Adobe to integrate GPU acceleration into Photoshop

Written by Tim Smalley

May 28, 2008 // 1:42 p.m.

Tags: #acceleration #adobe #cuda #gpu #next #performance #photoshop #stonehenge

During a meeting at Nvidia's Santa Clara headquarters last week, Adobe revealed that Photoshop 'Next' will integrate GPU and Physics acceleration.

Even despite the fact that Adobe has already integrated multi-core support into Photoshop, editing photos is still an incredibly intensive process at the best of times. Based on the demo we saw during Adobe's presentation, that could be about to change.

We saw the presenter playing around with a 2GB, 442 megapixel image in Photoshop 'Next', which is codenamed Stonehenge, like it was an image several orders of magnitude smaller. And by that we mean we saw performance more akin to what we're used to seeing with images no bigger than about 1,600 x 1,200.

It was impressive, with zooming and image rotation tools being used with almost instantaneous results. Re-drawing after zooming right in happened in less than a second, while the presenter was rotating the image fast enough to make you dizzy if you stared for long enough.

We asked how the GPU acceleration would work with smaller images and the presenter explained that there would be less of a difference in performance, but then I guess that's to be expected – the reason Adobe opted for such a large image was to show just how much of a speed up it has seen and how things are going to bode for the future when parallelism increases.

The presenter also demonstrated importing 3D objects into Photoshop—applying skins, paint and textures to the 3D surfaces almost seamlessly—and then he finished his demonstration by showing a 3D accelerated panorama – one of the most time consuming tasks in Photoshop these days. With a GPU, the panorama becomes extremely usable and you'll be able to edit the panorama in real time while moving around the scene with incredible smoothness.

"This is just the beginning of what we can do with the GPU," said the presenter, after finishing his demonstrations. I'm excited to see what Adobe can do moving forwards – we've already seen GPU-accelerated Adobe Reader and there's also a plug-in coming for Adobe Premiere Pro in order to speed up video encoding too.

Adobe is arguably the world's biggest third party software maker, so this is massive news for anyone that uses any of its software. It also could be the start of the impending paradigm change we've been talking about for a while, where massively parallel loads are offloaded to the GPU which, of course, is massively parallel itself.

Are you excited by the prospects of GPU-accelerated Photoshop? Let us know your thoughts in the forums.
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