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Global Performance Cache - Seeking Opinions

Apr 2, 2013 2:04 PM

Hi Guys -

I am still debating whether to buy CS6. None of the new features interest me nearly as much as the GPC; my decision to upgrade depends a lot on what you guys say about it.


I've used AfterFX long enough to know (since AE7 Pro) that the speed of a RAM preview depends on many factors. Nevertheless I hope that won't preclude you from giving me a general sense of the GPC's effectiveness.


Is the GPC so good that it's worth upgrading for that feature alone? Is it an obvious improvement compared to previous versions, one you appreciate all the time? Or is the benefit minimal, a small step in the right direction but not something that should weigh heavily in my decision to upgrade?


Thank you very much for taking the time to share your thoughts, I appreciate it.

  • Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 2, 2013 2:35 PM   in reply to canoli99

    Have you looked at the "what's new" section of the AE CS6 description? 


    I personally wouldn't get it only for GPC -- I don't have much use for it right now -- but there may be other things you'd like if you haven't checked.

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    Apr 2, 2013 9:39 PM   in reply to canoli99

    Here's my honest opinion:


    I had a sabbatical last year---an extended vacation. I used that time to work on a personal project with some friends. I came into the Adobe office (where I had access to development builds of CS6) during this vacation because I couldn't bear to work on After Effects CS5.5 any more, because I had become so used to the speed improvement that the new cache system in CS6 gave me. So, yeah, it makes a huge difference.

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    Apr 2, 2013 9:47 PM   in reply to canoli99

    Frankly, it's a little wonky and except for a very few operations I have it turned off. For a few things that I do it really speeds things up. I can say though, that my overall productivity with CS6 is about 20% higher than it is with CS5.5 because of other enhanced features.


    For someone that grew up hand painting masks on animation cells and waiting for the magic of a bipack print to come out of the lab previewing full rez comps inside AE is somethning I hardly ever do. My usual workflow is to start with a design, throw in a few place holders, do a 1/4 or sometimes 1/2 rez motion test to check out timing and overall composition, then fine tune and refine just a few frames here and there at full rez, save the AE project, add the footage to the Adobe Media Encoder, start the render, then open up another AE project and start again.


    Only after the project is rendered do I watch it in real time from start to end. There are two reasons for this kind of workflow. The first is financial. I haven't got time to sit and wait for full frame full rez renders of even a few seconds of a comp. After 20+ years with AE and 40+ as a professional film maker if I don't know what I'm getting before I 'send it to the lab' then I haven't been paying attention. If I were to wait around for full rez renders I'd drop way behind schedule. I can't afford it.


    The second reason I have for only checking a few critical frames is that the color, the composition, and the effectiveness of a composit must be looked at at full rez and full frame. There are critical points in the action where a shot will work or it won't. If you've done low rez motion tests then you know if the timing is OK. Now it's time to look at a the entire composite and check things like edges, light wrap, motion blur, color grading. You shouldn't need to see more than a few frames to know whether or not you've got it.


    So there you go. My way to work faster in AE is to trust your work, send the project to the lab for rendering (Adobe Media Encoder) and continue working on the other parts of your project while you wait for your photos to come in the mail.


    If you decide to upgrade (I love the cloud by the way) your gains will depend on the kind of work you are doing. Mine is mostly compositing CGI on HD or higher rez footage. This includes simulating natural lighting effects, adding atmospheric elements, replacing background and foreground objects, tracking and replacing objects as small as a wart on the nose of a frog or as large as Everest. Maybe 20% of my work is strictly motion graphics. I hope this helps.

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    Apr 3, 2013 7:41 AM   in reply to canoli99

    There's a 30-day trial. That's plenty of time to determine whether you like the new features, including this one.


    Be sure to install the updates (Help > Updates) to get fixes for many of the issues that Rick alluded to with his "wonky" assessment.

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    Apr 3, 2013 10:19 AM   in reply to Todd_Kopriva

    I agree with Todd that CS6 isn't as "wonky" as it was at first. I also agree that I can't stand to go back because everything is faster.


    This paragraph of yours is very revealing:

    For me very often it's just the opposite. I'm asked to make a title sequence, a dvd menu, a wedding video "more interesting please." We talk, I learn what I can, make some sketches, take notes... then I sit down with AfterFX (and Encore, Prem Pro etc.). I tend to use the same effects over and over because I don't want to (or have time to) wait for unpredictable outcomes, and changing even the simplest command, wiggle(3,4) to wiggle(3,5) means the whole comp has to re-render in RAM. It's aggravating.

    This is exactly what I mean when I talk about doing motion studies at 1/4 or 1/2 rez. Make your motion experiments on simple layers without effects. I tend to use a lot of pencil sketches shot with my phone, simple shape layers, and text layers all with nothing but motion to figure out what the scene is going to look like.  I'll even often send two, three, or even 10 different motion studies to a client via private Vimeo renders to decide how to proceed with the project. It's the same technique that cell animators and 3D artists use today. Pencil tests traditionally refer to cell animation but I use the term to describe any motion test from any app that does not have the finishing touches applied. Make a low rez 'pencil test' version of the animation to make sure things work before you paint, texture, and clean up the rest for final proof. The GMC in CS6 makes this kind of experimenting extremely fast. It also helps when you are doing the very last stages of your color and effects work on a frame. Both of these comprise less than 30% of my time working on a project and that's why I spend most of my 'creative time' with the caches turned off because they still hold on to an occasional frame or rendered in the background effect that I don't want to see.


    You have a distinct disadvantage working with folks that are not in the production business because they are not usually comfortable with 'pencil tests' but there's nothing that says you can't use them to speed up your workflow. Just keep the ones that you like as separate comps, pick your favorite, finish it up and sent the client a nice completed proof. If they don't like it then you've got 2 or 3 or 10 other pencil sketch versions already done tyat you can quickly apply effects to and clean up for final approval.


    Wouldn't you rather spend 2 hours on a DVD title checking the timing and motion with 10 versions and 1 hour adjusting the color, effects, and final look than 2 days fiddling around with 3 versions checking every frame at full rez. I'm just trying to give you a few pointers that will let you have some time in your life to do something other than sit in front of your screen and wait for full rez, full effect previews of your work.

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