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GracieAllen

Affinity performance in general and specifically in Focus Merge

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OK, one more and I'll most likely go away...

Windows PC, Windows 10 Pro, 32GB of fast memory, SSD for O/S, cache, catalogs and incoming images.  Multiple 7200 RPM hard drives in multiple RAID0 for image storage and backup.  5820 processor running at 4.5GHZ, Nvidia GTX 970, 4GB graphics.  So far, this box makes even Lightroom adequately fast...

In a previous topic, I said Affinity appeared faster than Zerene and Helicon Focus for stacking.  I must have been using small jpegs or something, 'cause I was DRASTICALLY wrong.  Using the same set of basic, normal RAW images from a Nikon D810, I'm getting times FAR longer in Affinity.  For example, I took a small set of 6 images and ran them TWICE in each Affinity and Helicon.  Loaded into Affinity to do a Focus Merge, times were approximately 12 seconds before the first image appeared, 42 seconds before the "Aligning Images" popup disappeared, 4:20 (that's 4 MINUTES and 20 seconds) before the "Focus Merge" popup disappeared.

In Helicon, the same 6 images, doing a type "C" merge were approximately 3 seconds before the first image appeared and 40 seconds (no minutes, 40 seconds) before the merge was completed and ready for saving.

I ran the same set of images through Zerene Stacker, though since it can't handle RAW images I had to create .tif files, and even Zerene, WELL KNOWN for being incredibly slow compared to just about any other stacking software, was drastically faster...  Total merge time in Zerene was about 45 seconds, so even with the addition of time to export six .tif files from Lightroom (just over a minute) the total time is still less than 2 minutes...

Retouching is PAINFUL...  Selecting an image from Sources, and pressing the eyeball results in a delay of between 8 and 11 seconds before the image changes to the source.  Selecting a different source is about the same speed.  Unclicking the eyeball to go back to the merged image appears reasonably fast, but checking source images is so slow I keep clicking the sources and eyeball 'cause it takes taking so long with no indication of any activity I figure I didn't press the right spot.

Since I'm hopeful (there's no way this can be this slow on this box) this isn't normal, I presume I need to do something in the preferences...  Currently, in preferences/performance I've left RAM usage at the default - which is 32768 - I presume the intent is to let Affinity have as much memory as the box has.  I have the Disk Usage Warning set to 25000 (25GB) though I don't see a way to specify the disk I'd like it to use for the 25GB (cache?  temp?).  If it's doing a lot of beating on disks, can I specify the disk - I'll point it at the Cache partition that's on the SSD.  Undo limit is left at the default of 1024.

View quality is left at the default of Bilinear, and the other values are left at the defaults "Dither gradients", the renderer knows it's using the GTX 970, and Retina rendering is left on "Automatic"...

Is there some setting or set of settings I've missed?  Something that will preserve quality but speed this thing up MASSIVELY?

BTW:  I see similar long delays even when doing "normal" editing that doesn't involve Focus Merging.  Some tools and operations more fairly quickly, others have long lag times, long enough that I think nothing is happening and attempt to do whatever it was again.  The system beeps, so I presume SOMETHING is happening.  Not infrequently, I get a blue overlay at the top of the screen, on top of the menu, that says "Affinity is not responding", which generally goes away after some amount of time.  I saw it frequently during my attempts to use inpainting (unsuccessfully).  I figure this CAN'T be normal, so what do I need to tweak?

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Is there some more efficient support channel available for Affinity?  As in a way to actually pick up a phone and get a knowledgeable LIVE human being on a phone to get answers in less than 48 hours?  Or at a minimum, a clearly marked "Support" path that shows up on the web page so email can be sent...  At the moment, it appears there is NO clearly visible, official channel for support other than this forum, which while it's nice, seems to be very slow and inefficient as far as getting answers to problems like the performance issue I'm encountering...

 

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Look at the very bottom of this (or any other forum.affinity.serif.com) page. You should see a "Contact Us" link. Please click it & read what it says about product vs. technical support.

 

As for online support in the forums, the staff usually reply to posts quickly, often within an hour or two after a topic is started. However, they do not work 24/7 (although sometimes I think MEB might). You also need to take into consideration they may be in a time zone much different from yours, so you may be posting at what is for them the middle of the night, & topics started on the weekend may not be seen until the beginning of their workweek on Monday.

 

Some topics do fall through the cracks, & for them a "bump" post usually gets a quick, apologetic response.

 

Also, many topics get comprehensive replies from other users, so there is no reason for the staff to add 'what they said' replies to that.


Affinity Photo 1.7.1, Affinity Designer 1.7.1, Affinity Publisher 1.7.1; macOS High Sierra 10.13.6 iMac (27-inch, Late 2012); 2.9GHz i5 CPU; NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660M; 8GB RAM
Affinity Photo 1.7.1.143 & Affinity Designer 1.7.1.1 for iPad; 6th Generation iPad 32 GB; Apple Pencil; iOS 12.3.1

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R C-R, I'd like to agree with you, but no.  Topic is there.  Ignored. I DID BUMP IT.  Still ignored.  I don't care what time zone they're in, or when they feel like working.  Support isn't a 9-5 job.  If it is for Serif, then tell us they only work on weekdays or whatever.  Frankly, if having to rely on users for product support is the direction they're going, the value of the product is drastically reduced for me.  And since this topic is STILL being ignored, and the primary reason for buying Affinity Photo is STILL unusable (two topics with no answers), either for the Focus Merging OR the retouching, the value of the product is effectively ZERO.  If they've got so many people buying their product that they can ignore stuff like this, they clearly don't need another one.

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10 hours ago, GracieAllen said:

... I don't care what time zone they're in, or when they feel like working.  Support isn't a 9-5 job.  If it is for Serif, then tell us they only work on weekdays or whatever.  Frankly, if having to rely on users for product support is the direction they're going, the value of the product is drastically reduced for me.  And since this topic is STILL being ignored, and the primary reason for buying Affinity Photo is STILL unusable (two topics with no answers), either for the Focus Merging OR the retouching, the value of the product is effectively ZERO.  If they've got so many people buying their product that they can ignore stuff like this, they clearly don't need another one.

 

I'm sorry that no developer has personally acknowledged and validated your frustration, but it may be time for you to move on if you truly believe what you are stating here.

 

kirk

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GracieAllen,

 

Sorry you have not got an answer before now. My team have been 4 staff down due to a bug virus.

 

Your focus merging issues will require some re-writing to improve. In this respect have you tried the latest beta, as 1.5 will not be patched again once 1.6 is released?

Regarding retouching, we are aware of some performance issues on Windows that show up on better hardware, but not found a precise recipe.

Would you please try changing the rendering for me from hardware to software.  In "Edit" > "Preferences" > "Performance" change 'Renderer' to 'Warp' (which is software). Then either restart of simply do "View" > "New View" and compare the 2 views at the same time.

 

Patrick Connor

Head of Tech support and QA

Edited by Patrick Connor

Patrick Connor

Serif (Europe) Ltd.

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29 minutes ago, Patrick Connor said:

GracieAllen,

 

Sorry you have not got an answer before now. My team have been 4 staff down due to a bug.

 

 

Software developers, with a bug. What's the chance of that ? ;)


Windows PCs. Photo and Designer, latest non-beta versions.

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32 minutes ago, Patrick Connor said:

Sorry you have not got an answer before now. My team have been 4 staff down due to a bug.

There probably was a better way to phrase that, but I hope everyone gets well & 'bug free' soon.

 

EDIT: toltec beat me to it.


Affinity Photo 1.7.1, Affinity Designer 1.7.1, Affinity Publisher 1.7.1; macOS High Sierra 10.13.6 iMac (27-inch, Late 2012); 2.9GHz i5 CPU; NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660M; 8GB RAM
Affinity Photo 1.7.1.143 & Affinity Designer 1.7.1.1 for iPad; 6th Generation iPad 32 GB; Apple Pencil; iOS 12.3.1

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kirkt, your reply was predictable, and I ABSOLUTELY believe what I stated.  I generally try to limit myself to software that works and has reasonably good support (and yes, I get the irony of saying that when I'm using Adobe products).  In this case, the BIGGEST thing I'm looking for is a focus stacking tool that is at LEAST as fast as Helicon Focus and does a significantly better job, AND at least as good as Zerene.  Which so far, THIS ONE AIN'T...  Which is a problem even when the support system works well.  Which means when I put in a question about how to make my workflow work with Affinity, and it's still sitting there, it doesn't give me a warm, fuzzy, supported feeling. 

If that's your standard and expectation, great.  But you're correct in that case I should dump this software and move on 'cause waiting days for answers is not acceptable.

And while I my sympathize with their bug, I'm dismayed that whatever it was could take the entire support staff out of action.

Patrick, if you have a pointer to 1.6 I'd put it on the box and see if it's significantly better.

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4 minutes ago, GracieAllen said:

Patrick, if you have a pointer to 1.6 I'd put it on the box and see if it's significantly better.

 

Click here to download the latest Windows Photo beta

As normally found in a post that is pinned at the top of the Photo Beta on Windows forum


Patrick Connor

Serif (Europe) Ltd.

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9 minutes ago, GracieAllen said:

I'm dismayed that whatever it was could take the entire support staff out of action.

Well clearly it didn't, we still had staff here responding to tickets and forum posts and your ticket created by this forum post was unfortunately never auto assigned to someone who was here. This was our process failure that I am sorry for, but most customers were answered during this time. I have only found 5 tickets outstanding from Saturday onwards, of the 634 tickets created. So you were unlucky to have been one of the overlooked ones in this case. Now, as I understand that your experience is the only one that should matter to you, that is really still not good enough, sorry again, but be aware this is not the experience of everyone during this time,


Patrick Connor

Serif (Europe) Ltd.

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16 minutes ago, GracieAllen said:

Patrick, the version of 1.6 I found appears to require a product key, which of course I do not have as I'm using the trial... 

 

Well then try the software rendering as I suggested please.

 

 

(p.s. As none of your previous 12 posts had mentioned the trial, there is no "of course" about it)


Patrick Connor

Serif (Europe) Ltd.

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Rendering using the GTX 970 on six D810 images (not the same ones, but same number).  Also changed the Disk warning to 20K the other night and Disk usage to 25K.  Total time using WARP approximately 2:50.  Total using the 970 approximately 2:35.  Time using Helicon method C approximately 45 seconds.  WARP slightly slower but nothing massive.

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4 minutes ago, GracieAllen said:

Rendering using the GTX 970 on six D810 images (not the same ones, but same number).  Also changed the Disk warning to 20K the other night and Disk usage to 25K.  Total time using WARP approximately 2:50.  Total using the 970 approximately 2:35.  Time using Helicon method C approximately 45 seconds.  WARP slightly slower but nothing massive.

That is not surprising, as Warp is a draw time thing and is only going to improve the drawtime performance when retouching for example as I said earlier. The focus merge process is basically unaffected.. and would require recoding, as I said earlier. I suggested the 1.6 beta version for helping with the focus merging speed, because work has been done on that part of the code since the trial was compiled....

 

I can only suggest that you wait till we release 1.6 and come back (in a couple of months) to redownload the replacement v1.6 trail and try that for your specific case. I think you have wasted enough time on this already


Patrick Connor

Serif (Europe) Ltd.

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1 hour ago, GracieAllen said:

kirkt, your reply was predictable, and I ABSOLUTELY believe what I stated.  I generally try to limit myself to software that works and has reasonably good support (and yes, I get the irony of saying that when I'm using Adobe products).  In this case, the BIGGEST thing I'm looking for is a focus stacking tool that is at LEAST as fast as Helicon Focus and does a significantly better job, AND at least as good as Zerene.  Which so far, THIS ONE AIN'T...  Which is a problem even when the support system works well.  Which means when I put in a question about how to make my workflow work with Affinity, and it's still sitting there, it doesn't give me a warm, fuzzy, supported feeling. 

If that's your standard and expectation, great.  But you're correct in that case I should dump this software and move on 'cause waiting days for answers is not acceptable.

And while I my sympathize with their bug, I'm dismayed that whatever it was could take the entire support staff out of action.

 

Of course my reply was predictable, but it looks like you got a response.  I'm not sure why you think AP should have all of the tools and performance that Zerene or Helicon Focus does - it is a general purpose pixel editing application.  But hey, that's one of the things that this forum is for - requesting features.  Try going on the Adobe forum and posting your plea there and see what you get.  Also, consider that, regardless of the tools, the Windows version of AP is months old - enhancing the features and speed of focus stacking may not be a top priority on the Windows development map.  In the interim, consider using Zerene or Helicon Focus, they are both top notch.  You can also use enblend/enfuse (if you do not like the command line, there are GUI's for it).  Photoshop's focus stacking tools generally are not good.

 

My standard and expectation of this forum is derived from experience with it and the software.  While I do not know the developers or the forum members personally, I have found them to be helpful and I know that they are not a legion of help desk folks awaiting pleas for help 24 hours a day, but a small(er) operation trying to maintain an unrealistically high level of innovation and incorporating thousands of user suggestions, feedback and bug reports.  I am impressed beyond expectation at what they have managed to accomplish in such a short period of time at what are likely unprecedented levels of growth and demand from the users.

 

kirk

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