*April 15, 2014*

Discovered by Security Researchers Gibli, Barosin, Pancres, Friedman,
Akita, Jones, Panisset, Barbieri and Piparo

Psyop experienced a "Eureka" moment today, when an artist discovered that
updating referenced models was nearly two orders of magnitude faster when
done through RDP (remote desktop protocol) rather than on a local

Simultaneously, a different artist in LA encountered issues with slowness
saving files in Softimage, and a quick test confirmed that saving the scene
via RDP was also two orders of magnitude faster.  This led to a flurry of
troubleshooting, and we have since narrowed the problem down to Softimage's
"High Quality Viewport" "feature."

The speed-ups after disabling HQV are nothing short of mind-blowing.  For
example, unloading a referenced model took 250 seconds before the fix, and
only 3 seconds after the fix.  Meanwhile, a scene that took 15 minutes to
save saved in only 30 seconds after the fix was deployed.

One artist's wife was quoted as saying, "Thanks to the Qualitybleed bug
being fixed, my husband finally comes home from work on time!  Now if I can
just get him to stop spending all his free time watching Houdini

Note that the "high quality viewport" preference that causes the
problem is *enabled
by default*, Psyop doesn't generally use HQV in our scenes, *so people are
likely to be affected by this problem whether they are HQV users or not*.

To fix the problem, affected softimage users can run the following Python
Application.SetValue("preferences.Display.high_quality_viewport", False, "")

There is still much research to be done to find out what kinds of
scenes/models are more susceptible to the problem, but we thought we'd
bring it up now in case it's costing others time.  Given that the problem
was tied in with RDP, it's likely that video drivers could be playing a
role, but so far we weren't able to find any settings that would magically
eliminate the problem without just disabling HQV entirely.

Psyop is on a mix of NVidia Quadros and we ran tests with a few different
drivers, including the recommended ones.  We also saw the same problem
across two different workstation images, in both Softimage 2013 and
Softimage 2014, and on a remote worker's home workstation.  So we have
reason to suspect it's not a highly specific aspect of our configuration
that was causing the problem.  No testing has been done yet on Linux.

We will be sure to keep this list updated as more information becomes
available.  Share your stories in the comments below if you have been
affected by this ~100X slowdown in performance, or if you encounter a
workstation that is somehow unaffected.

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