I would like to get faster renders. I have noticed that after effects is only using 25 percent of my cpu. Is there any way to crank that all the way up to 100 percent like Premier does automatically?
There are a lot of ways to get faster rendering. See the "Improve performance" section of After Effects Help.
Note that you won't always see your CPU being maxed out. Maybe the bottleneck in processing is your hard disk, your RAM, et cetera. The rendering of some compositions is memory-intensive, such as when you are working with very large background plates that are several thousands of pixels tall and wide. The rendering of some compositions is bandwidth-intensive (I/O-intensive), such as when you are working with many source files, especially if they are not served by a fast, local, dedicated disk drive. The rendering of some compositions is processor-intensive .
Also, if you enable Render Multiple Frames Simultaneously, the main After Effects application is just one instance. The other instances (depending on your number of cores) are called "AEselfLink". You may want to check CPU usage for those as well. But as Todd said, in many cases other factors become bottlenecks. And some features disable simultaneous frame rendering for that Comp.
Is there any way to crank that all the way up to 100 percent like Premier does automatically?
Nope. In addition to what was said before, you have to consider that many effects simply aren't that computationally intense. Even applying particle systems with several thousand particles is a walk in the park on modern computers. Furthermore, there is a difference whether an effect requires a lot of temporal information and thus needs to calculate several frames at once or if it's a "dumb" effect that just modifies color values or gnerates elements. It's really more a matter of how they are combined. Also note, that several functions and effects only use conventional multithreading, meaning that by themselves they will use 2 cores at most.
I have just upgraded to an i7 intel from a q6600 quad core pc.
Im seeing only 16% cpu usage and my renders are taking the same amount of time on the new pc as the old.
So am I right in thinking that there was no point in upgrading my pc if AE cant use any more of the processor?
I find this hard to believe, especially considering my RAM and hard drives are faster. My ram is now DDR3 compared to DDR1 and my hard drives are being accessed at less than 1mb/sec. So I dont see any bottlenecks there!
You've told us very little about your setup, such as how much RAM you have, whether you're using Render Multiple Frames Simultaneously multiprocessing, what operating system you're using, etc.
Please read this page ("Memory & Multiprocessing preferences") and this page ("Performance tip: Don't starve your software of RAM") to learn about how memory settings can affect performance.
You also might want to read this page, including the comments:
THe only way ive managed to make use my quadcore with AE is to use gridiron's nucleo pro 2.
FYI render multiple frames doesnt do squat, adobe doesnt have any clue what its doing when it comes to performance, all they can do is add bells and whistles and try to keep it all in one piece.
having to manually set up the memory settings reminds me of using a mac about 10 years ago
Cant AE ballance RAM/CPU allocation automatically by looking at system resouces?
That's what it does when you turn multiprocessing on and leave everything at default setttings.
However, some users may not want AE to squeeze every bit of CPU power/memory out of their systems for rendering, and choose instead to leave some resources free to do other work. That has nothing to do with the legacy Mac OS memory assignment.
Also, some users may have an amount of RAM that's barely adequate to use all their cores, but more than enough if they only use some of the available cores. In other words, there are some exceptions. That said, there's only so much you can do with 32 bit memory addressing when it comes to taking advantage of RAM. That's why the move to 64 bit in the next release is so important.
have just upgraded to an i7 intel from a q6600 quad core pc.
Spoof: A move from a q6600 quad core to an i7 quad core processor may be a bit mild as an upgrade. I don't know why you expected something drastic, honestly. Even in a best case scenario (not even talking about AE), you could expect a 20-30 per cent increase in real world performance. But in most cases (say, if you had 8 GB of RAM), the virtual cores may just suck more RAM without increasing performance. AE's multiprocessing strategy benefits from actual/physical cores, more than virtual/logical cores.
FYI render multiple frames doesnt do squat,
Well, AE help documents a number of features which disable multiprocessing completely. But other than that, a lot of independent benchmarks have showed a drastic speed-up factor when enabling "Render Multiple Frames Simultaneously" in a multi-core machine with adequate RAM (2 GB or more per physcial core/cpu). In fact, web sites like barefeats.com use After Effects CS4 as the ultimate benchark to measure the performance of the multiprocessing power in new systems.
What I dont understand is why After Effect only uses 8% of my RAM. I have set a video to render and it used to say it was using like 65% of my RAM and when I went from CS3 to CS5 is suddenly is only using 8%. In the preferences I have set it to use the max 6.5GB. It seems rediculous that a 10 sec clip that took me an hour to render in CS3 takes 4 hours in CS5. Any help?
After Effects CS5 deals with RAM entirely differently than did After Effects CS3.
See this page for information about memory and performance:
Be sure to watch the videos and read the pages pointed to.