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Horrible Brush Lag

Community Beginner ,
Apr 28, 2019

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I've been searching for months for a solution to the brush lag in Photoshop, and none of the presented solutions have worked.

Whenever I use the brush tool, the lag makes it unusable. I can't work!! Until late last year, I never had this problem. Suddenly, no matter which Photoshop version I install, I have this problem. I've tried changing the wacom drivers, new, old, etc, and the problem remains.

Strangely, if I UNTICK brush spacing (so I'm painting with speckles), there is zero lag. As soon as I turn it back on, regardless of what percentage I have it set to, the lag comes back. Turning on/off pen pressure settings has no effect. Smoothing on/off has no effect on the lag. Size of canvas or the size of the brush has no effect on lag. Lag remains. "Painting" with the mouse has no lag, but I can't paint with a mouse.

Intel Core i7-2670QM CPU @ 2.20GHz

16GB RAM

NVIDIA GeForce GT 540M Driver 23.21.13.9135 (latest)

Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit Service Pack 1

Wacom Intuos 4 (They call it "Pro" now, I think?)

I've already gone to cancel my adobe subscription, and they offered 2 free months. If this isn't rectified, I'll be shutting down the subscription. I'm not paying for a program I can't use, despite the fact I've been using Photoshop for painting since its infancy.

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Horrible Brush Lag

Community Beginner ,
Apr 28, 2019

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I've been searching for months for a solution to the brush lag in Photoshop, and none of the presented solutions have worked.

Whenever I use the brush tool, the lag makes it unusable. I can't work!! Until late last year, I never had this problem. Suddenly, no matter which Photoshop version I install, I have this problem. I've tried changing the wacom drivers, new, old, etc, and the problem remains.

Strangely, if I UNTICK brush spacing (so I'm painting with speckles), there is zero lag. As soon as I turn it back on, regardless of what percentage I have it set to, the lag comes back. Turning on/off pen pressure settings has no effect. Smoothing on/off has no effect on the lag. Size of canvas or the size of the brush has no effect on lag. Lag remains. "Painting" with the mouse has no lag, but I can't paint with a mouse.

Intel Core i7-2670QM CPU @ 2.20GHz

16GB RAM

NVIDIA GeForce GT 540M Driver 23.21.13.9135 (latest)

Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit Service Pack 1

Wacom Intuos 4 (They call it "Pro" now, I think?)

I've already gone to cancel my adobe subscription, and they offered 2 free months. If this isn't rectified, I'll be shutting down the subscription. I'm not paying for a program I can't use, despite the fact I've been using Photoshop for painting since its infancy.

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Apr 28, 2019 0
LEGEND ,
Apr 28, 2019

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Does turning off »Use Graphics Processor« in the Performance Preferences (Photoshop > Preferences > Performance > Graphic Processor Settings) and restarting Photoshop have any bearing on the issue?

Have you hidden the rulers?

Smoothing on/off has no effect on the lag.

So Smoothing is at 0%?

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Apr 28, 2019 1
Community Beginner ,
Apr 28, 2019

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I've set the smoothing option in the top toolbar to 0% and then unticked the Smoothing option in the brushes window (which greys out the smoothing option in the top toolbar). Whether I've had smoothing enabled or disabled, the lag is exactly the same.

When I first started troubleshooting this problem, I turned ON Use Graphics Processor (and made sure Photoshop was using NVIDIA rather than the built in processor). This had no effect on the lag. I turned off Use Graphics Processor and restarted Photoshop per your suggestion, still no effect on lag.

Rulers are off, no effect.

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Apr 28, 2019 1
LEGEND ,
Apr 28, 2019

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Does this apply to all brushes (sampled or plain round ones or bristle etc.)?

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Apr 28, 2019 1
Community Beginner ,
Apr 28, 2019

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I uninstalled my custom brushes as part of my initial troubleshooting. All the brushes Photoshop has have the same lag, including normal hard round with all extra brush options (shape dynamics, transfer, etc) turned off. Flow 100% or 1%, no difference.

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Apr 28, 2019 0
Community Beginner ,
Apr 29, 2019

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Just tried the Corel Painter 2019 trial, and can confirm there's zero brush lag "out of the box".

Looks a lot like an Adobe issue.

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Apr 29, 2019 0
LEGEND ,
May 01, 2019

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Well, grasping at straws but … does setting Photoshop > Preferences > Performance > Legacy Compositing and restarting Photoshop make a difference?

Could you post a screenshot or -recording (including the Brush Settings Panel, Options Bar, …)?

And just to make sure: You tried the combination of rulers off and Graphic Processor Settings off, too?

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May 01, 2019 1
Community Beginner ,
May 08, 2019

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"does setting Photoshop > Preferences > Performance > Legacy Compositing and restarting Photoshop make a difference?"

No difference.

"And just to make sure: You tried the combination of rulers off and Graphic Processor Settings off, too?"

Correct, I've tried all sorts of combos, and so far, no difference.

Sorry for the late reply, I'm working with Adobe at the moment to try to fix the problem. So far we've run through all the basic troubleshooting stuff I've already done (including... wait for it... "unplug and then plug in your wacom tablet"... good grief!).

After sharing Photoshop's system log, they say that there are plugins and extensions I'm using that are known to affect Photoshop performance... except... my Photoshop is a clean install (numerous times over, at this stage), and I haven't installed any plugins or extensions. So any plugins or extensions is whatever the Adobe Creative Cloud app throws in when I install Photoshop. But... apparently they affect performance. *shakes head*

I've done their "fix" of uninstalling all the Adobe software, running their own "cleaner" program, and reinstalling. Still no effect. Let's see what they suggest next...

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May 08, 2019 0
Community Beginner ,
May 08, 2019

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I'll share some screenshots and the like after Adobe support finish noodling with my setup.

Thanks for trying to help me out this far!

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May 08, 2019 1
LEGEND ,
May 08, 2019

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Good to hear that Adobe support is trying to get to the bottom of this.

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May 08, 2019 1
Explorer ,
May 14, 2019

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I purchased an iMac Retina 5K in early February. It is configured at max specs … except I opted for 1 TB SSD instead of a 2TB. Also has most current version of Mojave.

4.2 GHz i7

64 GB 2400 DDR4 RAM

Radeon Pro 580 8GB

I am editing 16 bit, ProPhoto RGB, TIFF files at 45MP from LR directly from internal SSD in current version of PS. I keep the internal HDD more than 50% free and also have a 2TB external scratch disk connected via TB3. I only use a mouse and do not use plug-ins.

I've experienced brush lag since day one. The past couple of weeks have been suddenly unbearable. No setting changes to my computer or software that I'm aware of. I have tried most solutions found in the forums w/o any change. It does not seem to matter if the file has many layers or a single layer. Enabling smoothing makes it worse … lots of spinning beach balls.

Needless to say … I'm extremely disappointed to see such terrible performance from Photoshop with my current specs. I get just about the same lag using my maxed out 2012 MacBook Pro with only 16GB of RAM.

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May 14, 2019 0
Community Beginner ,
May 28, 2019

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Well. Things have not gone well. I've cancelled my Adobe subscription and will be moving over to the competition. I'm in awe of just how terrible the customer support is for an industry-standard program.

To keep you all in the loop, after the above step, Adobe instructed me to access the hidden administrator login. Here are the instructions:

To enable the built-in administrator account, follow these steps: 

Click Start, type “cmd” in the Start Search box, and then press Enter.

Note: If you are prompted for an administrator password or for confirmation, type the password, or provide confirmation. 

In the search results list, right-click Command Prompt, and then click Run as Administrator.

When you are prompted by User Account Control, click Continue. 

At the command prompt, type “net user administrator /active:yes” and then press Enter.

Type exit, and then press Enter.

Log off the current user account.

Log in to the Administrator account.

Once I logged into the Administrator account, they asked me to send them three files from within the Administrator account:

* PS user information (PS > Help > System Info).

* Dxdiag (Run > Dxdiag > Save All Information).

* MS Info 32 (Run > msinfo32 > File > Save).

Now, the lag had improved somewhat when using Photoshop from within the Administrator account (lag remained but it wasn't a case of constant spinning dots), but I still sent the three files Adobe requested in my reply email.

I got a canned email asking to set a time to receive a phone call, which I did (a generous 8-hour time window).

The day of the call came, and 2 hours into the time window they rang me WHILE I was on the phone (it was a phone call that lasted 2 minutes, the only other call of the day, and they disconnected their call too fast for me to answer). The number was private, so I couldn't ring it back. He'd left a very short voice message saying he was from Adobe and that he would send me an email. He didn't attempt to call me back at all during the rest of the time window. One brief attempt and he gave up. The email he sent was asking me to set up a new call-back time.

I had never heard of a call-back like this before. A very brief, singular attempt? I mean, what if I'd been in the toilet? How does a toilet break exempt someone from receiving phone support?? Adobe support REALLY needs to change their practices. Leave a number to call back. Heck, leave the phone ring a little longer. Try calling back if you've got another SIX HOURS left in the time window.

Anyway. I arranged another call-back. I figured I'd keep it safe, this time. Just a one and a half hour window. I received the call 2 minutes after the end of my assigned time window. I still answered it, and the guy's first comment was, "Sorry is this an inconvenient time?" As though knowing he called right at the end of the time window. I insisted he get on and continue the phone call. He straight away says that he doesn't want to waste my time, so he'll log in to my computer remotely. As he was doing this, he mentioned that he was going to grab three files from the Administrator account.

I stopped him right there. Told him that I'd already sent those three files, and that this phone call was supposed to be the next step. He said he only had the MSInfo32 file, and that he had to grab the other two. I told him that if he had the MSInfo32 file, he had the other two, because I sent them in the same email. I even gave him proof of the email I sent, complete with all 3 files attached. He insisted on getting the three files again, only this time through the Adobe Assets app. So we did that. He said that "higher up" support would be in touch with me.

Days later I get an email from Adobe telling me to repeat the original troubleshooting steps that I'd already done numerous times (including the time the adobe support tech did those troubleshooting steps on my computer remotely). Oh, and if those things don't work, I should contact Wacom.

This is NOT a Wacom problem. Already been down that track. The brush works perfectly in other programs. Wacom directs me to Adobe.

A couple days later they send me another email linking to a couple more troubleshooting steps. Steps I've already taken. They say that my case will automatically close in 5 days if they don't hear a response.

The very next day I receive an email from them saying my case has been closed. I hadn't contacted them. At this point, I was thoroughly ready to ditch Adobe's lousy customer support. They can't even get their canned emails right.

I went to cancel my subscription, and they wanted to charge me an exit fee. A complaint with online chat support saw my account cancelled with the exit fee waived (maybe. I'm still watching my account for unwanted charges).

The next day, I get a new canned email from Adobe saying that my case is still open and waiting my response, but that it would automatically be closed if I didn't respond within 3 days.

FOR GOODNESS SAKE.

I'm tapping out, folks. I've been a licensed user of Photoshop for the last 16 years (first boxed software, then subscription) and never had a problem. I'm in awe of the fact they can't help me the second something goes wrong. Not just that, but they can't even get basic procedures right. I'm gobsmacked.

Hopefully everyone else gets their random problems fixed.

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May 28, 2019 3
Adobe Employee ,
May 28, 2019

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Hi Belinda,

Sorry you had trouble. From your case notes, it sounded like things were better under a new admin user account - but then started to slow down again for some reason. I'm curious if the problem came back when you turned on rulers? There's an issue with lag if rulers are enabled that engineering is working on. If you disable rulers, how is lag?

- Jeff

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May 28, 2019 3
Community Beginner ,
May 28, 2019

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Hi Jeff, thanks for the reply. I'm glad Adobe staff read these forums!

There was always lag under the new user admin account. What happened is when I first tested the brush in the admin account, I did big squiggles/swirls with the brush, and I didn't get the rotating dots loading icon. That was a massive improvement, even though the lag wasn't completely gone. After I sent the email informing them of the improvement, I tried actually painting something, which typically consists of doing numerous short strokes. The lag on the big sweeping/swirly strokes was bearable (but something I never used to deal with at all), but as soon as I started doing lots of smaller strokes, Photoshop struggled to keep up (e.g. I'd be on stroke 6 and Photoshop was still drawing stroke 3). I also found that going to larger canvas sizes increased the lag, even though I used to be able to work at these large sizes no problem.

There was also an odd glitch where flipping the Wacom pen around to use the eraser caused the eraser to lag horrendously, but this sorted itself out after restarting the computer.

The lag seems to have nothing to do with rulers, in my case. As the rulers thing was one of the first troubleshooting things I tried, I've been leaving rulers off through my testing. But the lag seems to be precisely the same whether I have rulers on or off.

I've been using the same laptop for years, but this problem seemed to only crop up around last October. I hadn't done anything different besides the usual of keeping Windows and graphics drivers and the like updated, but I never saw a direct correlation (e.g. did X update, Photoshop stopped working). I thought perhaps my computer was just due for a clean out, so I reinstalled the laptop, running Adobe with very little else installed on the computer, and it still wouldn't work.

After running through basic troubleshooting stuff, I tried other suggestions of running previous Photoshop versions through the Creative Cloud app, and none of the ones I tried worked (including CS6, which used to work even on an older computer I had... although I installed the Creative Cloud version, not my old CD, which I can't find at the moment).

The only thing I can think of is if some update (video drivers, Windows OS, whatever) clashed with an update Adobe has done to either Photoshop or the way the Creative Cloud app works.

There are two things that stand out to me as potentially holding the answer: The fact the lag is lessened in Admin, and the fact that turning brush spacing off completely (so I'm painting with speckles) removes lag... even on my normal user account.

I suppose a big, legitimate question would be why Photoshop's brush lags out-of-the-box, but Corel Painter out-of-the-box doesn't? What has Adobe started doing differently that Corel hasn't?

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May 28, 2019 0
Participant ,
May 29, 2019

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The problems are the same on Mac and PC, the OS is irrelevant. Even on a brand new out of the box iMac Pro, maximum spec, nothing installed apart from Adobe CC apps, Photoshop's brush tools lag and freeze immediately. The fact that you're seeing it "lessened" in Admin is honestly just a coincidence. None of the fiddling that you're doing is going to help. We have been reporting this issue to Adobe for five+ years and their answers are always the same and solve nothing. It's nothing to do with rulers, that has been eliminated a hundred times on these forums but Adobe won't listen.

You will find that your equipment works perfectly in all other programs. I use ZBrush, C4D, Affinity Photo and Substance Painter with zero brush lag or stuttering.

This is the most frustrating, annoying and workflow destroying bug imaginable in Photoshop. Adobe needs to get to the bottom of it ASAP and offer a reliable fix, and stop sending their users on time wasting problem solving routines that solve nothing.

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May 29, 2019 3
Community Beginner ,
May 29, 2019

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Yep, I've moved on to Sketchbook for the time being (which is FREE and has ZERO BRUSH LAG), though there are any number of other programs I've tried out that have no brush lag, so it's just a matter of seeing which suits me best. Pretty damn disappointing though, seeing as I know Photoshop like the back of my hand.

I've seen how far back the brush lag forum posts go... they were what I looked to when I initially started having the problem. I keep seeing pretty non-existent customer service.

If Adobe hadn't dropped the ball so badly... and repeatedly... when dealing with me, I'd still be willing to work with them more on this. But really, I don't have the time to keep arranging phone calls and computer access with them, only to have them keep messing me around with their failure to get their "you-know-what" together. I've lost paying gigs over this lag rubbish- I'm over it.

Hopefully they sort this brush lag out for the rest of you!

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May 29, 2019 1
Participant ,
May 30, 2019

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You're right, leaving Photoshop is the last thing I wanted to do either, I've used it since version 3.0 and hate to leave. I really want Adobe to fix this more than I want any new features. Photoshop being broken is depressing and frustrating beyond belief. But the reality of not even being able to paint on a mask or to do basic retouching has just killed its usefulness in a professional workflow.

Their pathetic technical support (turn off rulers, delete preferences, disable GPU etc) and lack of a resolution for such a long-standing issue is disgustingly negligent. I feel like I am paying my sub for nothing, just endless new features that I don't want or need and buggy, broken software.

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May 30, 2019 1
Adobe Employee ,
May 28, 2019

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Also, can you clarify "Suddenly, no matter which Photoshop version I install"

If a previous version worked and now no longer does, any idea what changed?

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May 28, 2019 1
Calgarts LATEST
Explorer ,
Nov 09, 2020

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Buy a $50 XP-pen 8190 sensitive levels (better than apple pencil in performance and esthetic feel), problem is fixed. I've been there! It's not PS, it's overpriced-under performed Wacom. My wacom was $150 bought in Dec. 2019 and took me a long time and couldn't draw the eye lashes like there was some invisible force pulling every stroke back(I almost quit digital lessons bc I thought I couldn't pay $800 for a working Wacom) Until, I bought $50 for a XP-pen/tablet, it's smooth like responsive like pen on paper. They are Japanese and the product proves it.

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Nov 09, 2020 0