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Deozaan

Affinity Designer is literally too sluggish to use

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I'm not an artist by profession or hobby, but I do have occasion to create or modify some art files from time to time. So I purchased Affinity Designer last year because it seemed like a professional quality tool that would help me get work done. On the very first day I purchased and used it, I ran into problems with its speed. I received no response to my bug report. But I assumed it was a bug and that it would be dealt with.

Fast forward a year and a half of me using GIMP and Paint.NET because that was what I was familiar with and I hadn't taken the time to learn how to use Affinity Designer, and to be honest I got a bad first impression of it. But I wanted to give it another chance so I decided to buy the Affinity Designer Workbook and improve my skill with this supposedly great tool. But I can't even get past the introductory pages where it tells me what each of the tools do without running into show-stopping issues with the software's speed.

Here's a recording of me drawing a single curve with the Vector Brush Tool. I spent about 10 seconds drawing a squiggly curve on the artboard, but it takes four minutes to finish rendering what I drew. This is unacceptable.

To be fair, my system's FPS doesn't actually get as choppy as this video shows. It's just that Designer makes my system so sluggish that my screen recording software couldn't keep up. So while the FPS of my system wasn't as bad as shown in this video, it still took just as long for Designer to finish rendering the curve I drew.

I'm very mad, disappointed, and feel let down. I regret purchasing Affinity Designer, and the workbook, which I've discovered within the first 15 pages has printing blemishes. I suppose "Poor Quality All Around" should be Serif/Affinity's motto.

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Hi @Deozaan

Sorry for the delayed reply. 

The app should not be that slow with just a vector brush, so something else must be going on. 

What GPU have you got? Have you got all your graphic drivers up to date? 

What is your display option in Preferences > Performance > Display? 

Can you navigate to %AppData%\Affinity\Designer\ and rename 1.0 to 1.0.backup. See if that fixes the issue. If it does, can you zip the backup folder and attach it here?

Thanks,

Gabe. 

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On 9/27/2019 at 6:45 AM, GabrielM said:

Hi @Deozaan

Sorry for the delayed reply. 

The app should not be that slow with just a vector brush, so something else must be going on. 

What GPU have you got? Have you got all your graphic drivers up to date? 

What is your display option in Preferences > Performance > Display? 

Can you navigate to %AppData%\Affinity\Designer\ and rename 1.0 to 1.0.backup. See if that fixes the issue. If it does, can you zip the backup folder and attach it here?

Thanks,

Gabe. 

I have an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 670. I just updated the drivers and it's still slow.

I don't see the Display option you're asking about. If you mean Edit -> Preferences -> Performance -> Renderer, I had it set to GPU. This gives the terrible performance shown in the video I posted earlier. I tried changing it to WARP and it runs a lot better, but still takes several seconds after I finish drawing with the mouse before it finishes rendering the brush on the screen.

1619761166_AffinityDesignerPreferences.png.cabc87758904677bd68bf7558b16b8e8.png

And no, I can't navigate to %AppData%\Affinity\Designer and rename things. There is no Affinity folder in my %AppData% folder. It's not in Local, LocalLow, or Roaming. Maybe the difference is because I'm using the Microsoft Store version (1.7.2.471) of Designer. I'm not sure where else it would store those files though.

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Renaming that directory did not seem to make any difference in Designer's behavior with regard to the vector brush bringing it to a crawl. I still see the behavior where using my GPU as the renderer makes it extremely unresponsive for minutes after I've drawn a curve, and using WARP as the renderer is much better but still makes it sluggish for several (10-30) seconds after I've finished drawing a curve.

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If WARP is faster than GPU, we believe it might be something to do with your GPU drivers. Try this:

  • Download the latest graphics drivers from the manufacturer's website
  • Uninstall the current graphics drivers
  • Reboot
  • Install the latest drivers
  • Reboot

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7 hours ago, GabrielM said:

If WARP is faster than GPU, we believe it might be something to do with your GPU drivers. Try this:

  • Download the latest graphics drivers from the manufacturer's website
  • Uninstall the current graphics drivers
  • Reboot
  • Install the latest drivers
  • Reboot

As I said a couple days ago, I just updated my GPU drivers, so that seemed like an unnecessary waste of time to do it again. But when I updated the GPU drivers the first time I didn't do it exactly how you described, so I just did it again, this time following your instructions. As suspected, it was a waste of time. The program is still extremely slow to finish rendering a curve drawn with the Vector Brush Tool.

In the process of switching back and forth between the GPU and WARP renderers to test things these past few days, I've noticed another pattern. It seems Designer is trying really hard to smoothly animate the process of drawing the curve, rather than just drawing the final result. Calculating the change from frame to frame is tying up most of my CPU rather than using my GPU. But I can often get it to skip this "animation" process and just show the final result by opening up the menu. For example, if I click Edit -> Preferences, then the artboard will suddenly just show the final curve when the menu window pops up.

It seems to me that if Designer would stop trying to smoothly animate the process of displaying the curve, and just show the most recent/final state of the curve then this would no longer be an issue.

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Sorry for the delayed reply. 
I'm afraid there's not much we can do if my advice did not work, sorry :(.
Warp should never be faster than GPU. If that's the case, there is a problem with either drivers or hardware. 

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On 9/23/2019 at 7:20 AM, Deozaan said:

I'm very mad, disappointed, and feel let down. I regret purchasing Affinity Designer, and the workbook, which I've discovered within the first 15 pages has printing blemishes. I suppose "Poor Quality All Around" should be Serif/Affinity's motto.

While I do not have the exact same problem that you describe, I totally understand you here and I pretty much feel the same. I was enthusiastic at first, bought the software after trying AD Beta for a while in good faith of the bugs I observed being adressed. However there's a "Thanks, we will work on it"-promise on the forums at most and lots of bugs just stick from version to version over months. I can't take those posts serious anymore.

After all, I expected the software I bought to be a solid product with the features it provides to actually work, but in the reality I observe, it feels more like it's rushed out, features over quality.

So, I join you on the call for better quality! Come on, Affinity, we all would love to see you as an real alternative to Adobe, but get your QA right, don't bite more than you can chew and give us a big bag of bug fixes for Christmas this year!

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On 10/16/2019 at 4:04 AM, Mark Ingram said:

@Deozaan, do you have access to another machine where you could try the same test?

@Mark Ingram,

Sorry for the late reply. Somehow I saw the notification about the "there's nothing more we can do" response, but missed yours. As a result, I didn't bother checking back into this thread until I was notified about pekranodon's reply.

Yes, I do have another machine that I could test on. But it's more of a general purpose machine for basic web browsing, email checking, video watching, etc. It's not a semi-powerful development/gaming machine like the one I'm experiencing problems with. I'm not even sure if it has a dedicated GPU. But I'm still willing to test things out on it.

Just so I know I'm doing what is expected of me, and so I don't waste more of my time doing basically what you're going to ask me to do, but not doing it exactly the way you'd ask me to do it and then feel obligated to do it all again, can you be more specific about exactly what test I should be trying on the other machine? Do you mean I should try just drawing a single curve with the Vector Brush tool as shown in the video I recorded and see if I experience similar sluggishness? Or is there something else or something more you'd like me to test?

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It turns out I had a different machine in mind, so the 2nd test machine is a little more powerful than I thought. It's a 3.4 GHz 4-core (w/ Hyptherthreading) Intel Core i7 3770 CPU with 8 GB RAM. It has no dedicated GPU so it's running Intel HD Graphics 4000.

And it seems to handle the Vector Brush tool much better. If I draw one big squiggly line for about 10 seconds it starts to lag behind at around 5 seconds in and takes about 5 seconds after I stop before it is finished.

Actually, I've been doing more testing while working on this post and I've discovered that the zoom level makes a big difference. This machine's display is running at a lower resolution than my main machine, so it couldn't display the 1024x1024 artboard at 100%. The more I'm zoomed in, the sooner it becomes sluggish and the longer it takes to complete rendering the curve after I've released the mouse button. Of course this all makes sense, since it has to show more detail the more zoomed in I am.

It's just that I wasn't aware of the zoom when I first started testing on this other machine and was very pleasantly surprised when I recorded a video (at 37% zoom) and all went pretty well.

But even taking zoom into account, drawing a curve at 100% zoom is leagues faster than the 4+ minutes the GPU renderer takes on my main machine, and more comparable to but probably better than how WARP performs on my main machine.

Attached is a new recording I made at 100% zoom on the "other, test machine."

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I think the aim is to optimise the use of computing power. During drawing, until the mouse button is released, the appearance of the entire line is constantly calculated. It seems to be moving like a snake. The longer the line, the more calculations... Even the most powerful computer will not be able to handle this at the right line length.  The program should calculate only the currently drawn fragment, not the whole brush stroke. Program should leave what he's already calculated in peace. Maybe only after releasing the mouse button whole line could be recalculated if it's necessary?

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