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Sphinx.
Filter Optimizer

Posts: 1352
Filters: 38
Yep, and as the paying customer base I am sure they listen to you. What I am experiencing is a once flourishing, but now dying community.

First step in this direction was the "Dispute over filter rights" (which caused many longtimers to stop publishing quality filters - both aesthetically and performance wise - including myself), and now we have the "Slowness dispute", which seem to be directed towards FF alone (which is very wrong).

It brings ALOT of negative attention to the forums and people slowly drop off.. (also because it reads SpaceRay all over the place.. relax buddy.. let people breathe!)

If a filter is slow send your complains to the author, not FF. Complaining to FF is like complaining to the paper factory if you're unsatisfied with the story in a book.
Njyldgarkn sample cache!
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GMM
Moderator
Filter Forge, Inc
Posts: 2043
Quote
Sign Guy wrote:
BTW, the Quote feature of the FF forum hasn't worked for me for a month or more. Is anyone else having a problem with it?


I'm afraid our CMS doesn't work well with your browser. The problem with quotes is discussed here.

Quote
Sign Guy wrote:
the selection of any other filter or preset turns the anti-aliasing back on. It seems to me that just adding a checkbox to Options to turn off the anti-aliasing there instead of on a filter/preset by filter/preset basis would be a big help.


This is a good suggestion – feel free to repost in the Feature Wishlist forum where it has more chances to be seen.

Quote
tetonimages wrote:
So, if I have 12 gigs of ram, and if I set the preferences to 50% (or 6 gigs on my system), the most it will try to use is 1500 MB?


M. Jackson, you belong to a small group of power users with a 64-bit system. Yes, I know they're gaining popularity but the great share of users are fine with a 32-bit system and 2–4 GB RAM. In your case shifting the slider won't help but on an average 32-bit system setting the slider to 905 should speed things up a bit.

I'd recommend you spend some time optimizing the filters you use. Considering your huge resolutions, 10 minutes spent to optimize a filter performance may result in saved hours of rendering afterwards. Just remember that most filter authors test their filters and filter speed on default 600x600 images.

Quote
SpaceRay wrote:
Please GMM, Could you tell me if all this settings are right and the best for FF optimization?


No, these settings result in only 50%-60% of the maximum speed on your system. Uncheck the 'Anti-alias sources' and 'Use double-precision output cache' and you'll definitely see the improvement. Also, switch to the Interface tab and make sure you have either 'Use cache preservation' unchecked or Progressive previews set to Off – but not both enabled!

SpaceRay, if you need to discuss this further please start a new thread: I'd appreciate if whining happens here and technical discussions take place somewhere else smile;)

Quote
tetonimages wrote:
I'd like to invite them to offer suggestions on improving performance if that is possible. GMM?


Sorry? I'm not the decision-maker here, you are free to propose improvements but it is Vladimir Golovin who decides on implementing things.

Quote
Sphinx. wrote:
Slow filters are slow either because:

A: the filter construction is not optimal
B: FF is slow and lacks GPU support

I place my bets on A.. stop whining and get into optimal filter construction already smile:-)


Sphinx, thank you for your support!
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Morgantao
Can't script

Posts: 2185
Filters: 20
Sphinx, I know there was a discussion over the right of filters, but that was long before my time...
Can you give me the clifnotes on what it was that made you and the others stop posting your filters?

GMM, I know this thread has become a whine and bash free for all, I just want to tell you that none of it is directed towards you.
You have my utmost respect, and I'm sure everybody else here agrees that you are the only one we can expect to recieve honest answers from.
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GMM
Moderator
Filter Forge, Inc
Posts: 2043
Quote
Morgantao wrote:
GMM, I know this thread has become a whine and bash free for all, I just want to tell you that none of it is directed towards you.


I don't object to whining as long as it is concentrated here and doesn't occur all over the forum. We also never delete critical comments as some other companies do, except for obvious cases of abuse like obscene language etc.
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tetonimages
owner
Posts: 19
GMM,
Thanks for posting your suggestions here. I will spend some time making sure I have the right check boxes turned on. I ran one of the filters last night with mostly default settings and going to FF through the Plug-In in Photoshop. It took 20 minutes, but it didn't crash.

If you go all the way back to the first post I made in this thread, the post was stating that I had read quite a few comments about people using an underpowered machine and getting slow rendering speeds as a result. I was pointing out the problem for me wasn't a slow machine, but it is more likely the fact I am wanting to process larger files.

I'd suggest FF should be writing for 64 bit systems. You are way behind already. I don't think you will find many 32 bit systems being sold anymore, and surely not by graphics minded buyers. I bought my 32 bit laptop in September of 2008 at a time when it 64 bit systems were starting to become popular, even though some of the programs were not ready for it. But that was 3 1/2 years ago and 64 bit has definitely come of age. If the company is not going to embrace 64 bit systems, I'd suggest that is a self inflicted death sentence for the company.

I happily buy a FF4 upgrade it were going to be 64 bit.

Please come back here often and help us with suggestions on optimizing our settings. This thread went on a long time without any response from FF (you), but seeing your name in the thread and seeing suggestions makes me feel a lot better. Please pass on some of these comments to Vladimir Golovin.

M. Jackson
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tetonimages
owner
Posts: 19
GMM,
I was getting ready to comment on the info you posted earlier about your programmers optimizing the filters to work at 800 x 800 pixels. Maybe it is still there and maybe you deleted or edited it——but OUCH! That is way too small for anything other than web page graphics work. 2000x2000 would still be small considering most digital cameras are capturing images 2800 x 4200. The new wave of digital cameras are much, much larger than that.

When I look at the examples in the galleries, most appear to be featuring art images intended to be printed and not just web page images. They are examples of what I hope to be doing to my photos. The examples shown are misleading to me if you are suggesting FF is only tested and optimized on 800x800 pixel images.

I know, don't kill the messenger! I just hope the messenger is passing along the comments to the people making decisions at FF.

M. Jackson
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Morgantao
Can't script

Posts: 2185
Filters: 20
TetonImages, actually GMM was refering to the users creating the filters. Most of us make our filters using the default 600x600 image size, and using the built in preview images.
The programmer of FF inc have nothing to do with the filters on the filter library. It's pretty much all user contribution.
The main reason (I think) we all use the default 600x600 pixel preview images, is because it makes it easier to upload the filter to the library. You can't upload a filter that is using an image other than the built in images that ship with FF. That means that if you used your own images, after you're done making your filter, you have to get back into the editor and go preset by preset and switching the images back to the default previews.
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SpaceRay
SpaceRay

Posts: 8227
Filters: 33
GMM thanks very much for your good and interesting answer that clarify things

I have a good news for GMM to say, and that after the answers from GMM and knowing that most probably FF inc. will not do anything to make a faster render engine, make it have more ram to make it faster, convert it to 64 bit, have GPU support or whatever that could speed the render and preview time of FF I will not continue requesting and complaining about this topic.

From my point of view now, there is no point in continuing this, as we will not get nothing from FF Inc. and only be a problem for GMM.

So if FF is SLOW, the ONLY REAL AND POSSIBLE solution is to have a faster CPU.
For more information about this please see this thread here
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Sphinx.
Filter Optimizer

Posts: 1352
Filters: 38
SpaceRay,

Instead of saying "FF is slow", try "The filter is slow" and then you have the options to bug the author, try to optimize it yourself or ask the community for help.

FF provides a toolbox of components - how these components are used is up the the author. Performance is inevitably tied to construction and no matter how "fast" FF is, authors will always push filters past the acceptable performance limit.

What you CAN blame FF is that they do not have any performance requirements for the library anymore. They once had, which is why all the old filters perform well smile;-)
Njyldgarkn sample cache!
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SpaceRay
SpaceRay

Posts: 8227
Filters: 33
Quote
Sphinx wrote:

Instead of saying "FF is slow", try "The filter is slow" and then you have the options to bug the author, try to optimize it yourself or ask the community for help.


Sorry but I only agree with you partially. Because is true that the filter you use is very important and the speed is VERY dependant of that filter. Some filters are fast and can take only a few seconds, others takes some minutes, and others can take up to 45 minutes to render a 4000x4000 result.

You say that I could bug the author to try to optimize the filter, but I have seen many filters made by Vladimir Golovin that is supposed that nobody else knows best how to optimize a filter and these are ones of those many that takes 45 minutes to render a 4000x4000 result.

And I have FF Professional with multicore active and an Intel i7 2600K that is one of the fastest CPU so the problem is not from a slow computer.
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SpaceRay
SpaceRay

Posts: 8227
Filters: 33
Quote
Morgantao wrote:
The main reason (I think) we all use the default 600x600 pixel preview images, is because it makes it easier to upload the filter to the library.

You can't upload a filter that is using an image other than the built in images that ship with FF. That means that if you used your own images, after you're done making your filter, you have to get back into the editor and go preset by preset and switching the images back to the default previews.


I am sorry but I do not agree with this, at least in my own personal case, because when I make a filter I do NOT use the 600x600 built in previews to make it and make the tests, I load my own external images AND I do not save them as a preset so they are not archived and kept inside the filter, so I do not need to go to the presets later to delete the presets that include external images.

I only use the built in previews to make the presets for the filter only at the end when it is already finished and not before.
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SpaceRay
SpaceRay

Posts: 8227
Filters: 33
Quote
Sphinx. wrote:
Slow filters are slow either because:

A: the filter construction is not optimal
B: FF is slow and lacks GPU support

I place my bets on A.. stop whining and get into optimal filter construction already


I could put an added letter

C: buy a new more powerful computer, or even make it double CPU so it is faster to be able to render the slow render engine.

And a added comment

I place my bets on A.. stop whining and get into optimal filter construction already because FF will not do something about FF as they will not care about it and keep with the same slow render engine.
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SpaceRay
SpaceRay

Posts: 8227
Filters: 33
Quote
Quote
tetonimages wrote:
So, if I have 12 gigs of ram, and if I set the preferences to 50% (or 6 gigs on my system), the most it will try to use is 1500 MB?


GMM wrote:
M. Jackson, you belong to a small group of power users with a 64-bit system. Yes, I know they're gaining popularity but the great share of users are fine with a 32-bit system and 2–4 GB RAM.

smile:?: smile:?: So do you mean that the thousands of professional and powerful companies and the lots of persons that work with graphics for business are still using computers with 32 bits and 2-4 GB RAM? smile:?: smile:?:

Are you saying this seriously ??? smile:?:

Is this in the earth or in another planet ?
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Skybase
2D/3D Generalist

Posts: 2662
Filters: 65
YES!! SpaceRay absolutely! smile:) You'd be surprised! Some companies do not upgrade hardware at all because they may be using proprietary software or hardware developed for inhouse purposes. MOST studios will not immediately get their hands on the latest software, in fact some studios still use super old versions because "it works."

<HUGE POST BELOW! Sorry I had to write so much>

Professionals rely heavily on software and hardware, workflows are established based on software that works, so any introduction of "the new stuff" would be basically a hazard unless you're crazy enough to reestablish an entire workflow. Most studios don't like the idea of chaining immediately and they will not upgrade for years until they can be sure that the software works and that the workforce that's using established software won't have to relearn everything from scratch.

There's also the problem with 64 bit vs 32 bit, it's obvious which is better based on just numbers, but what's technically used more is 32 bit in the graphics industry. Part of it is because, again, most people would prefer to work on something that works in their favor. But the other thing is because some software developed for in house purposes is compiled for 32bit, it's not easy to rewrite parts and in many cases the studios are too busy working on projects so tool-development becomes a bit sluggish.

Also for just people working outside of studios, many people don't even upgrade to the latest version of stuff. In many cases it's the same reason: it disrupts the way they work and they want to make sure they can maintain business as usual. Of course new stuff is important, development of new technologies and implementations of such things is what keeps digital artists alive and well, but it doesn't mean you should upgrade right away.

This basically means the majority of pros and even just art enthusiasts own "not so great" computers. The lowest intel core2duo with 2GB of RAM is fairly enough to do the vast majority of the work you do, and hence most people will not go beyond that unless they decide to do so. Of course, some of us love to upgrade, like me! smile:) I enjoy spoiling myself with new hardware and software all the time. But at the same time I still have to maintain older versions of the software to a degree since not all clients I work with own the latest software.

The graphics hardware and software industry tends to gives us an illusion that pros are using the latest of the best software. That many things are made easy with new features and improvements, but it should be pointed out that these are just sales terms and buzzwords. There's no guarantee that the software will work on everybody's computer which is what the "Minimum specs" chart is all about so you don't buy software that's "too new" for your machine.

This is why you can't just implement GPU and suddenly expect everybody to be able to run the software properly. People more likely don't have great hardware or even hardware that's capable of running it properly.

So if you have more than 2GB of ram with more than 2 cores and running windows 7... you're really spoiled.
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uberzev
not uberfez

Posts: 1826
Filters: 36
Quote
Sphinx, I know there was a discussion over the right of filters, but that was long before my time...
Can you give me the clifnotes on what it was that made you and the others stop posting your filters?
Would also like to know.
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SpaceRay
SpaceRay

Posts: 8227
Filters: 33
Quote
Morgantao wrote on page 1 in April 2012

In the last 5 posts or so there are the same issues reported for pretty much ever...

Memory usage of 1.5GB max, while the system has 6 or 8 or 12 GB.
Slowness with relativly small images.
FF going belly up with "bad allocation error" all the time....

For crying out loud, FF inc, DO SOMETHING!!!!


I agree with Morgantao, and also want to know if Filter Forge Inc. will do something about this or will be kept all in silence and without any kind of news about this and give no information and left out all the FF users that are having this problems.

If the Dev team is not going to make a fix soon, at least could give some information about what are they doing to be able to fix this.
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iSeeThis
Posts: 5
Alas, even FF4 is STILL slow. I choose to comment here because this thread is the first link in google search. How the hill could this be. I can't believe it. I'm the new customer. Almost actually. You guys give me beta for test and I test drive it. After trying to work with it, what I thought is, you dare give this for test drive? How can people buy your products?

By the way, your texture is unrival. Please be in 2013 technology and we'll love you forever.
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SpaceRay
SpaceRay

Posts: 8227
Filters: 33
Quote
iSeeThis

Alas, even FF4 is STILL slow


FF4 has exactly the same render engine as FF 3 so there can´t be any speed increase, and also it has been confirmed in other threads that FF 4.0 will NOT have any speed increase.

Quote
iSeeThis

How the hill could this be. I can't believe it


I have been asking the same and I do not understand HOW is possible that sometimes FF is very slow when using some filters and some high resolution of 5000 x 5000, and as said it has been confirmed that FF 4.0 will stay the same and they will not make any changes to make it faster as it happens now with many other softwares.

WHAT COMPUTER DO YOU HAVE iSeeThis?

Do you have a very old and slow computer ? Because FF needs lots of CPU power, and also is highly recommended to have the Professional version with multicore support.

Quote
iSeeThis

You guys give me beta for test and I test drive it. After trying to work with it, what I thought is, you dare give this for test drive? How can people buy your products?


smile:?: WHat do you mean? smile:?: the Beta is a test software and can of course have errors and problems and is NOT as stable and well as the FF 3.0 final version.

They dare to give it for test drive because it works right at least most of the times (from what I have used it), and if you find some bugs and errors is good to tell it in the forum or to contact support to help them.

I have bought it because is an excellent and awesome software and have lots of good things that regretably has the very bad thing of being many times slow or very slow depending of the filter you are going to use.

There is nothing really wrong or bad in FF so that would make you not to buy it.


Quote
iSeeThis

Please be in 2013 technology and we'll love you forever


YES, I agree, if FF could be in the level of 2013 technology surely LOTS more of people would love it much more and forever and would be really awesome, but regretably this will NOT happen, so we will have to keep what we already have now and what can really be possible and wait for the new features of FF 4.0
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tetonimages
owner
Posts: 19
I started this thread a long time ago after reading FF team responses to other people. At the time, most of their comments seemed to be telling people they needed a more powerful computer. My comments were to highlight the fact my computer WAS very powerful and the slow processing was not caused by anything at my end. I have all the settings optimized based on their suggestions. Not all filters are slow, but the ones I need to use ARE VERY SLOW. This is now made worse by the fact I have a Nikon D800 camera that captures 35mpx images.

A 4912px x 7360px opened as a 16 bit file in Photoshop is over 200 megs. I can't even think of trying to run one of the watercolor filters on a full sized image. My computer might melt.

FF: I would be happy to purchase an upgrade to version 4 if it was optimized to work with 64 bit, quad core processors with 12-16 gigs of ram. But, that's not what I understand is in version 4. Please correct me if I am wrong on this issue. Until it is optimized, I don't plan on spending another dime with the company, nor advise anyone I know to spend a dime on any version.

M. Jackson
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Skybase
2D/3D Generalist

Posts: 2662
Filters: 65
Yeah... I don't know if you've ever gone through much of the complaints regarding FF's speed but it seems there are technical walls which unfortunately probably won't get removed. Guess if it ever happens... they'll end up rewriting the whole software. It's an understandable pain, and as a guy who makes / uses FilterForge filters it does take quite some patients to run it. The library, given the fact that a bunch of users are contributing to it kinda becomes a bit messy in regards to how optimal they are. In many cases they aren't optimized to their best ability due to various reasons. Even after optimizations, filters end up running slow in part for more customizability and ease of development.

Now I'm not saying it in defense of FilterForge or anything, I'm giving you my experiences with flexible node-based programs. In the end, they're not as optimal as programs which have been compiled and dedicated to creating certain effects. It's unfortunate to say that some of the speed limit comes fr om the flexibility in allowing users to create their own filters. That's a trade off you need to go over and think about when you consider programs like FilterForge. The other side seems to be the double-precision, super high quality nature of the way FilterForge just renders. So there's another trade off between quality and speed. I guess its an either-or situation wh ere you either sacrifice quality and flexibility for speed or make a program that produces good results with the best flexible user interaction. This goes pretty much the same for much of the other softwares out there.

In the end FilterForge's render speeds are pretty sluggish when it comes to some filters but there are acceptable reasons behind it at least in my view. As a technical artist, 3D content developer, and designer I pretty much share the same frustrations as many others here experience. But in honest regard, I don't sacrifice my quality over speed nor do I prefer to spend more cash for a set of dedicated, filters with little flexibility for final results. In the end dedicated filters are powerful but don't exactly give you the vision you want and that's why I stick to FilterForge. There's just no other program that works this way.
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Skybase
2D/3D Generalist

Posts: 2662
Filters: 65
ONE LAST THING: I typically use various computationally heavy tools to accomplish VFX work, design work, and otherwise. I happen to also enjoy going on forums for those software companies making those tools. There are always 2 or 3 (or more) complaints either regarding 64bit compatibility, slow computation/renders, bad results, or not enough flexibility. Like these are legit forum threads with legit complaints. But those threads QUICKLY become an annoying, ridiculous, stupid bash-fest.

I don't want to take it on anybody here, and I don't like pointing fingers, but there's one thing that seriously bothers me. It's that there's only complaining and nobody's trying to find or share a solution that at least eases the pain. It's grown old, unprofessional, lame, and like a surreal scene of people talking to walls and beating a dead horse at the same time.

As a working professional in such field I would like to share my knowledge and understanding to the best of my ability, but what impedes me from sharing anything is this utter lack of openness, and a closed-up, focused assault on a program that works fine. I prefer a position wh ere I'm not in the firing line of constant, bitter scrutiny and thick, passionate dislike. I want to be helpful, not harmful.

So after all this time there's little evidence of anything being discussed to ease the pain and suffering. There's a thick fog of bashing and whining, and a couple voices that had the right idea. It's just that none of them were further developed. If anything, I'm still going to write up a general document regarding render times and optimization techniques that's general enough to be applied to many genres of technical art, not just FilterForge.

I want people to simply understand that they're facing a very complex piece of program, and not just something that makes filters and renders them. It's difficult, it's got many faces, and you're not going to grasp the idea of it in one go. I'm not going to force that thought on anybody, but I feel some people should probably take a step back and stop writing things that go nowhere.

The problem is not something we can easily ignore, and it's serious but there are ways we can lessen the pain. From my experience, there's just no good continuously complaining problems on a public forum. Solutions can be derived and people can help. Of course there are somethings I can't do anything about. 64bit compatibility is a main concern, but I don't bother with it anymore. Seen enough arguments that went nowhere.

Folks, there's help everywhere. There are a lot of talented people here on these forums and it sucks reading a couple, impertinent comments that degrades the good nature of people.
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iSeeThis
Posts: 5
>> WHAT COMPUTER DO YOU HAVE iSeeThis?

Sorry for slow response. I may use FF4 beta too much smile:D

My MacBook Pro 15 Retina should have enough of latest stuffs. Quad core, 8GB Ram, 256GB SSD, etc. I have my photoshop and Eye Candy 7 speed like old school MS PaintBrush running on 2007 PCs. Actually FF4 beta runs fast on some filters. But something like TECHNO Texture is like forever. I don't know. It was my early try and got that bad impression. I noticed that while rendering TECHNO my MacBook Pro was activated to its full potent. Fan voice was so loud. But one hour pass and I got just 20% or so! I've tried both 16 and 8 bit. Can't believe my eyes.
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iSeeThis
Posts: 5
>> Solutions can be derived and people can help.

Okay, this is my contribution. For you guys who want techno texture, create new photoshop document lower than 500x500 pixel at 72 dpi. Then render the filter and you'll get reasonable speed. After that, enlarge the result by increasing resolution or something alike. Hope it helps some.
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tetonimages
owner
Posts: 19
I haven't read this whole thread in a long time, and it might have been mentioned earlier, but I'd like to see FF put a rating beside each filter....like : Fast, Medium, Slow. They could open a 3000 x 4000 300dpi photo image to do their testing and not a little web sized image. At least we'd have an idea up front if the filter itself is worth the wait times.

I tried turning a layer into a Smart Object or let it run FF as a Smart Filter in Photoshop. It doesn't work. Too bad.

Instead, in Photoshop, it is possible to select just a small section of a larger document, copy it to the clipboard, open in a new document and paste it there, then flatten. Run the FF filters on just that small area and if you like it, go back to the main document and hit Control-F to run the same filter and settings on the full image. This is much faster than running the entire document each time just to see if you like the results.

It would also be nice if the FF team would look over some of the slower filters and help the submitter optimize it, if possible.

Or, they could re-write the engine and bring it up to the state of the art of current graphics machines.
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Crapadilla
lvl 52 Filter Weaver and Official "Filter Forge Seer"

Posts: 4062
Filters: 59
I really think we should start a Top Fifty Ways To Reduce You Render Times thread an have it sticky'd.
--- Crapadilla says: "Damn you, stupid redundant feature requests!" ;)
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Sharandra
Filter Forge Addict

Posts: 836
Filters: 25
Quote
I really think we should start a Top Fifty Ways To Reduce You Render Times thread an have it sticky'd.


Good idea! smile:-)

I´m personally a bit sick of this kind of whine threads tbh.

Apart from all what has been said already about Filter optimization etc, the question you have to ask yourself is:

Would I have been able to create this texture from scratch in Photoshop/Zbrush or whatever, in the same or less amount of time it takes to render it? And also, what other tasks can I do while it´s rendering?
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Sign Guy
Digital Art Developer-Publisher

Posts: 356
I'm sick of them too but only because they have not resulted in any effective response from the application authors. As a licensee, it isn't my job to go in and optimize a library filter. It is the job of the FF team to have already done that or not accept the filter in the first place.

Like them or not, whine threads have included lots of worthwhile suggestions that have been ignored, not responded to and not implemented. Out of the 9,390 filters currently in the library, how many do you find useful and well optimized? How many do you feel would be useful if only someone would edit and reconstruct them? How many do you feel are there simply to swell the numbers as a selling point?

My investment of both time and money in Filter Forge came to an end after the release of version 3. It is instead spent with the competition who gives me a well thought out and supported product that is both quick and produces filters and renderings of unsurpassed quality.
Fred Weiss
Allied Computer Graphics, Inc.
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Sharandra
Filter Forge Addict

Posts: 836
Filters: 25
Depends on how you look at the program really.

For me, FF is a tool to create my own texture filters. With the additional bonus of a community created filter library.

The quality of the library has been discussed so many times.
Where would you draw the line? Everyone has different needs and preferences. A filter that´s total crap to me is someone else´s favorite. For one person 10 min render times is no problem, while another user freaks out at anything above a few seconds.

And don´t forget that the author´s don´t get paid for their work. We all invest our time into creating filters for you to use for free.
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Sign Guy
Digital Art Developer-Publisher

Posts: 356
I would draw the line at wherever the authors chose to draw the line for a standardized sample's performance. If the issue was just ten minutes, you would not hear me complain. But the issue is that it is often closer to an hour for a rendering and then there's the presumably easy fix to the anti aliasing that would reduce the refresh times by as much as 80% that remains unaddressed.

By contrast, the seamless texture creation software I currently use has tons of video tutorials on using their software and their lead programmer is regularly on their forums with direct answers and screen shots on any issue or question that arises. They include both an extensive and well developed filter and photo library that is not submitted by their licensees and which is free to use in any way a licensee wants to use it. There are no unhappy, unpaid filter authors because the software author uses a business model that does not use filters from their licensees.

Their latest version is in beta and is updated every couple of days addressing problems as they are discovered. Preview refresh times are nearly instantaneous making creation of variations very easy. Rendering times for a 3600 x 3600 tile typically take less than two minutes.

I post this not to promote the competition. I would much prefer to see the FF team become responsive and improve the product in ways that would save time. It has been stated here often (without proof or example) that Filter Forge is slow because the quality is so much better. I submit that such a claim is untrue and that Filter Forge has simply gone down a wrong path with their product and their business model. The points posted about the competitive product are simply examples of the progress that FF is not making.
Fred Weiss
Allied Computer Graphics, Inc.
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Skybase
2D/3D Generalist

Posts: 2662
Filters: 65
Sign Guy... just use the software you like... that's what the market is for.

Folks... the arguments are just becoming sour statements and only mounting frustrations between those complaining about FilterForge and people who really don't have issues with the program.

It surprises me how much frustration can mount in this one thread!

Well... I think I want to take a more general approach. Like we've argued enough here seriously. I'm starting to want to see solutions arise and it's nice to see some indication people are trying to work it out. I think it's time to foster those instead of making claims. I know some of the solutions need to come from FilterForge as a company, but we can still compensate.

I prefer to help rather than argue. Do people follow me?
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Sign Guy
Digital Art Developer-Publisher

Posts: 356
Well I do Skybase. But I still have a disappointing investment in FF that I'd prefer to see made more useful. You always have the option to discontinue reading this thread if other licensee's frustrations bother you just as I and others have the right to voice them.
Fred Weiss
Allied Computer Graphics, Inc.
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Skybase
2D/3D Generalist

Posts: 2662
Filters: 65
I know Sing Guy. I know.

I'm more addressing a number of arguments made by others that seemed to fall short of the technical understanding of the software. I just feel part of their irritation is coming fr om their attempts doing odd procedures in attempt to make things run faster. Just like a thing where I can definitely provide a small explanation and that may smooth the process a bit. But I guess I don't know until somebody just says "ok, I'll take a moment."

I just feel part of the argument comes from this lack of technical knowledge. I can see why. It's a pretty darn difficult program and a lot of people don't exactly share the same experiences as I do. So I can expect arguments to arise quickly.

I'm a general 3D/2D artist and I've done a lot of work in this field for quite some time now.... So when I see people who are kinda struggling technically I just wanna give them a hand. That really helps people. I just don't like leaving fellow artists in the dark.
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Sharandra
Filter Forge Addict

Posts: 836
Filters: 25
Ofc, you have the right to voice them. You at least do it in a constructive and polite way.

I´m more annoyed by those "OMG!!FFS WHY YOU SO SLOW FF?? YOU SERIOUS NOOB PROGRAM?!11!?" kind of posts. Or "OMG THIS BETA IS FULL OF BUGS!11!11 I wanz my money back!!!". Doh! (and yes I´m exagerating just a little bit smile;-))
Ppl were you get the impression they come to the forum just to rant and bash the program, and don´t even bother with taking a little bit of time to read up on things.
Plus a certain user who always has to put fuel on the fire or reignite old ones smile;-)

Plus something I wonder about, there were so many complaints about the bad allocation error. Now that they possibly fixed it, no one gives any feedback or makes some big resolution tests. That would help much more than complaining.
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tetonimages
owner
Posts: 19
This entire topic could go away IF Filter Forge would rewrite the engine to work with, and take advantage of the upper end systems with quad core processors and generous amounts of ram. That has definitely been discussed over and over and over in this thread.

My big gripe is the fact I paid for version two, then was enticed to pay for an upgrade to version three, and I am now seeing version 4 on the horizon, still without the necessary engine rebuild to make it work well on an upper end system. Worse yet, they still send out emails telling me I can buy a lifetime upgrade for FF. FF is my LAST filter package I go to, not because I don't like what it "can" do, but because it is simply way too slow for me and my projects. It think the people have a right to gripe and whine as long as the company continues to keep their head in the sand on what is really needed.

I personally don't care what it takes for any of the people to write a filter. I don't need to be told why it is hard to do and hard to optimize. I only want it to work in a reasonable time frame.
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Sharandra
Filter Forge Addict

Posts: 836
Filters: 25
Man, I have been doing it wrong my whole life!

I´m gonna take my bike back to the shop tomorrow and demand that they rebuild it into a sportscar, because it takes me too long to get from A to B!
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iSeeThis
Posts: 5
Sign Guy >> It is instead spent with the competition who gives me a well thought out and supported product that is both quick and produces filters and renderings of unsurpassed quality.

Please do me a favor. Name them! For texture creation, I've got Eye Candy 7 alone now.
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tetonimages
owner
Posts: 19
But Sharanda,
You paid for a sports car and it runs like a bike. I guess it is just a matter of perspective. On some of these filters, it is lucky if it ever gets from point A to point B. smile:(
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Skybase
2D/3D Generalist

Posts: 2662
Filters: 65
tetonimages, can see your pain man. But yeah... we're talking pretty relative over all. I can safely say though, that my background in 3D art seriously gives a firm view of FilterForge's render speeds as being reasonable. It's as fast as mentalray, and mentalray is a seriously fast CPU-based render engine despite the bold arguments made on various forums across the web.

I mean the fact that FilterForge produces diffuse, bump, normal, specular, AO, rAO passes for me already saves a ton of time. But not all of us uses that feature... or knows how to utilize them to their advantage. Even better, the node based compositing approach in this product really helps so I can render out specific functions out as separate layers. Once again, most people don't really know about that or haven't gone that far.

We're all running short on time. I'm in crunch time right now working on another project and I need to get it published. But software does get in my way. I choose to work with it to the best of my ability since it's what I got. I paid for the software just as you did. So to me a lot of what's being claimed here seems something I can relate to, but the difference is in what you know and come to understand, over what I know and understand.

Just my views, sir.
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tetonimages
owner
Posts: 19
Quote
The Filter Forge Watercolor filter is so realistic that it's scary. It is soooooooo GREAT! Trust me, you definitely need to check this out.

Russell Brown
Senior Creative Director
Adobe Inc.
www.russellbrown.com


I am ready to move on and let this thread go where it needs to go, but when I read a quote like that—the biggest one on the FF home page—I don't envision a filter written for a 600x600 pixel image. All you have to do is read over the home page and realize they are promoting a sports car and we (people doing projects larger than a web page image) have to get where we need to go on a bike. Even now, 4.0 is on the horizon, but they are still peddling away under bike power and continuing to promote the product with the quote taken off their page just a few minutes ago.

And this quote from FF above:
Quote
M. Jackson, you belong to a small group of power users with a 64-bit system. Yes, I know they're gaining popularity but the great share of users are fine with a 32-bit system and 2–4 GB RAM. In your case shifting the slider won't help but on an average 32-bit system setting the slider to 905 should speed things up a bit.

I'd recommend you spend some time optimizing the filters you use. Considering your huge resolutions, 10 minutes spent to optimize a filter performance may result in saved hours of rendering afterwards. Just remember that most filter authors test their filters and filter speed on default 600x600 images.


M. Jackson is my name. I don't think you can go to any Best Buy or Staples and buy any system now that isn't 64 bit. I called Tech Support about any suggestions on speeding up the system. I had already made the changes based on information in this thread, but I found it insulting that the person on the phone had no clue anyone was even concerned about their software's speed performance.

Normally, I don't keep coming back to a thread like this one, but I am the one who wrote the original post way back. Kudos to FF for letting this thread live. They could have killed it long ago. I'd like to think, like SignGuy, they'd be learning what people need and want and be working on fixing whatever issues people are having. There are a lot of bashes at the company in this thread, but there should be plenty of information that could help them.

Cheers,
M. Jackson / TetonImages
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Skybase
2D/3D Generalist

Posts: 2662
Filters: 65
Oh well if anything I'm just gonna leave this thread alone. It's done enough work. I've said enough myself.
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Sharandra
Filter Forge Addict

Posts: 836
Filters: 25
M. Jackson, I don´t see them advertising FF as super fast anywhere, neither did Russel Brown in your quote say it´s fast.

I don´t build my filters around the 600x600 preview, but being a 3D artist, I don´t need huge textures. I build my filters to suit my needs, and I share some of them with the community. I also try to optimize them as good as I can.

Now, if Filter Forge doesn´t suit your needs, if it is too slow for you, why did you buy it after the trial? And why did you upgrade after you found it was too slow?

Oh and Sign Guy, I´m not an unhappy unpaid author. My filters are byproducts of my work. I share them because someone might find them useful, that´s all.

So, since this discussion doesn´t lead anywhere, I´m gonna keep with Skybase and go do some Art.

Happy bashing...
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Sign Guy
Digital Art Developer-Publisher

Posts: 356
Great debate technique Sharandra! If you can't refute the arguments of someone you disagree with ... just dismiss them and demonize them.
Fred Weiss
Allied Computer Graphics, Inc.
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Sharandra
Filter Forge Addict

Posts: 836
Filters: 25
I won´t go down to that level. I added my 2 cent to the discussion and have nothing more to contribute.

Take care,
Shar.
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tetonimages
owner
Posts: 19
Sharandra,
You brought up the analogy of a sports car and a bike. Actually, it helps make my point very well. I'd love the program to work like a Ferrari, but I'd be content if it at least worked like a Camary and not like a bike for my purposes. I bought the upgrade for 3.0 only because I hoped it was going to be faster than 2.0. This time, I got a little smarter and asked if they upgraded the engine before even thinking about moving up to 4.0. All they are doing is adding a little more chrome and a new paint job to an old Dodge Dart, leaving the engine and transmission alone.

Maybe they didn't say it is blazing fast, but they don't say it is built around a 32 bit operating system that will run in 64 bit, but not take advantage of the extra memory and quad core processors. Believe me, I WISH I had run the trial software a lot more before buying it. I wish I had my money back and I'd go buy Genetica right now, even while it is still in beta.

I bought AutoFX Dream Suite filters and many of them run very slow, too. I contacted that company, and they tell me they are working on a new 64 bit version. It is taking longer than I like, but at least I know they were working on it. FF, at least if you read the comments above, are not even considering it...EVER. Maybe I am wrong, but I don't believe it is in the upcoming 4.0 release. New paint and a little chrome.

I am happy you are happy with what you bought. Maybe it perfectly fits your needs. I am equally happy making the point I believe the company is willing to continue taking money without taking a forward step into the future of graphics applications. I am a photographer capable of taking all of the texture images I want and I know how to work them into my photos and designs. I bought FF mainly for filters like the watercolor filter Russel Brown is touting in the quote. Unfortunately, most of those are the slowest of all the filters on the FF list. Please, just make it run like a Toyota Camary as I believe anyone has a right to expect.
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Sign Guy
Digital Art Developer-Publisher

Posts: 356
Quote
I won´t go down to that level. I added my 2 cent to the discussion and have nothing more to contribute.

Take care,
Shar.


See what I mean. smile:)
Fred Weiss
Allied Computer Graphics, Inc.
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