blender freezes while rigging, needed performance advice

Hello Blender Community,

This track is to get advice on what might be causing the weird performance problem I have been observing with Blender and how to fix it

A couple of years back I got a DELL dual core XPS box, with 2G of RAM which was highly regarded about its ability to handle video games. Then its graphics card must have been adequate. One area I did not research and look into.

I have a 3D character mesh now, whenever I bring it up add an armature and start rigging, each time I click to try out a new rig idea, a new skin, a new pose, the screen freezes up, Blender application become unresponsive for a few minutes, up to 5 minutes at a time. I sit there in frustration with ideas untried. Sometimes all I want is change the weight of an overlapping mesh region, and see if that fixes deformation problem, I just observed in the raising, or lowering the arm pose. Things that can be done in a few seconds takes looong minutes.

I searched Blender archieves and found this thread , people were advising to stay away from Vista. Opps my famous dual core DELL did come with Vista. Now I have Windows 7 sitting my Desk, and don’t wish to chase yet another wild goose. Has anyone tried Blender under Windows7, would it help with this freezing problem. Should I consider Linux instead?

When it was in one of its frozen states I brought up the Performance Monitoring tool to see if Blender was waiting on any system resources, and if by adding more memory or going to quad core processor system I can manage to work more efficiently. What I saw shocked me, I was using Version 2.46. It only used %70-80 of only one of the processors, why was it not touching the other processor, not that it maxed out on the single processor yet. Duh, I learned that later Blender releases would take better advantage of multicore processors. Sure enough when I upgraded to Blender 2.49b. Both processors started getting hits. But utilization rates for either never exceeding %50-55. What that meant, going to a quad core processor will not do anything. So, it was not like Blender was not getting enough processing cycles, what was causing it to wait then? Memory? Nope out of 2Gs, in either Blender version the memory used by the whole system never exceeded 900M. Not even half of the RAM capacity was being used. What the heck was causing Blender to go into unresponsive state for minutes then? Disk I/O? Nothing I knew and could think of helped me? Windows performance monitoring tools, report nothing about Graphics card memory? Could it be related that Graphics card is getting over burdened between Windows and Blender? If so, what is the solution, recommendation?

Thanks in advance for your input?

I’ve had this sort of problem before, but not as bad as you mention. In my case, everything lagged in blender, Alt-A to play animations, posing armatures, etc. In my case, I fixed it by starting with a new scene in blender, deleted everything from the new scene, and appended all the objects from the offending .blend file. (select append from file menu, select offending .blend, then select the Objects sub-dir, then select all).

I dunno if this will work for you, as you describe a lot of lag…


I think you should try re-importing everything as Randy suggested, I’ve encounter problems where new blend file was only way to “fix” weird behavior. Also are you using soft body, with your armature>? It caused major slow down when I try’d to pose anything, I just got rid off soft body and it fixed the lag. Modifiers in bad order may cause a lot of lag, any double parenting or conflicting constraints might also cause lag problems.

Thank you revolt_randy, and Darkaltar.

Surely, reimporting my mesh and rig into a brand new blend file is a whole lot easier to try than a complete system overhaul, just to be bitten by the very same problem.

I unfortunately don’t have any soft bodies, not even particle hair. When I tried that in the past I never got it working after a distinct slow down in performance. However, I do want to get done with all these rigging problems so I can start with adding the bells and whistles . Still working on shoulder rigging, in between waiting, sighhh!

As for “Modifiers in bad order causing a lot of lag”. Could you gimme some examples of bad orderings?

“Any double parenting” Don’t believe so. There have been times when I wished Blender supported multiple parenting, multiple inheritance. I wish I had made notes of why I felt I needed this at times.

As “conflicting constraints causing lag problems”. hmmm. I could see it going into endless loops, by circular references. Those would be hard to trace. Endless do loops is the only thing I can thing off that is causing so much idle wait time. Something in my rigs causing Blender to spin its wheels?

I speculate a rig with lots of IK constraints might be computationally intensive. But again, I was tracing my Processor usage, they were sitting only half utilized. They were waiting on something.

Once I start rendering, then I might need the quad processor it appears. Rendering an animation sequence with different lights, textures, etc, I am stuck with rigging for the past year almost.

I have tried creating a Blend file from scratch. I even imported my mesh object first, in case there was anything wrong with its rig that was causing the speriodic unresponsiveness.

It still went into unreponsive state in the brand new file even before I .brought over its
rig. The waiting time was far reduced but still there. Then I appended his rig, yes he was moving as before in his new file. Even though he still decides to become unresponsive from time to time. I only have Subsurf modifier in the Mesh obj’s modifiers list. Mesh object is a child of his armature, it does not use the Armature modifier. It is still how I know how to automatically get Blender create all vertex groups per Deform bone, I use Vertex Groups flags. Not envelops…

I just decided to reformat my hard disk and switch to using Windows 7, In the process of reinstalling all my software.

I hope there are some of you who could report on your experiences with Blender under Windows 7. Dual boot between Windows 7 and LInux might be the next step, if Windows7 does not work.