all thought it was the ultimate and a person can still certainly create any masterpiece their mind can dream up. But the newer versions have even more painting tools, and easier ways to apply Adjustment layers, smart filters, etc.

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