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Low performance when moving artboards


User_783649

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Hi everyone.

For some reason, moving even a single artboard around with a couple of shapes and text layers in it is pretty slow and lags a lot.

 

My system specs are the following:

Intel Core i9-9900K, AMD RX 580 8GB, 32GB RAM, NVMe SSD 512GB, running macOS Catalina 10.15.7 and Affinity 1.10.1.

 

Metal acceleration is fully supported and I’m getting good numbers in all kind of benchmarks and other apps, but artboards in Affinity Designer seem to be very slow for me. Tried all settings, Metal, OpenGL, OpenGL (Basic). Metal seems to be the fastest out of all (as it should be I suppose), but still not acceptably fast. It feels like 5-10 fps which is strange to me.

 

Situation shown on video became even worse when moving group of artboards.

 

I should mention that any other actions I do in Affinity Designer are remarkably fast and smooth (after many years of using Adobe apps). Color corrections, transforms, vector tools all of these are just flying. But artboards...

 

Here’s a quick screen recording I made. You can also see detailed CPU and GPU load during performing this operation.

I’m also attaching project file. Appreciate your thoughts and opinions.

Performance Analysis.afdesign

Edited by Alex M
Just formatted the text a little bit.
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Well, I did a couple of another tests this morning. It seems like I found the reason of Affinity Designer being slow with artboards – text layers.

When artboards contain at least one text layer, performance start to decrease gradually. The more text layers (or outlined) it has, the slower will any action be (moving around, for example). Lots of glitches and delays in screen redrawing.

Seems like amount of text in the layer also matters. In the second video I compare the performance of two text layers. Even a couple of extra paragraphs can slow down performance a lot. Seems very strange to me.

I should mention, that this doesn’t happen when I add, for example, images to artboards. So, it can have lots of high-res images with effects or color corrections and still remain fully smooth and responsive when dragging and moving around.

For me, as a web and graphic designer, working with many artboards containing text is crucial. And it would be great to see them as smooth as possible. I recorded some tests with a few text layers (please see the video attached below) to confirm the behavior. Project files are also attached.

Performance Analysis 2.afdesign

Performance Analysis 3.afdesign

Edited by Alex M
Updated videos and project files.
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Well, I came to final conclusion that artboards are not the root of the problem but rather a consequence.

Text layers are slow and laggy in Affinity Designer. And this problem is very serious. As such problems with text make everything else very slow in Affinity Designer (artboards, symbols, groups, everything that can be used with text layers together).

Honestly, problems with text is the only thing that stops me from switching to Affinity suite from Adobe. Because everything else is just wonderful for me in Affinity “Trio sonata”.

I recorded two short videos where I move around the same text layer in Photoshop and Affinity Designer.

In Photoshop there’s solid 60fps smooth performance but in Affinity it feels like it 1-2 fps and layer stucks and glitches a lot constantly. Layer even refuses to move for the first 3-4 seconds. There’s definitely something going on that prevents it from being redrawed correctly.

As I already mentioned, in Affinity Designer number of characters does matter. The less visible characters text layer has, the more responsive it becomes. So the only text layers with just a few lines of text do not lag. That's simply wrong and puts any professional project with decent amount of text to the point where every movement of a layer, artboard or a group turns into seconds of waiting, glitches and delayed redrawing.

In Photoshop amount of text doesn’t matter at all. And all text layers are smooth and very pleasant to work with.

So I just can’t work with text in Affinity Designer until this problem will be resolved.
Unfortunately still no response from Affinity team on this. Definitely looking forward for some feedback. I hope there's a solution.

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Partially solved!

Turns out it was polling rate of my Logitech G102 mouse which I set to 500 once and used for years without any issue.
Once I set it back to default 125 via Logitech Gaming Software – all low performance issues are almost gone.
Affinity apps now work much smoother and layers with lots of text are moving way better. Not ideal but really better.

It is still strange to me that only Affinity apps seem to struggle from high mouse polling rates. 
Adobe Photoshop was fine with either 500 or 125.

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  • Staff

Hi Alex M,

Thanks very much for your indepth report! I'm glad you've partially solved your issue and the performance is now much better for you.

Interestingly I myself was getting some lag when dragging an asset onto a page (specifically my Windows machine), however none of my other computers or colleagues were able to reproduce it so I'd put it down just an odd configuration.

After reading your last response below you reminded me that I'd recently upgraded my mouse from a standard MS Wired USB Mouse to a Wired Razer Deathadder V2. Looked into Razer Synapse and noticed my polling rate was also 1000 - dropping that to 125 instantly made the lag when dragging an asset go away.

However it has only ever been when dragging an asset out that I've noticed it - everything else seems to be ok (including your files!) on Windows. Unfortunately Razer haven't released Synapse 3 on macOS which means I cannot use my mouse/change the polling rate to test your documents with that. However I do have a Logitech G203 Lightsync currently on its way so I will give that a go when it arrives! In the meantime would it be possible for you to attach a quick video demonstrating the slowdown with 500 vs 125 - simlar to the video I've attached below please? Once I've got a bit more information from myself I will get getting it reported to development.

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@Sean P I have to say that I experience the exact same issue using an Apple Magic Mouse 2 (where there is no option, as far as I'm aware, to change the polling rate) when testing @Alex M's file 'Performance Analysis 2.afdesign', in fact with all the files posted.

Affinity Designer 2.4.0.2301 | Affinity Photo 2.4.0.2301 | Affinity Publisher 2.4.0.2301
Affinity Designer 1.7.3 | Affinity Photo 1.7.3 | Affinity Publisher 1.10.8
MacBook Pro 16GB, macOS Monterey 12.6.8

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Hi @Sean P

Thank you very much for your detailed response! The mouse I'm using is Logitech G102. I recorded another video with direct 500/125 polling rate comparison, just as you asked. There's definitely a repeating behaviour pattern. Once I set it to default 125 it becomes definitely much better. So I'm sticking with it for now.

As far as I know, 125 is the default value for usb input devices, including Wacom tablets. So maybe there's something that puts extra workload once it sees increased polling rate in action. The higher polling rate is, more screen and object updates app thinks it need to redraw/recalculate. Just guessing.

Anyway, it's really great we're seeing some similarities so there's definitely a hope that some kind of a solution may be found.

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@Sean P

I've just found this online tool to check realtime mouse polling rate. Seems like (at least in macOS) polling rate is dynamically changed based on user input activity. When idle it sits at 5Hz and once I start to move mouse more intensively it jumps to higher values.

Interesting thing is that this tool shows values up to 250Hz even if I set my mouse to 125Hz via Logitech software. And up to 500Hz when 250 is selected. Same for 500 and 1000. 

So if polling rate is set to X macOS can dynamically change it from 5Hz to 2*X. 

Added: Just tested this online tool on my Ubuntu and Windows machines. In both cases polling rate is also dynamically changed but max value is 125Hz just as it should be. So it seems like only macOS doubles the range for some reason.

If only we could know how it all can potentially affect these performance issues. But now it's clear for me that lowering this value definitely helps a lot in order to move layers and objects smoothly.

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@Hangman Thank you very much for sharing your experience with Apple Magic Mouse 2. That's very interesting, because as far as I know default polling rate for this mouse is 90Hz. Could you please check your polling rate range using this tool and post the results here. It would be very helpful.

It also worth mentioning that even with polling rate set to 125Hz I'm still unable to smoothly move the last "hardest" artboard from "Performance Analysis 2.afdesign" file. Which is strange because this artboard only has 8 text layers and 7 rectangles with gradient fills. So there's definitely some similar behaviour patterns. Thanks for your feedback on this.

 

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@Alex M I already did and it maxed out at 90Hz with vigourous mouse movement as you say, just a smallest of nudges and it's 25Hz... this is what I experience with my Bluetooth Apple Magic Mouse 2 which looks pretty similar to what you are experiencing I think...

I've tested with both OpenGL and Metal Display Settings and also with Metal Compute Hardware Acceleration enabled and disabled but it makes absolutely no difference (for me at least). Is it perhaps not a mouse related issue?

Affinity Designer 2.4.0.2301 | Affinity Photo 2.4.0.2301 | Affinity Publisher 2.4.0.2301
Affinity Designer 1.7.3 | Affinity Photo 1.7.3 | Affinity Publisher 1.10.8
MacBook Pro 16GB, macOS Monterey 12.6.8

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Hi Alex and Hangman,

Just to let you know that I had a Logitech G203 arrive and can reproduce the behaviour you're seeing on Mac with Documents 1 and 3 when using a high polling rate, which doesn't seem to be an issue on Windows!

With regards to Document 2 - that seems to be more of a general performance issue with multiple large text frames. I was getting that on both Mac and Windows no matter what polling rate or device was used so that would explain why it was reproducible on the Magic Mouse.

Thanks again for your help!

 

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@Sean P Thanks for the update, hopefully then something that can be improved moving forwards... 😊

Affinity Designer 2.4.0.2301 | Affinity Photo 2.4.0.2301 | Affinity Publisher 2.4.0.2301
Affinity Designer 1.7.3 | Affinity Photo 1.7.3 | Affinity Publisher 1.10.8
MacBook Pro 16GB, macOS Monterey 12.6.8

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4 minutes ago, Hangman said:

hopefully then something that can be improved moving forwards... 😊

Preferably something that can be improved moving in any direction! 😉

 

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Affinity Designer/Photo/Publisher 2 for Windows • Windows 10 Home/Pro
Affinity Designer/Photo/Publisher 2 for iPad • iPadOS 17.3.1 (iPad 7th gen)

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  • 1 month later...

Seems like exclusive optimizations for newest Apple's M1 Pro/Max chips have been heavily prioritized over core performance issues raised in this topic.

Unfortunately, there's still very bad performance with text layers in newest 1.10.3.

I'm wondering if there's anything on a roadmap to fix problems described in this topic and speed up working with text layers?

 

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