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New Sample Cache Architecture Speeds Up Rendering

Ever since the first Filter Forge release 10 years ago we have been reprimanded for slow rendering. Unfortunately our renderer architecture is not very suitable for speed improvements – this is a downside of storing filters in an open XML format that allows every user to look at the internals of a filter and quickly modify it for their purpose. Well, things have improved a bit.

In Filter Forge 7 we overhauled the renderer, particularly the logic of sampling and sample caches. Our original sample cache architecture didn’t take into account cases where a single component was used in multiple filter subtrees: every time the sample function of a component was called from a different subtree, the cache was invalidated. Filter Forge 7 takes a different approach: all samples are preserved in separate bins, which eliminates the need to re-calculate the sample which has been already requested before.

The obvious benefit of the new sample cache architecture is increased rendering speed for most filters. In quite a few lucky cases the improvement is in double digits. Here are our benchmark results*:

3000x3000 px 6.0 7.0 Improvement   3000x3000 px 6.0 7.0 Improvement

Crosshatch Drawing

59 s 34 s 42,4%  


1326 s 750 s 43,4%

Old Cobblestone

1383 s 673 s 51,3%  

Ornamented Ball

2558 s 1856 s 27,4%

Watercolor Painting

298 s 162 s 45,6%  


3701 s 1944 s 47,5%


166 s 136 s 18,1%  

Technical Drawing

54 s 34 s 37%

*Based on our internal tests. Your machine may show different results.

– Wait, my favorite filter doesn’t show any improvement!
This means your filter was already optimized. Our new algorithm can only speed things up if a filter uses sample cache ineffectively. You can console yourself by thinking that the filter author maxed out filter performance long before we implemented it in Filter Forge.

Filter Forge's amazing node based editor has been invaluable in giving us the power to create textures that make the most of today's real-time pixel shaders.

Karl Wickens
Visual Effects Lead Artist
Electronic Arts

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