17 Performance Tuning

Here is some useful advice on what you can do to increase the performance of your Capture projects when visualising. The performance of your visualisation will depend on many things and sometimes a simple change can have a dramatic effect on performance.

17.1 Hardware

If you’re in the process of deciding which hardware to purchase or upgrade in your system, your number one priority should be the video card. There are several video card benchmarks available and it’s difficult to say which is most appropriate for Capture, but we tend to recommend PassMark’s Videocard Benchmarks as a starting point.

Some other things to pay attention to could be:

  • Motherboard and memory speed. These are linked, but ultimately limit the speed at which Capture can instruct the video card what to do.
  • CPU speed.
  • Your networking equipment (!) may limit you if you need to stream video content from media servers.

Some things that will have little or no effect at all on (visualization) performance:

  • Storage speed. Your hard disk is irrelevant.
  • RAM amount. As long as you have enough, you are covered.
  • The refresh rate of your monitor.

17.2 System Settings

Some video cards offer a plethora of quality settings in the operating system. None of these have any effect on Capture, so don’t waste your time there.

Always make sure to be running the latest video card drivers and haved the lastest operating system updates! Video card manufacturers invest a lot of optimization time in them and it does make a difference. Also keep in mind that on laptops with dual video cards, even if Capture only uses the more powerful one, the drivers need to cooperate so keep both up to date.

Always use video card drivers directly from the video card manufacturer (Intel / AMD / Nvidia) if possible.

17.3 Project Content

There are many aspects to the design of your project that will affect the performance of the visualization. Here are our top-tips of things to keep in mind:

  • Number of apertures - it’s the number of apertures, not the number of fixtures that counts. A striplight with 10 apertures can be as intense as 10 conventional fixtures, depending on your rendering settings.
  • Smoke - visualizing smoke illumination is very performance demanding, however the amount of smoke present does not matter - performance gains only occur if smoke is completely disabled.
  • Fixture focus (when smoke is present) - fixtures focused into the camera effectively affect the entire screen as compared to what is normally a small cone. If it’s a multi-aperture fixture such as a striplight and it’s used more for the appearance of the apertures than its stage washing capabilities or beams, you can turn off the Throws light property of the fixture to disable its beams, which helps performance a lot.
  • Any object that creates a shadow need to be taken into account when fixtures are being focused, are panning/tilting or being moved. If you know that there are parts of the drawing that you will not be lighting, turn off the Casts shadows property of these objects.
  • Transparent objects have an impact on performance, more by the number of them than how large or detailed they are. If you are importing a construction that will be transparent, try to keep the individual object count down if you can.