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Disappointing first inhale of Smoke 2013..

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Adrian Lopez
Disappointing first inhale of Smoke 2013..
on Feb 13, 2013 at 12:27:46 am

Greetings all,

I just installed my new copy of Smoke 2013 today. I’ve been studying online tutorials from Joelosis and Grant for the last month or so, and I’m eager to sink my teeth into this package.

I thought I had more than powerful enough rig: A 2012 MacPro 12 core with 24 gigs of ram, ATI Radeon HD 5770 graphics card, and PNY Quadro 4000 GPU.

It seems however, that Smoke chokes on color correcting RED footage in ConnectFX. Timeline Color Correction seems fast enough, but following Grant’s tutorial on white balancing footage, I got beachballs anytime I touched the color wheels in the color warper. I have DaVinci installed on this same system and had previously graded the same footage - feedback was instantaneous.

Needless to say, I’m very disappointed. I feel like I'm missing something somewhere. None of my cores ever seem to go to 100%, yet I’m beach balling constantly.. and there’s lots of memory to spare… My RED footage is debayering at quarter rez, only 960x540.. practically SD :(

What gives?



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Joel Osis
Re: Disappointing first inhale of Smoke 2013..
on Feb 13, 2013 at 12:42:55 am

your machine all seems greatg up until the ATI GFX card, have you tried just booting with the quaddro 4000?
also have you upped your memory allocqtion for smoke in the setup utility? i have 32GB or ram and i set mine to 24GB


w: http://www.joelosis.com
e info@joelosis.com


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Adrian Lopez
Re: Disappointing first inhale of Smoke 2013..
on Feb 13, 2013 at 1:20:41 am

Joel,

Thanks for responding. The setup utility shows memory allocation set at Automatic.. you're saying I should up that?

I saw you comment on someone else post about setting the player to Preview not PreviewFX.. but I dont know where to find that setting - no doubt its somewhere obvious.

Finally, regarding the video cards, are you suggesting removing the stock ATI card from the Mac Pro? Or is there some software switch? I bought the Quadro for grading work in DaVinci, I'm not looking forward to swapping out video cards to get decent performance out of Smoke.



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Joel Osis
Re: Disappointing first inhale of Smoke 2013..
on Feb 13, 2013 at 1:53:59 am

yes, change from automatic to 18000 if you have 24 GB of ram,
preview fx is on the right in the timeline i think its called realtime now, make sure its off, but this shouldnt make a difference if ur in CFX,
the video card thing does suck but the developers are aware of the issue and im sure trying to sort the bugs out, the main reason is historically smoke and flame only ran on nvidia.
I would remove the amd card either way, not just for smoke but in general, im not a big fan of their cards, i got a cheap gtx 570 for like 300 bucks and it works fine in my tower and is faster than your quaddro, plus more cuda cores, even resolve will play nicer with 2 nvidias

hope that helps


w: http://www.joelosis.com
e info@joelosis.com


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Adrian Lopez
Re: Disappointing first inhale of Smoke 2013..
on Feb 13, 2013 at 2:04:16 am

Joel,

I hadn't considered that mixing ATI and Nvidia may impact performance. Truth be known, I prefer Nvidia cards generally - the only ATI cards I have are the stock installs from Apple. So you recommend the GTX 570 for the Mac Pro? I thought you were implying I HAD to go down to one card for Smoke. That's a relief. I'll order the Nvidia you recommend.

I thought I read somewhere that Smoke won't use a gpu that isn't being used for display, is that true? Is there an advantage to having a second gpu if that's the case? Does Smoke use CUDA? I heard it was OpenCL only.

Great job on the tutes, btw. Although that last color correction one did my head in a bit with all the logic ops. ;)



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Joel Osis
Re: Disappointing first inhale of Smoke 2013..
on Feb 13, 2013 at 2:35:18 am

as long as you have lion or higher an off the shelf pc nvidia 5 and 6 series nvidia cards are plug and play on the mac, lion no boot screen, mountain lion works like a normal card would. The gtx 680 is even better depends on your budget.
At this point in time yes smoke only sees the one gpu for processing, i'm sure they are looking to change this, smoke doesnt use cuda or opencl im pretty sure opengl.
The main advantage on the second gpu would more benefit resolve.
glad u like the tuts :),
be sure to give smoke alot of ur time and a chance,its very deep but once it clicks and you get how it works you will hate working in anything else


w: http://www.joelosis.com
e info@joelosis.com


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Chris Tomberlin
Re: Disappointing first inhale of Smoke 2013..
on Feb 15, 2013 at 9:49:00 pm

[Adrian Lopez] " I have DaVinci installed on this same system and had previously graded the same footage - feedback was instantaneous."

Adrian,

Just curious about your method for running Smoke (AJA hardware required) and Resolve (Decklink hardware required)on the same system. Through some painful experimentation I've been able to do this myself running both AJA and BMD cards in my Mac Pro without the need for a dual-boot setup. How are you going about it?

Thanks

Chris Tomberlin
Editor/Compositor/Owner
OutPost Pictures


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Adrian Lopez
Re: Disappointing first inhale of Smoke 2013..
on Feb 16, 2013 at 7:40:34 am

Truth is, Chris. I'm not doing it... Yet. I have a Decklink HD extreme card in the system, and the PNY 4000 GPU. For Smoke, AJA hardware is required only for monitoring AFAIK, and I'm hoping Autodesk adds Blackmagic support soon.

Its been suggested that in order to maximise performance on the MacPro, I need to ditch the stock ATI card, and install a second Nvidia. The problem is, the MacPro doesn't have the power outputs to manage 2 Nvidia cards that require two power leads. The workaround is purchase a $2,700 cubix GPU expander to house the second card. Not exactly a purchase I'd planned on when buying smoke. The only bright side is that I had no room for a Red Rocket card in my Mac Pro. With a Cubix I would. Trying to rationalize, I know.

What solution did you come up with?



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Chris Tomberlin
Re: Disappointing first inhale of Smoke 2013..
on Feb 17, 2013 at 4:43:08 am

Well, my solution does involve the Cubix expander because the Mac just doesn't have enough slots to do all that I need to do. I'm running Avid Symphony, FCP7, After Effects and Smoke all with the AJA Kona 3 and Resolve using only the Decklink 3D. Here's the current hardware config:

Mac Pro:
Slot 1: Quadro 4000
Slot 2: Cubix Host interconnect
Slot 3: Kona 3
Slot 4: Decklink Extreme 3D
(I think that's right, Slots 3 and 4 might be swapped)

Cubix:
Slot 1: Atto Celerity FC42-ES (Fibre card)
Slot 2: Nvidia GTX690

If you don't need extra GPUs or an HBA for fast storage, you won't need the Cubix.

Some people on the cow will tell you that you can't run two video capture cards in the same system, but you absolutely can, though it does seem like it shouldn't work. The trick is to remove a few of the things that the installer packages for each card put in the system. There are essentially plug-ins that connect the software to the hardware. For instance, I was able to remove the plug-ins that connect FCP7, Avid and AE to the Deklink card but leave the connections to the AJA card so all those software packages don't recognize the Decklink at all but only see the Kona card. Resolve, on the other hand doesn't go looking for an AJA card so it only sees the decklink. Each card has a video out going to one of the two inputs on my FSI monitor and I just switch inputs on the monitor when I go to work in Resolve. While FCP7 and Avid are both compatible with Decklink, Avid works MUCH better with AJA hardware, and of course, Smoke only works with AJA hardware.

The Cubix is fairly pricey, but the alternative for me was to buy another Mac Pro, Ram, another fibre card, etc. The Cubix comes out much cheaper in that scenario. The only problem I have remaining with this setup is that the mac will hang or kernel panic on restarts sometimes. It's not related to the two video capture cards because when I disconnect the Cubix, the problem goes away. I'm still tracking that one down, but otherwise the setup is working great.

If you need specifics on the software items that need to be removed from the system to make this work let me know and I'll post details next week.

Chris Tomberlin
Editor/Compositor/Owner
OutPost Pictures


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Adrian Lopez
Re: Disappointing first inhale of Smoke 2013..
on Mar 14, 2013 at 4:25:21 pm

Just letting everyone know, after switching to the Nvidia 4000 card, Smoke is now performing like a champ. The factory ATI card in our MacPro is just sitting in there using power. I'm really loving the software - everything I've always wanted to be able to do - from creating custom transitions to importing 3D objects and working in a 3D environment - I can now do.. all from the timeline.

Cant say I'll be ditching AE and FCPX just yet - I still think its easier to build a first cut in FCPX - but I think AE will miss me - I'll only be loading her up for particle effects now.

At the risk of sounding too enthusiastic - I'm a confirmed Smoker now.

I'm sure I'll take a performance hit in Davinci until we spring for the Cubix box, but I'm able to do so much in Smoke, I suspect even Davinci will get booted up less. Good thing it came for free with our Blackmagic Camera.

Happy Smoking everyone..



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