Lightroom: Better Library Module performance

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The Library module in Lightroom doesn't perform all that well in several ways. I used to think this was because of my ancient hardware, but now that I have brand new very fast hardware, it's still slow:

The thumbs are rendered in the import window very quickly, and some metadata is collected as well. This should be virtually instantly transferred to the main Library module once you hit import so the thumbs pop up right away and the rest of the import proceeds in the background.

No matter what rendering options you select in import, the thumbs should be fully rendered up to at least the default (middle) size and should be able to be recalled very quickly from the thumbs cache. Right now, it's often necessary to page through the thumbs and wait for rendering and for the three-dots to go away on each and every thumb.

Even if standard or 1:1 preview rendering is complete, grid searches aren't very fast and thumbs don't come up very fast unless the catalog is on an SSD. This indicates to me that there are inefficiencies in the way these thumbs and metadata are called up (lots of hard drive thrashing).

Even once the grid is available, grid scrolling isn't smooth even on fast hardware. This seems to be largely because of the application of the "other stuff" like drop shadows, borders, metadata, badges, and so on, but I'm not really sure about that. Once all these thumbs are in memory (after the previous call-up step is complete), scrolling on modern hardware should be buttery smooth, as it is on other applications, including the OS (I use Windows Explorer).

The main request here is to go through the Library module and improve its efficiency wherever possible, such as the way sync got around 1000 times faster after a rewrite during the last cycle.
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Lee Jay

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Posted 7 years ago

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john beardsworth

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"The thumbs are rendered in the import window very quickly, and some metadata is collected as well. This should be virtually instantly transferred to the main Library module once you hit import so the thumbs pop up right away and the rest of the import proceeds in the background. "

Indeed!
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TK

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Lee, I fully agree that scrolling in the Library grid mode should be smoother and that the problem seem to be the decorations rather than the thumbnail images. Did you notice that "grabbing" the grid with the mouse cursor (you need to find the right spot between images) results in smoother scrolling? Not a solution as it does not support a large range but an indication that it is not a hardware problem. Picasa does a much better job scrolling image grids on my hardware.

Although I agree that initial display of the thumbs after import could be quicker, this is not my main problem as it occurs only once. Grid scrolling is always unpleasant but it shouldn't be. If it could be improved I think it would do loads for perceived LR performance.

Lee, with your new hardware do you find that the Develop module could use a performance boost? Or are exposure adjustments in the presence of other adjustments, such as sharpening, performed with a good refresh rate? On my hardware the refresh rate when using the exposure slider and full screen mode, is not good (much worse than when using LR in window mode and making the window as small as possible). I'm wondering what it is like on very performant hardware.

Don't mean to hijack your FR, though, which I support.
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Lee Jay

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When using exposure adjustments on a 5D raw image, even with spots, brushes, and lens corrections, the response is around 6-8 frames per second on a landscape image occupying most of a 1920x1200 screen. That's on an i7-2720QM.
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TK

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I get around 4-5 frames per second, on a smaller screen (1440x900) and with smaller files (6 MP). Of course our fps figures will also differ because of different (default) image adjustments. I find my rate too slow. Yours seems OKish but I guess ideally you'd want it higher (e.g., 16fps) as well, so that it would appear smooth (as it does when the image display size is reduced).
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Lee Jay

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"Did you notice that "grabbing" the grid with the mouse cursor (you need to find the right spot between images) results in smoother scrolling?"

That's a very odd behavior, but you're absolutely right, it does.
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Thronsen

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I completely agree with this post. The lethargy that LR demonstrates when scrolling through the grid view in Library mode is one of my biggest frustrations. I am using an i7-920, 24gb RAM and an SSD and still the lag is noticeable.

(btw, I dont want to distract anymore from this important topic, but thanks TK, appreciate it.)
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Andrew Rodney

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What’s kind of amazing is to open say iPhoto with a lot of images and see how blazingly fast it preforms with similar functions. So yes, we really, really need some performance tweaks here. Faster scrolling, faster redraw of thumbs etc.
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TK

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I feel that it is important that the scrolling is smooth and isn't interrupted by pauses that subsequently are followed by jerky jumps.

Only if the movement is smooth my eye is able to scan images while they move by. Once they start jumping around, I lose focus and the scrolling not only becomes unpleasant but also less effective.
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TK

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I'm wondering whether 3.4 introduced a change that makes the "three dots" on thumbnails appear more often?

I get the dots regularly when revisiting a catalogue. All thumbnails have been produced before and in fact when the dots disappear, the thumbnails don't change at all.

I don't recall this tendency for "re-dotting" images from the past.

I recently did an import and let the computer sit on its own for a long, long time in the hope that when I'll be back all thumbnails would have been generated. But unfortunately, many were not generated automatically and I had to scroll through them to manually trigger the generation. This should definitely be addressed.

Just confirming what Lee Jay wrote in his OP.
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Bill Wisser

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Yes! Faster, smoother scrolling in the the grid is a must.

Also, when in order to rearrange the order of images in the grid, I drag one or more images to the top or bottom of the grid window to initiate scrolling to move them, why is it so damn difficult to place the image icon in precisely the right little spot on the edge of the grid window where it will trigger the scrolling action?

This target hotspot should be made much bigger so it's easier to just casually whip the icon to the window's edge to trigger the action.

As it is now, it's so finicky that sometimes I have to futz around for five or 10 seconds to place the icon in just the right little spot (so the icon is positioned exactly 50% above the window edge and 50% below) to start the scrolling -- and even then, it often refuses to work and I have to try to reposition the icon again and again in order to move the pictures further up or down in the grid.

It's amazing to me that such a simple action is made so difficult by this horrendously user-unfriendly interface design . . . Come on, Adobe, you can do better than this!
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MarcusT

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+1 for (perceived) performance optimizing the Library module
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TK

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Too bad that LR4 didn't address this feature request.

I'd rather have a more performant library module than a half-baked book module (there are other, more adequate ways of producing books than using LR4's new module).

Maybe the programmers who did the book module cannot do the library optimisations (just like the book module programmers cannot implement better retouching support) but as customers we should not be caring about such internal difficulties.
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John Spacey

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I agree, the library moduleperformance is way too slow. intel i730 OC'd to 3.8Ghz and SSDs and SATA3 HDDs here
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Rory Hill

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Yes, this needs work for sure.
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Chrisf01

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This certainly annoys me! Having to wait ages for the thumbnails to come up so that I can see where I am scrolling to!

Scrolling was easy and taken for granted when I was using Elements 10.

This is especially frustrating as there is no "Time Line" as in Elements - I used to use that all the time.
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Rob Cole

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|> "Having to wait ages for the thumbnails to come up so that I can see where I am scrolling to!"

Make sure you generate previews so you don't have to go through this anymore. (Library Menu -> Previews)

Timeline-wise: try a metadata filter with a date column.