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More Layers = More Slow!

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I have been using Paint.net for a while now and really like the program. One thing I've noticed, though, is how much the program slows down the more layers I use on a project. I'm currently working on a project that has about 60 layers and there is literally a 3 - 5 second delay when attempting to make changes such as moving pixels. To save the project takes at least a minute or two. Seems way too long for all of this to happen.


I'm running Windows 7 on an AMD Phenom II X2 560 Processor 3.3GHz with a GeForce GTX 260 OC MAXCORE 55 video card, and 4 GB RAM. Could this be the problem? My son (who is a techie kind of guy) says it should be plenty to handle the program, but I'm wondering now if I need to upgrade my machine.


Is anyone else experiencing this? Any recommendations to tweek Paint.net settings?


Thanking you in advance,


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Keep in mind that each pixel of data on every layer is stored in your RAM. That said, layers multiply the amount of RAM used just to have the file open for editing which, understandably, slows down your computer when you have a lot of layers. EDIT: not exactly...read what Rick has to say about it

Knowing this, even a supercomputer will have trouble with paint.net if you are working with a large image with a lot of layers.


I have an AMD Fusion A8-3510MX with 6GB of RAM (graphics card doesn't matter in paint.net), and my computer slows down after only a couple of layers when I work with something around 4000x4000 pixels. When I'm working on emotes (15x15 pixels), I can have hundreds of layers without any issues.


If you want the program to run faster, either reduce the size of your image, merge some of your layers, or buy more RAM.


EDIT: RAM won't affect speed unless you're running short on it. Again, read what Rick has to say below

Edited by pdnnoob

No, Paint.NET is not spyware...but, installing it is an IQ test. ~BoltBait

Blend modes are like the filling in your sandwich. It's the filling that can change your experience of the sandwich. ~Ego Eram Reputo

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Its not only an issue of RAM.


To calculate the composite image (the image you will see in the main window) means that the applications has to combine top down all pixels of all layers respecting alpha channel and blend mode. Simplified: If one layer takes x seconds then n layers need  n * x seconds.


But because Paint.NET is multicore aware you may add more cores to speed up the calculation.

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AMD Phenom II 820 Quad core with 8 gb of RAM and it still takes time on multiple layers of big images. It is by far much quicker than my old computer which used to freeze at times and continually crash if I asked it to do to much. 


We live in a fast paced world now days where people expect things to happen lightning fast. Welcome to the real world where we still have to have patience.  ;)



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Performance will scale linearly with the number of layers. That is, if you have 60 layers then it'll take 60x longer for the rendering engine to do its job. (actually longer, since "there's only 1 layer" is optimized as a special case)


Paint.NET just wasn't designed to accommodate that many layers, most of which I'm betting are mostly blank. In a better world, the rendering engine would have more information about which regions actually have content and would skip past the blank areas since they don't affect the output. This would mean performance would scale closer to linearly with "the # of pixels you actually used."


If you want this to go faster then you need more GHz and more cores. No other way around it. The rendering engine is very optimized for multiple cores, so you can basically figure out "effective performance" by multiplying clock speed by the number of cores. This lets you answer the question of "Which is faster?" when comparing a 6-core 3.0GHz to a 4-core 3.6GHz.

The Paint.NET Blog: https://blog.getpaint.net/

Donations are always appreciated! https://www.getpaint.net/donate.html


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Thanks for all the information. It helps to know how the program functions as I was concerned that my video card was not robust enough. That said, I am going to double the RAM in my machine in hopes that I will see some improvement, and won't get too impatient when working on hi res photos with multiple layers! :-)


I want to ask another question related to performance and speed (dare I ask this?) ... That "other" photo editing program by Adobe, I've not used it, but does it also have similar performance issues? Anyone know?



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