Subsurf Modifier Significantly Reduces performance

I’ve been working on a project for quite some time now and I’ve just moved on to the rigging phase. Everything has been performing just fine until now when I try to do some weight painting. If I turn on the subsurf modifier (even with just 1 level) the performance is reduced to an unworkable level. I’m really not sure what to do. I’ve tried some of the “fixes” suggested by a few users out there, but nothing has put any bit of a noticeable effect on resolving my problem.

I’m running a EVGA GTX 770 4gb card on a EVGA Z87 FTW mobo, Win7 64-bit, 8GB RAM, and an Intel core-i7 4770k processor. What’s my lim-fac? The memory? I don’t understand how the subsurf modifier can reek such havoc on my system. It’s blowing my mind and beginning to get very frustrating.

Thanks for your help

The subsurf modifier is slowing everything down because the calculations have to now include a much higher amount of polygons.

Part of it is also simply the additional geometry, there are plans by the developers to really optimize Blender’s drawing code, but a good chunk of it may simply be due to the rigging calculations being heavy (which may or may not be helped by Blender’s new dependency graph which is not enabled by default yet).

Is there a workaround?

Since I’m working on a mechanical character rig, I ended up just keeping all the pieces separated. Seems to work much better. Apparently the whole mesh was too much

Each level of subsurf multiply by 4 the amount of vertices/faces, and depending on the original object polycount, it can lead to a very high poly object.

So by example “even with just 1 level” added to a sculpt that is 250.000 faces will have it skyrocketting to 1.000.000 faces !

Additionally, when you select an object, the “outline” you see surrounding it is in fact Blender making a double of that object, so with high poly object, it can be painfull to select one and try to rotate around it.
You can disable that outline in the properties panel (press N) and in the Display tab disable “Outline Selected”.

But remember that you will not be able then to see anymore the outline that show you which object is selected, but at least performance in 3D view with high poly object is much better.