[Interest] 60FPS and FBO

Thomas Senyk thomas.senyk at pelagicore.com
Tue Nov 27 10:39:07 CET 2012

On Tue, November 27, 2012 10:12:58 Samuel Rødal wrote:
> On 11/26/2012 05:50 PM, Thomas Senyk wrote:
> > Hi,
> > 
> > the context of this is mail is:
> >   - scenegraph
> >   - FBO based effects
> >   (plain shader-effects, qtgraphicaleffects, qt3d)
> >   - embedded hardware / opengl es 2.0
> > 
> > I've noticed that on a lot of embedded systems the FPS drops rather
> > drastically (e.g. from 60 to 30 with one effect, from 30 to 10-15 with two
> > effects) when using FBO based effects.
> > 
> >    ... even simple effects, sometimes even if they have 'visible: false'
> > 
> > Is this somewhat expected?
> > It does sound like a vsync vs. fbo problem ... doesn't it?
> > Is this a fault/bug in the embedded opengl drivers?
> As Florian also commented I've noticed that the FPS very easily drops to
> 30 when not using the threaded renderer.
> But even if that's not the case, I guess FBOs can be heavy on the GPU,
> especially if they're large (screen sized) as it basically implies
> another full-screen render pass, plus some synchronization overhead
> depending on the architecture; when rendering to the main framebuffer
> some GPUs have a deep pipeline of several frames being in flight at the
> same time, this pipeline might not be possible to utilize for FBOs since
> the result of rendering to the FBO is typically used quite immediately
> for rendering into another FBO or the main framebuffer. An interesting
> experiment might be to do double buffering by keeping two FBOs and only
> using the FBO that was rendered to during the last frame as a source
> during the current frame. That would mean the FBO content and non-FBO
> content would not be completely in sync though (unless you used
> predictive timing for the FBO content or introduced extra latency). It
> would have significant implications for memory use and its effectiveness
> would depend highly on the driver and GPU architecture.
> I would be surprised if rendering to an FBO involved a vsync, since
> there's no eglSwapBuffers() call involved in the process. You simply
> bind an FBO, render to it, release it, and use it as a texture (this
> step is where you get the synchronization hit).
> > Did anyone ever had a setup, using one or multiple FBO based effects did
> > still result in 60fps? (as it should be for simple(!) effects?)
> At least on the Raspberry Pi I believe I've gotten 60 fps performance
> out of ShaderEffects on ShaderEffectItems or layers. Not sure they were
> fullscreen though.
> There are some general tricks you can use to get better performance when
> using ShaderEffects:
> If you're applying effects on a sub-tree that is not animating, and the
> ShaderEffect involves some heavy fragment program computation (such as a
> nice blur effect), you can trade memory for performance by caching the
> result of the ShaderEffect in a texture. This can be done simply by
> setting "layer.enabled: true" on the ShaderEffect. Careful though, if
> the sub-tree that is a source for the shader effect _is_ animating, this
> will instead cause a drop in performance since the layer would need to
> be updated each frame.
> In some cases you might get away with applying the effect at a lower
> level in the Item hierarchy, for example instead of applying an effect
> on a Rectangle that contains a rotating Image, separate the effect into
> two components, one that applies to the Rectangle and one that applies
> to the Image, cache the result of applying the effect to the image with
> the "layer.enabled: true", and apply the rotation animation on the
> effect instead of the source Image. This assumes that the effect is
> rotation independent though, for example if it's doing a pure color
> transform (gray-scale or sepia etc). Of course, even better would be to
> have a PNG with the effect pre-applied :)
> In general, shader effects or not, you can always use "layer.enabled:
> true" on non-animating sub-trees to trade memory for performance.

Thx Samuel

You should consider writing a blog entry about all the possibilities and risks 
of FBO ;) 'Using FBO based effects - Doing it right' :)

> --
> Samuel
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