[DFS] DeadLineClock May 26, 2013 @ 7:29pm
SFM Framerate Solution?
Hey guys, Clock here with another question. This one is different from my others, as it doesn't really bother me or block me from doing anything in the SFM, but it's simply a minor inconvenience. Every time I run an animation in SFM, my framerate is awful and it's kinda choppy. This seems to happen every time I press play when there is at least one model or particle system in the shot, especially when I have a scene where a group of robots acting out their idle animation. All that shaking seems to slightly add up to the framerate lag. I want to know if there's a way to fix this so when I play my work, everything I see isn't choppy. My computer is brand new, has absolutely nothing that can slow it down, and it's extremely fast.

Also, if there's a way I can actually see the Motion Blur in the animation while it's playing in the SFM, that would be helpful as well.

Again, all of this would be of great help, but it is not necessary. You may help me out with this minor problem if you wish. :)

Thanks,
Clockwerk

(P.S. I love posting these discussions, I love meeting new people)
(P.S.S. Pte Jack, YOU DA MAN :D *high-five*)
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R234 May 26, 2013 @ 8:11pm 
Well, there's quite a few things that can affect framerate. Here's the top 5, from my personal experience:

1- Ambient occlusion. If you do have a monster computer, leaving AO on while editing may not be such an issue, but it definitely increases resources usage, and will add up with the other points. I do have to turn it off while editing, on my modest machine.
2- Shadowed dynamic lights, especially volumetric ones. These fancy soft shadows are pretty heavy, so no wonder they're limited to only one at a time in any Source game (SFM allows for 8 or so). If lights get too heavy, turning lighting off while editing can be useful.
3- F-curves. These are the white, red, blue and green lines that are drawn in the timeline in either motion editor or graph editor modes. They may not seem like much, but they're actually pretty heavy to render. I find my framerate drops quite a bit when an entire HWM model is selected, for instance. Be sure to deselect all animation sets when playing back your video, it should kick the framerate up a notch.
4- "Scenery" models, as I like to call them. A group of idle robots in the background, like you mentioned, can add to a shot's atmosphere, but they also chew quite a bit off your framerate. You could temporarily uncheck their "visible" icon (the eye shaped one) in the animation set editor, so that editing goes smoother. Be sure to remember to make them visible again before rendering, though.
5- Dual viewport. If you use two viewports to edit like I do, reverting to one (the default layout for instance) will usually improve framerate. You might think two viewports half the size of one would break even performance-wise, but SFM's viewports are actually always rendered in its current engine resolution (720p by default) and scaled down, as evidenced by the presence of scaling artifacts in the viewports.

So there ya go, these are the things I usually look out for to keep my framerate steady. If your issue isn't caused by an incompatibility of sorts, that should help.

As for your other question about previewing motion blur in real-time, no, it's not possible. The only way is to stop on every frame in clip editor mode, or render the movie out. Rightly so too, think about it: SFM uses multisample motion blur. Even on the crappiest possible setting, 8 samples, your computer has to render 8 frames to make one. That essentially means you'd get one eighth of your usual framerate. However beeastly your computer may be, you'd get some pretty horrible performances ;P
Last edited by R234; May 26, 2013 @ 8:15pm
[DFS] DeadLineClock May 26, 2013 @ 8:53pm 
Originally posted by R234:
Well, there's quite a few things that can affect framerate. Here's the top 5, from my personal experience:

1- Ambient occlusion. If you do have a monster computer, leaving AO on while editing may not be such an issue, but it definitely increases resources usage, and will add up with the other points. I do have to turn it off while editing, on my modest machine.
2- Shadowed dynamic lights, especially volumetric ones. These fancy soft shadows are pretty heavy, so no wonder they're limited to only one at a time in any Source game (SFM allows for 8 or so). If lights get too heavy, turning lighting off while editing can be useful.
3- F-curves. These are the white, red, blue and green lines that are drawn in the timeline in either motion editor or graph editor modes. They may not seem like much, but they're actually pretty heavy to render. I find my framerate drops quite a bit when an entire HWM model is selected, for instance. Be sure to deselect all animation sets when playing back your video, it should kick the framerate up a notch.
4- "Scenery" models, as I like to call them. A group of idle robots in the background, like you mentioned, can add to a shot's atmosphere, but they also chew quite a bit off your framerate. You could temporarily uncheck their "visible" icon (the eye shaped one) in the animation set editor, so that editing goes smoother. Be sure to remember to make them visible again before rendering, though.
5- Dual viewport. If you use two viewports to edit like I do, reverting to one (the default layout for instance) will usually improve framerate. You might think two viewports half the size of one would break even performance-wise, but SFM's viewports are actually always rendered in its current engine resolution (720p by default) and scaled down, as evidenced by the presence of scaling artifacts in the viewports.

So there ya go, these are the things I usually look out for to keep my framerate steady. If your issue isn't caused by an incompatibility of sorts, that should help.

As for your other question about previewing motion blur in real-time, no, it's not possible. The only way is to stop on every frame in clip editor mode, or render the movie out. Rightly so too, think about it: SFM uses multisample motion blur. Even on the crappiest possible setting, 8 samples, your computer has to render 8 frames to make one. That essentially means you'd get one eighth of your usual framerate. However beeastly your computer may be, you'd get some pretty horrible performances ;P

K, thanks so much man :D
Pte Jack May 26, 2013 @ 10:59pm 
Thanks Clockwerk, but not much on the tech side from me, R234 IS THE MAN when it comes down to the techy stuff. All I can do is hold second fiddle to his wisdow on the inner guts of this program...

One other thing you can do to see the effects of motion blur of a particular sequence (and R234 eluded to this in his bit) is to render the section of the movie you want to examine out to pngs images.

To do this select File Export Movie and change the export to Image Sequence (separate the wav file checked on) Set your resolution to the setting you'd be using to render the movie. Change the duration to Custom then set up the period of time you want to render. Set up the render setting, etc by clicking the more options button (just as you would if you were producing an actual movie.)

This will create a series of PNGs (or whatever format you choose) images at the framerate selected and you should be able to see the blur effect over the series of images.
[DFS] DeadLineClock May 27, 2013 @ 7:47am 
Originally posted by Pte Jack:
Thanks Clockwerk, but not much on the tech side from me, R234 IS THE MAN when it comes down to the techy stuff. All I can do is hold second fiddle to his wisdow on the inner guts of this program...

One other thing you can do to see the effects of motion blur of a particular sequence (and R234 eluded to this in his bit) is to render the section of the movie you want to examine out to pngs images.

To do this select File Export Movie and change the export to Image Sequence (separate the wav file checked on) Set your resolution to the setting you'd be using to render the movie. Change the duration to Custom then set up the period of time you want to render. Set up the render setting, etc by clicking the more options button (just as you would if you were producing an actual movie.)

This will create a series of PNGs (or whatever format you choose) images at the framerate selected and you should be able to see the blur effect over the series of images.

Ok, I'm gonna see if this works! Thanks so much to both of you for the help! You two are great! :D
Wraith Feb 12 @ 5:30pm 
I actually had to turn off the AO occlusion. the rest of the things in the map work fine. render settings with refinement all ON, lights, OFF but just to see more clearly what am i doing, but no more.
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Date Posted: May 26, 2013 @ 7:29pm
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