Script: Measure Rig Performance

Script: Measure Rig Performance

As a rigger you have to get along with the animators, and a good startingpoint for that is to provide them with fast rigs. If the animators have to playblast for each time they want to see the actual animation, they are going to waste a lot of time!

I asked this question over at Rigging Dojo about a year ago:

I often find myself implementing a lot of stuff in a rig, stuff I think the animators may need. As I’m improving my rigs, I get more nodes and more calculations going on to achieve what I want – which in the end may result in performance issues with the rig when animating. I’m trying to find out if there’s some way to measure the performance of a rig-component? I find it really hard to find out which components that slows down my rig, as I have to add and animate all of the rig-components together, and then try to compare the playback-speed, remove components, re-check, etc. How do you guys approach this? Also, is there any documentation of speed differences for expressions vs nodes, extra joints vs corrective blendshapes, skinClusters vs wrapDeformers, constraints vs normal parenting, etc?

I got a lot of interesting answers in the thread, but one in particular from Josh Carey helped a lot. He tipped me off on dgtimer, which does exactly what I asked for. So I’ve just wrapped this into a clean little script.

The Script
The script measures the speed by playing off the scene and evaluating each DG node’s performance, which means that for the object(s) to actually be evaluated you have to animate each component (that you want to be included in the evaluation) over a given timespan, the more frames you calculate from the more accurate the results will be.


So if you have a rig that runs too slow, you can use this script to see which node(s) that does the hardest impact on the performance. You often find that it’s just a couple of nodes that really takes onto the percentage, stuff like wrap deformers are something you want to avoid (at least in the proxy-rig) :)

Video Demonstration:
I’ve uploaded a video to demonstrate how it can be used, in the video I’m using it to compare normal parenting, direct connections, constraints and skinclusters.

jh_measurePerformance (Measure Scene Performance)

// Title: jh_measurePerformance.mel
// Author: Jorn-Harald Paulsen
// Created: December 7, 2011
// Last Update: June 06, 2013
// Description: Utility to measure the speed of a scene, especially useful for rig-performance tweaks.
global proc jh_measurePerformance ()
//Delete window if it already exists
if (`window -q -ex jh_measurePerformance`) deleteUI jh_measurePerformance;

//Main Window
window -te 30 -t “Measure Performance” -mxb 0 -s 1 -rtf 0 -mb 0 -mbv 0 -w 350 -h 544 jh_measurePerformance;

//Window content
columnLayout -adjustableColumn true;
text -label “\nUtility to measure performance/evaluation of the scene” -fn boldLabelFont;
separator -w 300 -h 10;
text -label “It measures by playing off the scene, so you should”;
text -label “have animation on the obects you want to evaluate!”;
text -label “Note: Longer playback = More accurate results”;
separator -w 300 -h 15;
text -label “Startframe:”;
intField startFrame;
text -label “Endframe:”;
intField endFrame;
separator -w 300 -h 15;
text -label “Number of nodes to return:”;
intField -v 20 numNodes;
separator -w 300 -h 10;
button -label “Measure performance” -c jh_evaluate;
textField -text “Time taken: ” -ed 0 timeField;
textField -text “FPS: ” -ed 0 fpsField;
textScrollList -ams 0 -h 250 -sc jh_selNode evaluatedNodes;
separator -w 300 -h 15;
text -label “Filter by nodetype” -fn boldLabelFont;
textField -text “” nodeField;
button -label “Filter” -c jh_filterResult;
separator -w 300 -h 15;
button -label “Choose where to save the file” -c jh_getExportDir;
textField -en 0 evalExportField;
button -label “Export the results” -c jh_exportToFile;
separator -w 300 -h 15;
//Set the startFrame/endFrame min/max to the timeline’s min/max
intField -e -v `playbackOptions -q -min` startFrame;
intField -e -v `playbackOptions -q -max` endFrame;
//Create the window
window -e -w 350 -h 544 jh_measurePerformance;
showWindow jh_measurePerformance;

global proc jh_evaluate()
//Remove all items in the textScrollList
textScrollList -e -ra evaluatedNodes;
//Get the frames to playback
int $min = `intField -q -v startFrame`;
int $max = `intField -q -v endFrame`;
//Set the timeSlider to the min/max values
playbackOptions -min $min -max $max;
//Get the number of frames to playback
int $frames = $max – $min;
//Get the number of nodes to return
int $nodesCount = `intField -q -v numNodes`;

//Set the playBack to Free/Play Every Frame
playbackOptions -e -playbackSpeed 0 -maxPlaybackSpeed 0;
//Set the timeSlider to the startFrame
currentTime `playbackOptions -q -min`;
//Reset the dgtimer
dgtimer -on -reset;
//Play the scene (don’t loop)
play -wait;
//Turn off the dgtimer
dgtimer -off;
//Stor the result of the dgTimer
string $evalResult[] = `dgtimer -outputFile “MEL” -maxDisplay $nodesCount -query`;
//Extract the elapsed time and the FPS
string $tempToken[];
tokenize $evalResult[12] “: ” $tempToken;
float $time = $tempToken[3];
float $fps = ($frames / $time);
//Update the textField for time and FPS
textField -e -text (“Time taken: ” + $tempToken[3] + ” seconds”) timeField;
textField -e -text (“FPS: ” + $fps) fpsField;
//For each returned node
for($a = 40; $a < (40 + $nodesCount); $a++)
//Remove all of the spaces between each element
string $el[];
tokenize $evalResult[$a] ” ” $el;
//If the result has a % at index 3
if (`gmatch $el[3] “*%”` == 1)
//Create a separator string
string $sep = ” | “;
//Generate the string to put into the textScrollList
string $string = ($el[0] + $sep + $el[3] + $sep + $el[7] + $sep + $el[8]);
//Update the textScrollList
textScrollList -e -append $string evaluatedNodes;
//Get the actual number of elements returned
int $returnedElements = size(`textScrollList -q -ai evaluatedNodes`);
//Update the node count to the actual number
intField -e -v $returnedElements numNodes;
//Print the result
print $evalResult;
print “\n\n\nSee the script editor for details!\n”;

global proc jh_selNode()
//Get the selected item in the textScrollList
string $selItem[] = `textScrollList -q -si evaluatedNodes`;
//Extract the elapsed time and the FPS
string $tempToken[];
tokenize $selItem[0] “|” $tempToken;
//If the object exists
if(objExists($tempToken[3]) == 1)
//Select the item
select -r $tempToken[3];
//Print information
print (“\nSelected: ” + $tempToken[3] + “\n”);

global proc jh_filterResult()
//Get the text to filter from
string $filter = `textField -q -text nodeField`;
//Get all of the items in the textScrollList
string $allItems[] = `textScrollList -q -ai evaluatedNodes`;
//Remove all items in the textScrollList
textScrollList -e -ra evaluatedNodes;
//For each item in the textScrollList
for($item in $allItems)
//Separate the string
string $tempToken[];
tokenize $item ” | ” $tempToken;
//If the current element matches the filter-tekst, add it to the textScrollList
if (`gmatch $tempToken[2] $filter` == 1) textScrollList -e -append $item evaluatedNodes;
//Get the actual number of elements returned
int $returnedElements = size(`textScrollList -q -ai evaluatedNodes`);
//If no elements was returned
if($returnedElements == 0)
//Add the original elements back into the textScrollList
for($element in $allItems) textScrollList -e -append $element evaluatedNodes;
//Print warning message
warning “\nCould not find any matching items!\n”;
//Else, print information
else print (“A total of ” + $returnedElements + ” nodes was found matching \”” + $filter + “\”\n”);

global proc jh_getExportDir()
//Open the file-dialog, and get the results from it
string $getExportDir = `fileDialog -m 1 -dm “*.mel”`;
//Put the directory in the textField
textField -e -text $getExportDir evalExportField;

global proc jh_exportToFile()
//Get all of the items in the textScrollList
string $allItems[] = `textScrollList -q -ai evaluatedNodes`;
//Get the directory for where to store the animation
string $exportDir = `textField -q -text evalExportField`;
//If a directory wasn’t defined, print error
if($exportDir == “”) error “\nYou need to define a directory to store the animation in!\n”;

//Create and open the storefile for writing
int $fileId = `fopen $exportDir “w”`;
//For each item in the textScrollList, print the item to the file
for($item in $allItems) fprint $fileId ($item + “\n”);
//Close the file for writing
fclose $fileId;
//Print information
print “\nDone!”;


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