Why is UIBezierPath faster than Core Graphics path?

You are correct in that UIBezierPath is simply an objective-c wrapper for Core Graphics, and therefore will perform comparably. The difference (and reason for your performance delta) is your CGContext state when drawing your CGPath directly is quite different to that setup by UIBezierPath. If you look at UIBezierPath, it has settings for:

  • lineWidth,
  • lineJoinStyle,
  • lineCapStyle,
  • miterLimit and
  • flatness

When examining the call (disassembly) to [path stroke], you will note that it configures the current graphic context based on those previous values before performing the CGContextStrokePath call. If you do the same prior to drawing your CGPath, it will perform the same:

- (void)drawRect:(CGRect)rect
    CGContextRef ctx = UIGraphicsGetCurrentContext();

    // Create the two paths, cgpath and uipath.
    CGMutablePathRef cgpath = CGPathCreateMutable();
    CGPathMoveToPoint(cgpath, NULL, 0, 100);

    UIBezierPath *uipath = [[UIBezierPath alloc] init];
    [uipath moveToPoint:CGPointMake(0, 200)];

    // Add 200 curve segments to each path.
    int iterations = 80000;
    CGFloat cgBaseline = 100;
    CGFloat uiBaseline = 200;
    CGFloat xincrement = self.bounds.size.width / iterations;
    for (CGFloat x1 = 0, x2 = xincrement;
         x2 < self.bounds.size.width;
         x1 = x2, x2 += xincrement)
        CGPathAddCurveToPoint(cgpath, NULL, x1, cgBaseline-50, x2, cgBaseline+50, x2, cgBaseline);
        [uipath addCurveToPoint:CGPointMake(x2, uiBaseline)
                  controlPoint1:CGPointMake(x1, uiBaseline-50)
                  controlPoint2:CGPointMake(x2, uiBaseline+50)];
    [[UIColor blackColor] setStroke];
    CGContextAddPath(ctx, cgpath);

    // Stroke each path
    CGContextSaveGState(ctx); {
        // configure context the same as uipath
        CGContextSetLineWidth(ctx, uipath.lineWidth);
        CGContextSetLineJoin(ctx, uipath.lineJoinStyle);
        CGContextSetLineCap(ctx, uipath.lineCapStyle);
        CGContextSetMiterLimit(ctx, uipath.miterLimit);
        CGContextSetFlatness(ctx, uipath.flatness);
        [self strokeContext:ctx];
    [self strokeUIBezierPath:uipath];

    [uipath release];

- (void)strokeContext:(CGContextRef)context

- (void)strokeUIBezierPath:(UIBezierPath*)path
    [path stroke];

Snapshot from Instruments:
Instruments snapshot showing equal performance

Leave a Comment