Dramatic viewport slowdown during basic animation.

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Old 04 April 2013   #1
Unhappy Dramatic viewport slowdown during basic animation.

I have a rigged character in an empty scene, totalling about 107,000 polys. I've just started animating him but when I animate the root object that he's linked to the viewport FPS drops into single digits during playback/scrubbing while it moves. As soon as the time passes the root object's final keyframe the framerate shoots back up.
All the root object is doing at this stage is moving and rotating a little.

This is the only thing that's animated in the scene. Even if I hide absolutely every layer the FPS monitor still shows it occurring. If I isolate the body mesh then the slowdown doesn't seem to occur.

-All other windows (curve editor, material editor etc.) are closed.
-There are no lights in the scene and the materials are all simple colours.
-Viewports have been tested on every setting, from wireframe, flat, smooth, bounding box etc. with no effect.
-The viewport is set to Direct3D 9 with antialiasing turned off (setting it to 10 just gives me a blank viewport).
-The computer is running Windows 7 with 6GB of RAM, an i7 CPU and a 1GB NVIDIA GTS 250.
 
Old 04 April 2013   #2
Originally Posted by Lsnewton: As soon as the time passes the root object's final keyframe the framerate shoots back up.
All the root object is doing at this stage is moving and rotating a little.

This is the only thing that's animated in the scene. Even if I hide absolutely every layer the FPS monitor still shows it occurring. If I isolate the body mesh then the slowdown doesn't seem to occur.


By 'root object' do you mean the root joint of your character, or another type of object?


What version of Max are you using? If it's 2013, you should try using Nitrous instead of Direct 3d, and drop a 'turn to GPoly' modifier on any deforming meshes while you're animating. That should give you good performance!
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Michael Wentworth-Bell | 3D Artist & VR Designer | Melbourne, Australia

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Old 04 April 2013   #3
Originally Posted by MichaelWBell: By 'root object' do you mean the root joint of your character, or another type of object?


What version of Max are you using? If it's 2013, you should try using Nitrous instead of Direct 3d, and drop a 'turn to GPoly' modifier on any deforming meshes while you're animating. That should give you good performance!


I have a circle around my character's feet that the root bone joint links to. The animation handles that I've rigged all end up linking to it as well so that I can just move the whole rig with the one object.

And I'm using 3DS Max 2010
 
Old 04 April 2013   #4
My guess would be that it's the deformation of the mesh that's causing the slow down, rather than the viewport per se - thus you changing from wireframe to shaded etc etc not making any difference. A lot of animators I know - especially when dealing with relatively high poly mesh's like 100k+ - use proxy mesh's - a very basic massing model (or models - they'll often not worry about things like shoulders, elbows - the things that are tough to skin. Just have a few tubes, basically!) so that the actual deformation is so much less. You still get the visual feedback for your animation, without the slowdown. Then, at render time, you simply hide the proxy mesh and unhide the high-poly one.

I've used this workflow on animations before, and it was really the only way it was practical to work.
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Old 04 April 2013   #5
This used to happen in 3DS Max. I believe it's some kind of bug. Lİke some processes are working in the background. I've started a thread about it once, even if you hide your entire scene, the playback is still choppy. Sometimes merging the scene into a fresh Max helped but only for sometime.
Nevertheless don't miss the point that your object may be also complex. Even the simplest character plays back choppy with a single mesh smooth attached to it.

Have you heard the Turn to Gpoly modifier? It helps with character animation.

You assign it to the root of the modifier stack - before any deformation, before physique or skin. If it doesn't spoil your geometry quality or any other morphs, it helps you playback in realtime. Like miracle. But check for your gemetry quality. It somehow degrades quality.
 
Old 04 April 2013   #6
The 'turn to gPoly' modifier will crunch the mesh into a bunch of different objects that are optimised for your video card. This way the video card will hardware accelerate the mesh deformation.

I haven't used it much, but believe you should remove it before actual production renders / making adjustments to your mesh. just keep it in the stack while you're working.

If you're using Max 2010, try to jump to the max 2014 trial when it comes out. As I said, a couple of posts earlier, Nitrous viewport alone will make a big difference. The gPoly modifier will only speed it up more. I'm pretty sure gPoly was added in max 2013 but might be mistaken.
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Michael Wentworth-Bell | 3D Artist & VR Designer | Melbourne, Australia

Espire 1: My VR Stealth game - CGTalk thread
 
Old 04 April 2013   #7
Thanks for the replies, guys. Yeah it looks like gPoly come out with 2013 so I might just need to look at trialling an upgraded version. Dummy meshes don't seem to help either since even when everything's hidden it still occurs.
 
Old 04 April 2013   #8
In 3ds max 2014, max team replaced mesh builder.
Now Mesh/Poly is faster than gPoly. No need to use gPoly.
 
Old 04 April 2013   #9
Found a computer with 2013 and loaded up the scene to have a play and the exact same thing happens, even with Nitrous and gPoly.

I've had this happen before early last year with a spaceship model that caused slowdown when I moved it around.

I just tried unlinking everything from the root and moving it by itself and it seems to be behaving smoothly. Could and excess of links or something be causing this? I've gone over my meshes as well and they all seem to be nice and clean as far as I can tell.
 
Old 04 April 2013   #10
I had this happen to me with an animated image sequence set to a texture map, even when it was hidden and not applied to an object. When the sequence was done, the viewport sped up. Do you have that?

Are you using any script controllers?

Are you using any very large textures?

Does deleting any particular object fix the problem?
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Juan Martinez | Blog | Animator
 
Old 04 April 2013   #11
All the materials are just vray materials with a colour set to diffuse. Nothing more. No script controllers either.
Deleting the meshes (or unlinking them from the root) improves things a little bit for each one that I remove but nothing particularly significant until all of them are taken away, at which point the root animates normally.

I'd post the scene but the character belongs to a client.
 
Old 04 April 2013   #12
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