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Thread: Improving performance on large files

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
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    Improving performance on large files

    Hi,
    I am currently working on a fairly large drawing - 70 x 50 cm @ 300 dpi. It' s supposed to be drawn using the ink pen. It has to have its different parts - the landscape, the objects, the people in the scene - on separate layers, so that I can re-arrange the composition if needed. How can I improve the performance of AR when drawing? From time to time, the stroke is lagging when I draw too fast, and also at moments it "stutters" - drawing a series of dots instead of one smooth stroke - even if I draw strokes using a ruler. Don't get me wrong - I still am pleasantly surprised by how AR performs on such a large file. But I'd like to know where can I look to tweak things, should it become too slow... I have currently six layers in my document, and this is only the beginning - there will be at least another six, or more, so it's more than probable I'll run into performance / speed problems at some moment or another.

    I am using ArtRage Studio Pro 3.0.8 on a 2GHz Intel iMac with 1.5 GB RAM and Snow Leopard (10.6.5), drawing with a Wacom Intuos 4 pen.

    Thanks in advance for any help on this matter...

    Mikolaj

    P.S. - I attached an image of my pens' settings, should there be anything to tweak there...
    Attached Images Attached Images  
    Last edited by mikolajkamler; 01-03-2011 at 02:47 AM. Reason: forgot to attach image

  2. #2
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    I'm not able to replicate the problem here, but there are some differences in our setup that might point to the cause. Could you let me know what tool size and zoom level of the document you see it at, or if any size does it? Also, could you check with a smaller document and see if that is working?
    Matt
    ArtRage UI
    Ambient Design.

  3. #3
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    Matt,
    first of all - thanks for a fast answer...
    Well - it's difficult to replicate this, since it doesn't happen all the time. This stuttering happens from time to time when I'm using the ink pen, at zoom 100%. Since I work mostly at resolution 300 dpi, I would have to see if it happens at smaller resolutions as well. What happens is the following - the drawing goes well, with no problems, for some time. Then at some point on my page, the line begins to break up into dots (see attached screenshot). I redraw the line and it happens again, regardless of the speed of my drawing or of the complexity of the line. It happens even if I'm using a ruler to draw a straight line! I move to some other point on my page and start drawing there - the weird behavior disappears... Very strange...

    What is even more important to me now, though, is what is possible to do to obtain the fastest performance when working with large files. Right now, when I draw, the ink pen I use seems to work fine, with a slight lag sometimes, but... at the end of each stroke it takes some time before I can draw another one - the cursor disappears and AR freezes for a short time, sometimes with the "spinning beach ball" cursor appearing. When I move the canvas around (which I do often, since the drawing is 70x50 cm @ 300 dpi), it doesn't move smoothly, but in steps. Saving, copying, pasting and sometimes even undoing takes a LOT of time... All these things are probably caused by the size of the file, but still maybe there is something I could do to speed things up a little...? Any hints would be most welcome...

    Mikolaj
    Attached Images Attached Images  

  4. #4
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    The lag when you finish a stroke could relate to a bug we know about with hiding/showing a layer.
    If you hide then show a layer, ArtRage forgets what the size of the content on the layer is, so when you do a stroke it takes the entire layer to make the thumbnail in the layer stack, rather than just the small area that changed.
    It can be very noticable on large files - at the completion of every stroke there can be a large lag while the layer thumbnail is rebuilt.
    Saving and reloading the painting should solve that lag at the end of the stroke.

    The stuttering and dots will be a different problem though.
    AndyRage's mantra for graphics engine code:
    "Sure - how hard can it be?"

  5. #5
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    Andy,
    The stuttering and dots happen mostly - though not only - when I use the ink pen with smoothing. Sometimes as I draw, the line would appear to be divided into dots, but, when AR smoothes it (when I finish the stroke) the dots would be replaced by a smooth line. There are moments, though, when some of the dots would remain regardless of the smoothing...

    As for the lag, it seems to be indeed related to a memory problem, as AR lags when it has to update a large part of the document. Unfortunately, that also includes saving and re-opening which can, in my case, take more than five minutes to do... So it's not a good cure for this lagging...

    Anyway, thanks for your answer,

    Mikolaj

  6. #6
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    A quirky, but fast fix for this lagging problem is to toggle the canvas lighting. Then AR is forced to update the whole image, and after this everything works faster. For some time, then it bogs down again and I have to toggle the lighting once more... and so on.

  7. #7
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    Could I check with you whether or not you're doing any showing / hiding of layers in sessions where you see this problem? We have a fix for something very similar which is in our internal build which should be in the next update ( toggling lighting also temporarily improves this in 3.0.8 )
    Dave
    Resident Bug-Hunter
    Ambient Design

  8. #8
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    Dave,

    I am not sure which of my two problems you refer to...

    Anyway, showing / hiding layers causes a lag (smaller or bigger, depending on the size of the picture) just after I toggle the layer. I didn't notice if after doing it - when AR is forced to update the image - the lagging when I draw disappears for some time, just like when I change lighting, but I think it's possible. What the problem looks like to me - I am not a developer and I don't know how AR works "under the hood" - is that AR seems to store information about all my actions in memory, so that I can undo what I did. That's very useful of course, but with every action this memory buffer gets bogged down a little more, resulting - especially with larger images - in lagging and slower performance. Changing the lighting forces AR to somehow rewrite everything on a global scale and thus improves performance.

    The other problem, the "stuttering" of the ink pen, seems to be unaffected by any changes in lighting, toggling layers etc. It happens only with the ink pen, so my guess would be it has something to do with rendering the strokes. It has some really peculiar quirks:
    1. the line I draw gets drawn as a series of dots, separated by sometimes large empty spaces. Regardless of that, AR still treats it as one stroke - when I hit Undo, the whole line disappears.
    2. first it seemed to me that I was drawing too fast and too complex lines and AR was having a hard time keeping up with my speed and mad skillz , but it happens when I draw a stroke very slowly using a ruler. It's actually even more likely to happen when I use a ruler!
    3. it tends to happen in specific places in my image I.e. I draw a long horizontal stroke using a ruler. The line runs smooth and then at some moment, the stuttering appears. I undo the line or erase it and re-draw it again. Again, smooth, up to a point - more or less the same as before - and then stutters. I move the ruler upwards or downwards, to draw another horizontal line. Same thing - at approximately the same x coordinates, the line begins stuttering. Go figure...

    You can see this in the attached picture (a part of a larger one, size A3 @ 300 dpi). The lines were drawn at various speeds, though not very fast. The speed tends to increase the space between dots, so maybe this is a rendering issue after all... But why does it happen in some places and not in others? And, more important, how to get rid of this? Ha!

    Maybe the next version will solve this (at least the lagging)...

    Cheers,

    Mikolaj
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  9. #9
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    Dave was referring to the lag after showing/hiding a layer, which will be solved in the next build.

    When you say it happens in specific places on your image, could you let me know if it happens in all images, even smaller ones? We're not sure what's happening, it's not something I believe we've seen before and it shouldn't be simply as a result of speed so we might need to look deeper into machine configuration and the image specifics.
    Matt
    ArtRage UI
    Ambient Design.

  10. #10
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    I see this a lot as well, especially when using the ink pen and the straight line feature, i thought it was just my laptop because i tend to have several windows/programmes open and stream radio at same time. Its also happened with airbrush under same conditions. It is annoying to expect a straight line and get a zig zag instead lol.

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