Does PE4 not allow multi-tasking?

Hi, first post here.

I've installed the trial version of PE4, really like it, and reckon I'll be buying it soon. (Although as a rank amateur I suspect I won't get far beyond the presets). But one immediate issue puzzles me, unless I'm missing something obvious. Doesn't the application let me continue processing when I switch briefly to another program, or when I minimise it? At present it just stops dead in its tracks under those conditions, or when some other application automatically takes focus (like an Outlook reminder message or whatever).

I'm hoping it can be configured to do multi-tasking of that sort, given that this is a quad core CPU.

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Terry, East Grinstead, UK

13 Replies

  •  Hi Terry, welcome to PE4 and the forum.

    I've just tried running a painting in autopaint using a preset, it worked fine even though I opened several programs and switched bettween them. 

    I was also on the internet at the same time (on this forum), when I went back to the painting it seemed ok and looked finished. Wendy Cook from Corel could possibly answer your question better than me, or Tolouse, hope you maybe get a more definitive answer.

     

    Regards

    Alan

    Seeing the beauty of nature

  •  Hi Terry - quad core is fine but how much RAM do you have? Digital Art is a real number cruncher, I only have four gigabytes of RAM and constantly come unstuck - but running xp I have little choice, however there is one thing you could try - have you set up a scratch disk, another hard drive whether internal or external - that can make a huge difference - when as you say your computer stops dead in its tracks that is often a case of running out of grey matter and sitting there in confusion. Within Painter Essentials, go to the "Edit" menu and select "Preferences..." in the dropdown menu in the upper left-hand corner, select "Memory & Scratch..."  and ensure that the "Scratch Disk" is set to your hard drive with the most available space. All graphics programmes are number crunchers and drive your memory hard.

  • Alan, Tolouse:

    Thanks both, much appreciate the fast replies.

    I too have XP and 4 GB RAM (although I gather XP limits this in practice to about 3 GB).

    I had set my Memory & Scratch to my non-system drive (750 GB, with plenty to spare).

    Experimenting further, it seems that if I switch applications by using Alt+Tab, then in the majority of cases PE4 continues to process. But if I use the mouse at all, whether to change apps, minimise, restore, click it within another application, etc, then it halts PE4.

    Could you see if you can reproduce that behaviour please?

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    Terry, East Grinstead, UK

  •  same thing happens to me - but I am a little confused as to why you would want to, because often when rendering an image it is best to stop it at a particular moment rather than allowing it to go full course - if you are not watching what control do you have?

  • Terry,

    32 bit applications like PE4 only get to use (are allocated by the OS) 2GB of your memory.

  • Tolouse Leplotte
    same thing happens to me - but I am a little confused as to why you would want to, because often when rendering an image it is best to stop it at a particular moment rather than allowing it to go full course - if you are not watching what control do you have?

     

    Well, the app may be a small window in the corner that may pop up like a messenger, etc. so I can communicate while CPE4 is still working away and I can keep an eye on both (if it's a complicated/large image).

     

  • Thanks for the feedback all.

    OK, pity about that. Looks like I'll have to put my mouse out of reach when I'm trying to do this sort of parallel work!

    Tolouse: I can see why you might be puzzled, but it's probably because I'm using PE4 (for now anyway) in a radically different way to you. And I'm guessing probably to most users.

    Briefly, I enjoy making family DVDs, mainly of holidays. My photos (and some video clips) are one major iinput. I recently decided I'd try making some 'painting effect' versions of a few of these JPGs, with the aim of including video clips incorporating them. So, for example, instead of my usual panning/zooming, I might fade from real to 'art effect', or vice-versa, or display a 2x2 collage of maybe Oil/Modern/Coloured Pencil/Seurat, etc.

    Bear in mind I'm a total novice, with only a couple of days experience of the program. But so far I've found I get the most pleasing result if I let PE4 run to its conclusion. (One possible exception I might experiment with later is Oil Painting, to get a result a bit closer to the less realistic effect I used to turn out during the period I was obsessed with landscape painting in oils and acrylics a few decades ago!)

    A full run seems to take a couple of minutes per photo on average (typically  2816 X 2112 from my Canon Ixus 60). And my current idea is to create about 10 styles for each photo, so that I can choose later at my leisure which ones I use and how I use them. I'll probably try this for say 20 of my 200 photos in the current project (which also includes a similar number of other inputs, such as AVI video clips, Google Earth tours, web images to supplement my own, and so on.) So that's 20 x 10 = 200 runs at maybe an average of 2 mins each. 400 minutes. Even if I didn't have this impatient temperament, nearly 7 hours is too long for me to waste watching PE4 do its stuff!

    BTW, if you stop the run (accidentally or deliberately) and then press Start again, does it literally start from scratch or simply pick up from where it left off? And if the former, does it matter that it's now painting on an already used canvas?

    P.S: I see that I'm still showing as '0 posts'! Some sort of forum quirk?

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    Terry, East Grinstead, UK

  •  A fine sunny morning it is Terry - you say.........

    BTW, if you stop the run (accidentally or deliberately) and then press Start again, does it literally start from scratch or simply pick up from where it left off? And if the former, does it matter that it's now painting on an already used canvas? Usually where it left off in my case

    P.S: I see that I'm still showing as '0 posts'! Some sort of forum quirk? - perhaps because you haven't posted a picture yet - only surmising!!! I cannot imagine any reason the forum mechanics would pick on East Grinstead - how did the town get it's name, because depending on which side of the Greenwich Meridian you are you could be in West East Grinstead - forgive me but the only thing I know about your town is the famous burns unit was there run by Archie McIndoe, the legendary plastic surgeon who treated so many RAF aircrew who got badly burned

  • I don't normally bother with forum avatars, but if that's the price of admission then I guess I'd better add one!

     

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    Terry, East Grinstead, UK

     

  •  Hi, TerryP, welcome to Essentials Cafe.  From what you've been saying, this might not be a technical computer configuration issue at all.  I think what is happening is that when you start autopaint, it has a sensitive stop trigger and even just jiggling the mouse will stop the autopaint in its tracks.  So, you can normally choose to start autopaint and let it run its full course and stop by itself while you wait and twiddle your fingers, or you can start autopaint and then click anywhere on the screen which will stop it right where it is without finishing (and then if you click "start" again it will start all over again with the large blobs gradually developing into a painting), or if you switch to another program or use  your mouse, it sounds like that stops the autopaint in its tracks also before it comes to its natural end-of-painting point.  Does that make sense?

    By the way, like your avatar -- is it of you or just your handsome brother? (just kidding).

  • Thanks Marcia. I'll experiment further with this.Now that I know it's normal and not some quirk of my setup it's no big deal. One other factor is that I use a program called Macro Express Pro to help me speed up many tasks. So I've written a few macros that help me automate some aspects of PE4. For example, one starts it automatically applying 10 styles to a pre-chosen JPG, saving each result with names like xyz-Oil.jpg, xyz-Seurat.jpg, So you can see why I was keen to have this work reliably in the background. But I've now settled for leaving it untouched by man or mouse while I go and grab lunch or whatever. Wink

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    Terry, East Grinstead, UK

  • Now that's an interesting concept.  I remember way back when in WordPerfect when you could use macros to do multiple-step processes, but didn't know that there is something still out there that helps you do that.  And when I started using Essentials, I used to spend HOURS trying out different versions of a painting to see which would look best in the end.  And you think you'll be able to do it mechanically, crunching 10 styles at once?  Whoa!  Well, maybe not, if Essentials won't let you do it.  But do keep us informed if you can figure out a way to accomplish this, please.  "Rank beginners" come up with some interesting ideas, some of which work and some of which you never admit to anyone you even tried (heh heh cackle).

  • I never used Wordperfect but I think it has its own built-in macro application. Quite a few programs are similar. My text editor, TextPad, for example, and  of course PaintShop Pro with its scripting. (I use PSP 8). Then there are all the Microsoft Office apps, like Word and Excel, which give you macros by using Visual Basic Applications (VBA).

    But the bulk of apps don't have any self-contained macro or scripting functionality. To apply keystrokes and mouse operations to these you can use general purpose macro programs like mine. A brief google for macro applications will point you to scores of them, freeware and commercial.

    I have my two main macros for PE4 working OK now. One is as I described and the other takes that one step further by generating 10 styles for every JPG in a specified folder and storing the resultant JPGs in another folder. Ideally I'd have liked to be able to use that today, letting it create say 200 images for later study while I worked normally on other things. But because of the limitation we've identified (i.e. any mouse usage stops it dead), I'll have to let it run overnight. Even then I suspect that other stuff going on (like my automated backups, etc) might thwart my grand plan!

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    Terry, East Grinstead, UK

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