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WWDC happened - OpenGL gone

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1 hour ago, herbieherb said:

Does this mean that Windows users will also benefit from this Apple decision? Will the Windows version of Vectorworks switch to Vulkan at the same time?
Will Vulkan mode benefit from multi-core processors because of its basic multi-threading capability?

 

Depends how the transition goes I suppose, odds are we would either switch over both simultaneously or one very shortly after the other.

 

The parts of Vectorworks that would be switched over have already been made multicore by switching them to the VGM, which works on the multiple gpu cores rather than the cous cores, but it's still multicore processing.

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Posted (edited)

What consequenses does this have for buying a new graphics card in the near future (e.g. 1-3 years from now) for those on Windows using VW and other cross-platform 3D software, assuming a graphics card will last at least 3-4 years before it gets too slow for newer GPU/graphics heavy software? In the Mac side there isn't going to be much choice anyway if I understand it correctly when it comes to graphics cards.

 

E.g. I have a GTX-960 for which Cinebench gives a FPS of 113, whereas the GTX-960 has 134 FPS as mentioned in the custom built topic, so "merely" 20-25% faster of which I think that for 2D graphics by the VGM is nice to have but perhaps not making a huge difference, so I'm holding out for the new Volta GPU's of Nvidia which are expected to come out later this year instead of getting a GTX-1070 now. Also because non-OpenGL rendering is still done by the CPU for now the Ryzen machine that I have now should be quite a bit faster than the old Intel i5 4th generation, so my assumption is that I might as well wait for the Volta cards as well for that reason. Unless I am seriously mistaken and then please do enlighten me.

Edited by Art V

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1 hour ago, Art V said:

What consequenses does this have for buying a new graphics card in the near future (e.g. 1-3 years from now) for those on Windows using VW and other cross-platform 3D software


None really, the system requirements we are at now wouldn't change much with OpenGL vs Metal if I had to guess, if anything going forward our graphics will be more efficient, meaning you'll get more speed out of existing hardware.

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5 hours ago, herbieherb said:

Does this mean that Windows users will also benefit from this Apple decision? Will the Windows version of Vectorworks switch to Vulkan at the same time?

 

Windows Users will even profit more than Mac users because Windows supports Vulkan,

Apple does not. So on Apple there will be another Layer that translates between Vulkan and Metal.

 

If you would want maximum performance for both you would have to deliver a version

for each OS, like Vulkan (or even DirectX 12) for Windows and a true Metal for Mac.

Not sure how tedious that would be to develop and maintain.

 

The easier choice is "cross platform" Vulkan,

one same single Graphics API the will run more (Windows) or less (Mac) on both.

 

5 hours ago, herbieherb said:

Will Vulkan mode benefit from multi-core processors because of its basic multi-threading capability?

 

For CPUs.

Not at all.

All these Graphic APIs are related to the GPU only.

 

Every other calculation work done on CPUs,

that maybe can get optimized and or made multithreading in the future,

will be an advantage for all users, no matter which platform.

 

The general VW rules for CPU choice will stay for longer :

1. Get the fastest Single Core Performance as Possible.

2. When you also need lots of (CPU) Rendering like RW Rendering - balance with rule 1.

but also get as many cores and hyperthreading as you can afford.

 

 

3 hours ago, Art V said:

What consequenses does this have for buying a new graphics card in the near future

 

As Jim already said, I also think NONE.

 

At least nothing you can plan.

DirectX is known to be fast.

Both Vulkan and Metal are quite new APIs.

So you will not know which off these are most performant now or will be in the Future.

Same for Nvidia vs AMD, Consumer or Pro cards, which will work better now with which

API, on which OS and with which Apps will be very individual and maybe change with

GPU hardware and Driver support over time.

 

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9 minutes ago, zoomer said:

Not sure how tedious that would be to develop and maintain.

 


Incredibly.

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Posted (edited)

This is no total surprise what Apple did and it is not completely wrong.

But I think the whole thing is a disaster nevertheless.

 

What if VW 2019 is a fix release to clean up and optimize all things,

investing large efforts now to fix all OpenGL issues and bring it on a level

that should work well for the next 5 coming years until a next larger

step in Graphics.

Now you realize, its obsolete. Starting from September 2019, Apple could

finally throw out OpenGL (and OpenCL) completely.

Even some of the work will not work for another graphic API and has to be

redone again.

And for VW 2020 there may already be planned to profit from the optimized

VW base and use these resources to bring again a firework of new features to

the round number version. Obsolete.

You will need these resources for another unexpected Graphics core update.

 

 

I think I would get loud 😉

Edited by zoomer

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2 hours ago, JimW said:


None really, the system requirements we are at now wouldn't change much with OpenGL vs Metal if I had to guess, if anything going forward our graphics will be more efficient, meaning you'll get more speed out of existing hardware.

At least that is good to hear, as it means one does not have to postpone buying a graphics card in the near future because of this change.

 

Change in technology is inevitable and things will become obsolete but when it involves a core item of a computer then I'd prefer to know rather than guess what may or may not work in the foreseeable future.

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37 minutes ago, zoomer said:

 

I think I would get loud 😉

Think????  Know might be a better word. 😃

 

For Vectorworks (and others) this can be a pain to deal with, especially for those who just (further) optimized their OpenGL stuff.  And for those using that software if the switch is going to cause stability and/or performance issues.

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Posted (edited)

Another thing to keep in mind about this impending switch to Apple’s Metal API, is that it might require upgrading to a newer Mac.

 

Quote below taken from Apple macOS High Sierra Technical

 

Metal 2

Supported by the following Mac models:

  • MacBook (Early 2015 or newer)
  • MacBook Pro (Mid 2012 or newer)
  • MacBook Air (Mid 2012 or newer)
  • Mac mini (Late 2012 or newer)
  • iMac (Late 2012 or newer)
  • Mac Pro (Late 2013)

 

Edited by rDesign

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Yes, or stay with a current VW version.

A new graphic API may first come with VW 2020.

Current High Sierra should already have Metal 2.

And by the translation Layer,

newer Vulkan in VW may still run on our current Macs,

although there might come a Metal 3 in the future (?)

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Posted (edited)

Another thing about GPU choice may be :

Metal is a combined API for both obsolete OpenGL AND OpenCL.

 

The more annoying and tedious part will of course be theOpenGL, so graphic part,

which we are currently talking about. Vulkan will take that part.

(To what extend and what OpenGL features will still be missing to ran Apps UI and

graphic we will finally see)

But Vulkan does not include the OpenCL computing part.

 

Currently not an issue for VW.

For cross platform Apps that already use GPUs to compute other things,

like VRAY for GPU Rendering or Scientific Apps like for AI,

What will these go if OpenGL and Mac is gone ?

 

OpenCL was supported well on Windows. Not so well on Mac.

(There was no GPU Rendering in VRAY for Macs anyway)

But at least OpenCL was there on all 3 platforms.

And OpenCL even worked on Nvidia GPUs well, although they prioritize their

own proprietary CUDA.

 

So for Mac, GPU computing will be Metal.

There could be CUDA too as Nvidia supports OS X, but where do we find

NVidia GPUs in Macs. So far Apple even doesn't support NVidia on eGPU.

On Windows the majority of GPU computing is done using proprietary CUDA

 

 

As GPU computing will be more and more important in the future,

NVidia cards, having also CUDA, may be the safer choice for the future.

Edited by zoomer

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15 hours ago, zoomer said:

Windows Users will even profit more than Mac users because Windows supports Vulkan,

Apple does not. So on Apple there will be another Layer that translates between Vulkan and Metal.

Maybe, Maybe Not.

Given Metal can push 3 times as many draw calls than Vulkan. MoltenVK on Metal could be faster if it takes advantage of what makes Metal faster in the first place and possibly faster long term as the Metal team have skin in the game to deliver better performance long term. 

 

From the presentation Apple did note openGL isn't going away soon. We could all be using "Webtorworks" by then.

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If developers cry loud Apple may offer a whole decade of "reasonable timeframe".

But that is not really an option, as it is official that OpenGL+CL will die - on Mac.

 

Vulkan may not be the fastest solution but a cross platform solution.

So the lowest common denominator and it seems to have an other advantage.

Like OpenGL, Vulkan offers a 3D API, with Metal you would have to build

(or license) an own 3D API yourself.

 

If VW would go pure Metal for Mac, there had to be another additional API for

Windows in any case.  (At least to maintain if it stays OpenGL there)

 

 

As far as I understand, the problem with leaving, or even just updating

legacy OpenGL version to Apples newer OpenGL version, was that

legacy OpenGL code is spread all over the App code in most 3D Apps

with longer history. Also for other things like user interface, cursor and

Snap hints and such things, not only for 3D Views itself.

Which means the need to rewrite large parts of the App.

I think switching to a newer API for 3D Views only would be something

manageable.

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2 minutes ago, zoomer said:

As far as I understand, the problem with leaving, or even just updating

legacy OpenGL version to Apples newer OpenGL version, was that

legacy OpenGL code is spread all over the App code in most 3D Apps

with longer history. Also for other things like user interface, cursor and

Snap hints and such things, not only for 3D Views itself.

Which means the need to rewrite large parts of the App.

I think switching to a newer API for 3D Views only would be something

manageable.

This is one thing were Apple is both good and bad, on one hand it forces others to adopt or adapt to newer and sometimes better functionality, on the other hand it can break so much as well  with such abrupt changes that it isn't fun. At worst software companies may decide to no longer continue development for the Apple platform and that may hurt Apple users more in the longer run.

 

Windows isn't perfect but it can run older/legacy software for much longer than is possible on most Mac systems. One of the issues in engineering is having/keeping access to legacy data. So things like this make me a bit shy of ever going back to a Mac.

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BTW,

if Vulkan is slower,

I can't imagine that it will be faster with an additional translating layer

because it is on top of Metal. I think it will be slower than pure Vulkan

like on Windows, but they say not so much slower as the translation

would happen on both sides at low level.

 

 

All of my Apps that I care are cross platform and have OpenGL legacy.

So all of them are effected and maybe me and my work too.

I have 2x double cross platform 3D Apps from Nemetschek family and

at least 3x tripple (+Linux) cross platform Apps.

 

Not sure if I should get excited that I get newer graphic API with potential

speed and compatibility improvements or fear that we are headding an

area of bugs and inconsistencies.

🙂

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3 minutes ago, Art V said:

At worst software companies may decide to no longer continue development for the Apple platform and that may hurt Apple users more in the longer run.

 

Yes, but it looks like it would not hurt Apple.

 

I think I could live with that very well with a forced "switch", may even be alleviated or

may do it anyway.

For many of my Apps, many Mac users seem to have switched during the last 2 years

already for other reasons and limitations. The few leftovers in a small market may

even understand or tolerate such a decision.

 

But for VW with a strong Mac user base, I think that is not an option.

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There is a nice Video explaining why losing OpenGL is not that cool :

 

 

 

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On 6/8/2018 at 5:09 PM, zoomer said:

Yes, but it looks like it would not hurt Apple.

Iin my opinion it depends on whether software companies actually would stop developing for MacOS because of this. Once there is less software available in certain areas (e.g. DTP, 3D) then Windows may become more of an option if it will be/remain available there. One of the reasons I switched in the past from Mac to Win was lack of certain software availability (e.g. AutoCAD stopped on the Mac after version 12 (not 2012)) so using Mac was no longer a viable option.

When AutoCAD came back on the Mac there was still a lack of software offerings in other areas which sort of prevented me from going back.

 

So when some key applications for people dissappear they're more likely to switch platforms. This in turn will mean less Mac sales for other software making the Mac platform less attractive which in turn may lead to less investments for Mac software etc. etc.   DTP and Adobe basically saved the Mac platform years ago, and based on your other comment it is losing ground a bit again, at least until the new pro workhorses come out.

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I'm totally with you.

 

I think a loss of the (leftover) Pro Users will not have noticeable impact on Apples

coming next quarterly numbers. But I fear it will have immersive impact in the long run.

But I may be totally wrong and Warren Buffet may know things that I don't know.

 

The majority of most demanding 3D users already went away because of hardware

limit when 2013 nMac Pro was revealed. Or Video Artists before when Apple presented

a unfinished FinalCutX.

So there are left only 3D and CAD users with medium demands that can still work well with

Apple current hardware like iMac or maybe even an iMac Pro.

These could also leave when Software limits appear.

 

 

What Apps are effected and based on OpenGL ?

Nearly all 3D and CAD Software, for legacy reasons even when not cross platform only.

Open Source and Scientific Software that does any kind of 3D display.

(Things like lots of Software for Chemists or famous OSirix which you can use to display your MRT Scans)

And often Games.

 

So lots of Software that has no large business or financial background, is open source and often cross platform.

Many may need to stop just their platform support for macOS, many Mac-only Apps may have not enough

resources and may be forced give up their whole products.

But that is still a very very small (even declining ?) minority in Apples current overall business.

 

 

As it looks now, so far

none of the larger cross platform macOS players like Vectorworks, Archicad, Cinema4D, Modo, Bricscad, ...

has said to leave the platform or seems to be willing to give up its Mac Users.

All state it is a bit of an uncomfortable decission but are willing and will manage that situation.

Which is fine for us Users.

 

 

 

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Just an observation - when I taught a VW class in the theatre department locally I had 19 students. The department didn't have a lab so the students were required to provide their own laptops for the class. There were two Windows users out of 19.

 

If the switch to Metal makes VW more useable on Apple hardware (integrated graphics cards etc..) then its likely a good move.

 

Kevin

 

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Absolutely.

Going Metal would be the best for Mac Users.

The problem is (beside switching a 3D API in general) Metal is Apple only,

that no one can afford to provide and maintain different 3D APIs for different

Platforms.

 

For VW, if they would decide to ditch a platform, they should ditch the Windows

version as they are one of a few that have more Apple than Microsoft users.

(At least it was that way in the past and until now)

 

 

And currently it looks like every (cross platform) App of this kind will not go Metal

but Vulkan on MoltenVK instead.

So less ideal for Mac Users but may still be better than current OpenGL in the end,

although maybe just related to cleaning their graphic code up a bit.

 

(Some developers even start thinking of staying OpenGL with MoltenGL (not free))

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12 minutes ago, zoomer said:

For VW, if they would decide to ditch a platform, they should ditch the Windows

version as they are one of a few that have more Apple than Microsoft users.

(At least it was that way in the past and until now) 

Over here it is rougly 50/50 so that would mean ditching half of their customers either way.

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Yes, ditching one or other platform is no option for Vectorworks anyway ....

 

For other of my packages the aspect ratio may be more or less different but

I am happy no one used that "D" word for now.

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VW Landmark has a "D" tool ;-)

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You have a Ditch Tool ?

Architects Purge only ...

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