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Material Browser Preview Images Slow

Message 1 of 12
1814 Views, 11 Replies

Material Browser Preview Images Slow

Thanks in advance! The issue that we are having is that in Revit 2020 the material preview images are extremely slow to update. If the material browser is left sitting open, eventually all the preview images update but it takes some time (probably 7-10 minutes). This issue became apparent after we updated all of our material assets to the new assets (the new assets removed the yellow "!" in the corner of the material preview). The weird thing is that only some of the updated materials are misbehaving. At this point I think we've exhausted every solution we could come up with.

Efforts to this point are as follows:
-Updated to R2020.1 (newest release)
-Turned off Hardware Acceleration (Revit Options)
-Removed/refreshed UIState.dat file
-Removed/refreshed MaterialUIConfig.xml file
-Changing out the assets again (still to the new assets)

-Removed/Deleted all "Old" material library versions from Windows (did this after repairing the libraries had no effect)
-Delete all materials except 4 (2 problem materials and 2 working materials)...still same issue
-We have under 50 materials in our library so coupled with the test above, I don't see this as an issue

The only thing I've found to resolve this is to change the material assets back to the "old" assets...once this is done the material browser preview images open immediately.


-Windows 10

-Revit 2020.1

Message 2 of 12
in reply to: andrew.freng

have you try to update your graphics card driver to the latest and see if helps. thanks

Remember : without the difficult times in your LIFE, you wouldn't be who you are today. Be grateful for the good and the bad. ANGER doesn't solve anything. It builds nothing, but it can destroy everything...
Please mark this response as "Accept as Solution" if it answers your question. Kudos gladly accepted.
Message 3 of 12

Hi @andrew.freng ,

My name is Mark, I am a Revit support specialist and I would like to help you with your question.  First I should ask if the request from @ennujozlagam was helpful.  If so, please hit "Accept Solution".  


If not, I would like you to try the following:

Please let me know if this is helpful!

Mark Ryan
Technical Support Specialist
Message 4 of 12
in reply to: ennujozlagam

, We are currently running the latest driver for our video cards.  To further test this theory (incorrect/old driver), we tested the issue on two different laptops (neither operate off our server).  Both of the laptops had the same issue as I described above. 
Message 5 of 12
in reply to: andrew.freng

, We've purged/deleted all elements to the point of not having anything left in our template (just for testing sake).  Also, we tested the issue in a clean project (no template) and had the same issue with materials that were created utilizing the new material assets.  Hard drive space is not an issue.  In regards to the provided link, we've previously exhausted all items in that list (User Profile, Draft/Production preview quality).
Message 6 of 12

Hi @andrew.freng ,

Thanks for the update.  I'd like you to try the following also:


Change the render quality of the preview Click the drop-down arrow next to the swatch image, click Render Settings, and select Draft Quality or Production Quality.
Change the appearance properties Change property values displayed on this tab as desired. The properties available vary depending on the type of material. See Render Appearance Properties.
Note: The appearance properties can affect the amount of time required to render an image. (Not necessarily specific to the preview images, but may help).  See Render Performance and Materials.


If these don't help.  I will ask that you share your file and materials in a private link (if you are ok with that) so I can try to replicate it on my end!

Mark Ryan
Technical Support Specialist
Message 7 of 12

Hi @andrew.freng ,

I have been able to duplicate your issue on multiple machines on my end.  I have alerted our development team for investigation.  I will update you as soon as I get a response from our team.  Thank you for your patience while we work through this!

Mark Ryan
Technical Support Specialist
Message 8 of 12

Hi @andrew.freng ,

I have gotten some feedback from our team.  

  1. When this behavior was tested on a specific machine, it only took 1.5 minutes to finish rendering all preview images. The performance of the test machine (memory 64G, CPI Xeon E5-2650 v4) is higher than the one I tested on my own machine (which matched the times you stated of 7-10 minutes to populate the images). The machine performance should affect the final result. Also the usage of other applications may affect the outcome.
  2. There is also an existing issue with AdpreviewGenerator (to find this, hit Ctrl+Alt+Del and look under the "Details" tab). In some case, AdpreviewGenerator will stop working then the image will not update. I do not believe this is happening to you, because it sounds like the previews eventually populate.  Though, if you'd like to test, a workaround is to kill AdPreviewGenerator while the images are populating.  AdPreviewGenerator will then restart. If it does restart, then your issue is likely a computer specs issue.

It looks as though the sheer size and complexity of this file is taxing your (and my) hardware.  I hope this is helpful.  


Please let me know if you have any questions and I'd be happy to help!



Mark Ryan
Technical Support Specialist
Message 9 of 12

Hi @andrew.freng .  In response to the above comment, I have gotten further comment from our development team after examining the behavior of my machine (which seemed to match yours while working with the file you supplied).  The observed behavior is considered "as designed" per our current testing result using my machine.  The mechanism here is that whenever a user clicks on a material, its thumbnail will be generated in the material browser as a high priority in the sequence. The lower priority will be populated in order after the selected materials displayed on the screen. And so on until all of the previews are populated.  


Essentially, beefing up your machine will produce these images for you more quickly (see above specs from the machine our team tested this on)!

Mark Ryan
Technical Support Specialist
Message 10 of 12
in reply to: andrew.freng

Get a new computer or update your graphics card. 

Message 11 of 12
in reply to: s.borello


The Xeon CPU you mentioned has 12 cores/24 threads.

Were the material preview images being rendered by CPU or GPU for your testing?


What I've read about rendering in Revit indicates it's done by the CPU, and it can use up to 16 cores for that.  If that's the case, spending a lot on a video card won't help with that particular issue.  It does help keep a high frame rate when you zoom, rotate, pan, or move around your model, so a good GPU is still important.  If you read system recommendations from ADSK or places like Puget Systems, you want a CPU with the best single-core performance possible for most of what Revit does and up to 16 cores for certain operations.  i.e. a Ryzen 9-3950X.


I realize ADSK wants to drive the use of cloud credits and purchases of partner software like Unity, but it would be really nice of them to implement GPU-based rendering in all of the parts of Revit that make the production of the model go more smoothly.  Waiting a minute or more for material previews to appear every time you open that browser isn't good.


Autodesk's list of Multi-threaded processes in Revit 2017:  (I can't find any updates to this list by ADSK since Aug. 14, 2018)

  • Vector printing
  • Vector Export such as DWG and DWF
  • Autodesk Raytracer - this is probably doing the preview images
  • Wall Join representation in plan and section views
  • Loading elements into memory. Reduces view open times when elements are displayed for the first time in a
  • session.
  • Parallel computation of silhouette edges (outlines of a curved surfaces) used when navigating perspective 3D
  • views
  • Translation of high-level graphical representation of model elements and annotations into display lists
  • optimized for a given graphics card. Engaged when opening views or changing view properties.
  • File Open and Save
  • Point cloud data display
  • DWF Export as individual sheets utilizes multiple processes.
  • Color fill calculations are processed in the background on another process.
  • Calculation of structural connection geometry is processed in the background on another process
Message 12 of 12

@mark.ryanV3F5AThanks again for your assistance with this and sorry for not replying sooner (I never received any correspondence from the forum alerting me to any reply).  I'm at a loss on this issue and at this point we are moving past as it's a minor inconvenience at most.  No solutions have been accepted at this point as we are still able to reproduce this issue on many different computers so this is clearly still an issue (including computers w/ the latest and greatest hardware).   

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