Cursor freezing

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  05 May 2006
Cursor freezing

I'm inking a comic in painter using a customized thick oil brush at 18px. The file is 6142x8656 at 600 dpi, so it's fairly large.

The file has two layers, one for inks and one for lettering (so the bare minimum) over the digital pencil sketch. Whenever I ink on a layer, almost every time I put down a stroke, the cursor freezes up for a few seconds before I'm able to move it again. This doesn't happen when I ink directly on the canvas (with the same size and same amount of layers.

This makes it very hard to work fast, especially since it takes me about 1-2 minutes to save the file also. It all works great in Photoshop CS2, but I hate inking in PS.

Are there any handy tricks that make it faster to work on a layer?

Apple G5
Dual 2.3 GHz processor
8.5 GB RAM
500 GB HD, 430 GB free space
NVIDIA GeForce 7800 GT 256 MB SDRAM
OS 10.4.6 (newest version)
Painter IX.5
Intuos3 (6x11 with newest driver)

This is a new setup and I didn't use to have the cursor problem on my old 1.33 Ghz, 1GB RAM PowerBook, although it operated generally slower.

Any thoughts? I've tried a few of the suggestions found around here in other threads, such as limiting undo's, deleting the pre-built brush file, etc. to no avail.

My portfolio:
My webcomic, Cock and Bull:

Last edited by Einar : 05 May 2006 at 10:22 PM. Reason: updated specs
  05 May 2006
Instead of inking on the Layer (assuming it's black ink on a white Canvas), could you ink on the Canvas then lift the Canvas to a Layer and change the Composite Method to Gel or Multiply to make the white background transparent?

That's an awful big image at an awfully high PPI number. I'm not surprised your brush has trouble calculating fast.
  05 May 2006
I once inked a comic-book page on Painter 6 at 600DPI on a old celeron 600! No problems at all, I bet it's the brushes you're using that are not the most appropriate to ink, I posted my brushes in cgtalk just do a search for my posts.

You have three layers then, Canvas, Inks and ballons, I think you should call the lettering ballons layers once you're done with the inking, more layers means slowness and more chances of Painter crashing.
  05 May 2006

I agree with zerae about the brush variant you're using being possibly inappropriate for inking (I'll add that in my opinion, it is inappropriate for inking).

Inking is usually, if not always, flat color. It's ink, after all, not thick oil paint or thick acrylic paint, or in Painter, it's simulated ink.

The "thick" brush variant you describe probably uses the invisible Impasto Layer and Impasto lighting and depth, to produce thick brushstrokes. If that's the case, it's a more complex brush variant than, for instance, the Pens' Scratchboard Tool variant, one that I've heard inkers say they use (among other simpler brush variants also good for inking).

Any brush variant that's set to enable the invisible Impasto Layer and Impasto lighting and depth (in the Brush Controls' Impasto palette, the Depth Method will be either Depth or Color and Depth), adds lighting to the entire image, another effect that's probably not needed when inking and may also cause unwanted results with inking.

I didn't think to mention this yesterday, but whichever brush variant you use and however you work in Painter, pixelart's (John Derry's) tutorial linked below should be helpful:

Hot-rodding Your Brushes in Corel Painter
  05 May 2006
Thanks guys, I really appreciate the help! I agree, the brush might not be appropriate for inking, but the way it looks is pretty much exactly the way I want it.

I've experimented with a lot of brushes and custom settings for about three years now, and this is the closest I've gotten to the kind of ink line I want. The dab type is "camel hair" and the feature is set to "pressure".

I like the bristles showing when I bear down on it; it creates a sort of dry brush effect that's quite similar to what happens when I do the same with a real sable brush on paper. I don't want a completely smooth line, but rater have a bit of texture to it from the bristles in there.

It's pretty sublte, I know, but inking is a lot about how the brush feels to me.

Ironically (since I'm complaining about slowness) what I love about it is the fact that it moves slower than other brushes AS I put down the stroke, meaning that it's easier to control the quality of the line. Other brushes, including those I've tried in PS, are too unruly in that respect and make it more difficult to put down a controled line.

The invisible impasto theory is good, I'll have to find a setting that doesn't use that, but that still enables me to get the right "feature" effect going.

I think the bottom line is, I need the "feature" to work properly without the "thickness".

Thanks! This has been very helpful! I've set the Impasto to just "color" on my brush and will see if that takes care of the slowness.

My portfolio:
My webcomic, Cock and Bull:

  05 May 2006

That should be easy enough to to:

1. Select the brush variant you've been using for inking.

2. In the Brush Selector menu, choose Save Variant and give it a new name, not already used by Painter.

3. Select the brush variant you just saved with a new name.

4. In the Brush Controls' Impasto palette, change the Draw to: option to Color.

5. Save the brush variant again with the same name used in Step 2.

Now you have your inking brush variant with no Impasto lighting and depth, or thickness.

To make the brush variant render strokes a little faster, you can also adjust the Size palette's Feature slider a little to the right to make the bristles less dense. That is, if you don't mind the bristles being a little less dense and the strokes rendering a little faster.

Last edited by Jinbrown : 05 May 2006 at 05:16 AM.
  05 May 2006
First of all: the dpi/ppi value is totally unrelevant here, it is merely used for printing. Only the file and brush sizes, and number of layers matter.
I just tried a file with 3 layers, the same size you mentioned (around 6000x8500) plus a variety of brushes (my custom brushes, some oil ones too, most larger then 30 pixels).
I have two observations:

1) drawing on canvas results in less delay before I make the movement with my hand and the stroke is rendered (obvious, since no underlying pixels need to be taken into the calcutaion)

2) NO cursor delay is EVER present.

And my machine is a 2 GHz athlon with 1 GB of ram, so your machine is obviously superior.

So This is clearly not a problem with the brush type or size (18 pixels is small in my book). Especially when you consider that you said yourself this worked fine on your older laptop.
Any talk of complex brushes etc, means the processor can't keep up with the calculation of the stroke. That never results in freezing of the cursor! Having said that, I have no idea what the cause might be of your problem.

I'd guess it must be some other software you're runing at the same time (itunes/virus scanners/etc), that is causing a conflict. With dual cpu's you should not experience any trouble running 2 apps at once, but if there is some conflict, you might. Like running Realplayer and Painter means a crash sooner or later (at least with painter 8 it was).

Try running ONLY painter (apart from the OS) and see if that helps, in case you have other progs in the background now.
Do let us know if you're able to solve this problem!
  05 May 2006
Thanks! Jin, I had already done this and used those settings for sometime yesterday. It's moving along nicely and saving about 100 times quicker now. It still feels the same when I ink, but the quality of the linework might be a bit off. Nothing I can't live with, though.

It's clearly the invisible Impasto that was bogging everything down.

So thanks again, I think I now have a brush that will work quite well!

My portfolio:
My webcomic, Cock and Bull:

  05 May 2006
That's totally weird, but I'm glad you solved it
How come it's saving the file faster???
  05 May 2006
I believe it's like Jin said; it left an invisible Impasto layer on top of the entire image which took a lot of time to render and I assume it also hogged a lot of memory.

Jin, correct me if I'm wrong. You have a better grasp of this!

My portfolio:
My webcomic, Cock and Bull:

  05 May 2006

I can't explain the technical reasons like a Corel Painter developer could, but....

As a user, I think of complexity of the brushstrokes made when, for instance the brush variant being used to paint uses Impasto lighting and depth (Impasto palette's Draw to: option either Depth or Depth and Color).

In addition to calculating all of the information needed to render the brushstroke, even if it was not Impasto enabled, Painter has to calculate all of the Impasto lighting and depth information for each brushstroke, then retain all of that accumulated lighting and depth information (to borrow "accumulated" from Painter IX documentation) on the invisible Impasto Layer.

Just from observation, I don't think the entire Impasto Layer and all of the information for previously painted strokes has to be re-rendered each time we make an Impasto brushstroke, but the single brushstroke can take time to render, especially if the brush variant is complex, the brush size large, and the Feature setting low. (There are other brush control settings that can be adjusted to speed things up, mentioned in pixelart's (John Derry's) "Hot-rodding....." tutorial.)

Liquid Ink brushstrokes can be slow, too, extremely slow sometimes as can Watercolor brushstrokes be extremely slow to render.


You may not have experienced your cursor freezing, but mine certainly has, (or if not frozen, useless) and based on the brush variant I used. It happened just this morning when I was testing a complex Watercolor variant. While the stroke was being rendered, I couldn't do anything at all in Painter, not even bring the Layers palette to the front. It was partially hidden behind the Brush Controls palettes so Canvas couldn't be accessed. I wanted to stop the Watercolor stroke rendering which I can often do, even interrupt it temporarily, by clicking Canvas, when a simpler Watercolor variant is being used. I just had to wait for about 20 seconds for Painter IX to finish rendering that one brushstroke. The brush Size was only 23.6. My image was 650 x 650 pixels with a couple of Digital Watercolor brushstrokes on the Canvas and one Watercolor Layer containing one or two previously painted brushstrokes.

  05 May 2006
Well Jinny, shows what I know/how limited experience can influence one's views Thanks for the info!
  05 May 2006
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