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Solved the brush lag painting on large canvases ( Affinity Photo) and an issue with menus/panels becoming non responsive.


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Better said MY problem with large canvases and brushes. Perhaps others with better PCs don't have lag.  Maybe artists like me are a rare breed: Using Photo for painting (instead of Designer, or the very varied products from other brands laser focused in the painting specialty (but severely lacking in all what Photoshop and Photo do, which is essential for illustration/graphic design/comic)), and having a PC with a good CPU but terrible GPU.

Maybe the problem is not happening with 3060, RX 6800 or 3080 cards (that now cost like a whole computer), but with my 1650 it was not practical to paint in Photo. Or maybe other people do not mind the delay on the start of every brush stroke. Probably it is only a few of us having this lag ( I dunno). Maybe not many people are required to paint on huge canvases for print (300 dpi), needing good performance in 15.000 x 12.000 pixels (and the like). It was not working well even in 8000x8000 (a bit above the hardware limit of an iPad pro, I think).
My specs: Ryzen 9 3900X, GTX 1650 4Gb (non super), 32 GB 3000 Mhz CL 16, SSD for Photo and Windows, HDD for files, Wacom Intuos Pro XL (~ A2-A3)).

 

But for those in my situation :

- To solve the problem of menus and everything getting non clickable super often (constantly), so, brush and mouse could only paint but suddenly become unable to click on menus and  palettes, I even had to exit with Alt+F4, and hit "n" or "s" in dialog windows. Removing "Windows Ink" (maybe I had set it so in the past, like a lot of people do for PS) preference in Photo's, and setting instead "high precision". Also (as if not it wouldn't work...) in my Wacom control panel, the profile I had made for Photo, in "projection" tab, I did set off "Windows Ink".

- To solve the lag occurring even with 8k x 8k px canvases (and I still noticed some very subtle start-lag in quite smaller ones) - and these solutions work well in a 15000x12000 canvas, while it'd be very rare to get a project of bigger dimensions (for me)-  , followed Dan C's indication (but  I had before, so, some combination was different) of disabling hardware acceleration in preferences. What I never had tried (I believe) was setting Retina in "low quality", Photo's preferences. As I feared some bad dithering or bad aliasing would show up. I... don't notice any artifact; maybe I am not looking well enough, but I don't see any problem.

- Also, I have always set 'dithered gradients' and the other option "clipping something" ON. I am not sure why, lol. If there's sth wrong with  that, pls, chime in !

 

... The thing is all these combined (including kicking windows ink towards outer space and beyond) results in a very responsive, fast, and no-lag brush stroke.... Finally! I've been years without being able to see it in my Photo installations,  lol.  :D. Is not that you couldn't paint. It's that fresh, spontaneous drawing and painting it was indeed quite a problem. Hopefully it helps to the people doing subtle photography retouching with the brush as well.

I was really needing in many projects the alignment/smart guides and other snapping, distribution, selections/layers power, text, color management, PDF/X export, brochure design, etc of the perfect combo that Designer and Photo make, but couldn't use any of them for the painting stage of every project (which is almost always needed, in my illustration/design/game art work). And with increasingly complex projects, is better to have it all in one shop. 

Now, if only I would get a way to make Photo remember to use a 5x5 or 17x17 color picker sample (needed in large resolutions to not pick an odd-unexpected color of 1px with most brushes, specially textured ones)  -as I use ALT (programmed in my pen button) to temp-pick colors as I paint, at top speed- then it all would be perfect. I wonder if it is possible to add to the assistant, in case just making it work by default is too much of a revamp of the code.

Really hoping this helps some other artists trying everything in silence.... :D;)😎 


EDIT : (surely very relevant for a case study/performance, as is double the pixels for the card memory? dunno...) . Since some time I now have a 2 monitor setup (3 at the end of this week, Eizo ColorEdge is coming) in clone desktop mode. I've heard this can damage overall performance in some graphic applications. But I have all set at 60 Hz refresh rate and 1080p... It's a Huion Kanvas 22 display-tablet that I only use now as references and panels monitor, as after heavy testing I -unexpectedly- rather much prefer (even antique..) Wacom's pen control over the stroke and its sensitivity, even while it's (besides old) classic vs (modern) display-tablet.

Edit 2: Quite important, as surely is more heavier to process for the PC, I am all the time working with 16 bit mode files when the app allows it (ie, CSP can't, as far as I know), as transitions are quite smoother when painting. SO, all those huge canvases were as well 16-bit, not 8-bit.

Edit 3: Perhaps I did not mention it: This is all on Windows 10, not Mac.

Edit 4: Forgot yet another big thing... There's one more factor that adds lag in this use case: Not only I'm using very big canvases of 15k per side, I'm also using 250 - 300 px brushes which I make from scratch (nothing too fancy). I have been able to create "blocking brushes" as big as 700 -1000px wide (just dumbing them down... more spacing, less features, etc). Tho to be honest, that very initial blocking stage can be done as well with lasso tool and fill, or, my preferred route : Just do a lot of experimenting with basic composition and grayscale values (specially scenery) in super tiny resolution (even just 2k x 2k), super fluidly to experiment fast, then scale up a final one, as in blocking stage artifacts don't matter. So, really, 300 px brushes are the ones that have to work with every feature on (and now they do!  :):) )

AD, AP and APub. V1.10.6 and V2.0.3 Windows 10 and Windows 11.  Both are regular Windows,  I'm not in the Windows Insider program.
Ryzen 9 3900X, 32 GB RAM,  RTX 3060 12GB, Wacom Intuos XL, Wacom L. Eizo ColorEdge CS 2420 monitor. Windows 10 Pro.
HP Omen 16-b1010ns 12700H, 32GB DDR5 (corsair), nVidia RTX 3060 6GB + Huion Kamvas 22 drawing screen, Windows 11 Pro.

 

 

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  • 3 months later...

I need to put emphasis on the Dan C's advice in another thread which I also applied here (I'm referring to some configurations benefit from disabling Open CL hardware acceleration. Probably people with an AMD card should do the opposite, I don't know). Yesterday had the huge inconvenience (in the middle of a big project, starting others, too) of realizing the brush was again slow on a (yeah, it's huge) 12k x 15k px canvas, 16bits mode. It turns out I somehow had changed, -or an update to latest version had changed that (strange, as my other settings were not changed. Maybe I changed it- the "use Open CL  hardware acceleration" (in "performance" settings). Disabling it again totally fixes the issue! Of course, I am sure the other settings play a big role, too, as I only got it fine once I applied all of those and edited heavily my (round basic) brushes. It is surely that my nVidia card is not ideal for that (as it is based on CUDA, it'd be emulating Open CL? I don't know). And/or is a very poor card, just a 1650, 4Gb.  

And also, using too low spacing value in each brush (ie, only 3%, which works fine in much smaller canvases or just if zoomed-in) is a HUGE cause of brush slowing down/lag. But setting 6-8% (and not full hardness) still allows to work with quality and a fast stroke. Some other 2D and painting apps -even with these fixes in Photo- have still somewhat snappier brushes, but with a PC like mine (gpu, cpu, memory in my signature) and these steps (all I mentioned in this thread), people having this problem should probably be able to fix it improving the brush behavior immensely, the difference is like night and day. And as I mentioned, the advantages of having all the tools which are available in Photo, for digital illustration (and comics, game art, concept art, etc, etc), do greatly compensate for the difference.

I don't know, in case there are other people painting with Photo, or even just using the brush in photo retouching. 

This single setting has a strong effect in a low end card like mine when using huge canvases (in 16 bits mode, have not tried in 8bit), somehow. Maybe using 2 monitors is also already putting the poor card to its limits.

AD, AP and APub. V1.10.6 and V2.0.3 Windows 10 and Windows 11.  Both are regular Windows,  I'm not in the Windows Insider program.
Ryzen 9 3900X, 32 GB RAM,  RTX 3060 12GB, Wacom Intuos XL, Wacom L. Eizo ColorEdge CS 2420 monitor. Windows 10 Pro.
HP Omen 16-b1010ns 12700H, 32GB DDR5 (corsair), nVidia RTX 3060 6GB + Huion Kamvas 22 drawing screen, Windows 11 Pro.

 

 

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