Background Image, UV Image and Speed

I’ve been trying to build a face as per TorQ’s great tutorial ( ), and a longstanding problem has resurfaced.

Whenever I load a background reference image (view>background image), my processor speed slows to the point that work is near impossible. I’ve noticed this problem previously while working with a uv image displayed in the uv/image editor.

I can appreciate that blender is doing an awful lot of processing while these images are onscreen, so my question is this:

Is there an optimal image format that might lift the burden on blender while using background images?

So far I’ve experimented with .jps at bare minimum resolution/dpi, as well as greyscale images, but nothing seems to lift this blender-slowing burden.

Any pointers appreciated. :stuck_out_tongue:

Maybe your graphic card doesnt work well with blender (check the Graphic Card-Threads and the Graphic Cards article on

With XP a 300k-jpg is slowing down my new laptop (1,7 Celeron; 512 RAM, ATI 9600 with 128 MB RAM), with Linux-Ubuntu i can even handle background-images with 3MB and maybe more (not tested) and Blender is generally really faster on the same machine (3D-window, rendering): so you may try a linux live distribution (i prefer Ubuntu, its very comfortable for Linux newbies) to check this out. For the harddisk installation, there are some Linux drivers for 3D-cards, you can install them easily).

I prefer uv images instead of background images. You can use the uv’s on all the axis and you are able to controll their scale. With background images it can be get frustrating, if you want to use different images.
Just go in texture mode and select draw mode “wire” in the anim-panel for your new mesh.

Many thanks for the reply, bodi. Just completed the task with low-resolution, greyscale jpgs. Needless to say, it was a nasty old grind. :frowning:

A friend passed me a copy of the Ubuntu starter disk a few months back… seems that I’ve got good reason to install that partition now. Have been running blender under windows 2000 and, while it handles nicely, render times on upper-end stills and animations have had my pc chugging overnight on a few occasions. An option to speed things, however slightly, is welcome. I’m going to take your advice and get busy with Ubuntu.

//re background images & scaling problems- YES! Achievable, but Frustrating! :stuck_out_tongue:

Had a quick experiment with your uv background tip. Sounds great, but I’m not 100% clear on the process. When you refer to texture mode/ draw mode, as I understand it, you’re referring to texture paint mode, followed by a switch to wireframe drawtype. After this point I get a little confused, sorry :expressionless: I’m off to run a search on this alternative… there are bound to be a few glossy tutorials around here detailing the process.

Thanks again for your help.

EDIT: Typo

Hi David,

here a short tut:

add the plane
add your reference-image as an image-texture, press alt-p to get the rigth proportion
go into face-select mode, apply your uv-image
select Textured in the Viewport Shading context, maybe you have to rotate uv-coordinats (“r”)
add your new mesh
go into edit mode
go into object panel (F7)
select Drawtype “Wire” for your mesh
start modelling !

In my case, i will reconstruct the grounplan of a roman fort according to a geophysikal prospection and then model on the z-axis the buildings. I will take different references from other sites for the upgoing structures, so the background-image way will not work.

Wow. Thats’ a GREAT reference-image technique, bodi. Can see the advantages of this method outstrip the old view>background image, and will definately be using it from now on. This approach also seems to completely quash the speed/processor demand issues that I was facing under Win2000.

Thanks for taking the time to write up a tut for me. Very much appreciated :slight_smile: .