Thursday, October 22, 2009
Each week Elise and I meet to discuss our observations of customer support trends and feedback. Over the past few weeks we have noticed quite a few concerns about the performance of 3D movie exports. So that is what I have been focussing my development efforts on.
In a release last week, we improved the export performance a little. Later today we will release v2.9.3 which further improves the speed of 3D movie exports. Since I have been measuring the performance of different types of exports I put it together in a chart for you to see and comment on.
There are two charts. The first is a comparison of variety of export types on my MacPro (PDF). The second chart is the same exports measured on my MacBook (PDF).
I would like you to note three things in the chart...
The first thing to note is that setting Motion Blur to "best" slows down the export by about a factor of 10x. We built the Motion Blur feature at the request of two customers who were using the software in film and television broadcasting. We wouldn't normally build a professional feature for so narrow an audience but obviously we love the exposure that these types of customers can bring to the software. All that to say, you should probably leave Motion Blur off (the default) but if you insist upon using it then I would suggestion saving it until you are rendering a final draft of your timeline.
The second thing to note is that there was one particular combination of settings (the Keynote export at the default slide size with Motion Blur turned on) that really blew up the export time. It is literally off the chart. This combo also sometimes resulted in flickering images in the final movie. Observant customers sometimes noted very low usage of their CPU too.
This was my fault. I was sending the graphics card (GPU) images too big for it to handle at that particular export size. It is now fixed in v2.9.3. Thanks to those who had the patience to carefully describe their experience so that I could find and fix this.
Third thing to note is that the exports are getting faster over the past 3 releases. In particular, the exports without blur are very fast now. For example, the Apple TV setting which is a nice general purpose export takes 24 seconds for an 8 event timeline with photos on my MacPro.
I've been doing some more radical optimizations for the major 2010 release which will further optimize the export performance but I wanted to get all the less invasive improvements our to you as soon as possible. As always, we would like to know how things are working for you. Thanks!