Substance Performance Issues

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rexo12 vertex
So I've been using the Substance toolkit for ~ 1 year, and my use has been plagued by performance issues - although really only with Painter. First off is the exorbitant amount of RAM it uses - it is probably the only program I have that sucks up nearly 6 Gigabytes of RAM for even small/medium models (<10,000 tris and 1024px textures), and I'm sure if I had more than 8 Gigs of RAM it'd use up much more, which suggests a memory leak issue. Closing the program also doesn't actually 'close' the program, and while the window is gone, it can take up to 2 minutes for all the memory to be released completely (might be an issue with the speed of my RAM).

The other thing, and this is for all the programs, is the frequent stuttering and freezes. I think it's something to do with how it communicates with the license server, but every 30 seconds or so the program will freeze up entirely for ~5 seconds, making it incredibly frustrating to work with. It seems to come and go in between computer reboots.

Lastly, is the fact that the viewport previews don't seem to represent the final result in UE4 or marmoset. Is that just how it is, or is there some graphics setting I've turned off accidentally.

I don't really know what this thread is for, kind of a rant, kind of a "anyone else get this problem?"


  • Jerc
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    Jerc greentooth
    The amount of RAM taken by Painter is simply due to the amount of data it has to deal with: dozens of uncompressed, sometimes HDR textures, all being tweakable simultaneously, in a layer stack that's entirely non destructive.. that's a lot of data to keep track of. The slowdowsn you are experiencing are likely due to your hard drive swapping because your RAM is saturated, 8GB is really the strict minimum nowadays. Heck, even Chrome or Edge will quickly fill up 1 or 2 GB of ram with just a dozen tabs open.

    That being said, we have work to do on our side too to be more memory efficient, and this work is ongoing. We are expecting significant improvements in the coming months.

    When it comes to the viewport, you should get almost 100% parity between UE4 and Painter, make sure you import your metallic and roughness maps as linear in UE4 (they will be imported as sRGB by default).
  • rexo12
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    rexo12 vertex
    @Jerc yeah i assumed it was my low RAM, how much of the content is cached in the hard drive already? I'd imagine you don't need to keep, for example, ALL of the procedural textures loaded in RAM at all times, or ALL of the HDRs. I will be upgrading soon, but only to 16GBs and i'm kind of stuck on DDR3, is that going to be too slow? Good to know about the memory improvements though.

    In terms of the viewport disparity, I have been making sure that the appropriate linear/sRGB settings are applied. The differences seem to be mostly in very reflective surfaces, Substance seems to have less defined reflections. I'll bring up a comparison once I get to my computer, but the difference is enough to break a material. 
  • Froyok
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    Froyok Polycount Sponsor
    We don't cache on the disk, this would be too slow. Instead if we run out of memory, we rely on memory swap handled by the OS.
    The main bottleneck in the cas of Substance Painter is the GPU and the bandwidth to transfer textures.

    Take a look here if you want to optimize performances :
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