Brushes freezing Photoshop CC

Brushes freeze Photoshop CCLet me just save you the time it takes to read this whole post. The upgrade to Photoshop CC 2014 solved all the problems listed here. This post deals with the travails of trying to get my Wacom tablet to work with Photoshop CC on a Mac with OS X Mavericks. Needless to say, I will not be updating to Yosemite anytime soon.

Trying to paint with Photoshop brushes in Photoshop CC backfired. Just a few strokes of the brush and Photoshop is frozen. I use a Wacom Intuous tablet.

Everything was fine until before Christmas I switched to a new iMac with a new operating system – OS X Mavericks.

In the photo above, see how the brush tip indicator hovering over my palette area is frozen? (Normally if I hover over that area I see that helpful little pointing hand icon.) Believe me, you can do nothing with Photoshop when this happens.

I can unfreeze Photoshop by switching to another application and back, but oh what an irritation. Sometimes that doesn’t work and I have to restart my computer.

I tried things: I made sure my computer memory is adequate, graphics card up to date and Photoshop CC updated. I got rid of the Photoshop preference file and created a new one. In Photoshop I deactivated all 3rd party plug-ins. I upped its memory usage to 90%. I increased the “Spacing” setting on my brushes. I updated to the latest Wacom driver. In Preferences > Performance > Advanced Settings I tried Drawing Mode > Basic. I unchecked “Use Graphics Processor”.  I created a new user account. I did a permissions repair going into my disk utility for my startup disk volume. I reinstalled my operating system.

After I reinstalled my operating system things were a little better: I can click on the layers palette to unfreeze my brushes, instead of having to click in another application.

The brushes still freeze. It’s enormously frustrating.

I’ve called Adobe support six times, Wacom twice and Apple seven times.

February 28, 2014:
Adobe says Wacom and Apple are the problem. Wacom says it’s Apple and Adobe who are at fault. Apple says the problem is with Wacom. I’ve gone back to Photoshop CS5.

I’ll keep updating to new versions of Photoshop CC and testing it. When Wacom comes out with a new driver I’ll try that. But right now I just need to get to work and CS5 works great.

My advice is not to upgrade to Maveriks OS. Photoshop CC and a Wacom tablet probably aren’t going to work together either.

I talked to a person who oversees a digital imaging lab at a local community college today. She says they have Photoshop CC on all their computers but they use Photoshop CS6 because Photoshop CC freezes and crashes. They’re using OS 10.8 (Mountain Lion).

April 3, 2014:
I should have mentioned before that there is lag when I use free transform or even just the move tool. The effect is jerky and imprecise.

Say I use the move tool to drag a tiger across a picture. I drag the tiger to where I want it and then lift my drawing pen. Nothing happens. And then suddenly the tiger has moved too far or not far enough. It takes 3 or 4 tries before I get it exactly where I want it. In CS5 I can drag the tiger where I want him in one go. He’s right under my drawing pen where he should be.

The Decontaminate Color Slider in Refine Edge is impossible to use. When I try to use the slider I get the spinning wheel. I have to cancel Refine Edge.

Using the Polygonal Lasso and Magnetic Lasso tools is bad. I click along, making points, everything is going well. Then I click to add another point. The click does not make a point and an unwanted selection forms using the previous selection points.

If updates come that allow me to use Maveriks, Photoshop CC and my Wacom tablet together, I’ll post all about it.

May 1, 2014:
I’ve done some updating to Photoshop CC Version 14.2.1 and the Wacom Intuous driver of April 7, 2014 (6.3.8-2).

The Polygonal and Magnetic Lasso tools still hang up. Selections with them are impossible. There is still lag when using any kind of transforming or just moving with the move tool, making sizing and placement difficult. The brushes still freeze.

And something I didn’t notice before – when I open a Tiff file in Photoshop CC it looks very strange unless you really zoom in. Here are screenshots of a file opened in Photoshop CC, then the same file opened in Photoshop CS5:

Tiff file in Photoshop CC

Tiff file in Photoshop CC

Tiff file in CS5

Tiff file in CS5

So I switched back to Photoshop CS5 again. Please contact me if you have found a solution.

May 7, 2014:
I noticed this post: Wacom Intuous Tablets Unusable in Creative Cloud on Mavericks. I think it explains the problem quite well.

May 22, 2014
I tried installing old Wacom drivers. It didn’t work for me.

I updated my Operating System to 10.9.3. It didn’t help.

June 13, 2014
I called Wacom support. The nice fellow I talked to told me about the White Window Workaround Plug-in. You can find it here:

Do verify that the plug-in is installed as described in the above link.

Here are the Photoshop CC functions that I am watching and how they behave now with the plug-in:
1. Transforming: There is still lag, so I have to guess when to release as I drag. It’s almost impossible to command-click and drag one corner point when Free Transforming.
2. Move tool: There is still plenty of lag.
3. Brushes freezing: So far so good. I’m still working primarily in Photoshop CS5 because the Transform and Move Tool problems in Photoshop CC are deal breakers for me. I need to test brushes more.
4. Magnetic and Polygonal Lasso tools: working fine now
5. Tiff files: some still look strange at some magnifications.
6. The Decontaminate Colors slider in the Refine Edge dialogue box still freezes with the spinning wheel. I have to cancel out of the dialogue box and it takes a good while.

July 13, 2014
I’m printing quite a run of pictures for an upcoming show. I began the first day using Photoshop CC to print. There is just enough lag turning layers on and off to make it too frustrating to use. I went back to Photoshop CS5 and finished printing with no problems.

August 14, 2014
Many thanks to the reader who emailed me:
“I read about your brush freezing and polygonal selection tool problems on your website. I have been having the identical problems for many months. At the suggestion of the NAPP Help Desk, I uninstalled PS CC (ran the Uninstaller) and installed PS CC 2014. All of my issues seem to be fixed. Fingers are crossed! CC 2014 seems snappier. Like you, I had reverted to using CS5.”

Well! I have done likewise. So far everything is working. Wonderful!