Sluggish viewport on OSX

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I've been experiencing an incredibly sluggish and laggy viewport on OSX and I was wondering if anyone else has experienced the same. I was searching for this and couldn't find anything on the topic, so I'm just wondering if it's something to do with my setup
When I launch Houdini the viewport works perfectly fine, however after about half to one hour the viewport starts becoming progressively sluggish to the point that it's impossible to work anymore. It keeps freezing every few seconds and navigating the viewport just doesn't work most of the times. After restarting Houdini it's back to normal for an hour
I've tried multiple versions of Houdini including latest daily build and both py2 and py3 versions and keep getting the same issue
I don't believe it's a performance issue as I'm on an intel Mac Pro, but I'm wondering if my particular configuration is not optimised for any reason
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yes, on my Mac Pro OSX 12.1 I've seen the same behavior.
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I am not experiencing the same effect with Houdini 19.455 on a Hackintosh iMac Pro equivalent (i9 18 core, 64Gb of RAM, 5700xt GPU) on BigSur 11.6.2.

I am using the py2 version but I don't know if it makes much of a difference. I'm running a pretty huge file too and have been able to work for hours without experiencing any slowdowns.

Not sure why it's running smoothly on my machine while it's having issues on others, especially a Mac Pro (I assume 2019?).
>>Kays
For my Houdini tutorials and more visit:
https://www.youtube.com/c/RightBrainedTutorials [www.youtube.com]
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Thanks for the input guys, that's helpful to understand where the problem is coming from.
I though it was something with my exact setup, even though it was a Mac Pro (yep, 2019) but at least I know there are others experiencing the same issue.
I also got the chance to try Houdini out on a brand new M1 MacBook Pro, to test the performance and I can confirm I'm getting the same issue
I've reported the issue to support and they logged the bug so let's see.. Hopefully there's a fox in an upcoming version
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Assume you've also tried killing the scene view and loading in a new one?
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Had the same issue on m1 max and 12.1. Both for viewport and network views. And in addition to that issues with mouse focus that was resolved in .456. Maybe the slowdown is a bug in how 12.1 handles opengl? I cannot downgrade myself to test but since @midphase seems to get by, doing just that might be a short term solution.
Is there a stable verison of the combo mac + houdini? Newer had any major problems in the h16 h17 era as far as I remember. Still seems to me that an iMac Pro maxed out as workstation would have been the best investment a mac 3d person could have done
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The loading of 4k image textures is very laggy too, as is changing color of diffuse. The most laggy is changing color channel values and dragging nodes from the material network onto an object in render view.
Edited by Island - Jan. 16, 2022 23:10:35
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i encountered this myself last week, it was an abrupt degradation in performance, i think it happened after i loaded environment texture, switched shading models, added shaders, etc.
i myself am on M1Pro machine; sadly, after reporting bugs that i encountered (not regarding this particular one), i've been told that:
  • m1 machines are not officially supported
  • they were not able to reproduce on their machine, so they close the bug report
so now i don't bother reporting things, can just say that yeah - i'm in the same boat
https://twitter.com/oossoonngg [twitter.com]
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I understand your frustration. In the old days, I used Windows and had to deal with the time and frustration of the blame game between Microsoft, the software companies, the graphics and sound card driver companies, the antivirus software, and of course - the user. Some companies capitalized on this and made their own certified hardware (like Avid) at a premium price. At least with Apple, there is only Apple, the software company and the user. However, there is not parity of quality for 3D work between Windows and Apple. In the past XSI and currently 3dmax are Windows only (as is Solidworks). The OSX versions of Modo and Maya are less stable than their windows equivalents. In addition, my experience is the hardware reliability, support, and stability of Apple products have seriously declined over the past few years. My Mac Pro has had to have almost all of its hardware replaced for defects, with prolonged downtime in Apple repair stores.

SideFX has a history of rapid fixes of operating system agnostic issues but unfortunately not compatibility issues with Apple. With an older version of Houdini, there was a selection bug where what was clicked on or lassoed had no relationship with what got selected. That took months to resolve and made Houdini impossible to use. The problem is even worse if one is using a third party rendering program, as they tend to only work with production builds and frequently not the most recent build.

Most of the issues between Houdini and Apple, I think, are file permission, driver issues, OpenGL, or Quicktime problems. For instance, when I installed Houdini, the file /Library/LaunchDaemons/com.sidefx.sesinetd.plist does not get installed. I have permissions set for full disk and accessibility allowance for pretty much everything Houdini, but this does not allow local licensing on my Mac Pro. I've had two long sessions with different SideFX support people and in the end they said I just needed to use remote licensing.

I hope this will be resolved, but I wouldn't count on anything quick. The fact that Hackintosh systems work would suggest it is a driver or hardware issue.
Edited by Island - Jan. 17, 2022 17:25:24
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Not that it would make anyone on this thread feel any better -- but Houdini on my Windows machine is crashy as F-. Projects that I routinely open and work on my Hackintosh, result in a hard crash in Houdini in Windows on the first open every time (then for some reason they open just fine the second time....so weird).

The point is -- the grass ain't always greener on the other side!
>>Kays
For my Houdini tutorials and more visit:
https://www.youtube.com/c/RightBrainedTutorials [www.youtube.com]
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What OSX are you running? 12.01 was fine, 12.1 is the problem.
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I use intel Mac Pro, and have same problem through H18~H19.
The program runs perfectly fine under a hour after launch, but soon becomes sluggish.

I was told this setting below when I asked for support once.
It made situation a little better in my case. (though mainly remained)

inside Houdini.env:
HOUDINI_OCL_OGL_INTEROP = 0

I'm using macOS 12.1, but I think situation hasn't changed since 11(BigSur).
Edited by gupon - Jan. 26, 2022 06:03:19
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Hi All,

We haven't had any luck reproducing the lag and performance degradation problem on macOS. We've seen reports and even videos of the issue so we know there's an underlying problem somewhere. Unfortunately, we haven't encountered the problem (yet) in-house so we can't really say what's causing it or what the fix should be. We've been testing on different Macs and with both Big Sur and Monterey, including 12.1.

If you manage to find reproducible test steps, then please send them to SideFX support. That would help immensely.

Once we can recreate the bug in-house, then we'll be able to find a solution. Right now we're kind of shooting in the dark.

Cheers,
Rob
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Hi Rob,
Thanks for letting us know about the situation inside SideFX.
Though I can't believe since I've seen many same situation around me, but now I will try to make some scene file (maybe with python script) that can reproduce the problem in stable, constant time.
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I had reported the same @ https://www.sidefx.com/forum/topic/77342/ [www.sidefx.com]

Not sure if it's related to the problem but I know when it happens the number of QT widgets increase exponentially, like if there was some type of resource leak.

import PySide2.QtWidgets
len(PySide2.QtWidgets.QApplication.instance().allWidgets())

Another thing to note is that as soon as you startup Houdini, if you look at the CPU utilization it will stick to about constant 20% and force the windowserver process on macOS to gravitate at 60% of the energy efficient core on M1 on a constant basis and never goes down after that.
I assume it has to do with OGL draw calls. A similar problem was addressed in Blender and they switched from a NSOpenGLView to a CAMetalLayer @ https://developer.blender.org/T60043 [developer.blender.org]

Hope this helps.

P.S. Wanted to clarify it's a problem that has been happening since macOS Catalina so Intel as well.
Edited by jd_m_007 - Jan. 26, 2022 21:09:11
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gupon
Hi Rob,
Thanks for letting us know about the situation inside SideFX.
Though I can't believe since I've seen many same situation around me, but now I will try to make some scene file (maybe with python script) that can reproduce the problem in stable, constant time.

Yeah, I'm a bit surprised that we haven't hit the issue internally either. Any relevant info or files that you can provide is greatly appreciated!

Cheers,
Rob
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jd_m_007
I had reported the same @ https://www.sidefx.com/forum/topic/77342/ [www.sidefx.com]

Not sure if it's related to the problem but I know when it happens the number of QT widgets increase exponentially, like if there was some type of resource leak.

import PySide2.QtWidgets
len(PySide2.QtWidgets.QApplication.instance().allWidgets())

Yup. I saw your report when it came in through our support system. I gave this a try and I also noticed that the total number of widgets increased if I continually opened submenus in the TAB menu for example. However, when I continued to open submenus, eventually the total number of widgets dropped back down. I tested for about 5 minutes of opening submenus and the number of widgets stayed in the range of 80 to 120 widgets. It never got past that range.

I believe that is the expected behavior. Houdini doesn't immediately destroy windows (and the widgets that they contain) when the windows are closed. Instead it stores them so that they can be recycled or reused. By opening submenus quickly, that causes Houdini to create new windows since the old windows haven't completely been recycled yet. And then at some future point, Houdini does a garbage collection pass and flushes out the excessive windows.

jd_m_007
Another thing to note is that as soon as you startup Houdini, if you look at the CPU utilization it will stick to about constant 20% and force the windowserver process on macOS to gravitate at 60% of the energy efficient core on M1 on a constant basis and never goes down after that.
I assume it has to do with OGL draw calls. A similar problem was addressed in Blender and they switched from a NSOpenGLView to a CAMetalLayer @ https://developer.blender.org/T60043 [developer.blender.org]

Hope this helps.

P.S. Wanted to clarify it's a problem that has been happening since macOS Catalina so Intel as well

Interesting. Some of the user reports that I saw come in suggested that downgrading the macOS version "fixed" the lag problem. That suggested the bug only happened in Big Sur or Monterey. If you also see it in Catalina, then either the other users got lucky when they downgraded or maybe there's more than one issue at play here.

Thanks for the Blender link. I'll take a look. We don't create NSOpenGLView directly. We use Qt, which creates the underlying windows and views. Though looking at the Qt source code, I don't even see where it creates NSOpenGLView objects so maybe it already switched over to CAMetalLayer? I'll have to do more digging.

As for the 20% CPU utilization, can you try setting HOUDINI_DISABLE_BACKGROUND_HELP_INDEXING=1in your environment before launching Houdini? That will disable the help system's background indexing, which is notorious for chewing up CPU time when Houdini first opens. I just want to rule that out as the source of the CPU utilization.

Cheers,
Rob
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I don't know if it is important, but if one adds and deletes materials the Houdini file will continue to bloat. Even "save as" gives a bloated file. Copying the objects to a new Houdini file shrinks the file back to a good size, so there is something that doesn't get deleted when materials are added and removed.

I will be happy when spinning beachballs are not the norm with Houdini on OSX, often with "evaluating python" showing.
Edited by Island - Jan. 28, 2022 12:48:35
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This is how it looks like. It does happen on most sessions. And sometimes it doesn't get there very fast. Worst seems to be when I do python dev. But all scenes start out fine and then goes bad. Progressively worse over time. A few years back I have no remembrance of anything like this ever happening.
I know that since I am an a M1 Max Mac running 12.1 and that is not officially supported I can expect issues but hopefully this can be fixed since everything else works quite fine and snappy.

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rvinluan
Hi All,

We haven't had any luck reproducing the lag and performance degradation problem on macOS. We've seen reports and even videos of the issue so we know there's an underlying problem somewhere. Unfortunately, we haven't encountered the problem (yet) in-house so we can't really say what's causing it or what the fix should be. We've been testing on different Macs and with both Big Sur and Monterey, including 12.1.

If you manage to find reproducible test steps, then please send them to SideFX support. That would help immensely.

Once we can recreate the bug in-house, then we'll be able to find a solution. Right now we're kind of shooting in the dark.

Cheers,
Rob

I've noticed recently that it is particularly sluggish when I use grooming tools. Not to say that it only happens while grooming, but it seems to happen faster
Maybe you could try setting up some complex grooming networks including using guide groom nodes for the guides
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