Make Illustrator multi threaded on CPU
Illustrator performance is awful, its slow and lumbering at all but the most basic operations. It is bound to only a single cpu thread which is ridiculous now in an age of multi core and multi thread CPU's and it has been this way for many years. It cannot handle background tasks and is completely out of parity in function and performance with other Adobe software such as photoshop and inDesign.
It is not as straightforward as it may sound :) We have been working to take advantage of threads and other hardware such as GPU/Video RAM in places where it can make a higher impact. We are prioritizing areas that are slow instead of making a generic change and destabilizing the product. Product stability is the top priority for us and we have been consistently trying to improve it. We want to move with caution and make changes without compromising on the quality. Hope this helps.
Andy Merskin commented
@Joel Swan — that gave me a good laugh, thanks for that 😁
Joel Swan commented
You gotta give Adobe a break. Hyperthreading may be old tech, but they're an indie company with just a few programmers/developers. Give them time and I'm sure they'll figure it out.
Hyperthreading was introduced in 2002. So it could be said that Adobe has missed the boat by two decades at this point.
We may not have known way back then just how mainstream hyperthreading and eventually multicore systems would become, but it didn't take long enough to justify this kind of delay. This is just flagrant incompetence.
InDesign has much the same problem. Performance is atrocious. And it's extremely obvious that everything is running through a single logical thread because everything grinds when it's calculating text flow, wrapping, justification, etc.
Adobe, there is no excuse that could justify a company of your size, with your insane revenue stream, failing this spectacularly.
5 Years later.....
InstyButte Typesetting2 commented
Also using pathfinder in Illustrator and it's taking me forever. At home, on my Threadripper 3955wx, I only get about 6.25-10% (just over one core) of cpu usage, and it is driving me bonkers. At work I can get 12.5-20% usage, but that still equates to fewer than 2 cores on the i7 9700k. Why should we be penalized for trying to run Illustrator on machines that are set up for things like video processing/editing, as opposed to single-core intensive things like gaming? I am planning to upgrade my home system to a Threadripper 5975wx reasonably soon, but it'll have very little impact on Illustrator performance. This is embarrassing! My ancient dual Opteron 290 system only gets 25% cpu usage with Illustrator. I built it in 2006. It is now 2022. What is the holdup? Affinity programs run multithreaded just beautifully. Maybe we all need to migrate over?
Bradley Smith commented
ya im trying to use the pathfinder and its taking over 20 min to combine the paths after splitting up the artwork.
Please God, we need this so bad. I use so many PDFs generated from AutoCad and every time I try and separate the walls, ductwork etc to new layers it takes absolutely forever and my task manager says it's using little to no GPU and only 13 percent of my CPU processing power. Please, this is the most critical thing I could imagine for this software. I can't believe this hasn't been worked on since multi threaded CPUs came into existence.
This issue is still ongoing. Sadly.
Speaking as someone running Illustrator on a 32 Core, 128 GB system, the fact that Illustrator is so limited in today's world is simply SAD, SAD, SAD.
Get with it, please.
I really, really wish Adobe would put new features on hold for a while until they fix what's already in there. In day-to-day use I'm never craving new features because I'm too busy getting aggravated by its sluggishness.
I've found that hitting TAB to hide the various windows and toolbars increases performance dramatically. But that should not be necessary. A list of teeny symbol thumbnails and 'Action' buttons shouldn't drag a modern CPU to its knees. (that makes me wonder if the thumbnails are full-detail objects simply scaled down in size, thanks to vector magic.)
For anyone wanting to try the TAB trick, search the keyboard shortcut menu for "tab" and it will bring up two functions. I swapped the two shortcuts for ease of use. By default, TAB will also disable the top toolbox that contains text and alignment options - which also shifts the work area. The other option was SHIFT+TAB, which leaves the top toolbox but toggles all sub-windows. It's annoying having to resort to toggling parts of the UI on-and-off but it helps.
Bradley Smith commented
i feel like adobe is not caring about there clients any more. i have spoken with dev team members and i felt blown off and not cared about. i am still struggling moving away from Adobe but am hoping for a turn around. but when there are request that are 15+ years old. ya they no longer care.
Stuart Chesters commented
I was initially under the impression that the Mac SoC version of Illustrator had been designed to take advantage of the architecture and therefore would make a better effort to use multiple cores.
I was excited to try but, my M1 Mac Mini from last year with 8GB memory was a big let down. It starts up faster but made no noticeable improvement for me (Dell XPS 17 9700 with 64GB and GTX 1650Ti for comparison) and if anything seemed a little slower panning and zooming large files.
Since the M1 never seems to take advantage of multi cores in Illustrator (my daily workhorse) or even make full use of the cores or GPU when creating video in Premier Pro it gets no love from me. In fact all my daily tasks take longer on a MAC mini. What was all the fuss about?
Maybe the new Mac Studio will be better but I'm guessing that'll only be because of the faster single core performance. I so wanted to find a Mac that was better than my now fairly average laptop, but for the stuff I use it for there's no significant gain. Illustrator being the main culprit along with PowerPoint for creating slide show video . Both of these have a subscription model and both seem incapable of taking advantage of multi core processing while taking advantage of my regular subscription stream. Software development today leaves a lot to be desired!
Afaik, the only reason why M1 now works better for you in some cases, is just the fact that Adobe apps on Intel Macs were running on an emulator in the first place! So thanks Apple, they don't need that bottleneck anymore. Doesn't make the software any better...
Don't get fooled by any cherry-picked testing. Bad architecture stays bad no matter how nice they paint the walls. I really doubt there is any positive change in responsiveness while moving through a complex Ai file on an M1.
O! I understand now! Mac is for designers! I am only working in the large format print house and all the artwork should be supplied ready for print.
Shame that it usually this do not work like this and almost always artwork needs tweeks and amendmets before printing.
It a pure joy (NOT !) to work with files with 100 of clipping mask shadows and efects.
Adobe please ease fix experience for PC even if this means raising recommend PC specyfication or adding optional acceleration for higher grade PC
Hans Boon commented
I notice the same with a MacBook Air M1 compared with intel version.
illustrator batch processing with datasets runs faster on M1. But 4000 dataset batch processing still takes some time compared with DataMerge in Indesign. Depending on complexity and quantity you need to choose between batch processing in Illustrator or DataMerge Indesign. I'm glad on M1 it runs faster then intel ;)
Mark Nicoll commented
Just to echo the previous comments about M1 Macs, as a long-time PC user and heavy-duty Illustrator user, I've always been on the look out for the best hardware to run Illustrator. I always believed that this meant getting the fastest single-core performing Intel chip, which naturally meant PC because Macs are so expensive.
Last year I wrote my own Illustrator benchmark script. It runs a series of timed operations of various sorts, from transforming complex vectors, rendering effects, zooming in and out, file saving and so on, and then gives a score. I ran it on a lot of high-end PCs. And then I ran it on an M1 Macbook Pro. To say it blew the PCs out of the water is an understatement. I was utterly shocked; the difference was in the range of 400-500% (according to my Illustrator benchmark script)!
Macs still get on my nerves in other ways, but it's hard to argue with silicon like that. It justifies the price difference.
NO! PRINT IS DEAD that's what they must be thinking but we have x2 1.6m wide printers in the workshop that are constantly hungry for more media. Illustrator is 90% of our work flow as we need to be able to supply anything from small to huge print with the same look quality and colours. It is really frustrating when simple operation like adding shadows for a better separation can bring my 6core PC with 64GB ram and 2070 to standstill.
Adobe please improve efficiency on Illustrator.
Jason McMinn commented
If you are hyper concerned about performance and have the means to get an M1 Mac, you will be very happy with the performance. I switched from a decked out 2019 MacBook Pro to the new 16" MacBook Pro with M1 Max chip and Illustrator is screaming fast compared to before.
This is frustrating that there has been no progress on this.
Vector is such a powerful format to make in.
On 2D designs there is so much more leeway for fine tuning of effects and recolouring of designs for commercial work.
Please Adobe, invest our premium subscription money wisely to get this application more fitting for the 21st century when even the most average and sub par laptops have multiple cores and powerful processors.
In Illustrator's current state of code we are frustrated: you are giving us an airliner fitted with a hairdryer motor.
How do you expect our visions to take off to fruition with that?
Many of us are experiencing significant non Photoshopped aging watching that spinning ball go round on renders and screen redraws.
Please do the work so we can do ours.
Nikolas Karampelas commented
@GameArt if creators focus on 3d now they could just use a 3d program. Why should illustrator incorporate 3D functions when it can't do it's basic ones right?
I just smile and look back at Macromedia Freehand and then I look over to Adobe... What happened???
@GameArt I would love to see a "2D version of blender" just for vector graphics. The blender workflow is great and was thoroughly crafted to get fast results - it's basically the opposite of using Illustrator; where almost every repetitive operation hides behind an endless wall of context menus.
I also don't get the part where you can't calculate vectors in multiple threads?! Every 3D software is stuffed with vector maths. Blend2D supports it since last year - there you go, Adobe. What a lazy excuse.
I would like to use another program but still there is nothing that doesn't make me miss stuff from Ai. Affinity looks like some kids learning app, sorry Affinity. If anyone has spotted something that screams productivity AND is fast - please let us know!