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Affinity OpenCL, GPU Computing and Vulcan discussion (split)


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On 10/26/2021 at 8:15 AM, nicoppc said:

Sarcasmus: Has anyone in your office a Windows system with GPU ?? ūüėú

I think Serif may have had their hands tied, and promptly been shot in the foot by someone else.

Blender's upcoming Cycles-X is much faster, and reworks its foundations to deliver a future proof renderer. It also does something else, and I quote:

Quote

OpenCL rendering support was removed. The combination of the limited Cycles kernel implementation, driver bugs, and stalled OpenCL standard has made maintenance too difficult.

This means that Cycles will do GPU accelerated rendering on NVidia cards alone, through CUDA and Optix...

It continues saying:

Quote

We are working with hardware vendors to bring back GPU rendering support on AMD and Intel GPUs, using others APIs.

Having in mind that both AMD and Intel are very large corporate sponsors for the Blender Foundation, I don't think the decision to axe OpenCL and leave them without any way to hardware accelerate rendering was taken lightly... without hardware support a scene can easily take 10 times longer to render. It's a massive kick in the teeth.

I don't know anything about these APIs, but the decision to remove OpenCL leaving the large sponsors out in the cold, calling it out as stalled and buggy, really doesn't give me confidence about OpenCL.

And as you know, OpenCL is exactly what Affinity uses for hardware acceleration. In fact I think it's the only API it could use. Unlike Blender, Affinity is used in many lightweight laptops and 2-in-1 tablets, and these exclusively use Intel's integrated chips. They have no other option but to use OpenCL, or nothing at all.

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16 hours ago, LCamachoDesign said:

I think Serif may have had their hands tied, and promptly been shot in the foot by someone else.

Blender's upcoming Cycles-X is much faster, and reworks its foundations to deliver a future proof renderer. It also does something else, and I quote:

This means that Cycles will do GPU accelerated rendering on NVidia cards alone, through CUDA and Optix...

It continues saying:

Having in mind that both AMD and Intel are very large corporate sponsors for the Blender Foundation, I don't think the decision to axe OpenCL and leave them without any way to hardware accelerate rendering was taken lightly... without hardware support a scene can easily take 10 times longer to render. It's a massive kick in the teeth.

I don't know anything about these APIs, but the decision to remove OpenCL leaving the large sponsors out in the cold, calling it out as stalled and buggy, really doesn't give me confidence about OpenCL.

And as you know, OpenCL is exactly what Affinity uses for hardware acceleration. In fact I think it's the only API it could use. Unlike Blender, Affinity is used in many lightweight laptops and 2-in-1 tablets, and these exclusively use Intel's integrated chips. They have no other option but to use OpenCL, or nothing at all.

If that were really the case (no way to know), it would be nice if development could be more transparent. It wouldn't surprise me anyway.

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On 11/1/2021 at 10:40 AM, LCamachoDesign said:

I think Serif may have had their hands tied, and promptly been shot in the foot by someone else.

I don't know anything about these APIs, but the decision to remove OpenCL leaving the large sponsors out in the cold, calling it out as stalled and buggy, really doesn't give me confidence about OpenCL.

And as you know, OpenCL is exactly what Affinity uses for hardware acceleration. In fact I think it's the only API it could use. Unlike Blender, Affinity is used in many lightweight laptops and 2-in-1 tablets, and these exclusively use Intel's integrated chips. They have no other option but to use OpenCL, or nothing at all.


Hello @LCamachoDesign
corrected some stuff from you. ;)
Since 2019 probably earlier the decision from the Developers was made to move and port from OpenCL to Vulkan.
Serif too can switch and support that API, bonus is, Vulkan supports far more hardware, can give performance boosts to Users and is the API going forward.

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3 hours ago, myclay said:


Hello @LCamachoDesign
corrected some stuff from you. ;)
Since 2019 probably earlier the decision from the Developers was made to move and port from OpenCL to Vulkan.
Serif too can switch and support that API, bonus is, Vulkan supports far more hardware, can give performance boosts to Users and is the API going forward.

I didn't even know that Vulkan could do GPU compute. But looking it up I came across this Reddit thread:

I had no idea that GPU compute APIs were in such a sorry state. If what's said in the thread is true, I'm surprised Affinity software works at all with GPU acceleration.

At this point I think I'm going to check out of this discussion. It's way over my head, and frankly reading about the shady tactics used by these companies is just upsetting.

But thanks for correcting me @myclay, I had no idea about Vulkan.

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  • Moderators

@myclay & @LCamachoDesign

The announcement thread is not the place for this discussion. I have split it off in case you want to continue

Patrick Connor
Serif Europe Ltd

"There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man. True nobility lies in being superior to your previous self."  W. L. Sheldon

 

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On 11/1/2021 at 10:40 AM, LCamachoDesign said:

I don't know anything about these APIs, but the decision to remove OpenCL leaving the large sponsors out in the cold, calling it out as stalled and buggy, really doesn't give me confidence about OpenCL.

And as you know, OpenCL is exactly what Affinity uses for hardware acceleration. In fact I think it's the only API it could use. Unlike Blender, Affinity is used in many lightweight laptops and 2-in-1 tablets, and these exclusively use Intel's integrated chips. They have no other option but to use OpenCL, or nothing at all.

Well they can use whatever API they think would be the best option for their software in terms of GPU computing here, though if they want to keep backward compatibility with older hardware and OS versions, they will still allow to disable certain GPU acceleration options. - So they even could use CUDA on Nvidia, Metal on Mac, and OpenCL on AMD/Intel if needed. - Or Vulkan in future, since the next version of that one, which is still in development, is said to be merged with the OpenCL interface. As early as 2019, it was demonstrated how OpenCL drivers pass the calculations through to the Vulkan implementation.

All in all related to this theme let me say, that Affinity software is not set in stone, it evolves like other software (being it GPU acceleration APIs etc.) too!

‚ėõ Affinity Designer 1.10.5 ‚óÜ Affinity Photo 1.10.5 ‚óÜ OSX El Capitan

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  • 3 weeks later...

Now that Blender 3.0 is essentially done and released (the next few days are just for marketing materials) we can see what solution they came up with:

Reference/Release Notes/3.0/Cycles - Blender Developer Wiki

For NVIDIA it's CUDA / OptiX as expected.

For AMD... you'll need a RDNA 1, but recommended is a RDNA 2 card, and it uses HIP: C++ Heterogeneous-Compute Interface for Portability

Intel is completely omitted. Which for Affinity is unacceptable as many laptops and 2-in-1 devices (pretty much all Surface devices) would be left without any support...

 

I personally think PC / Windows users are getting the stick from every angle of the industry. To be clear, I'm not taking about Serif, they're having the same issues as us common people. Between the GPU shortages, ever-changing incompatible APIs (I'm looking at you Microsoft and the whole .NET / WinForms / WinUI /etc. non-sense), immediate hardware obsolesce (ever changing CPU sockets, RAM, storage, and PCI-e standards), OS support (Windows 11 abandons fully functional hardware bcause of reasons) the picture is grim for PC users.

In the meanwhile Apple, with their unified and consistent M1 silicon, APIs an OS support is really making everyone else look bad. I'm respeced my PC last year and now I'm starting to regret it. If I knew I'd wait and get a Mac mini instead... :(

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  • 2 months later...

Bumping this thread since this time it's my turn at being shot in the foot by hardware acceleration. When dealing with 32-bit EXR files produced by Blender, Affinity Photo will freeze near constantly while using OpenCL. And I really mean near constantly, sometimes just under a minute of opening the file. It's not a crash, but rather the app becomes unresponsive and goes through the usual Windows motions, to force close.

It's so bad I resorted to do as little as possible to the file, then convert to 8-bit, save and close everything. In the end I had to disable OpenCL, it's slower, but the time saved by avoiding the constant freezes offsets it. I don't think I can blame Serif for this, like I just mentioned I'm a Blender user, and if they remove a feature it's nearly always for a better replacement or a good reason.

With this in mind, what I'd suggest is indeed to replicate Blender's behaviour on Affinity. For Intel and AMD users (although it seems like AMD is not working at all at the moment) keep OpenCL as a fall-back. But for everyone else with NVIDIA, how about implementing hardware acceleration through CUDA?

Thanks!

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Hello, I have just updated my graphics card to a new AMD one (AMD RX6600) and I was hoping (like I did on Lightroom  and Photoshop to use "hardware acceleration". (NB on Windows 10, up to date)

I thought it was just the age of my previous GPU that was the issue. NOW i find that AMD GPU do not work with OpenCL on Affinity. Reading this forum it seems it's an ongoing problem.

PLEASE "Affinity" sort this out and enable me to speed up processing on affinity. Works OK with Photoshop / Lightroom so why not with Affinity, Serif.

This is a reason why I may not abandon Adobe - I like HDR, focus stacking abd panoramics - these would presumably be faster if hardware acceleration worked>

DISAPPOINTED USER, Mel

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47 minutes ago, Mel_P said:

PLEASE "Affinity" sort this out and enable me to speed up processing on affinity. Works OK with Photoshop / Lightroom so why not with Affinity, Serif

Because the AMD drivers have a bug.

 

 

 

-- Walt

Desktop:  Windows 11 Home, version 21H2 (22000.613) 64GB memory, AMD Ryzen 9 5900 12-Core @ 3.00 GHz, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090 
Laptop:  Windows 10 Home, version 21H2 (19044.1706) 32GB memory, Intel Core i7-10750H @ 2.60GHz, Intel UHD Graphics Comet Lake GT2 and NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 Laptop GPU.
        Affinity Photo 1.10.6 (.1665) and 2.0.0  and 2.0.3.1670 beta/ Affinity Designer 1.10.6 (.1665)  and 2.0.0 and 2.0.3.1670 beta / Affinity Publisher 1.10.6 (.1665)  and 2.0.0 and 2.0.3.1670 beta
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      Affinity Photo 1.10.6 and 2.0.2 / Affinity Designer 1.10.6 and 2.0.2 / Affinity Publisher 2.0.2

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So my old card (RX570) worked but my new one doesn't. That's progress. 

AMD obviously is not going to respond as they have had nearly a year. As AMD drivers work with Photoshop / Lightroom and OpenCL I suspect that their view is that "their bug" is a feature and Affinity (Serif) will have to get along with their drivers as they stand (i.e. modify Affinity) - or Serif will continue to disappoint its users?

 

Mel

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14 minutes ago, Mel_P said:

Affinity (Serif) will have to get along with their drivers as they stand (i.e. modify Affinity)

What happens if AMD fix their drivers? Will Affinity then have to modify their programs again?

If you had an Apple device and were told that 'you were holding it wrong', would you be happy with that?

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On 2/8/2022 at 10:36 PM, LondonSquirrel said:

What happens if AMD fix their drivers? Will Affinity then have to modify their programs again?

I would really expect feedback / updates from Serif - not "we told them a year ago" !!

Mel (still disappointed)

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7 minutes ago, Mel_P said:

and would this work with hardware acceleration / OpenCL?

At a guess, probably not.

 

-- Walt

Desktop:  Windows 11 Home, version 21H2 (22000.613) 64GB memory, AMD Ryzen 9 5900 12-Core @ 3.00 GHz, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090 
Laptop:  Windows 10 Home, version 21H2 (19044.1706) 32GB memory, Intel Core i7-10750H @ 2.60GHz, Intel UHD Graphics Comet Lake GT2 and NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 Laptop GPU.
        Affinity Photo 1.10.6 (.1665) and 2.0.0  and 2.0.3.1670 beta/ Affinity Designer 1.10.6 (.1665)  and 2.0.0 and 2.0.3.1670 beta / Affinity Publisher 1.10.6 (.1665)  and 2.0.0 and 2.0.3.1670 beta
iPad Pro M1, 12.9", iPadOS 16.1.1, Apple Pencil 2, Magic Keyboard

      Affinity Photo 1.10.6 and 2.0.2 / Affinity Designer 1.10.6 and 2.0.2 / Affinity Publisher 2.0.2

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Having just bought a new graphics board (GPU) without realising the AMD shortfall with Affinity I am a bit "miffed". I hope that Affinity do sort this. AMD obviously aren't reacting quickly to Serif's "please put it right" (to put it in a polite way!). Mel

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