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Forums Adobe Photoshop Photoshop timeline – Unbearably laggy File sourcing/timeline scrubbing/rendering

  • Photoshop timeline – Unbearably laggy File sourcing/timeline scrubbing/rendering

  • Richard Kosnar

    July 17, 2015 at 4:30 pm

    Hello, I am currently working on a quite elaborate animated short film that is classically animated. I am using Photoshop’s timeline feature to build my animation sequences. the project is 1920 x 1080 at 300 dpi and is animated at 12 Frames per second. For months I have been using CS6 to develop the project without flaw. Everything has been super smooth and operational, with barely any hangups when trying to playback the video or scrub the timeline.

    I have just recently built a new powerhouse of a machine, with a fresh install of windows and just decided to install the trial version of Photoshop CC to get my project underway as soon as possible, before I make the full commitment to the cloud.right away loading my 40MB file (which includes a basic MP3 Track and 2 previously rendered MOV files) takes over a full minute just to load. THere doesn’t seem to be any hardware hangups, as the circling loading animation remains steady, and no other lockups occurring on the interface. Once the file loads it will ask me to source the two media files (under 4 MB each) since I have changed folder locations when bouncing between school and home. When I locate the files on the drive (locally) it takes almost 2 minutes for photoshop to source those files and load the timeline properly. After that, once the file is completely loaded, it is near impossible to scrub the timeline without getting the same hang ups, and every play back requires a render of a few minutes.

    Hardware is not an issue as I am running:

    Intel 4770k I7 CPU
    NVIDIA GeForce MSI GTX 980 video card
    16 GB DDR3 corsshair vengeance RAM
    240 GB 850 EVO SSD

    And also I gave my friend the file to run on his computer running near the same specs with only 12 GB of RAM, and a GTX 70 and runs flawlessly, like butter with absolutely no hangups, or file sourcing issues.
    on both CS6 and CC. Photoshop is installed on the SSD, scratch-disk performance settings are enabled for both drives in PS settings, as well as full RAM allocation, GPU accel etc. Furthermore I don’t believe it to be a hardware issue as through all these hang ups, the hardware is never under heavy load, remaining under 40% CPU and RAM usage at all time. I have tried loading the files from both the SSD and HDD, with no difference to the result. I have not yet tried installing my copy of CS6, but feel as though because this is a new machine there may be some other issue I am not aware of. At first I thought it may have been a problem with codecs because I couldn’t load MOVs in premiere, which was fixed by downloading Quicktime and some other codecs. Unfortunately this did not fix my problem.

    I would really appreciate some help on this. I just spent 4 thousand dollars on setting up this workstation so I can get back to work on this project that has been delayed for months. The performance right now makes it unusable to move forward, and is starting to really frustrate me


  • Jonathan Ziegler

    July 20, 2015 at 8:21 pm

    Honestly, Photoshop is just not designed for the volume of work it sounds like you are doing. You should be creating your clips in Photoshop, then export for editing in something like Premiere, Vegas, Final Cut (Mac), or even After Effects. Premiere also has the hardware acceleration you need. Even though you can edit video in PS, I really don’t recommend it – it’s like using a sports car to tow a semi-trailer that keeps filling up – eventually it’s just gonna crawl and choke. The problem is that photoshop has to keep pretty much all frames in memory as a matter of design, whether displayed or not; while Premiere, as a video editor, has a much more advanced workflow for scrubbing and animation and shouldn’t choke with 3 hours worth of footage in the timeline.

    Try some of the typical performance fixes: depending on which version you are on, switch to 64bit to access more RAM, clear out scratch disks, set undo level lower, set cache higher, use more RAM, press and hold Shift+Option+Cmd (Mac OS) or Shift+Alt+Ctrl (Windows) when you start up Photoshop to reset prefs, change performance settings, set to use hardware graphics acceleration if available, shut off any unused plugins, fonts, apps (Chrome eats up tons of processor time for example even when it’s not running!).

    Save early. Save often.

    Jonathan Ziegler

  • Richard Kosnar

    July 21, 2015 at 2:42 am

    Hello Jonathan,

    Thank you for your contribution, but I may also add that I am fully aware of what photoshop is and isn’t capable of doing. I’ve used several software packages for mixing and editing my projects, and have refined and valid reasons for which applications I choose to use. This project is a classically animated short, in which every cell is hand painted. The only thing that comes even remotely close to photoshop for this medium is tv paint which is just simply to expensive for a personal license.

    Firstly, you are mistaken in assuming I am using photoshop to cut/edit and composite this project. The only media imported to the timeline in addition to the raw cells painted in photoshop are two tracks, one 3 mb MOV file (which is a rough animatic comprised of sequential storyboard panels) and a low bitrate audio track which is being animated too. I completely reject the notion that Photoshop is incapable of handling this. I have been working on this project for months on a variety of different computers with half the hardware capabilities this newly built computer of mine has. Everything played back flawlessly at 24 FPS with no lock ups or lag.

    As mentioned in the OP, a friend with a worse computer had loaded the very same file in photoshop and experienced no lag what so ever, with lesser hardware. Upon further investigation, I found that once I deleted the two media files (MOV, and MP3) The animation played back smoothly and had no struggles rendering the frames. With that I’ve discovered it must be an encoding problem, since the computer is brand new, and must have some problem with the codecs. I’ve installed Quicktime, and K-lite’s codec pack, which solved an issue with being unable to import MOVs into premiere, yet the problem still persists with photoshop. Even a new document with 1 frame will have the same trouble playing back anything with an imported audio track.

    I am still looking for a solution as to why Photoshop is unable to play these simple media files flawlessly, when it is most certainly capable of doing this simple task regularly. Is there any other codecs required? or any other factors to consider with a new machine?

  • Frank Suarez

    May 10, 2017 at 5:09 pm

    I know its been a while but did you ever figure out what the culprit was?
    I have a very powerful Windows machine with the same issue and my less powerful mac book pro is having no issues playing a very simple animation.

  • lucas jonckheere

    October 1, 2019 at 5:39 pm

    Hello ! I know its been hell of a while you posted this but i have the exact same problem on my computer that has really good ressources but the timeline in photoshop’ animation is really laggy whereas the mac computers from my school can process it easily. You know if there is anything i can do ?

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