Why is ArtRage lagging? (About the stroke gap in ArtRage)

The ‘stroke gap’ resembles a lag when using ArtRage but is actually part of the realistic painting process

Many new ArtRage users notice what appears to be lag when they first use the app. While ArtRage can lag when performing demanding operations, the ‘stroke gap’ is a consistent, non-performance related phenomenon. It is the possible area of effect for your next movement.

It exists as an empty gap between the leading edge of a stroke, and your cursor, or the pressure point of the stylus. This gap will stay empty until you move or lift the stylus (or finger).

It is part of ArtRage’s real time stroke calculations; much like painting with a real brush, the stroke on a canvas is not finished, nor visible, until you move the brush on (if you stop and hold a brush in one spot, you won’t be able to see the stroke that has not yet been finished in that spot).

Size of the gap

The size is based on your current tool size, so the gap increases with larger brushes. The gap is literally the ‘largest possible stroke that you could be about to make’. The larger the selected tool, the larger the gap.

It is extremely visible on mobile devices, because they do not have a cursor to indicate brush size. The Outline cursor on the desktop will circle the entire stroke gap, making it clearer that it is part of the brush stroke, and not just a lag in the program. You can see in the images below that the ‘stroke gap’ actually extends in front of your cursor as well as behind. The gap measures the distance between the midpoint of the stroke (i.e. where you are placing pressure with a stylus) and the end of the current stroke.

The stroke gap is a constant size relative to your tool size. It increases with larger brush sizes, and is approximately the size as one 'dot' made at full pressure.

The stroke gap is a constant size relative to your tool size. It increases with larger brush sizes, and is approximately the size as one ‘dot’ made at full pressure.

Why it Happens

The gap is there because ArtRage is waiting to see what you’ll do next. The next part of the stroke will look very different if you lift the stylus away, double back, change pressure, run into and blend with other paint, or just continue exactly as you are. It would be much more confusing to project a stroke that changed after you kept going.

The 'stroke gap' looks different with different tools, sizes and cursors.   It is much harder to spot on a mobile app, such as ArtRage for Android or ArtRage for iPad, as these apps have no visible cursor. It is often confused with lag on these devices.

The ‘stroke gap’ looks different with different tools, sizes and cursors.
It is much harder to spot on a mobile app, such as ArtRage for Android or ArtRage for iPad, as these apps have no visible cursor. It is often confused with lag on these devices.

How can I avoid it? It bugs me.

You can’t ‘turn it off’, as it’s built into the way ArtRage works, but you can reduce the visibility of the gap by zooming out of your canvas view, decreasing the tool size, experimenting with different tools (some display it more clearly than others), or by turning on the Outline cursor in the desktop versions.

It tends not to be noticeable once you become familiar with ArtRage, as you learn what will happen when you make particular strokes.

How can I tell if I’m seeing ‘stroke gap’ or real lag?

Stroke Gaps are constant

A stroke gap will always be a constant size as you draw, and will scale relative to the tool size.

To estimate the size the ‘stroke gap’ should be, make a full pressure ‘dot’ on the canvas with your current tool. The ‘gap’ will be about half the width of this dot.

Note that settings such as Softness (eraser), Hardness (Airbrush), Paper Wetness and Bleed (Watercolor) will affect the apparent size of strokes. For example, in the image below, you can see that the eraser make very different marks at 0% and 100% Softness. The 0% Softness is the closest to the actual tool size.

The appearance of a larger eraser with different levels of softness.<br />Trying to estimate the 'stroke gap' (area of effect) from the 100% softness eraser will be very inaccurate.[

The appearance of a larger eraser with different levels of softness.
Trying to estimate the ‘stroke gap’ (area of effect) from the 100% softness eraser will be very inaccurate.

Lag varies depending on what you do

Lag will cause the stroke to be further behind as you draw longer, faster and bigger strokes, or as your device runs out of memory for other reasons (e.g. multiple apps running, large canvas sizes, little free space). It will not be directly tied to the brush size (though larger brushes use more processing power). There are a few ways to reduce the memory usage.

If you see a very noticeable difference between drawing fast strokes and slow strokes, or between drawing the same stroke at different canvas sizes, that is lag.

Note: Some mobile devices cannot process fast strokes above a certain speed. This isn’t ArtRage lagging, but a built in limitation of the device.


Category: How to Use ArtRage, Problems Using ArtRage
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