Toon Boom Harmony is slow

The following are my specs:
Computer: MSI GE62 2QD Apache
CPU: Intel i7 5200HQ (2.7 - 3.5 ghz)
GPU: nVidia GTX 960M 2gb GDDR5
HDD: 7200 RPM
RAM: 12 GB DDR3L 1600 Mhz
Software: Toon Boom Harmony 12 Premium

I have a puppet rig of highly detailed characters with a lot of deformers (curves, bones, and envelope) everywhere around the body. When I work with only 2 such characters (it has trouble handling even one), my computer becomes so slow that I can’t work with the puppets at all. While monitoring my computer activities, I’ve noticed that the discrete gpu goes completely unused, while the cpu is usually used at only 20%. I have set the nVidia control panel to work with Toon Boom, but still it usually runs at 0 - 5%. Every once in a while, it utilizes 25% of the GPU, but that’s it. There’s nothing wrong with my GPU, as I’ve tested it running graphic intensive games and the GPU monitor tells me it is working. I also know that my specs are not up to the standard for what Toon Boom Harmony recommends as being fast. So now I am confused as to whether if I should upgrade by getting a desktop of not. But because Toon Boom Harmony doesn’t seem to be utilizing my computer’s maximum potential, perhaps I am doing something wrong with the software. Yet, it could also be the hardware that’s not able to keep up with the software?

If it’s the software’s problem, what can I do to improve performance? If it’s the hardware’s problem, what kind of specs should I get to make any ambitious visions be built?

Any help would be greatly appreciated; I’ve searched everywhere for answers online, but have found very little to no help. Thanks.

Open the OpenGL Tap in the Preference panel.
Disable Full Scene Antialiasing.

Open the Render Tap.
Check Multi Threading and adjust the Number.
Enable Graphic Card Acceleration.

I have already done all of those things. I have gave the software priority and even tried overclocking my GPU and CPU, but it doesn’t help much. If I am to commit 1000 or more to buy a new computer, I have to know that it is my hardware’s limitation and not the software.

Would you be interested in sharing the project file so other people could try it on their systems to compare to yours in an effort to narrow down the problem?

I’d like to see how something that runs sluggish on your system runs on my computer.

Right off the top I would recommend upgrading your hard drive to SSD. You will experience significant improvement in performance. Not that this is the cure to your specific problem with Harmony.

Though I would rather not show the project (as I plan to release it later with copyrights), I can tell you that it’s a highly detailed drawing done in Toon Boom with multiple keyframes for each layer. Then, you’d add a lot of deformers on each seperate layer, with each seperate keyframes to make the character look alive. I added other special effects too, which could be taxing. But I figured out a few things myself through various tests.

Do not run in compatibility mode. For some reason, my nVidia card doesn’t work with Toon Boom when running in compatibility mode with Windows 7. Once I changed that, and I monitored the GPU, it showed that the GPU was being taxed at an average of a starting point of 0% all the way to 30 - 50% in about .5 seconds whenever I moved any of the deformer parts. Before I changed the compatibility back to Windows 10, the GPU hardly moved at all.

While this was good news, and while there are significant improvements in performance, apparently, it still wasn’t enough. I still notice enough lag that it is very frustrating to work with at times. Just imagine trying to move a deformer point to any individual location in space and then missing it because of delays in frames. So I’m starting to suspect that maybe Toon Boom has limits to how much percentage of resources it uses? Is it true that Toon Boom Harmony can only use around 20% of CPU and 50% of GPU? Or am I still missing something that creates this limit?

Never mind. After some more tests, I was able to reach 100% many times with the CPU, which means I am taxing it too much. So maybe I will need to get a better hardware after all. A bit anticlimactic, but it should’ve been easy to guess… :\

So if a CPU as fast as mine doesn’t cut it, I may need a CPU that overclocks to 4 ghz or more… Any suggestions? Should I go with a faster clock time, or better multitasking CPU? What about the GPU? Do you guys think I need to get a better one for that as well (the most I’ve reached was 65%).

When I was doing research for my hackintosh build for Harmony Premium 12 I concluded that the CPU was important when rendering while the GPU was where to focus for construction stages. Overclocking was not utilized. 16GB RAM was enough. As mentioned previously, get an SSD. The one I chose is now half the price they were a year ago.

I am sure Harmony 13 around the corner will have higher recommended minimum specs.

I would not rely on general knowledge of hardware when designing a system for Harmony. Talk directly with Support. It seems that Harmony does not utilize resources the same way most 2D design and 3D software does. For instance, you could easily waste money on too much RAM if you are doing it specifically for Harmony.

Deformers over drawings with own deformers definitely brew lag on Harmony. I suggest you review your network, and do some workarounds to lessen the need for such a connection. Also, if you are using images for your puppet, that could add up to the lag. Effects also give the same effect, much so with a noticeable number of simple modules like cutters and color overrides.

Basically, you need to come up with a simplified but just as efficient version of your puppets.