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Thread: Do Artrage use graphics accelleration?

  1. #1
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    Do Artrage use graphics accelleration?

    If not, I would like to suggest that for the next release.

    (Could this be the reason Photoshop manages a three layer 400 DPI image fine while artrage tends to get really slow and sometimes crash?)

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    I'm fairly sure that Artrage (and Photoshop for that matter) doesn't use graphical acceleration. But I'll let the AR team tell you for sure.

    However, you must understand that photoshop and AR are completly different programs that does painting in almost opposite ways. While Photoshop manipulates only the actual color for the pixels seen on screen AR has light, color, depth and the texture underneath to take into consideration on every stroke you do.. For every layer. That means you should actually have 4 or 5 times the layers in Photoshop to be even close to resemble speed between the two programs. Add to that that calculating those additional features into each is more cpu intensive that just calculating a simple pixel color. So multiple that layer number with 2 or 3 and you are getting closer.

    That means that yes, AR can get slower in highresolutions with multiple layers than Photoshop. That said I have yet to see AR handle a image file in a slow manner, no matter the sizes I throw at it it's always fast and responsive. Atleast if you stick with the 0-100% brush sizes.

    What are the image size you talk about. 400dpi doesn't really tell us much about the image size you work with. You could also tell us your hardware setup if you want us to try and see if there's something hindering AR in operating at optimal speed.

    Oh, and if you see AR crash, be sure to tell the team and send the crashreport.

    cheers,
    Peter
    Lead Concept Artist - NDS Denmark
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    www.petervillumsen.com

  3. #3
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    ArtRage currently uses no graphics accelleration features. The main reason is that graphics hardware has quite strict limitations on bitmap dimensions, and ways that layering can be combined.
    For example if we were to change the layer translation to use OpenGL, this is what we'd have to contend with.
    Take a typical case - a 5000 x 3000 layer. Open GL (depending on the implementation of your hardware) requires bitmaps to be on a power of two boundary. So we'd have to carefully slice the source map into several smaller bitmaps to map onto a face. Open GL doesn't support the layer blend modes we require, so we'd have to use Pixel shaders (if available) to do the layer blending. Depending on the capabilities of your 3D hardware you may not have pixel shader capability that allows branching. We'd have to write several versions of each layer blending mode in pixel shaders, as well as in standard C++ code for people who dont have pixel shader capability (more than you'd imagine!).
    Once we did that, there's a good chance the 3D hardware will cause full- or half-pixel offsets from the 2D result. The exact placement of the overlay would be unreliable and could vary from implementation to implementation.
    There is no reasonable way to do high-quality super-sampled, scaled, rotated faces in OpenGL. If we were to use MIPmapping, we'd have the same problem as the initial face mapping of slicing the MIPmaps to match 2^ x bitmaps. Even then rotated faces with texture mapping can look quite horrible.
    With the above case of a 5000 x 3000 bitmap, in 32 bits, that's still (at best case) 60MB of texture memory (with no mipmapping) per layer. To allow the pixel shaders to work correctly, we'd have to have all the layers' texture maps in the graphics card memory as well. So that's 180MB of texture memory. Add in your screen resolution, with double-buffering and you'll see we're going to run out of memory on a 256MB grahics card pretty quickly.
    The time to set up the texture memory and shift it onto the graphics card (because ArtRage would still need to do all its normal painting compositing in main CPU memory) when you wanted to do a layer transformation could be several seconds before you got any display. (Loading texture memory on graphics cards can take a very long time).

    Currently a 3D accellerated solution is unlikely to give any meaningful performance boosts.
    AndyRage's mantra for graphics engine code:
    "Sure - how hard can it be?"

  4. #4
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    The images' resolution is 5500*3000.

    I checked the processor usage through that thing that pops up when you press CTRL ALT DEL (Aktivitetshanetraren in Swedish) when handling it in Artrage, it goes just over 50% and the CPU graphs shows that both cores are used. Can't really understand all the numbers below that has to do with memory.

    I am pretty sure that Photoshop somehow uses the 3d graphics acceleration on my card. The box in the Photoshop settings that say "Enable 3d accelleration" is ticked.

    I have 1.83Ghz centrino duo cpu, 1 gig ram (with another gig ordered), Windows XP, an Nvidia card with 512 meg of ram. The first thing I did when I got my Wacom Graphire 4 tablet (it's less than a week old, I'm still learning the thing) and ran into performance problems was to try and optimize XP. (I defragmented the HD and turned off all that useless graphical blingbling like the default graphics and shadows for menues and stuff. My XP kinda looks like win98 now.) It made the booting process take less than half the time and everything just generally runs smoother and faster, but I guess it was just a partway solution for the performance in Artrage. But as I said, I have ordered more ram. It cost about half of what I thought it would, so what the heck.

  5. #5
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    More RAM is definitely the best way to get a performance boost in ArtRage.

    I dont know what Photoshop uses 3D accelleration for. It's unlikely to be for anything layer-compositing related because there are serious limitations to what you can usefully do with OpenGL.
    Although I suppose when they're moving some of their low-quality proxies around they might be using it.

    We're not discounting it as a solution to review in a future release of ArtRage. Just that at the moment it would cause us additional support overhead (we do still need to code for unaccellerated machines!) when we would probably be better spending out time on a better painting engine, more natural painting tools, and the other features we have in mind for the next major ArtRage release.
    AndyRage's mantra for graphics engine code:
    "Sure - how hard can it be?"

  6. #6
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    Right there with you. Didn't really understand half of your post, but I got that graphics accelleration isn't that usefull with the features in artrage.

    Anyway, when I am on a row. How about som sort of indicator of wether you have lighting on or off (that thing with the f5 key)? Like a tick in the preference menu, or something. When I'm sketching I can't tell the difference.

  7. #7
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    In a future version of ArtRage we're planning much more control over the lighting. The lighting model in ArtRage is based on a 3D lighting model. It supports multiple coloured lights, each with differing levels of specular intensity, as well as subtractive lights, 'wet' lights and other lighting effects. We only expose a very small sampling of the capabilities of the lighting model with the default lights in ArtRage.

    The <F5> lighting key is one of several 'undocumented' features in ArtRage. We snuck them in, usually at the request of users, but didn't really want them in the UI of ArtRage as they're not really 'ArtRage'.

    "Just becase we can do it, doesn't mean we should".

    Matt is constantly keeping me in check so I dont put features into ArtRage that would stop it being the unique application it is. If we put too much control over everything, it would become too difficult to use, and the important things you need to use immediately would become lost in the clutter of things most people will never want to use in their lives. It's a constant struggle to make ArtRage very powerful, without breaking the ease of use.
    AndyRage's mantra for graphics engine code:
    "Sure - how hard can it be?"

  8. #8
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    I take that you are using the newest version of PS. In CS3, Photoshop does indeed use 3d acceleration, but as I understand only for limited features. For example you can now polypaint in Photoshop (though from what I hear it's mostly useless since it's very slow) and thus you need 3d to accelerate the rendering of the imported 3d model.

    I haven't used cs3 yet so I can't confirm that photoshop uses 3d acceleration for anything else. But im pretty confident that the rest of PS uses nothing but the cpu for everyhing else.

    May I also add that I do use Photoshop for all my art. But I also use AR for all of my art. They are very different products that excel at different things. They are both great on their own... But together they are a very powerfull combo.

    cheers,
    Peter
    Lead Concept Artist - NDS Denmark
    Illustrator
    www.petervillumsen.com

  9. #9
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    The new soft palette knife seems considerably slower than the other tools, at least on my machine. Has anyone else seen this?

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Austin_Texas
    The new soft palette knife seems considerably slower than the other tools, at least on my machine. Has anyone else seen this?
    It is slower on my machine as well. If you think about the smoothness of the blend it is doing, I can see how it would be more processor intensive. Take a series of oil strokes and run through them a few times with each of the three palette knife variants. I would guess that the amount of "detail" (smoothness, blending of paint depth, etc) in the three would make the edge, flat, and soft perform best, in that order.

    D.

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