Strange bug – flashing transparent rectangles

SK
Posted By
Sonia_K
Dec 28, 2008
Views
1260
Replies
30
Status
Closed
Hello – I’ve just upgraded to a 2.4 ghz imac, 2gb RAM, Radeon HD 2400 graphics card, OSX 10.5.6. I’ve been trialling Photoshop CS4 and occasionally notice a random bug – (I haven’t been able to identify what sets it off – sometimes just making a layer invisible then visible, or selecting an area with the lasoo) – transparent (ie. grey/white chequered) rectangles start appearing as the screen redraws, and parts of the image start blurring and shimmering. I quit, restart, and all is fine again for a few hours, and then it starts again?! The files I’m working on are by no means massive – 35MB . Any idea if it is a RAM or graphics card or Adobe or Mac or ? issue?! I’m also using an old Wacom with current driver – I haven’t experienced this problem in any other program, though. Many thanks!
NT
Nini Tj
Dec 28, 2008
Could be a screen redraw effect because of insufficent memory (RAM) and/or insufficient space on scratch disk (You do have a scratch disk, or?). Surely sounds like it by your description and also as it fixes itself after restart. Photoshop eats RAM and harddisk space for breakfast when at work.
Solution: more RAM and a dedicated scratch disk with as much space on it as possible.
SK
Sonia_K
Dec 28, 2008
Wow – upgrade after a week! :)It’s a new set up with hardly any extraneous stuff on it – I’m using my hard disk with 200+ GB available – ah well -, it sucks up more than I anticipated for the kind of work I do – I’ve never had to use a scratch disk before; I will look into it – I assume any firewire external hard drive will do? Thanks very much for your reply, appreciated. Seasons greetings, etc!
NT
Nini Tj
Dec 28, 2008
Any external harddisk will do. Preferably an empty on but it makesuse also of any other disk as long as it has space. Photoshop needs its scratch disk. It also always uses a scratchdisk as soon as you open it. If not an external disk is available, it uses the internal one and what space is left there. It also uses it when RAM is not enough for what it needs to do.
NK
Neil_Keller
Dec 28, 2008
Nini,

Any external harddisk will do.

No. A slow (e.g.: 5400 RPM or USB2) drive would not be my choice here.

Neil
R
Ram
Dec 28, 2008
Hou much VRAM on that card?
SK
Sonia_K
Dec 28, 2008
mmm – I suspect not enough? – 128 MB VRAM
NT
Nini Tj
Dec 28, 2008
Still, even if a harddisk as fast as possible is desirable, any harddisk for the scratch is better than no harddisk as I see it. As for firewire disks there will probably very soon not be any around as firewire is disappearing on the Mac in favour of USB 2.0. Looking around in computer shops here (sweden) the fw disks are next to extinct.
R
Ram
Dec 28, 2008
Sonia,

Try disabling OpenGL in Photoshop > Preferences > Performance.

128 MB does not meet the minimum requirements for OpenGL.
R
Ram
Dec 28, 2008
Nini,

FW drives are in the minority here, but far from extinct. Also, many have both USB 2 and FW.
SK
Sonia_K
Dec 28, 2008
Many thanks, Ramon – like I say, this is a whole new system for me; I got away for years quite happily with Photoshop CS2 on a G4 Powerbook so this is another learning curve! I’ve heard a few people have had problems with OpenGL, so yes – I’ll give that a try.

Also, is there sense in partitioning my hard drive to create a scratch disk, instead of an external drive? (I wouldn’t say that Firewire is extinct yet here in Australia either- that was interesting to hear, though:))
NK
Neil_Keller
Dec 28, 2008
Nini,

As for firewire disks there will probably very soon not be any around as firewire is disappearing on the Mac in favour of USB 2.0.

Although certainly not on every store shelf, I have no problem mail ordering FW drives, which, for no other reason, have faster throughput on a Mac. My last two externals are FW400/FW800/USB2/eSATA.

Neil
R
Ram
Dec 29, 2008
Sonia,

is there sense in partitioning my hard drive to create a scratch disk

Absolutely no sense at all.

The scratch disk would still be competing with the OS swap files for use of the only set of read/write heads on the boot drive.

If anything, you’re better off OT partitioning the drive so as not to limit the scratch disk space as long as you still have only one drive.
NT
Nini Tj
Dec 29, 2008
The last external harddisk I bought privately was an IOMEGA 750 GB with all the alternatives for ports on it. I am very happy with it. That one is partitioned into 2 halves, one housing my Mac Book backup, the other housing my iMac backup. The original plan for that disk was not for backup, but for working (and I used it until recently for startup disk for various betas I didn’t want to mix with my regular stuff)and for scratch.

But along came the Mac Book alu (2,4 GHz) at work which replaced my black MacBook (2,16 GHz). Not my choice, but that was what we got (I would have preferred the new Mac Book Pro alu WITH FW). (We are also going to combine those with iPhones instead of regular SonyEricsson mobiles and regular phones before March – around 700 iPhones we are talking about – we are becoming entirely mobile, except for the editors which will get iMac 24" instead of the present old G5s).

We (the Helpdesk of Scandinavias largest daily newspaper) are trying out the MacBook alus before we swop all the current MacBook and MacBook Pro users to them (several hundred users)during the coming spring (when we also switch to Leopard and CS3-CS4, CS3 for the editors (because of plug-in development for the publishing systems we use), CS4 for the photographers probably as they got brand new very advanced CANON cameras recently).

So now my external harddisk for scratches is a meager 160GB LaCie with firewire only (which also houses one backup of my photos in addition to dvds) which I cannto use at all with my Mac Book Alu.

Without the IOMEGA with all the ports on it I would not have been able to migrate my MacBook to the new Mac Book Alu as easily and fast as I did. My collegues struggled with it over the network by wireless hub and Airport for whole days.

Conclusion: if you can find one with both USB2 and firewire all the better for the future. That’s what I am looking for personally. But I only see usb 2 ones in all the stores (unless I go to Apple store and pay a lot more than in a regular electronics store like MediaMarkt). The Swedish Apple Store has a IOMEGA 1TB Minimax with both firewire and usb that looks interesting. Reading specs though tells me that USB 2.0 is faster than the firewire 400 in it. FW 800 is not present on all machines. I guess a Western Digital 1TB My Book Studio Edition with both fw400 and 800 and usb 2.0 gives you more for the money. Or a Iomega UltraMax Desktop Hard Drive 750GB And in the long run is a better investment regardless of which machines it will be connected to in the future.
SK
Sonia_K
Dec 29, 2008
wow – exciting, and slightly overwhelming, times!

Thanks for the reminder re: keeping an eye on the future. I’ve noticed most of the firewire hard disks available here also have USB 2.0 nowadays, thankfully. I haven’t decided on what to get yet, but research shows I should be looking at something with Firewire 800, 7200rpm and an ‘Oxford’ chip…

Though the Western Digital you mention does sound good.
PR
Paolo Rinarelli
Jan 3, 2009
Hi Sonia, hi all.

I’m running PS CS4 on a BTO 8-core Mac Pro, with 8 GB RAM. The graphics card is an NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT with 512 MB VRAM.

I sometimes experience exactly what you’re describing. Not very annoying, but curious… Anyway I don’t need to restart Photoshop: changing zoom value a couple of times (e.g. Command+1 then Command+0) temporarily solves the problem.

I think it’s a Mac and Adobe (minor) issue. IMO this Photoshop CS4 is the best version ever.
R
Ram
Jan 3, 2009
Sounds like a hardware issue, Paolo, most likely the video card. Make sure it’s properly seated and adequately ventilated. Check its temperature.
PR
Paolo Rinarelli
Jan 3, 2009
Hi Ramon,

the video card should be Ok. It has been checked (and replaced with a new one to be sure). Nothing changed. Anyway, is there any utility to check its temperature?

BTW it only happens with PS CS4.
NK
Neil_Keller
Jan 3, 2009
Paolo,

I think it’s a Mac and Adobe (minor) issue.

Not likely.

Anyway I don’t need to restart Photoshop: changing zoom value a couple of times

Like Ramón, I think this is a video/graphics card issue. Have you checked with the manufacturer?

If it prints, then it is likely another hardware component: RAM, hard drive, cables, logic board…

Neil
PR
Paolo Rinarelli
Jan 3, 2009
Hi Neil,

I’m pretty sure the video card is involved (bad drivers? Many people complained about them in Apple forums. I did too). Maybe the switch from ATI to NVIDIA has been a little too hasty.

It does not print.
The description provided by Sonia is perfect.

As I said -in my case- it’s not that annoying. BUT, if nobody else is experiencing this, I’ll investigate further.

Thanks for your time, I’ll keep you posted.
L
Lundberg02
Jan 5, 2009
Unless USB 2.0 has magically become bootable on G5 and higher, I’ve heard it has, only get FW800 or eSATA (if you have the capability). USB was really only optimized for the Win boxes.
NK
Neil_Keller
Jan 5, 2009
I understand that with Intel Macs running 10.5 or later, USB2 drives can be made bootable. Some report success with earlier Macs and OSes.

Neil
MS
mike_shoaf
Jan 20, 2009
FWIW, I have a "Late 2006" white 20" C2D iMac with the 128MB Radeon graphics, and I’m experiencing what I think is the same flicker or "stuttering redraw" as described above. Every time I’ve noticed this happening, I have been zoomed at level other than the standard increments assigned to the zoom in/zoom out keyboard shortcuts (Command+ and Command-) — like 73.8% or 127%, etc. (But this doesn’t happen every time I’m zoomed at an odd magnification level.) Doing the Command+/Command- just one level fixes the behavior.

-The flickering and flashing will keep happening until I change the zoom level.

– It seems to be localized in the lower half of the active document window in Photoshop.

– It affects only the active document window, and none of the panels or any other on-screen elements in Photoshop or other open apps.

Hope this helps in diagnosing the problem further?
NK
Neil_Keller
Jan 20, 2009
mike,

Is your card model on Adobe’s "OK" list?

Neil
R
Ram
Jan 20, 2009
With only 128MB of V-RAM, I’d be surprised if that card is in the supported list.
SK
Sonia_K
Jan 20, 2009
Hi all again

An update with what I’m experiencing: the effect I described is happening less and less now, all I need to do is close the file and reopen it and it disappears. I don’t have a scratch disk yet (I have ordered one) and I have re-activated open gl because I need some of the features. All of you with 128MB VRAM graphics cards – they DO work, and are listed by Adobe as a minimum requirement, so don’t panic. Sure they may not be optimal, but they’re not redundant.
NK
Neil_Keller
Jan 20, 2009
Sonia,

all I need to do is close the file and reopen it and it disappears.

But that is one of the symptoms of the problem.

All of you with 128MB VRAM graphics cards – they DO work, and are listed by Adobe as a minimum requirement, so don’t panic.

I would not make that a blanket statement. Check the Adobe list of supported cards. Other cards may not work or work properly!

I don’t have a scratch disk yet (I have ordered one)

I assume you mean a fast dedicated external drive for this. As a temporary measure, you can assign an internal drive as scratch (as long as it has many GBs of free space).
MS
mike_shoaf
Jan 22, 2009
Is your card model on Adobe’s "OK" list?

It’s not on the "tested cards" list, which all have 256MB+, so I’m sure that’s the problem.

Really, though, the problem doesn’t happen that often, and it’s an easy enough workaround that I guess I can tolerate it until I get a stronger machine. (Expected in the next 6 months).
MW
Marc_Weinberg
Apr 3, 2009
I’ve had the same problem. My computer, however, should not be having it at all. It’s an early 2008, 2×2 quad core Intel Xeon, 2.8 ghz, Mac Pro with 8 gigs for ram and a dedicated internal SATAII hard drive for a scratch disk. The video card is a stock ATI Radeon HD 2600 with 256 Vram. I don’t understand why I’m having this happen. Do you folks have any answers? Thanks in advance.
CC
Chris_Cox
Apr 3, 2009
Did you update to Photoshop 11.0.1?
Did you update to MacOS 10.5.6?
AS
Ann_Shelbourne
Apr 3, 2009
Did you activate the "Bigger Tiles plug-in"?

I used to use it with CS3 but have found very weird screen artefacts when used in CS4 with OpenGL on OSX 10.4.11

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