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This is going be longish but if, like me, you work extra large complex files read on ............

 

Yesterday there was a post that revolved around my need to work very large images which I keep down to manageable size in PS by compressing multiple layers into smart objects. I have always been nervous about how AP, without the ability to do this, would handle my extra large files.

 

Today I decided to make some tests. (The tests are made in PS6X which is what I use and therefore need to compare with AP. It is entirely possible that later CC versions could produce better results).

 

I took an existing PS file. It is in round figures 9500px x 9500px at 300ppi. It contains 26 smart objects each of which contains many layers when expanded for edit. The file size on disc is 3.86GB. That is to be expected with so many smart objects each of which is a discreet PSB file which need to be contained within the single master file.

 

When opened up in PS the file uses roughly 8GB of memory and is perfectly workable although slow downs start to build up after a while. It is however, awkward, because you have to edit in ‘segments’ by opening up the smart objects for edit one by one. I ended up working like this because, before compressing the file into smart objects, it was becoming too slow and memory intensive to work very satisfactorily. 

 

To create the file I needed for my test I went through this file smart object by smart object and expanded them one by one for editing. Once opened I saved each smart objects contents to an external file. I then loaded these one by one in their layer order and combined them into a single file containing all the contents of the 26 smart objects ….. now as normal layers. The result was a very large image containing 767 pixel layers, 217 mask layers and 541 adjustment and FX layers each with its own mask layer as well - a pretty heavy image by any standards! I saved this to a normal PSD. Without the smart objects the file size came down to 1.87GB, which is to be expected. I then shut down PS and re-opened it with a clean empty memory. The new file when loaded now occupied 17GB. It was just about workable but despite there still being over 8GB of free RAM still available there were lots of delays and waiting for beachballs. In practical terms it was no longer really viable.

 

Now comes the interesting bit!

 

I imported the same file into AP (BTW you really DO need barometers for this I was starting to think the import had hung) and, once I had checked its integrity, I saved it in native AP form. The file created was 1.76GB, so just very slightly smaller than PS’s. But now comes the huge surprise ....... when I loaded the new Affinity file back into AP it not only loaded faster than PS loaded its PSD, but it used only a little over 2GB of memory as opposed to PS’s 17GB!!

 

I was so flabbergasted by this I was sure I must have done something wrong ……. so I did it again ….. and again ...... four times! I got, within a few MB, exactly the same results each time. I have no idea how they have worked this magic but AP’s developers have made it quite dramatically streamlined in memory usage as compared to PS6. 

 

Here’s a summary. 

 

Image size 9500px x 9500px @300ppi. 767 pixels layers. 217 mask layers. 541 adjustment / FX layers with their own mask layers.

 

Size on disk as PSD     1.87 GB.

Size on disc as aphoto 1.76 GB

 

Size in memory in PS V6                17 GB leaving 8GB free memory.

Size in memory in AP V1.5 Beta 9  2.1 GB leaving 23GB free memory.

 

I still can’t quite believe this but it’s wonderful news for me and has removed one of my last remaining doubts about AP.

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