Putting some extra effort into generating a simpler database makes a significant difference when traversing that data for display. A common tendency is to leave the data in a format that is good for loading or generating the object, but non-optimal for actually displaying it. For peak performance, do as much of the work as possible before rendering. This preprocessing is typically performed when an application can temporarily be non-interactive, such as at initialization time or when changing from a modeling to a fast-rendering mode.
See ``Rendering Geometry Efficiently'' and ``Rendering Images Efficiently'' for tips on how to store your geometric data and image data to make it more efficient for rendering.