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Painter 2020 - Tuning GPU settings for optimal Painter® performance

Corel Painter® 2020 introduces an exciting new technology that allows the digital art software to leverage the computing power of video cards (GPU) for increased responsiveness. Other CPU-based performance enhancements were added to Painter 2020 as well, however this article focuses on the GPU support.

To use your system's GPU, Painter first needs to check the GPU for technology support and performance by using the Brush Benchmark test. This test examines your system components and sets a performance benchmark. To run the Brush Benchmark test, click the Optimize Now button in the Perfomance section of the Welcome screen.

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Once the benchmark is set, Painter will report some findings about your CPU and GPU as well as other information. In this example, this is the report obtained:

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In addition to this report, at the end of the Brush Benchmark test, Painter will also automatically either enable or disable the performance preference to use or not use the system GPU. You can find this preference - Use the graphics processor (GPU) to accelerate brush performance - in the Performance section of the Preferences dialog. In this example, the check box is checked, showing that Painter determined the GPU should be considered for computation.

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The actual performance you may observe will depend on your system hardware (the CPU and GPU), the brush variant and brush settings you are using as well as the document complexity (document dimension, number of layers, use of a selection, etc.). This is where you may want to experiment to see how the GPU support is working for your hardware, your favorite brushes, and workflows.

If the Use the graphics processor (GPU) to accelerate brush performance check box is unchecked in your preferences after running the test, you can try turning it on to see if the GPU helps with brush responsiveness. (The GPU setting is left unchecked when the GPU is supported by Painter, but the test determined that using it would not likely help performance.)

On the other hand, if the GPU setting is indeed checked after the test, this means that Painter has determined that your GPU could help responsiveness. However, you can try turning it off and experiment to see if your GPU is indeed actually improving responsiveness in your own common workflows. If you are getting brush lag when the GPU is on, turn it off and apply a few brushstrokes to see if it helps.

This new check box offers a quick way to turn GPU support on and off across all the supported brushes and is worth checking out to see if it is helping your system and brushes.

You can also experiment enabling or disabling GPU on individual brushes. This requires the GPU setting in the Performance preferences to be enabled. You can then fine-tune individual brushes to use or not use the GPU. First, open the new brush performance panel (Window > Brush Control Panels > Performance), where you can see if the current brush supports GPU, in addition to other performance technologies. Then, click the Disable GPU for this brush check box and apply some brushstrokes to compare responsiveness.

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Finally, your system may have more than one GPU that Painter can leverage. After completing the first Brush test, you can check your Performance preferences to see if this is the case. In the Configure list, you may find that there are more than one to choose from. Try selecting a different GPU, and running the Brush test again to see if you get different results. It is possible that you may have a system where one GPU would not help, but another GPU selection would, so it is worth checking it. (Don't forget to restart Painter after selecting a different GPU before running the test.)

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