Graphics Cards

Hi everyone,

I just wanted to post here about graphics cards to clear up a little bit of confusion regarding the different cards and which cards are good for what.

First I’ll start with NVidia cards. We’ve always had really great performance from the GeForce cards, particularly the higher-end ones. I’ve even got a GeForce 320M on my mac laptop here that does a great job.

When it comes to the Quadro cards, we also support Quadro cards. In some cases, the GPU itself is the same for both the GeForce and the Quadro cards. However, it’s the drivers that drive the card differently for different applications. In most cases, Quadro cards are geared towards performance for 3D. They would still run our software well, but if you tune the drivers then you can get the same performance as you would from the GeForce cards.

Just be aware that with Quadro cards they also have their own line. Take a look here:

You’ll see that they have cards that go all the way from entry-level, to mid-range, to high performance. Anything mid-range and above works really well with Harmony and Storyboard Pro 3D.

However the NVS cards aren’t designed for graphics processing and aren’t recommended.

When it comes to ATI cards, in the past we found that the drivers for these cards were unreliable. Although the hardware was good, sometimes the drivers could result in lower performance. Over the years, however, their drivers have improved, and we now do have a lot of people that are using ATI cards.

Note that for any of these cards, the performance on Macs is going to be more reliable. The reason is that when a card is being put into a mac, it goes through rigorous testing, and the driver has to be approved by Apple before the graphics card can make it into the mac. This isn’t true of desktop or laptop PCs, which is why you have to be a bit more careful about which graphics cards are in your system.

Hope this clears up some of the confusion!


Thanks but I find the .png4 render in Harmony is much cruder than rendering directly through Maya2012.
I get a lot of random colored noise bitmaps in Render network-output to .png4

I hope this will be sorted by the time your 64bit Harmony is launched.

I use a nVidia 4000 for MacPro 8core and also Quadro 400 on my HP Z800 12 core.

On Steve’s recommendation, I just installed an nVidia GeForce GX 560 TI which has stereoscopic 3D capability, which is exactly what I need for my project. All the lag issues I had with the ATI Radeon are a thing of the past.
This GeForce card really rocks!


@Peter, the output of PNGs from Render Network doesn’t use your graphics card (since the graphics card is used when you are displaying things, it only is in use for renders if you do an OpenGL render). The difference with PNGs is that they take a straight alpha, instead of premultiplied. We’ll do some tests here to see if we can make improvements.


I now use your psd4 option and that enables me to import into Adobe AE with transparent backgrounds and smoooooth render of .psd skin of Maya 2012 file.
I now use .png4 when the Maya file does not have any .psd skin.

I thought .png4 was the only transparent option.

Harmony is worth the effort but it has a steep learning curve.

Great. Jean. Glad that it did the trick and confirmed my suspicions.

Thanks Steve, you were always the smart one! :wink:

64-bit would be sweet… does any Toon Boom app (Animate or Harmony) make use of CUDA on nVidia cards also?

Our softrender actually is not dependent on the video card of the machine, so we don’t develop hardware acceleration for rendering with video cards.


hey brett … It is good to see you here!


Hey buddy! Yeah, just started using Toon Boom Animate Pro a couple of weeks ago.