10 Replies Latest reply on Nov 28, 2012 1:00 PM by DrStrik9

    Speeding up Working and Rendering

    DrStrik9 Level 4

      I'm using an older Mac Pro 3,1 (quad core, 2.8 ghz, 16 Gb ram) with AE CS6. I know about the nVidia cards, and plan to upgrade to one of those when I can, but in the mean time ...


      Rastered files from Photoshop (like 20 images all less than 450px X 450px) all but brings AE to its knees here (10 images 3D layers, 10 more not 3D). Just moving things around on the screen for desired placement takes about 65 seconds for screen refresh (at full size 1920x1080 and 1/3 resolution), which means placing 10 images with accuracy can take an hour. Photoshop, by comparison (at 64-bit) is a speed-demon on this machine. Not so After Effects, particularly with rastered imagery. It's taking over a minute to preview each frame (1/2 size at 1/4 rez), and about 15 minutes to render each frame at full size, which means it's going to take 24 hours to get 4 seconds at 24pfs.


      I've read some blogs and helpfile suggestions on how to speed up workflow, and am integrating those principles as I go, but is this all-day-long slowness with rastered stills what I should expect from After Effects? Or are there other non-hardware things I can do to speed things up?

        • 1. Re: Speeding up Working and Rendering
          Rick Gerard Adobe Community Professional & MVP

          You should be able to handle that size image without problems. Tell us more about the project. I can run CS6 with that kind of material just fine on an old intel Mac Book (the plastic one) as long as the images are reasonable size, the comp window is set to full resolution, and the Photoshop files are not laden with layer effects.

          • 2. Re: Speeding up Working and Rendering
            DrStrik9 Level 4

            I'm going to take that as good news, and a clear indication I'm doing something stupid.


            Here is a typical image set, each from a layer in a larger many-layered Ps file (flattened and loaded into AE as one flat layer each with NO Fx): Letter, and Shadow

            Ransom Note-R-002.jpgRansom Note-R-Sh-002.jpgRansom Note-R+Sh-002.jpg

            The third is showing how the two images end up together in AE.


            This is a very simple animation of letters "falling down" to form a word. There are 10 letters, and 10 corresponding shadows. Each letter is "around" 450x450, with a shadow element of the same size. The color letters are each on a 3D layer, and each "shadow" is on a normal layer, making 20 layers total. They are at 2/3 size when at rest, but a bit larger as they begin to fall, hence the larger rez. The shadow has changing gaussian blur and opacity as the color letter moves toward it. There is one set of keyframes for the first letter and its shadow, and expressions with time-offset for all the other letters and shadows.


            It rendered all night, and now I have 31 frames ... 


            What else can I tell you?

            • 3. Re: Speeding up Working and Rendering
              Rick Gerard Adobe Community Professional & MVP

              It sounds like your expression is running a loop. I'd have to see it to tell, but this can really slow things down. 


              If it were my project I'd set it up as 3D with a point light set to cast shadows with inverse square fall off. I'd make the letters and a white solid as a background  not accept lights. The letters would cast shadows.


              Now your shadows are going to behave naturally, interract with the other layers, and, providing there's not something really weird going on with your machine, render in a reasonable time and be interactive in the timeline.



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              • 4. Re: Speeding up Working and Rendering
                DrStrik9 Level 4

                The expressions are very straightforward, as per this example:




                I've used this type of expression with shapes with no slowdown. How could this possibly loop?


                Assuming this expression (and around 30 others like it, one per animated attribute of the keyframed letter) isn't causing some kind of loop, then are you saying that the 10 shadow images are the culprits causing the extremely slow workflow and rendering?


                To test this, I'll try what you suggest ...

                • 5. Re: Speeding up Working and Rendering
                  DrStrik9 Level 4

                  Well, just removing all the shadow images does speed things up a bit: at 50% size and Quarter rez, it still takes 22 seconds to preview each frame (as opposed to 65 seconds formerly). I'll do some more and let you know how "fast" things end up going ...

                  • 6. Re: Speeding up Working and Rendering
                    Dave LaRonde Level 6

                    See what happens if you turn multiprocessing off.  You may not have memory and processor allocations set correctly for your version of AE.

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                    • 7. Re: Speeding up Working and Rendering
                      DrStrik9 Level 4

                      Thanks, Dave, that helped. I switched ON "Render Multiple Frames Simultaneously" and gave each background CPU 3 GB. Now a preview (50% @ Quarter) is taking less than half the time it was earlier (10 sec, with no shadow yet).


                      (I mistyped my ram before: it's 18 GB)

                      • 8. Re: Speeding up Working and Rendering
                        Rick Gerard Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                        That expression would loop if it was in layer R/R-000.psd and you had an expression that said thisComp.layer("R/R-002.psd").transform.position.valueAtTime(time-.25) in layer R/R-001.psd, then in layer R/R-002.psd you had an expression that said thisComp.layer("R/R-003.psd").transform.position.valueAtTime(time-.25), then in layer R/R-003.psd you had an expression that said thisComp.layer("R/R-004.psd").transform.position.valueAtTime(time-.25) and so on. This is the kind of loop I was talking about. If and expression is using valueAtTime and layer 10 taking a value from layer 9 which takes a value from layer 8 which takes a value from layer 7 and so on the whole process can get very slow very quickly. If you just have the shadow layer following the other layer and each pair is unique then there should be no slow down.


                        The first thing I always do when I get a really slow render is turn off Render Multiple Frames simultaneously. I've only found a very few situations where enablikng this feature helps.

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                        • 9. Re: Speeding up Working and Rendering
                          DrStrik9 Level 4

                          Wow, you were right about rendering multiple frames simultaneously. As soon as I added a light and turned shadows on, things slowed down considerably until that choice was turned off.


                          Yes, although I'm a designer by trade, I have enough higher-level programming experience to know that I should not have a cascading set of expressions.  :+)  In this case, I would instinctively create a separate layer for each letter in the bunch, and use expressions to point them all (with time offsets) to the FIRST layer -- the one with keyframes.

                          • 10. Re: Speeding up Working and Rendering
                            DrStrik9 Level 4

                            Rick, Your suggestion to dump the shadow images and use one light helped a lot. Thank you. It's still taking 34 seconds to do one preview frame at 50% size and Quarter resolution, but that's a whole lot better than 65 seconds. I assume full-size rendering will be relatively faster as well.