PhotoLab 4 unusable on 2020 iMac, macOS Big Sur (11.1)

I just installed the PhotoLab 4 demo as I was interested in buying but it is virtually unusable on my 2020 iMac (i9, 64gb ram, 5700 XT 16gb). It takes 5 seconds beach-balling to open an image that is only a 2288x1712 jpg (879kb) stored in Pictures (so on the internal fast SSD). It also takes about 5-6 seconds to return to the browser when clicking the PhotoLibrary button top right.

Also when dragging a simple one-stroke mask there is no visual feedback. i.e. when the mouse cursor is pressed the mask disappears. This is abysmal for actually trying to do anything worthwhile.

This seems like an application problem or bug as I can’t fathom how performance could be this bad for apparently one of the best photo editors available. Is this Windows-first software or something? Is it Big Sur teething pains? I have a second monitor plugged if that is a variable.

Hi @groomedmonkey, and welcome.

The first time PL is launched it may have some background tasks to do like applying default preset on images in the working folder, indexing if there are many images inside.
And it may takes time to display one image in main window if the zoom is over 75%.

Perhaps after closing and restart PL it would go better.

On my side I’m using PL v4 with Big Sur on a MacBook Pro 2016 8Gb SSD and Mac mini 2018 32Gb SSD and don’t have specific issue, even if it’s not very fast for 45 Mpix images.

When PhotoLab is that slow, are other applications also slower?

Right now with the description it looks like all your RAM is eaten up by some application. You could check it by opening the Activity Monitor app, Memory tab, click on memory column to order applications by memory usage and identify the most memory consuming applications.

Hello all, thanks for the helpful responses.

I noticed that my demo launched with an “invalid license” message on the splash screen. I discovered that I had accidentally prevented PL from network access to a server via Little Snitch. Once it was able to correctly activate itself it seems to be running normally. Was very strange behaviour and perhaps the app shouldn’t run when it can’t activate itself properly because of a network block/error.

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