Lag time when drawing with the pencil tool

I have used Toon Boom products for a long time. Now I am on Harmony Standalone and this is the first time I encounter this. I am building a character, drawing it rough as I would usually do with just a simple line, and then the delay between the gesture and the line becomes greater, and this is just simple lines, the CPU is not even breaking a sweat. There are no background processes or activity, it’s just the program.
Drawing a rough character and cleaning it up shouldn’t be a problem, this is frustrating. Geez, I never even had that problem back in the days using Tic Tac Toon!

Is there something I can select in the preferences that could help?

Thank you.


What’s your system: mac or windows, make, operating system, graphics card, memory? I’m sure you have updated your system and graphic card drivers and wacom tablet…

It sounds irritating. I’ve not had that issue yet. Have you tried a clean install?

All my systems are up to date. My workaround is to rough with the brush tool. Roughing out a drawing with a pencil tool, even with no attributes or texture to it, seems to slow it down.

Do you draw into camera view or on drawing window?

I tried trying to replicate your situation while beginning a new scene and the only lage was when I had loaded several heavy layers.

You could try altering preferences, deselecting alias and such.

I draw in the drawing window. Layers could be a factor in the lag time, however this is with the pencil tool. I have no issues when I rough out with the brush tool and then clean up with the pencil tool.
I have antialiasing deselected because it makes the line work look bitmapped when I zoom in.

Thanks for your answers and case tests. Now that I think of it, I see no point in roughing with the pencil tool which seems to be very sophisticated and must carry a lot of nodes with every stroke you create. The brush tool is probably a simpler solution.

Hi Jean,
I don’t have any lag when using the Pencil lines without texture even with many many lines. The lag could be from your graphic card since we are using OpenGL in the Drawing view.

What is your hardware spec? OS, graphic card, tablet.
If you had texture on the pencil I could understand a possible lag as it’s more OpenGL intensive.

Do you have the lightable and onion skins on?

You don’t have Real-time antialiasing on right? That would slow it down for sure.

Are you using Full-scene antialiasing? You could try without if you do.

Can you post a screengrab of what you are drawing to see how complex the lines and other layers you are displaying in the Drawing view are.

What version of Harmony are you on?

Does it gradually get slower during your session or is it right away slow when you open Stage and draw?

Do you have dual monitors? Can you try just with one to see if it helps the graphic card.

If you were using Pencil with texture I would suggest doing your rough in brush and then clean up with the pencil(like you said) but since it’s not the case it should work fine. ??

Salut Steve!

My hardware is a PC quad core i7, 9 Go of Ram running Windows Vista. I have a 21" Cintiq and a 24" monitor. It’s a 64 bit system. Graphics card is an ATI Radeon HD 4870 series.

This is Harmony Standalone so, version 9 or 9.2 (not sure)

No texture on the pencil used. I turned the onion skin off. No Antialiasing whatsoever.

It slows down gradually.

I’d rather not show my work just yet but, imagine roughing out Pigpen in the style of Franquin, so multiple strokes of high fiber, keeps you regular kind of roughage.

Both Monitor an Cintiq are on High resolution 1920x 1200 on monitor and 1600X1200 on the Cintiq.

No lag whatsoever when using the brush tool.

Hey Jean,

the main thing that could be wrong that I see from your comments is the ATI Radeon card which is not supported and we’ve seen some performance issues in the past with the ATIs on Windows. On mac it’s fine.

Is there any way you can try what you do on another machine that doesn’t have that card? NVidia cards are good on Windows.

Did you try just having only the Cintiq on, just to see if it’s the number of pixels to refresh that’s the problem?

Brush lines are probably ok because it’s not as OpenGL demanding.

I didn’t mean to see your real drawings but just any images, scribbles, where you see the slow down. I assume it’s the number of lines that’s the problem anyway.

For the version you can go in Help>About it’s going to be for example.

If anyone cares to look at the examples of cartoon animation on the TB site and you’ll notice that the lines are simple and therefore make little demand on the computer systems.

I use very complex illustrator rondels in my animation which cause my HP Z800, 12 core 2.44ghz, nVidia Quadro 4000, 24gb of RAM running Windows 7 Ultimate and MacPro early 2009 8 core reduced to a crawl because of the complexity of vectors.

I think it is highly likely that the topic starter’s problem with lag has more to do with how many “scrawls” he puts on a layer. Once you have more than three layers of complexity it will start to drag the limited resources available to Harmony 9.2’s 32bit core.

This will not be alleviated until the 64bit version comes out. I’m constantly having to reboot and so I’ve had to build animations in segments of no more than 3 layers.

I’ll be putting up some of my rough cuts in the new year.
Also I have noticed that while rendering on the MacPro that one of my 8 cores is being maxed out and it’s not the memory but the CPU that causes problems.

I have been meaning to switch graphics card to nVidia, except I really had no reason to since the ATI got the job done with no issues. However I did have an issue with a program for comic books Manga where it just would nnot work with the Cintiq, but a friend of mine who has exactly the same equipment and specs had no trouble at all. I suspected it was a graphics card issue but their issue was off the chart.

Which nVidia card would you recommend, Steve, considering I have a 64 bit system and there is an infinite choice of nVidia cards to choose from out there?

Harmony at the moment is 32bit and as far as I know it does not use GPU resources other than in the most basic way but I could be wrong.

I have a nVidia Quadro 4000 that has 2GB of VRAM and over 200 cores. It’s what I consider to be the prosumer level you need for serious Adobe and Autodesk work.

Harmony will come out with a 64bit version soon and no doubt with GPU acceleration so think ahead. the Quadro 4000 is a great entry level and I use it on both my HP Z800 12 core and my MacPro early 2009 8 core rigs.

Though a word of warning I have had problems in Harmony with the nVidia drivers as when Harmony 32bit runs out of resources it tends to crash the Quadro drivers on my HP Z800. It recovers quickly but its not pleasant.

I tend to use very heave vector files so I do push Harmony beyond its limits.

I am planning to upgrade to a nVidia Quadro 6000 when I buy a new rig for Maya and I hope by then to use it with Harmony 64bit.

But the Quadro 4000 is capable…just a problem with Harmony’s 32bit core.

I have 2 licenses and do not regret having them. Despite all Harmony is a quantum leap for small studios. It awesome.

Hi Jean,

I’ll have to check at work but I’m using the GeForce GTX 560 Ti if I remember well and it’s a good one. The ATI are not bad cards it’s just that Harmony (and Storyboard, Pencil check) need to have full support of OpenGL and it seems that something is not present in them on Windows.

From what I know (I’m not a hardware expert) the Quadros are not the best for Harmony but some people have them if they need to work with 3D programs on the same machine. In the past the Quadros were more expensive than the GeForce and it didn’t help in Harmony. I don’t know now.

Thanks Steve, I`ll check it out. Happy Holidays!