12 Replies Latest reply on Jul 6, 2012 7:37 PM by lasvideo

    Decent card for Raytrace 3D? Can I optimize mine?

    nullsebasvideo Level 1

      Along with CS6 Production Premium I bought an eVGA GTX570 card, which works great for MPE but now I started getting deeper into AE and the Ray-trace renderer, and it turns out this card is really slow for that. A 35 sec composition that has about 7 layers of footage, 1 camera, 3 lights and 1 layer of extruded text has been rendering for 6 and a half hours and it will take another two to finish. This is on an 3.2 Ghz 6 core AMD CPU with 16 GB of RAM, although the task manager shows the CPU at 20%, so I'm guessing the GTX570 is doing all the crunching. This is, if I remember correctly, quality 24 in the Ray-trace options, 1080-23.98p.

       

      When I work on the composition, rendering one frame takes several seconds, unless I turn quality down to like 6, which shows out of focus layers dithered and it looks terrible.

       

      So what would be the cheapest card I can get that will allow me to work fast, at least as fast as I can work with this card when the Classic 3D engine is used? Do I need a $2000 card for this?

       

      Also, I was wondering if changing any of the settings in the card's control panel will help. These are the settings, and the way they are by default:

       

      Anisotropic filtering: 8x

      Antialiasing: off

      Antialiasing FXAA: off

      Antialiasing Gamma correction: on

      Antialiasing mode: override any application setting

      Antialiasing setting: 4x

      Antialiasing transparency: off

      CUDA GPUs: All

      Maximum pre-rendered frames: Use 3D the application setting

      Multi-display/Mixed-GPU acceleration: multiple display performance mode

      Power management mode: Adaptive

      Texture filtering - Anisotropic sample optimization: off

      Texture filtering - Negative LOD bias: Clamp

      Texture filtering - Quality: quality

      Texture filtering - trilinear optimization: off

      Threaded optimization: Auto

      Triple buffering: Off

      Vertical sync: use the application setting

       

      Can these be optimized to give me faster rendering without sacrificing quality?

       

      Thanks,

       

      Sebastian

        • 1. Re: Decent card for Raytrace 3D? Can I optimize mine?
          Mylenium Most Valuable Participant

          The card's settings should not figure in beyond CUDA being available or not. It's all application controlled. The rest is neither here nor there - the raytracing engine is just dead slow compared to pretty much anything else out there, with or without GPU....

           

          Mylenium

          • 2. Re: Decent card for Raytrace 3D? Can I optimize mine?
            nullsebasvideo Level 1

            I was just browsing Newegg and there are a bunch of cards with 1536 CUDA cores (mine has 480) for about $600. I'm still in time to return mine and get one of those. This seems like a simple logic, if mine has 480 cores, then a card with 1536 should give me a little over 3 times the performance of my current one. Am I right in this assumption, or are there other factors to consider?

            • 3. Re: Decent card for Raytrace 3D? Can I optimize mine?
              StevRo Level 2

              Sebasvideo,

               

              There is nothing wrong with your video card.  Raytracing is just slow.  I just went through a 3 week eval on 20 popular 3d programs & 10 standalone 3d renders and adobe's raytrace would be in the bottom quartile, but they never marketed it as a general purpose raytracer, their focus was to help the 80/20 which is 3d text/title screens, to which it works.  You'll probably find the GK104 (GTX 6**) are actually slower than Fermi in many GPGPU scenarios, this will likely change when nvidia releases the GK/GF110 series near the end of the year..

              • 4. Re: Decent card for Raytrace 3D? Can I optimize mine?
                Mylenium Most Valuable Participant

                This seems like a simple logic, if mine has 480 cores, then a card with 1536 should give me a little over 3 times the performance of my current one.

                 

                But are you sure AE could actually feed those 1500 core in parallel? Are not at least 50 of them busy at any given time drawing Windows, buttons and your browser pages while you surfthe web and let AE do its thing? Is there even any way to know how the algorithm works? For all I know, it could be a simple dumb leaf subdivision (divide an area by n a given number of times until you register a ray intersecting with something) without any optimizations and then it would waste a lot of time and energy doing niothing. I'm afraid it's not that simple. As StevRo said - if you take any 5 of all those 3D applications out there, AE will never make it past 3rd or 4th place. Even the weakest 3D programs beat AE flat hand when it comes to rendering performance.

                 

                Mylenium

                • 5. Re: Decent card for Raytrace 3D? Can I optimize mine?
                  nullsebasvideo Level 1

                  StevRo wrote:

                   

                  There is nothing wrong with your video card.  Raytracing is just slow.  I just went through a 3 week eval on 20 popular 3d programs & 10 standalone 3d renders and adobe's raytrace would be in the bottom quartile, but they never marketed it as a general purpose raytracer, their focus was to help the 80/20 which is 3d text/title screens, to which it works.  You'll probably find the GK104 (GTX 6**) are actually slower than Fermi in many GPGPU scenarios, this will likely change when nvidia releases the GK/GF110 series near the end of the year..

                   

                  Thanks for the advice, did you publish that list anywhere? Now, since you evaluated all those programs, which ones are the fastest, without being terribly expensive? Just checking Lightwave and Cinema 4D I can see that they are about $1500, so those are out of the question. Then there's Boris 3D objects for $400.

                   

                  Still I suppose that putting an extra $320 on that card with the 1536 would bring some speed to the Raytracing engine, but you're saying it would still be slow. However, would it be slower than using Boris 3D with the classic 3D engine? If I have to pay $400 for Boris but it gives me extruded text and the other features it has, and it's faster on the GTX570 than the Raytrace engine on the GTX680, I would go for that solution. What are your opinions on this?

                   

                  My goal would be 3D titles for the most part, not high end 3D modeling of spaceships and things like that. I want to be able to create a sphere that rotates on an axis, and put some text on its surface, a cube (which you can in AE but creating each side separately), and some other basic 3D stuff. I would like to create extruded text that looks more real like on Fringe, but when I try that using the 3D tracker and the Raytrace engine it still looks plastic, so I wonder if maybe Boris would be better to achieve that, or perhaps other plugin, and which one would it be?

                   

                  Thanks,

                  Sebastian

                  • 6. Re: Decent card for Raytrace 3D? Can I optimize mine?
                    StevRo Level 2

                    Hi Sebasvideo,

                     

                    The paper is not something published, it was part of an internal decision paper we were using to standardize on our FY13/14 tools..

                     

                    From a hardware standpoint, if your machine has available slots and sufficient power & cooling, just add another GTX 570 After Effects will use all the available cards and has upside of being able to run 3 monitors.

                     

                    Software wise, there are 4 that might fit the bill (lowest to highest cost):

                     

                    1  Videocopilots Element 3d (available next week)

                    2. Boris 3d.

                    3. Zaxwerks ProAnimator

                    4. Atomkraft/After effects (this is nearing the end of their beta, don't know pricing as it has not been set).

                     

                    If you want something free, Blender has a lot to offer, it can do pretty much anything that Cinema 4D can do and has a good pipeline into after effects.. Be warned it does come with a steep learning curve.

                     

                    Hope it helps..

                    • 7. Re: Decent card for Raytrace 3D? Can I optimize mine?
                      nullsebasvideo Level 1

                      Thanks, Stevro. I doubt I could put another card in my machine, it would take up the space that two other PCI-e cards are taking, a Grassvalley HD Spark and the Matrox MXO2 Mini. And apparently I couldn't get the GTX680 since Premiere doesn't support it.

                       

                      About the software, I jumped the gun and bought AE Shapeshifter based on the many videos that show great graphics you can do with it. And it seems to be a great plugin once you learn all it has to offer, but I don't really like the interface. I definitely learned a lesson about trying demos before buying. It doesn't really work in the same way 3D layers work in After Effects, where you have wireframes and handles and you can see the layer in a 3D environment from different angles. Even if it's outside of the composition dimensions, you can still move a camera around and the layers will become visible once they are in the camera's field of view. But Shapeshifter works in a way that is totally different to AE's native 3D space, it's more like a filter that applies 3D to a 2D layer, and you have to use Shapeshifter's controls to move the layer in a 3D space, which are difficult to use because the numbers jump in high steps even with CTRL pressed down, and once the layer is out of the black area, there's no way to see it unless the camera is pointing at it. There's many more disadvantages to the way it's implemented, and judging by the videos online, great things can be done with it, but I just don't like at all the way to operate it. I like the AE's graphic interface, with its handles and wireframes, both of which are useless with Shapeshifter. Keyframing camera movements and lights is much more complicated than with AE's native interface because there's no wireframes, so all the different views like top, left, front, etc, are useless. The only way to set camera and lights is by what the active camera shows. Also, depth of field is useless with Shapeshifter, at least the one in the camera.

                       

                      But the creator tells me that this is a restriction imposed by Adobe and that all other 3D plugins are like that. So I have to assume that the ones above and other 3D plugins work in a similar way, not as a real 3D layer but rather as a 2D layer that tricks AE into thinking it's a 3D object? No matter how many great things you can do with this plugin, and probably others, I really dislike the way it works and I worked on a project all day today for which I kept using Raytracing at quality 3 to preview, and I'm just going to render overnight. I prefer to do it that way than being constrained to change effect parameters to move the layers in a 3D space. If the other plugins are the same, I'd rather not spend money on that since I already spent money on one that I won't use much. I'm not saying that it's not a very good plugin, obviously great things can be done with it, but for 3D compositions I prefer to use the native AE interface even if I have to wait longer for renders. It's like you buy a great car that can go 200 mph and handles curves great, but inside it's just not comfortable, so you prefer your older car which doesn't go as fast but at least it's very comfortable.

                       

                      So it seems that I will have to stick with the Raytracing engine and that my solution is to spend more money on hardware. Which brings me back to the question, what card can I get that will give me at least twice the speed I'm getting now for Raytracing?

                      • 8. Re: Decent card for Raytrace 3D? Can I optimize mine?
                        StevRo Level 2

                        maybe getting a larger motherboard & case and add an extra 570?

                         

                        Other things:  Currently the raytracer operates on a single thread (this is mostly because the current hardware doesn't support multiple CPU's accessing the GPU at the same time), I am not too familiar with AMD's CPU offerings, if they have a core overclocker (like Intel's Turbo boost) that will help by upping that CPU clock speed as it will get the data to and from the GPU faster, also increasing the Core clock speed on your GPU will help (processing the data faster).  Use with caution as it is very easy to brick expensive components..

                        • 9. Re: Decent card for Raytrace 3D? Can I optimize mine?
                          nullsebasvideo Level 1

                          StevRo wrote:

                           

                          maybe getting a larger motherboard & case and add an extra 570?

                           

                          OK, but do you think that would add more processing power for Raytracing than getting the GTX680 with 1536 CUDA cores and 4 GB of RAM? I mean, the numbers for the GTX680 are more than twice those of two GTX 570 put together. Or it doesn't work that way? I couldn't get a GTX680 anyway for now, because it doesn't work with Premiere, even if you enable it in the supported cards text file. I read from someone that had terrible performance in Premiere with it and it was because the card was not supported.

                           

                          Do all 3D plugins similar to Shapeshifter work that way, creating a 3D shape inside a 2D layer that isn't really part of After Effects's 3D environment? Boris, Elements, Pro-animator, etc, they all integrate into AE that way?

                          • 10. Re: Decent card for Raytrace 3D? Can I optimize mine?
                            StevRo Level 2

                            The amount of Video RAM in a card helps when you are working with lots of texture's or large environmental maps.   With regards to speed, what I saw was a modest (~14%) improvement in the rendering speed with gtx 680.  Adding a 2nd GTX 570 gave me ~70% improvement in rendering times.   Could these numbers improve?  Sure, the support for Kepler in Optix is still in its infant state, its pretty safe to assume their still are optimizations they need to do to better support Kepler, but will these improvement work show up in CS6, or will it be a future version I don't know..

                             

                            Pretty much, some people refer to it as 2.5D AtomKraft is going to be closer to real 3D.

                            • 11. Re: Decent card for Raytrace 3D? Can I optimize mine?
                              nullsebasvideo Level 1

                              Thanks StevRo. Looks like I'm at a dead end since my motherboard is for an AMD CPU and the specs say it only supports Crossfire, not SLI. But I'll keep that in mind for whenever I build a new system, to make sure I get one that supports SLI. Do those motherboards have two PCI Express 2.0 x16 slots? to put one card in each, or does it work in some other way? I know there's some kind of connector you have to buy to link the two together.

                              • 12. Re: Decent card for Raytrace 3D? Can I optimize mine?
                                lasvideo Level 4

                                Actually, the 570 is one of the best performers in ray tracing. Its just can be a dog slow process if you dont strategically design your project.

                                 

                                Check out this list of cards and performances..

                                 

                                http://www.liftgammagain.com/forum/index.php?threads/cuda-performance-tests.321/

                                 

                                And this article

                                 

                                http://www.anandtech.com/show/4051/nvidias-geforce-gtx-570-filling-in-the-gaps