1. fastcarve's Avatar
    Is anyone doing heavy Photoshop work with the Surface Pro 4? I'd like your feedback on the fit of the product for this work.

    I have a SP4 i7/16GB/1TB on order and I'm wondering if it will meet my needs.

    I have a SP1 (i5/4GB/125GB) that I'll use in a pinch, but it is very limiting for the following reasons: Storage is too little even with SD cards, RAM is insufficient, battery life is 2 hours max when doing Photoshop, and the screen is a bit small. Still, it gives me an idea of what to expect as compared to someone new to the SP line.

    I checked out the Surface Book, but I ruled it out because the screen won't tilt to a position that makes me comortable for editing with the pen on the screen.

    My typical Photoshop file runs about 1GB when saved, with the occasional file exceeding 2GB. I watched my RAM usage yesterday during editing and Photoshop was hitting about 9.5GB on the high end. I had other apps that are part of my workflow taking up several more GB.

    I'd like something like the SP4 that I can count on for heavy every-day use while being mobile, with at least a solid 4 hours of battery life when doing this kind of work. I'm looking for something very small with styus support, thus I'm not considering larger laptops just yet.

    Thanks for any feedback you can offer. If this can handle my work I don't mind paying the price of it. If it gets relegated to using it in a pinch like my SP1, then I'm not going to spend the money.
    01-05-2016 08:58 AM
  2. ajay singh supahiya's Avatar
    I am using surface 4 i7 256 gb, and it handle Photoshop very smoothly. As per your battery requirement, mine is giving me 3-4 hours of graphic intensive work(mostly Photoshop and AE). Stylus is very much inline of cintiq. The only problem that I am facing right now is battery drain while the machine is in sleep mode. But that again is promised by Microsoft that it will be solved in their upcoming January update.
    01-05-2016 12:28 PM
  3. dirtyvu's Avatar
    I would've gotten the 16gb if it was in the budget but I had to be realistic. The i7/8gb/256 is fantastic for my Photoshop/Illustrator/InDesign combo.
    01-05-2016 01:28 PM
  4. fastcarve's Avatar
    I am using surface 4 i7 256 gb, and it handle Photoshop very smoothly. As per your battery requirement, mine is giving me 3-4 hours of graphic intensive work(mostly Photoshop and AE). Stylus is very much inline of cintiq. The only problem that I am facing right now is battery drain while the machine is in sleep mode. But that again is promised by Microsoft that it will be solved in their upcoming January update.
    Thanks. I appreciate the information. I was hoping for a reliable 4 hours. I know there are lots of variables that may mean your results could be similar or different to what I would see.
    01-05-2016 02:15 PM
  5. fastcarve's Avatar
    I would've gotten the 16gb if it was in the budget but I had to be realistic. The i7/8gb/256 is fantastic for my Photoshop/Illustrator/InDesign combo.
    I'm glad to hear it. What kind of battery life are you getting when your main use is that Photoshiop/Illustrator/InDesign work?
    01-05-2016 02:17 PM
  6. TheCudder's Avatar
    Curious, how are you using Photoshop? I've never been able to push a machine past 8GB RAM in Photoshop. I typically use Photoshop for photography, so I'm editing uncompressed 21MP images with multiple layers.
    01-05-2016 03:55 PM
  7. fastcarve's Avatar
    Curious, how are you using Photoshop? I've never been able to push a machine past 8GB RAM in Photoshop. I typically use Photoshop for photography, so I'm editing uncompressed 21MP images with multiple layers.
    I'm using it for photos, with my source files being 50MP images (Canon 5DSr) with all editing done in 16-bit mode. So... my starting layer size is more than double what you would see from a 21MP image. From there it just depends on how many layers I'm working with and how much undo history I want to keep, along with any snapshots.

    I work on a desktop with 16GB today. I normally don't pay any attention to how much RAM Photoshop is using, but I monitored it yesterday. It peaked at 9.5GB when I was editing one of my larger files with a bunch of layers. For most other files it was hovering around 4.5-5GB max.

    The other RAM hog is my raw conversion software: CaptureOne Pro. It was spiking up to just over 3GB and I often have it active at the same time as Photoshop. I'm not really sure why it is using so much.
    01-05-2016 04:50 PM
  8. onlysublime's Avatar
    I think 4 hours is realistic. I also use the Creative Suite extensively (also Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign but also Premiere for a hobby). However, I do tend to have the machine plugged in when I'm working on a long project wherever I'm at.

    The big selling points is the beautiful screen (terrific color accuracy and rated near the top), the pen support (though I wish for Wacom over N-Trig), and the adjustable kickstand for nearly all angles from flat up to any angle.
    fastcarve likes this.
    01-05-2016 07:06 PM
  9. TheCudder's Avatar
    I'm using it for photos, with my source files being 50MP images (Canon 5DSr) with all editing done in 16-bit mode. So... my starting layer size is more than double what you would see from a 21MP image. From there it just depends on how many layers I'm working with and how much undo history I want to keep, along with any snapshots.

    I work on a desktop with 16GB today. I normally don't pay any attention to how much RAM Photoshop is using, but I monitored it yesterday. It peaked at 9.5GB when I was editing one of my larger files with a bunch of layers. For most other files it was hovering around 4.5-5GB max.

    The other RAM hog is my raw conversion software: CaptureOne Pro. It was spiking up to just over 3GB and I often have it active at the same time as Photoshop. I'm not really sure why it is using so much.
    Ah I see. I have a 5D Mark II. I have 16GB on my desktop as well, I usually hit around 12GB when I'm editing video editing, which really isn't too often.
    01-06-2016 07:58 AM
  10. jackzucker2000's Avatar
    What's the followup to this? I'm looking at the possibility of the wacom mobile studio pro vs the SP4 i7 16gb. The wacom is about $1k more. I do 21MP files with 40+ layers and on my current desktop (3.2ghz i7 3820, 32gb, 512gb ssd) it bogs down when I get up past about 30 layers. Using the mixer brush set to sample all layers is almost useless at that point. I have sometimes been forced to downsize the image to do mixer brush/smudge tool work.

    I'm curious how the i7 SP4 with 16gb memory compares to my desktop. I wouldn't expect it to replace the desktop but I would hope it's comparable in performance.
    01-30-2017 09:23 AM
  11. jackzucker2000's Avatar
    i also heard that the CC2017 release crashes SP4 when you touch the screen. I'm currently experiencing this issue with my XPS15. I'm going to downgrade back to CC2015 on that computer.
    01-30-2017 09:24 AM
  12. fastcarve's Avatar
    i also heard that the CC2017 release crashes SP4 when you touch the screen. I'm currently experiencing this issue with my XPS15. I'm going to downgrade back to CC2015 on that computer.
    I haven't had a single crash on the SP4 with CC2017.
    01-30-2017 10:26 AM
  13. fastcarve's Avatar
    What's the followup to this? I'm looking at the possibility of the wacom mobile studio pro vs the SP4 i7 16gb. The wacom is about $1k more. I do 21MP files with 40+ layers and on my current desktop (3.2ghz i7 3820, 32gb, 512gb ssd) it bogs down when I get up past about 30 layers. Using the mixer brush set to sample all layers is almost useless at that point. I have sometimes been forced to downsize the image to do mixer brush/smudge tool work.

    I'm curious how the i7 SP4 with 16gb memory compares to my desktop. I wouldn't expect it to replace the desktop but I would hope it's comparable in performance.
    It depends on what you consider "comparable" to be. I would not call it comparable to a high-end desktop. My SP4 is noticeably slower on a few things, but they are not things that really have an impact on my workflow. If your desktop has a high-end graphics card then you will notice the lack of that. You will notice a difference because it is running fewer cores, and you might notice a difference in memory depending on how much of that 32gb you are using.

    I'm still running large files on the SP4 and I'm very happy with it. I don't get up to 30 layers without merging some of them first.
    01-30-2017 10:33 AM
  14. jackzucker2000's Avatar
    My desktop is 4 years old so it's not exactly high end anymore. It has a GeForce GTX 650 1GB so not really high end. I loaded one of my big files and was at 7.5GB so in theory I should be more than fine with the 16GB. I typically have lightroom open and illustrator as well but I only use lightroom for navigation for the most part...

    And in terms of cores, most of the photoshop stuff I do is drawing with the brush engine so i wouldn't be utilizing multiple cores. But, i had a typo earlier. My cpu is 3.6ghz, not 3.2 so I would expect a 30% slowdown on the surface pro 4 i7 or are there other factors that I'm not aware of?

    It depends on what you consider "comparable" to be. I would not call it comparable to a high-end desktop. My SP4 is noticeably slower on a few things, but they are not things that really have an impact on my workflow. If your desktop has a high-end graphics card then you will notice the lack of that. You will notice a difference because it is running fewer cores, and you might notice a difference in memory depending on how much of that 32gb you are using.

    I'm still running large files on the SP4 and I'm very happy with it. I don't get up to 30 layers without merging some of them first.
    01-31-2017 02:21 PM
  15. fastcarve's Avatar
    My desktop is 4 years old so it's not exactly high end anymore. It has a GeForce GTX 650 1GB so not really high end. I loaded one of my big files and was at 7.5GB so in theory I should be more than fine with the 16GB. I typically have lightroom open and illustrator as well but I only use lightroom for navigation for the most part...

    And in terms of cores, most of the photoshop stuff I do is drawing with the brush engine so i wouldn't be utilizing multiple cores. But, i had a typo earlier. My cpu is 3.6ghz, not 3.2 so I would expect a 30% slowdown on the surface pro 4 i7 or are there other factors that I'm not aware of?
    You are not using a graphics card that has anything too special to it so I'm not sure how much of a factor that would be. From what you've written I'd be more concerned with the 16GB RAM. I like to have several multiples of my file size in available RAM to work with. If you haven't done so already, it would be worth watching on your current desktop how much RAM is being used throughout one of your edits to a larger file.

    I obviously don't know the details of how you work in PhotoShop, but you might consider if you really need to keep so many layers or if it is just a preference. You might get more reasonable performance if you can reduce your file size by perhaps merging some layers.
    01-31-2017 09:48 PM
  16. jackzucker2000's Avatar
    I did recently keep an eye on the amount of ram used in one of my medium size edits (~500mb psd file with 40+ layers, 8 bit, 4000x6000) and the amount of ram used was pretty consistently under 8gb. Now ... This wasn't the largest file i have. I have some files over 1GB but i wouldn't expect to edit those on a tablet.

    The reason I keep so many layers is that in my work, I am compositing things and tweaking things as I go along and like to stay with a non-destructive workflow but certainly, I could choose to modify my workflow to flatten things as I go. I just find that I sometimes tweak things like edges of the composite layers which obviously is way more difficult once they are merged. I also do color adjustment at the end and it's easier to tweak colors of composite layers if they are separate though obviously I could utilize saved channel masks to accomplish similar things.

    Of more concern is the various videos I've seen of the way the pen on the surface makes wiggly lines...

    You are not using a graphics card that has anything too special to it so I'm not sure how much of a factor that would be. From what you've written I'd be more concerned with the 16GB RAM. I like to have several multiples of my file size in available RAM to work with. If you haven't done so already, it would be worth watching on your current desktop how much RAM is being used throughout one of your edits to a larger file.

    I obviously don't know the details of how you work in PhotoShop, but you might consider if you really need to keep so many layers or if it is just a preference. You might get more reasonable performance if you can reduce your file size by perhaps merging some layers.
    02-01-2017 07:43 AM
  17. jackzucker2000's Avatar
    ok, i just purchased an SP4 i7 16gb, 256gb SSD. Will report back with my findings. If performance is too awful, i'll probably spring for the 16" wacom mobilestudio Pro
    02-01-2017 02:10 PM
  18. jackzucker2000's Avatar
    Got my surface pro 4, i7 16gb, 256gb SSD and did this drawing a few nights ago. (This is about 1/5th of the whole drawing). It went very well. Performance was very good and this file is close to 1/2 GB with 40+ layers and is 8 bit at approx 4000x6000

    I did not do much with mixer brush sampling all layers but I did do some smudge tool with a captured brush sampling all layers and the performance was excellent. Memory usage with photoshop when this file is loaded is about 7.5gb so well below my total memory. The tablet itself has very good performance and right away, I can see that this will be an excellent editing platform for what I do. About the only complaints are that there are no dedicated buttons for photoshop tools, resizing brushes or picking colors and that I'm spoiled from dual 27" monitors so having to share my tool windows and the drawing window on the same monitor was awkward but obviously, the latter would be a problem with the wacom as well. I have been using this surface pro with the keyboard and didn't find it awkward other than the default mapping of [ ] keys being on the right side of the keyboard which was awkward since I have the pen in my right hand.

    I would love if adobe had an alternative way to select brush size. With corel, i hold the ctrl and alt keys and drag the pen right or left to change the brush size. I wish adobe would do something similar. Alternatlively, a popup brush wheel would be cool.

    So to those who were whining that the surface pro sucks and is not comparable to the wacom in any way I have to call you on that. It may not be optimized to be a drawing tool but it more than holds it's own. I find that drawing with the surface pen feels much better than using the intuos 5 with my desktop.

    lindsey.jpg
    onlysublime and neo158 like this.
    02-06-2017 11:00 AM
  19. onlysublime's Avatar
    You might want to try using the Surface Dial in your workflow. It allows you to do things like change brush size on the fly or zoom in and out on the fly.

    I wrote my thoughts here: http://forums.windowscentral.com/mic...ce-dial-d.html
    neo158 likes this.
    02-06-2017 10:46 PM
  20. rumyas's Avatar
    I have been using this surface pro with the keyboard and didn't find it awkward other than the default mapping of [ ] keys being on the right side of the keyboard which was awkward since I have the pen in my right hand.
    Hi- just wanted to know how you are using the keyboard (type Cover?) and drawing on the SP4 at the same time?
    I'm a digital artist and I've been considering the SP4 for pretty much the same use (Heavy PS + Illustrator) - but I use a lot of keyboard shortcuts in PS while drawing and from what I could find out, the Type cover works only when its physically connected to the SP4, so I was considering if I should ditch that and get a standard wireless keyboard instead. ( I doubt we can draw on the SP4 when it is connected to the cover right? Position-wise It has to be standalone on a desk/lap?)

    Another question - is the inbuilt Iris Graphics enough for the intensive Photoshop use?
    02-11-2017 05:23 AM
  21. onlysublime's Avatar
    I use Photoshop with the standard type cover. I find no reason to have a wireless keyboard unless you need to edit in portrait orientation. For portrait, you pretty much have to go with wireless (which is why I have the Microsoft Universal Mobile Keyboard. You can definitely use the pen with the keyboard attached.

    The screen can be oriented all the way from flat on the table to near 90 degrees. So you should be able to get any drawing angle while still using the keyboard.
    02-15-2017 09:49 PM

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