PSB Quick Look Plugin


PSB Quick Look provides previews and thumbnails for Photoshop PSB and PSD files in the Mac Finder and file open/save dialogs. Features:

  • PSB files of arbitrary size

  • Fast—10-gigabyte files preview in just a second or two

  • Ten times faster on very large PSD files than the Finder’s default Quick Look previews

  • Thumbnails and low-resolution previews for files saved without Maximize Compatibility.

With modern high-resolution cameras, panoramas, HDR, and sophisticated multi-layer editing, more and more Photoshop users are adopting the PSB file format. PSD files are limited to a maximum of 30K x 30K pixels and a total of 2 gigabytes, whereas PSB files can be as large as 300K x 300K pixels, with no limit on total byte size.

Unfortunately, the Mac Finder provides thumbnails and previews for PSDs but not PSBs. Even for PSDs, the built-in thumbnails and previews have problems: Previewing very large PSDs can take 10 to 20 seconds, and previews and larger thumbnails will be blank for files saved without the Photoshop Maximize...Compatibility option.  PSB Quick Look solves all these issues.

Try it for free for 30 days. Buy it for $9.95.

Download and Install

PSB Quick Look requires OS X 10.9 (Mavericks) or later. To install:

  1. Download the free trial from psbquicklooktrial.1.11.dmg. If you are upgrading to the paid version, click the download link in the purchase-confirmation email.

  2. In the Finder, navigate to where you downloaded the file and double-click it to open it.

  3. In the folder that opens, double-click the Install.app icon.

 

The free trial is for 30 days—after that, you’ll need the paid version.

To uninstall PSB Quick Look and revert to the built-in OS X thumbnails and previews:

  1. In the Finder do Go > Go To Folder and enter /Library/QuickLook

  2. Delete the package PSB Quick Look.qlgenerator.

  3. Restart your computer.

Buy PSB Quick Look
  1. Buy PSB Quick Look for $9.95:
    Add to Cart
    The price includes unlimited upgrades. Make sure you're satisfied with the free trial before buying.

  2. After purchasing, you will receive an email with a download link to the paid version..

  3. Download and install the paid version just as you did the free version (see above). 

Using PSB Quick Look

Make sure your files are saved with the Photoshop CC options Image Previews: Always Save, Windows Thumbnail, and Maximize PSD and PSB File Compatibility, in Preferences > File Handling.

Note that there is a bug in Photoshop CC 2014 (and probably earlier versions)—if a file is saved without Maximize ... Compatibility, setting Maximize ... Compatibility and resaving the file will have no effect.  You'll need to do File > Save As to save a copy of the file. (Adobe has acknowledged this bug.)

If you choose not to save a file with Maximize ... Compatibility (which may increase its size a fair bit if it has layers), then the larger thumbnail sizes and the preview will be low-resolution and pixelated, but at least you’ll get an idea of what’s in the file. (The PSD thumbnails and preview built-in to OS X will be blank.) The pixilation is a limitation of Photoshop, which only stores a very small 160 x 160 pixel thumbnail in the file.

PSB Quick Look provides thumbnails and previews for PSD files as well as PSBs. The PSD previews built-in to Mac OS are very slow for larger PSDs (e.g. hundreds of megabytes), and PSB Quick Look is up to ten times faster. 

Support

Please send problems, bugs, suggestions, and feedback to:

I’ll gladly provide free licenses in exchange for reports of new, reproducible bugs.

If you contact me about a problem, please include your version of OS X and Photoshop. Upload the PSB or PSD causing the problem to Dropbox or similar service and include the link in your email.

Known limitations and issues:

  • PSB Quick Look does not run on OS X 10.8 (Mountain Lion), apparently due to a low-level bug in OS X. It has been successfully tested with OS X 10.9 (Mavericks) and OS X 10.10 (Yosemite), and with files produced by Photoshop CC 2014.  It should work just fine with other versions of Photoshop.

  • Thumbnails and previews for files saved without Photoshop's Maximize Compatibility option will appear very pixelated at larger sizes. This happens because Photoshop CC only stores a tiny 160x160 JPEG thumbnail in the file. Previous versions used to store higher-resolution JPEG previews, but Adobe removed that functionality in recent versions. I have made a proposal to Adobe to increase the size of the stored thumbnail, which would eliminate the need to use the Maximize Compatibility option to get higher-resolution thumbnails and previews.

  • The Finder in OS X 10.9 (Mavericks) ignores the display profile when showing thumbnails in a folder window, though it obeys the display profile for thumbnails on the desktop. So colors of thumbnails may be somewhat off. This is fixed in OS X 10.10 (Yosemite).

  • Due to bugs in the Finder and Quick Look, sometimes the Finder will display a generic icon for a PSB/PSD rather than the thumbnail image. If this happens, set the Finder's icon size to very small using the View > Show View Options command, and then increase the size in small increments. When you see the generic icon again, wait for about 15 seconds, and the Finder will usually regenerate it correctly.

    If this happens annoyingly often, setting the icon size to less than about 200 x 200 will avoid the problem. Thumbnails smaller than this are generated very quickly from the small JPEG thumbnails stored in PSB/PSDs by Photoshop. (If only Adobe would store larger thumbnails...)

    The underlying cause is that the Finder/Quick Look gives up too quickly if a thumbnail isn't generated within about 20 seconds. While PSB Quick Look normally generates a thumbnail in no more than a few seconds, even for files of many gigabytes, there are times when it takes longer than 20 seconds for reasons out of its control: the Finder has a bug causing it to request the same thumbnail multiple times (see below); even the best network volumes can sometimes hiccup and be slow to respond; external disks may be configured to automatically spin down when idle and can take many seconds to spin back up; there may be other processes accessing the disk. Once Finder/Quick Look sees that a thumbnail took longer than 20 seconds, it won't try to regenerate it again until you kick the Finder by changing the icon size, forcing it to regenerate all thumbnails.

  • The Finder has a performance bug—it can request Quick Look to generate a thumbnail 2 or 3 times within a second, forgetting that it had already asked for a thumbnail. For small- and medium-sized PSD/PSBs stored on a fast local disk, this may not be very noticeable. But it can cause delays of tens of seconds when viewing larger files stored on a network volume.  The bug (observed in OS X 10.10) has been reported to Apple.

  • For the ability to see previews and thumbnails of PSD and PSB files on Windows, see Ardfry Imaging.

Version History

1.2
  • Initial release.
1.3
  • Fixed bug in the color management of previews.
1.4
  • New installer to work around inconsistent, undocumented behavior of OS X 10.10 (Yosemite).
1.5
  • Transparent pixels in thumbnails now always rendered as white.
1.6
  • Files with alpha channels saved without Maximize Compatibility had blank thumbnails and previews. Now their thumbnails and previews will display properly, albeit highly pixelated at low resolution.
1.7
  • Added logging to help troubleshoot Finder bugs. See me for details.
1.8
  • Worked around a bug in the Finder/Quick Look, making it much less likely that the Finder will show generic PSB/PSD icons instead of thumbnail images for very large files. The bug was more likely with files stored on network volumes and slower external disks.
1.9
  • Fixed a bug that caused PSB Quick Look to fail when used with some third-party Quick Look client applications, such as Default Folder X.
1.10
  • Fixed installer bug on OS X 10.12.
1.11
  • Worked around bug in MacOS 10.13.0 (High Sierra) causing Quick Look previews to display small thumbnails. Apple has acknowledged the bug.
Copyright 2014-17 John R. Ellis