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Optimizing ProSelects speed

There are lots of factors that can affect how fast ProSelect starts up and runs. This article discusses these so, if you need to, you can make adjustments to improve the performance of ProSelect on your computer.

The faster ProSelect runs, the less time you will need for preparation and production and the more successful your presentations will be. 

The sections below provide hardware and software changes that you can make (and the reasons why) to improve performance. We have included a checklist at the bottom which provides a summary of most steps.

 

Computer type, speed, memory & disk type

Your computer model can make a major difference. Modern computers are a lot faster than those that are more than two years old and most of the suggestions below for speeding up ProSelect won't be necessary if you are using a modern fast computer.  

New computers are relatively inexpensive, while it might cost a bit to get up to date with a new machine, the results should be well worthwhile. The exception to this, however, are the new Netbook computers which can sacrifice performance for low cost and long battery life. In general, we do not recommend using ProSelect on these machines.

If you purchase a computer with a dual or quad-core processor, ProSelect will take advantage of multiple cores when importing images. A 4 core machine will import images around three times faster than a single core machine and twice as fast as a 2 core machine.

Memory is also cheap so we recommend that you have at least 8MB installed. Having extra memory will allow ProSelect to use its Image Cache effectively (which keeps copies of recently used images in memory) and this will speed up operations considerably. Some computers have swappable memory and can be upgraded easily with more memory.

Disk drive types are really important. SSD drives are best, Fusion drives are good and regular hard disks are the slowest.

Most new computers have the option to use SSD drives instead of a conventional spinning disk. SSDs are at least 10 times faster and will make everything run much faster and are highly recommended. If you have a computer that's a few years old (and you can upgrade to 8GB+ of memory), swapping the disk for an SSD will make it seem like a new computer!  If that computer is just used for sales then you won't need much storage so, in most cases, a 250GB SSD may be more than enough and they only cost around US$80 (500GB SSD drives are a little over US$100).

Closing other programs

If you have other programs running, they can use up some of your computer's free memory. Photoshop and Lightroom are good examples. Once all the free memory is used up, the Operating System will start to swap memory back and forth from the disk and this will really slow things down. 

If your computer has limited memory (say 6-8GB) then Exit/Quit any programs you are not using then restart your computer.

On Macs, you can use Activity Monitor.app (type this into the Spotlight Search box to find it), to see what is running how much free memory you have. See this Apple article for how to use this program.

On Windows, you can use ResMon.exe - See this page.

 

ProSelect Startup time

ProSelect pre-loads all of the used thumbnail images from your ProSelect Resources folder on launch. If you have a large number of templates with overlay images or library rooms, your startup time will be longer but operations after that will be faster.  

Removing any resources that you don't use any longer will help. For example, if you have been saving your client's room view images into the ProSelect Resources folder (as Library Rooms) then remove these (in Setup Rooms) and start saving them as Album Rooms in the client's album file instead. See the ProSelect Reference manual section "Using Album Rooms" for more about doing this. Reducing the number of templates with overlay images will also help.

Startup time will also take longer if your ProSelect Resources folder is saved in a network location that takes longer to access. Using DropBox to share your ProSelect Resources folder between machines is the best way because each machine has a local copy so loading will be as fast as possible. See the Tutorial Movies on the website for more about setting up sharing using Dropbox.

Turning off Pre-loading

Another way to speed up ProSelect's launch time is to turn off the "pre-loading" of thumbnail images on startup.

You can do this in the Preferences -> General Settings -> General -> General Defaults -> On Startup, pre-load:  You can set preloading of Overlay images, Room Images to None, Some or All. Selecting "Some" is recommended.

Remember, if you don't load all images on startup, then ProSelect will launch faster but will slow down as soon as you change to a page that requires access to these images. eg Working with Rooms needs to get the room view image thumbnails.

ProSelect Resources Folder Location

If your ProSelect Resources folder is not located on your local computer (i.e. you are sharing this across a network), then the speed of your network connection will make a huge difference. A wired network is always faster and more reliable than a wireless network. Using Dropbox to share your Resources is best because you will have a copy of the Resources Folder on each computer that Dropbox keeps in sync. See KnowledgeBase Article: Sharing Data between computers - Step by Step 

Monitoring what's happen

On the bottom row of ProSelect's Splash window, you can see what is happening during startup. It will show what is being loaded. Check this to find out what is taking most of the some.

You can also use the SHIFT-Startup option to see this more detail by

  1. Start ProSelect while holding the SHIFT key down (keep the key down until you see a new window)
  2. In the window check the "Debug Messages On" and "Show Debug Window" checkboxes
  3. Click the Continue button

In the Debug Data window that appears you will see all the steps happening and this should provide a clue as to what is taking all the time. The left-hand side of each entry shows the time.

 

Album operations

Image Size

When you first load images into ProSelect, it creates low-res copies and saves these in the ProSelect Album file. This is fine since you are normally just showing the images at screen resolution. The exception might be if you need to do a lot of zooming into any images to see more detail. In this case, lower-res images can start to pixelate.

The size that you set to import your images into ProSelect is controlled in your Preferences -> Importing Image -> Settings -> Adding Images -> Resize To). The larger the size, the more work ProSelect has to do to load and resize the images to fit the screen space. You should set this to the lowest acceptable size - quality-wise. 

Obviously, importing images at smaller sizes will make operations in ProSelect faster - so it is just a tradeoff between speed and image size. If you have a very fast computer this is less of a problem so you can import your images at a larger size and not notice any difference.  If you have a slower computer then you need to find a balance between speed and image size (and how far you might want to zoom into for closer inspection).

If you are not sure what to use, selecting 2400x1600 is a good compromise if you are using a projector with a 1080HD screen size or a big-screen TV.

Album File Location

ProSelect loads images on demand from your saved album file. If you keep the album file is on your local hard disk you will get the fastest load times. If you have the Image Cache turned on (see below) then, when accessed again after the first load,  the image will most likely be loaded very quickly from the cache. 

If your album files are saved in a shared network location, then the speed of the shared machine and the speed of your network will have an effect on how fast the images can be loaded from the album file. In general, wired networks (ie ethernet) are faster than wireless ones - and much more reliable!

If you are not sure if this is affecting ProSelect's speed, then try copying the album file from your network location to your local hard disk and open it from there. If it is substantially faster then you likely have a network speed issue.

Image Cache

As mentioned above, if you have the memory to spare, then turning ProSelect's image cache on and setting it to a high amount will speed up operations in ProSelect. With the image cache turned on, the first time that you access an image it will load the image from the album file and save it in the cache in memory. The next time ProSelect needs that image it will look in the cache first and, if there, it will be able to display it in far less time. This becomes more noticeable when you have lots of images displayed or one or more layouts with multiple images.

You can control the Image Cache under Preferences -> General Settings -> General -> Image cache.

You can turn it on/off and also set the amount of memory to be used (up to a maximum of 3GB).

Some things to know about the Image cache:

  • If you have other programs running then they may be using some or all of your spare memory in which case ProSelect won't be able to. Stopping other unnecessary programs while running ProSelect will reduce this problem.
  • If ProSelect runs out of memory (when the Image cache is on),  it will save uncompressed images to a temporary location on your boot disk. This is still slightly faster than getting them from your ProSelect album because they don't have to be uncompressed first. 
  • You can check on how much of the cache has been used (memory and disk) by looking at the used numbers in the Image Cache box in the Preferences.

If your computer is slow and/or hasn't got much memory it might be best to turn the Image Cache off.

 

High-Resolution Screens & Display Settings

Many modern computers use these screens for more clarity. They are called Retina screens on Macs and Hi-DPI screens on Windows. TVs with 4K screens are the same.

Essentially these screens have double the number of pixels/inch and require images that are 4 times larger in area to fill the screen at full resolution and, as a result, everything will operate 4 times slower! 

You can usually adjust the resolution of your external monitor in your computer's Display Settings (System Preference -> Display on Macs, or Display Properties on Windows),. If you have a 4K monitor set it to HD resolution which is 1920x1080 pixels. Then restart ProSelect.

Running ProSelect as non-Hi-DPI settings

ProSelect 2017r1+ on Macs and ProSelect 2019r1+ on Windows support these screens by default. Macs, in particular, run a lot slower when running in Retina mode on larger screens. 

You can turn off this support for any application if you wish. See these articles:

For Macs: Running ProSelect as a non Retina application

For Windows: Running ProSelect as a non Hi-DPI application

If you turn off this support for ProSelect then your images and text will appear a little softer but the operating speed will be faster. Again, this will be more noticeable on slower computers.

Color Management on Windows machines

Windows users have a choice of Color Management engines. In most cases, the standard Windows Color System (WCS) should be installed on your computer. If not, you can use ProSelect's build-in LCMS color manager.  If you have both, then make sure that you have WCS selected as this is much faster than the LCMS system. You can select this in Preferences -> Display -> Color Management -> Color Engine.

Mirror Display Area 

ProSelect supports utilizing the entire screen area if you have different sized screens for the Main screen and the Mirror Display Area screen. For a full description of how this works see "How Mirror Display Area Works" in the Using Two Screens section of the ProSelect Reference Manual.

The bottom line is... to get maximum performance, if you can setup your second screen (the one you are using for Mirror Display Area) to be about the same size (in pixels) or smaller than your main computer screen then you can check the Keep Same Size checkbox in Preferences -> Display -> Calibration & Options -> Display Mirroring.  This will use the faster copy pixel method when transferring information to your second screen.

 

Optimizing checklist

1. Have you restarted your computer?

2. Does your computer have 8Gb or more RAM?

3. Have you closed other programs that you aren't using?

4. Is your computer using a fast SSD drive?

5. If you are opening your album across a network, have you tried first copying the album to your computer's hard disk and opening it from there?

6. If ProSelect is slow to startup, have you set Preferences -> General Settings -> General -> General Defaults -> On Startup, pre-load: Overlay images: Some, and Room Images: Some?

7. Have you set your Preferences -> Importing Image -> Settings -> Adding Images -> Resize To: to a lower value eg 1920x1080 then Updated all Iimages (or started a new album with this setting)?

8. If you are using a large external monitor, have you set the size of this to 1920x1080 in the computer's Display Settings?

9. Have you set ProSelect to Open in Low Resolution on (on Macs) or to Override Hi-DPI settings (on Windows)?

10. If using ProSelect's Mirror Display Area mode, have you adjust the second screen's resolution to be close to the same size as your computer's main screen (or less than your main screen) and checked "Keep Same Size" in Preferences -> Display -> Calibration & Options -> Display Mirroring?

11. If you are using Windows, have you selected WCS in Preferences -> Display -> Color Management -> Color Engine?

 



  KnowledgeBase Article: Optimizing ProSelects speed