Photoshop: MacBook Pro 2015 screen flicker

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  • Problem
  • Updated 4 months ago
  • (Edited)
THE ISSUE:
The screen flickers when, under specific conditions in Photoshop, the cursor of any brush tool changes to a different cursor. Here's a video: https://youtu.be/m2S9DQPBypI

HARDWARE AND SOFTWARE:
MacBook Pro 2015 15” 2.2 Ghz with integrated Intel Iris Pro graphics (16 GB RAM, macOS High Sierra 10.13.1). I tested the issue on Photoshop CC 2018, CC 2017 and CS6.

THE DETAILS:
The whole screen (not just the Photoshop app) shifts to the right or down (or both) when the brush cursor changes to another cursor. For example: 
• When a brush cursor changes to the hand tool by pressing spacebar.
• When the healing brush or clone stamp cursor changes to the target cursor by pressing the Option key.
• When a brush cursor changes to the pointer cursor by leaving the document window for a palette, the tool bar or the options bar. You need to fiddle a little bit to get this one (make the cursor change repeatedly from the brush to the pointer and you'll see the screen flicker).

The flickering ONLY happens at a specific combinaisons of zoom percentages and brush size ranges:
• 3200% zoom: with brush sizes from 6 to 10 inclusively
• 1600% zoom: from 11 to 20 inclusively
• 800% zoom: from 21 to 40 inclusively
• 400% zoom: from 41 to 81 inclusively
• 200% zoom: from 81 to 162 inclusively
• 100% zoom: from 162 to 324 inclusively
• 50% zoom: from 323 to 648 inclusively
• 25% zoom: from 646 to 1297 inclusively
• 12.5% zoom: from 1292 to 2595 inclusively
• 6.25% zoom: from 2584 to 5000 inclusively

The aforementioned values are for a ROUND brush tip shape and for the “Normal Brush Tip” (defined under Cursor in Photoshop’s Preferences).

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

• The brush size ranges differ with custom tip shapes, and also when using “Full Size Brush Tip” (in Photoshop’s Preferences).
• There is NO flickering with the “Standard” or “Precise” tips.
• There is NO flickering when macOS is in Safe mode, where accelerated graphics is disabled, which leads me to think the issue is tied to the integrated Intel Iris Pro graphics.
• The flickering happens when the cursor is over any type of image (e.g. a plain background color, a photo, etc). Interestingly, the issue does NOT happen after applying an Add Noise filter (with any Amount value GREATER than 1).
• Interestingly, if under Accessibility in macOS System Preferences I change the "Cursor size", this changes the brush size ranges. That's probably because this feature not only changes the pointer cursor size, but also the size of Photoshop's brush cursors
• I tried to capture the flickering using the video screen capture in Quicktime. The flickering doesn’t show when I review the recorded video.
• The flickering is present in native "default" screen resolution and the two "More Space" settings, but NOT with the two "Larger Text".
• The flickering happens both on battery and plugged-in.
• There is also flickering with the brush tools in Camera Raw (with specific brush sizes) but I have not experienced flickering in other apps (including Adobe Illustrator) or in any macOS window.
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Vincent Roy

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  • frustrated, worried

Posted 7 months ago

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Photo of Anna Hayes

Anna Hayes

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I have the exact same issue. were you able to find a solution? Is this a apple or photoshop issue?
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Vincent Roy

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I think this an Apple issue. Specifically with the Intel iris Pro graphics card. I installed Affinity Photos and I have the same problem with the brushes.
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Jeffrey Tranberry, Sr. Product Manager, Digital Imaging

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Do you have an Automatic Graphic switching in the Energy Saver section of System Preferences:



If so, if you uncheck that does the flicker go away?
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Anna Hayes

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I don't even have this option. Just battery usage options in Energy Saver window. 
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Jeffrey Tranberry, Sr. Product Manager, Digital Imaging

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Sounds like you only have the integrated card and not a dedicated GPU. The dedicated GPUs tend to have more robust drivers/functionality
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Eric Rousset

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled Photoshop CC 2015.5: Ghosted Photoshop window when using brush tool.

I've a problem with Photoshop CC 2015.5 (on MacBook Pro OS Sierra)  when I use the brush tool.(Apparently only with this tool)
For example when I do some post-processing on a picture, when I move the brush tool without clicking around the border of the composition it will appears some strange flickering screen effect.Looks like a mirror of the opened Photoshop.
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Anna Hayes

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If you switch your paintbrush cursor to precise it'll go away. But that's not convenient to edit with, I know. I have no idea why photoshop does this. Not sure if it's a problem with Apple or Adobe or the platform compatibility with the new cloud system.
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Vincent Roy

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I can reproduce the same flickering using Affinity Photo, so the problem is likely with the Intel Iris Pro graphics card.