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Blender Problems on Leopard - Solved?


Many Blender users are experiencing problems with the interface speed when running Blender on Leopard. These issues seem to be related to an update in the OpenGL graphic system that Apple made in 10.5. After a bit of experimenting, a group of users found a solution.

Mogwai writes on BlenderArtists:

From the idea of SirDude to run Blender through OpenGL Profiler, I juste managed to get it to run correctly on my Macbook with a GMA950. Juste do the following :

  • Install the developper kit (XCode) and run the OpenGL Profiler located in /Developper/Applications/Graphics Tools
  • Add Blender to the application list
  • In the launch settings, enable "Use custom pixel format" and click the "Edit..." button
  • In the window that should have appeared, click "Attributes" and then double click kCGLPFADoubleBuffer to add it to the list. Leave the value to 0.
  • Start Blender by clicking the "Launch" button in the main window.

It should now run flawlessly. It looks like the double buffer is buggy with the new drivers, and disabling it solves the lag problem in Blender.

Just try it and let me know if it works for you too

Following that, davidlandwehr has prepared a custom build:

I think the problem is that the Intel cards is running out of resources and some kind of defaulting routine is kicking in which is the reason the UI becomes unresponsive. This could be because the double buffer takes a lot of resource (and we only have the problem in Leopard because the entire user interface is in OpenGL). I made a build of blender where I disabled double buffering and everything works reasonable well (you can download it from here which is a trunk build so be prepared...).
If I'm right and this is a resource problem we have problems since it is not a driver problem but a limitation in hardware something Apples is unlikely to be able to solve!

There is some anti-aliasing in the build going on when the menu goes away but no problems otherwise. Very large multi-res seems to be a problem.

Did this work for you?

About the Author

Avatar image for Bart Veldhuizen
Bart Veldhuizen

I have a LONG history with Blender - I wrote some of the earliest Blender tutorials, worked for Not a Number and helped run the crowdfunding campaign that open sourced Blender (the first one on the internet!). I founded BlenderNation in 2006 and have been editing it every single day since then ;-) I also run the Blender Artists forum and I'm Head of Community at Sketchfab.


  1. The build is a superior improvement!
    However, there is a bizarre lag that happens while tabbing in and out of edit to object mode. I have to left click to initiate anything... either than that, its a 150% speed boost!

  2. I saw this the other day when it was posted. It's a great improvement on my MacBook. Only thing I've noticed so far is a tiny lag after middle clicking

  3. @Kyle Dell'Aquila
    I have the same problem with recent SVN builds for Windows(2000). Going into edit mode or only selecting objects needs a good while. First i thought its a problem with the new ATI GPU.

  4. Can anybody provide a build with double buffering disabled for Windows? I have a new Panasonic laptop that has all kinds of problems displaying Blender. It's an integrated Intel graphics card. Vista was a disaster, completely unusuable (menus left big black squares after themselves when the disappeared, etc), so I downgraded to XP, and now it's usable but text boxes and menu selections give no realtime feadback, which is a headache. I've been in touch with both Panasonic and Intel and (of course) their tech support is completely useless.

  5. @Willam: same here - it works fine on my MBP.

    Talking about using Blender on OSX by the way: does anyone know of a tool that will disable the default OSX function key functions *per application* so that I can use them with Blender? I know you can disable the multimedia functions etc on a system-wide level, but I'm not really prepared to sacrifice the functionality just for Blender ;-)

  6. Maybe that's not really linked to the subject but i'd like to say some 2 cents.

    You payed for a Mac, you payed for a complete locked system.

    I think, but of course it's only my opinion, that Windows and Osx (that it's also hardware locked) versions of Blender have to be with a lesser maintenance and interesting. Open Communty have to develop e contribute for real OpenSource systems, these opensystems have to be the first priority, because OpenSource projects have to push other OpenSource projects, otherwise it's a contradiction. I understand that to push openprojects it's important to make builds for all the systems (closed or open), but it's important too to have some priority on what kind of OS it's preferred, and give him the maximum priority on compatibility on developing and bug tracking. Imho it's an ethical, but also consistent, choice.

    If you see other openprojects like Gimp you see that the first and most suited release is really for opensystem, not win32 compiled. I think that this is the only way to make some forcing on using real opensource software on the real world.

    People that have problem with a Mac, can always buy an Apple software for the his tasks, or demand Apple Assistance, you payed for this when you buy a locked system like a Mac.

    That's the point: I'm very proud and happy that all the Peach Team use Ubuntu! :-D

  7. Not exactly "forcing", but to make "some forcing", it's not the same concept.

    And i don't say only about "freesoftware", but more general, about opensource software.

  8. Firstly, thanks for the build. I'm on a Tiger machine at the moment, and will have to wait several LONG hours before I can try it on my machine at home.

    If the fix works, it means I can get to Blender on my machine after many MANY weeks of frustration.

    To qwerty, I agree that open source software on a closed hardware system may seem backward, but the open source refers to the development of the "software" being open, not the hardware it's running on.

    On one hand I agree, Open Source software is a really good way of convincing people of the benefits of a fully open source operating system, but I think Blender is THE model for all software projects: open source for ALL to work and contribute on, and on enough platforms to be truly OPEN! How many software developments run on Solaris? Or Free BSD?

    If you think that people are sometimes tied to their hardware due to the work that they do or the choices that other family members make, software like Blender (free in every sense of the word) is the best thing that could happen to open source!

  9. @qwerty, people who use computers for work don't always have the luxury to join the revolution. If Blender were to stop supporting Mac and Windows (and by supporting, I mean reliably, robustly supporting) it would be the best news possible for the makers of proprietary 3D applications.

  10. To Quote a previous comment:
    "Going into edit mode or only selecting objects needs a good while. First i thought its a problem with the new ATI GPU."

    A little hint for you is to go into Wireframe mode (Z key) before selecting a poly-intensive object. It works great for me!

  11. Quite an interesting question:

    who's more open.. a company with commercial software that tries to makes sure you keep using theirs, or a community that wants you to use their software and wants to make sure you keep using theirs?

    People like qwerty should know better. They're all for freedom, right? Right?


    I have my doubts. Luckily, Blender does not force me to use it on or with anything. Hurray for freedom!

  12. The OpenGL-Profiler-Fix works like a charm, thousand thx, SirDude! =)

    On the discussion, I do use OS-X on my MacBook as well as my ubuntu-desktopsystem. I'm not sure if I will buy apple again. It's nice and convenient, but it really feels like replacing the windows-devil with the apple-sin...

    For now, the MacBook is my main machine, but that is mostly due to the fact, that 16hours of 60watt are a lot better than 16hours of 3-400 watt. I guess I won't upgrade to the next release of OS-X either, and will install ubuntu on the MacBook (at least as dualboot) as soon as I have the time for an "unscheduled down-week" (just in case I kill the box during the installation) ;).

    On another count: At my university, we'll have two 3D-Modelling-courses - one FOSS lead by me and one commercial software by another student. I'm pretty excited, which course will have more students in.

  13. @MeneerDePeer

    The choice of the opensource, it's always a "Choice", not forced anyway.

    There is no forcing on using opensource software. But: if you develop and use an Opensource software, it's not a bad idea to privilege people and projects that support the ethical base of the OpenSouce (sharing the knowledge). For this cause some licenses of the freesoftware, are *viral* licenses. Blender himself use a viral license (GPL), don't forget it.

    The "Company with commercial software" that you mention, it's also a company that sell Hardware locked + OS locked systems, grabbing *a lot* of code from opensource, closing it, and selling it to people that after all are really forced to buy their systems.

    That's "not", really, the ethical way of the opensource that i hope to see on the world.

    But of course it's only my 2 cents.

  14. "For this cause some licenses of the freesoftware, are *viral* licenses. Blender himself use a viral license (GPL), don't forget it."

    Are you talking about the GPL "infecting" everything you touch with Blender? I've heard that before and anyone who actually reads the lisence can see that that's akin to an urban legend.

  15. @Tony-san:

    > menus left big black squares after themselves when the disappeared,

    It happened my pc too ( IBM ThinkPad X61 Tablet / Vista /intel 965 Express),
    but I found a workaround.

    it's quite simple, just change the UI(Theme) to "Classic View" .
    (or disable alpha shadow effect)

    I think that it is worth trying if you can recover your harddrive easily.

  16. I use a mac system because i need it for all the other "commercials" application that have not yet reached a productive level, or are just inexistant.
    If blender would not be on macosx i would either have to switch to cinema 4d or maya (sic!) or would need to buy a second box for a linux system.

  17. I think its great that Blender works across platforms. Its one of its great strengths. Allow the user to decide what OS environment they want to work in.

    Personally I do all my Blender'ing under Ubuntu Linux. I find that Linux has more tools easily available for post production processing of my animations. That said, I usually do my final mix in iMovie because its so damn easy...hehe

  18. Blender ran absolutely fine on Leopard from the getkgo - so this problem isn't consistent with all macs.
    @ Qwerty, wether you think Apple conducts business ethically or not is irrelevant to these problems.
    Complex driver settings for the ATI card had to do with the bad performance.
    If the root of the problems was Apple's so-called abuse of FOSS software, than MY version of mac Blender wouldn't run well without these settings either.

    "Blender himself use a viral license (GPL), don't forget it"

    Blender isn't a male. Its a program.

  19. @Mike
    "wether you think Apple conducts business ethically or not is irrelevant to these problems."

    I don't speak about "these problems". I speak generally about the support of OpenSource project for Closed platform (anche the Apple platform it's an hardware _and_ software closed system). Generally speaking, on developing and bugtracking, i think it's right to have some platform priority to concentrate the efforts. And the priority have to go to other opensystems, not closed. That's my 2 cents, of course.

    Otherwise some people one day will say me why was chosen the GPL license for Blender rather then a BSD license.

    Imho the GPL was chosen for precise reason.

    Isn't Ton?

  20. @ Bart

    Could the keyboard shortcuts in system preference's Universal Access panel help? You can always create a user account with these settings just for Blender that you switch to with 'fast user switching'.

    @ Qwerty

    You can run Ubuntu on Apple hardware; both PPC and Intel. Haven't you heard? I don't get your argument. I've used both Xubuntu and Ubuntu on my Macs over the years, with Blender on both!

  21. @sorbus

    Ok, you run Ubuntu on your Mac, but you support Apple with your money to do what they do with their massive lock-in politics, also if you intstall some freesoftware on their machines.

    You and anyone are free to do what do you want with your money, of course, but just think about it sometimes.

  22. I finally got home and could try the OpenGL fix, which I am sad to say really didn't work for me. But the good news is that the modified build works perfectly, and I can now get on with Blender without the silly delays and lags!

    Many thanks to MogWai!

  23. @qwerty

    I use a Mac because I need programs like photoshop and final cut. There is no open-source-counterpart to this program (don't tell me about gimp).
    OK, Apple has a closed software/hardware philosophy, but I am a user and I take the product, which brings most advantages to my work. I am not a dogmatic or fundamentalist. Maybe in 2012 or 2015 I will use Linux.
    What I appreciate in Blender is the fact, that it offers very good quality for the price of 0 euros. I like the open-source-philosophy too, but this is not the main reason for me to use Blender and I am sure it will never be the main reason to use it in a professional context.

  24. @Mike: QUOTE: "Blender isn't a male. Its a program."

    Actually Blender is a female, after all, the mascot is Suzanne!! :P

    And why does every time the word "MAC" get used the discussion gets so heated? I personally don't use a MAC but apparently it divides everyone, just like religion, it's just crazy.... lol

  25. The build makes the user interface delay problem go away , i tried rendering a sculpted head with 23554 vertices and it won't work if you render to the image window , but it will work if you render to the image editor, and you don't get to see the rendering process, it shows you the finish render all at once. .so for now i'm thinking of just using this build to model/animate and using other builds just for rendering. Using an intel macbook (not the pro version) leopard 10.5.1 GMAx3100

  26. @roofoo

    I totally agree with you. Why people always overreact when the hear the word "Mac". It is just a trademark!
    Everybody is free to decide what operating system to use. I really hope that this kind of "discussion" will not take further place here at blendernation, because it is not worth to spend time with it.

  27. Boys and Girls,

    We are way off topic here, stick with the Leopard/Tiger/Mac solution and not an opensource debate. If you want to have a go on that, I would like you to start an other thread on that subject.


  28. @qwerty: frankly, your arguement makes no sense

    a. 90% of the third party software on my mac is free software (other then what comes with OS X, i have no other apple software), and 50% of that software is open source

    b. OS X's kernal is open source (google darwin), and all the non-OS-critical APIs are /very/ well documented (definitely more-so then any windows docs i have seen)

    c. you can install windows as well as *nix on a mac, and with a little research and some nerd-fun you can get OS X to run on non-apple machines as well >-> (really, it isn't that hard, just not quite legal...)

    the downsides of having to run OS X on a mac (for the most part anyway) are offset by the incredible stability and speed of the system, less hardware configurations mean less needed optimization, which allows for optimization for each machine, in short, OS X runs noticably faster then XP and insanely faster then Vista on the same hardware (and each version of OS X has gotton faster on top of that, I can vouge for that personally)

  29. @Manda, thanks for the tip. I might try that, since I might have to reinstall vista to do some other testing.

    And yes, this is definitely not a universal problem in Leopard. I use Leopard on a Mac Pro and I've had no problem at all. Seems to me to be primarily in Mac Books. And given my problem, I'm wondering how widespread problems in new Intel-based pc notebooks are.

  30. Ok, no problem. For me the thread finish here.

    Sorry for expressing my opinion about HolyApple. Next time i see a big advertising picture of OSX on the title of Blendernation, i'll go away, no problem.

    Thanks for your patience.

    Over and out.

  31. One problem for all sorry for the "rant"

    OpenSource and the WORD "Free" means one thing , you are free to use at what you like and when ever you like without pay`n any cent to anyone.

    Blender 3D it is Free "as it is" without any warranty , either you are on a Unix platform or a Clone or Microsoft or any OS you have the source and with the libs you can compile it and modify the program as you need.

    Se Plumifieros and PlumiBlend

    OpenSource it is not about the OS you use , but about the people that make a software from scratch for they own needs near "comercial level".

    Blender3d it is what it is called "the tool for the pour" like the "pen and paper" for painters.

    It is just a tool and only a tool.

    Don`t matter what OS you have , just use the tool and make some outstanding artwork.

    Blender3d it is the dream come true for 3d artist with no chance to get the money for the big bully and bulky MAX and MAYA but still getting the DemoReel for the job.

    On topic.

    Some Intel video cards perform bad when there it is some "antialiassing" or "transparent windows" due the fact that all use some "Shared memory" in laptops and mainboards.

    Nvidia cards works flawless.

    Mac users , Microsoft users > stop the hate and start producing some damn good animations ok ?


  32. Does this effect 10.5 with nvidia cards only in macbooks ? or is it all cards ? all systems ?

    MacPro 10.5.2 ATI x1900XT I have thought I had any problems ?

  33. Again OpenGL problems? Get's really annoying... I for myself can't recommend Blender to other people fully-hearted at the moment. Much too likely not to run at current hardware. Not a good show for a graphics software.

  34. While your hacking at the opengl stuff. Is there any way to hack in 3d View anti-aliasing? I have been told it can be tuned on via the graphics cord, but OSX has no such button.

  35. OK OK... well for all you Mac bashers out there - I use Linux (only Linux) and I have virtually the same problems! Double buffering is one of those buggy things that always cause problems for any OS ... it's quite often OFF by default on Linux which is why there are no problems... But I run Compiz-Fusion on some strange set-up that requires it to be ON, so I get the same lags and Menu update problems! I think there should be an option in Blender to disable double buffering - it would probably help to solve about 80% of people problems!

    The other problem I've been having recently is my new mouse, which has a tilting scrollwheel. When tilted slightly, it doesn't register the middle mouse button as being pressed, which can be a pain! Blender will suddenly stop panning or something while dragging the mouse because it's too sensitive! I would code the fixes myself, but I'm waiting for the Tools API rewrite first!

    ~epat. :)

  36. Just to let people know, I was able to get most of the problems on XP solved by placing Windows 95 OpenGL drivers in my Blender directory. What year is it now? Seems like Microsoft has spent the last 13 years progressively screwing up their OpenGL support. I have not yet had a chance to try reinstalling Vista and testing with that.

    The situation is still not perfect. I still get some weird visual artifacts, but no showstoppers. Hardware accelleration may be affected, I'm not entirely sure. The game engine seemed to be running more slowly, so this may need some more testing.

  37. >> Just to let people know, I was able to get most of the problems on XP
    >> solved by placing Windows 95 OpenGL drivers in my Blender directory

    Congratulations, you're now running a fully software accelerated version of Blender. Have fun with it!

    But you're right, Microsoft has some kind of favour for their own API's. How odd :)

  38. Sure. There are hundreds of working OpenGL apps out there on Windows. If Blender's code is ... sub optimal in this regard, please don't bash on MS instinctively.

  39. I run blender on a 2nd gen mb pro (2.16 g core-duo ati x1600 256mb). There hasn't been a problem with leopard so far (before and after openGL update).
    I would suggest that the bugginess in blender has probably something to do with intel built in chipsets on macbooks, but i really can't confirm this.
    my 2 cents.

  40. Elinton Cedminster on

    Do I always have to open the Open GL Profiler when I want to open blender. It works great when I press launch (and thank you) but when I close it and open blender on the sidebar, it is still the same?

  41. you made my day ! ! ! !

    i cant use blender since 2 month ... now it works again ... thank you SO much

    when is your birthday ? i'll light a candle on from now on :)

    have a nice day, and thanks again


  42. When I run Blender through openGL profiler, it always quit unexpectedly. After relaunching it, the same speed problem still exists.......
    Could anyone help me with this problem..?

  43. theLichKing on

    Just to let everyone know.. this seems to be a joint problem between OpenGL drivers for leopard and the Intel GMA graphics chipsets.
    I filed a bug to Apple and they closed it saying the bug was similar to another bug and they said they are currently working to fix this bug.
    so stay tuned. and for the mean time, i'm using a hacked version that somebody who calls himself David at blenderartists built. it basically turns off some features of OpenGL that us non-techies don't know how to do.. unfortunately, it's a 2.45 build, but it's better than nothing. get it at:

  44. Francis Douse on

    Just tried this with 10.5.2 & RC5 and it bombs out, I've been without a usable Blender since I upgraded to a MacBook (GMA) last November. Unless I abandon all my 3D work, I'm now faced with going for a commercial app that works instead. It's so annoying and the above mentioned pre-built blenders dont work either.

  45. Your awesome davidlandwehr! I had been using (or should I say suffer with) the regular version on blender on my Macbook Black running Leopard for almost eight months. It was terribly slow but I thought it was normal until I downloaded it on one of the HP workstations at my office that had about the same performance specs as my MacBook. It ran so much better. After that I tried some different things like downloading the older pre-intel version, which actually ran slightly better, and had been using that until now. But it was still really slow, and I could pretty much forget about running any other RAM intensive apps at the same time as it. I just downloaded your double-buffer-fix and I almost fell of my chair at how fast it was!

    There's no telling how many hours of future frustration you may have saved me!

    Thanks a Million!

  46. The workaround works great (even in 2.46)! I haven't used the build.
    There are, however, two problems:

    1) Whenever I start from the OpenGL Profiler I get a window size that goes off the screen. This happens consistently regardless of whether I fixed it in the previous launch. To fix it I go to System Prefs->Displays->Resolution and shift it down, click the plus on the newly visible blender menu bar, and shift the display back up to full rez. Obviously this is VERY painful and I would really appreciate it if anyone knew a fix for this. BTW, the window is normal size when I do not launch from the profiler but, obviously, the program is unusable that way.

    2) Remember that the ogl profiler remembers the path to blender but not the custom pixel map settings. Each time you launch the OpenGL Profiler you must check the box AND reassign the doublebuffer to 0.

    Thanks for the fix!

  47. We have problems with blende 2.48 for macintel on MacBook...

    We have install latest xcode version (xcode311_2517_developerdvd.dmg) and use the openGL profiler to modify the attribute (double buffer value=0) and launch Blender by this utility software...

    But it doesn't work well....

    I can create a particle emitter to see how blender react...create a plane with subdiv and add a duplivert cube to have many cubes (approximately 300 vertex) and blender CRASH!!!
    On the tutorial the user Bart have a Macbook with a Intel GMA950 (game coposant) and I have a GMA3100...

    Maybe it doesnt work about this?? maybe we should use a different attribute for this kind of GMA...

    I don't no, I have any idea, and I have no solutions...

    I also try with the landwehr version (2.44) sucess.

    Thanks to help me

  48. For all you Intel GMA950 users on Windows I can verify that this worked for me:

    > menus left big black squares after themselves when the disappeared,

    It happened my pc too ( IBM ThinkPad X61 Tablet / Vista /intel 965 Express),
    but I found a workaround.

    it's quite simple, just change the UI(Theme) to "Classic View" .
    (or disable alpha shadow effect)

    I think that it is worth trying if you can recover your harddrive easily.

  49. hello. super thanks!! i tried the OpenGL Profiler trick, but i got the same results. but, when i ran OpenGL Profiler for the first time, i got an error of some sort that told me "it may not work as it should." BUT, the davidlandwehr custom build works like a charm. it is now usable! thank you so much for keeping the link alive. i am exploring iphone game development, and the most "cost-effective" solution requires blender. the "real" build does not work on my intel graphics macbook. cheers!

  50. Two topics in one remark: I have an Intel Macbook (MacBook4,1) running OSX (version 10.5.7).

    Blender (0.49?) has never wanted to run on it. If I just start it, the interface is horribly not-responsive, crashing after three clicks or so. After fidiling with the OpenGL profiler, starting Blender takes ages and then it crashes. It's completely unusable.

    I hoped installing Linux on my MacBook might solve it. Nope. Apart from a slow interface, the interface is completely ruined. The icons are gone...I tried Ubuntu, Ubuntu Studio and Gentoo.

    Would it be an option to replace my Linux partition with a OSX 10.4 partition? A duel-boot just for Blenders' sake?

  51. I've tried many version now on my Mac Mini with intel graphics where Blender started being unresponsive (after the upgrade to 2.5 I believe). The OpenGL profiler trick didn't work for me. However, the davidlandwehr custom build also worked for me :-). Maybe this can be made a configuration option within Blender?

  52. Man... this is just what I needed! I changed to a MacBook Black with Intel GMA 950 and I was shoked on seeing it work slower than on my PC!!!

    You just saved me from crying :D

    I think this custom build should be included on the MacOSX download of blender... So you dont have to loose time looking for a fix.

    Im sorry of admiting it but I even thought of changing of 3D Program... Thanks a lot for this!

  53. John Christian on

    I'm ready to upgrade to a used macbook. I see lots of posts of things that are working or not working. Is there any definitive list of specs. to look for ie. graphgics card, core duo, core2 duo, year made, screen size? Just getting into Blender and 3D and loving it.

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