Given the same frame size, frame rate, and length properly compressed H.264 would require multi pass rendering and would take longer than a lossless or nearly lossless format like QuickTime PNG, but there could be other factors.
I just don't know about your project to be sure. Don't know enough about your system either.
Thanks for the response Rick.
The project is a 2 minute 1920 x 1080 composition. The frame rate is 29.97 square pixels. The effects are already pre-rendered. After Effects will only let me do one pass with the h264 codec.
The specs on my system are:
- Dell Precision M4700
- Intel Core i7-3820 QM @ 2.70 GHz
- 8 GB of RAM
- 64-bit OS
- Quadro K2000M
After Effects will only let me do one pass with the h264 codec.
Which is why After Effects is not a good choice for rendering the h.264 codec. You always use the Adobe Media Encoder for that. It won't matter much for some videos, but on many videos it will make a huge difference. You'll get much better-looking video for the same data rate.
Using the PNG format frequently myself, I also noticed how much longer my renders took than with a quicktime export. At first, I wondered if the fact of exporting to an image sequence was not longer than exporting to one single quicktime file... But when I tried a TGA sequence export, the render was also much, much faster.
Which is when I realized what the problem was : For whatever reason, Multiprocessing doesn't work with the PNG format. And the vicious part is that AE doesn't let you know. MP is not officially disabled like with some MP incompatible effects or expressions. It's still officially on, but it just doesn't work.
Try to render your comp in a TGA sequence, and I'm pretty sure it will be as fast as the h264 export.
I was going to ask you about MP.... MOST MOVIE CODECS, avi, mov, wmv, do not support multi processing Some kill it badly. I only have MP turned on if I am not using AE's 3D Ray-tracing turned on, I am not using any 3rd party plug-ins, I am not rendering audio, I am rendering to an image sequence. That's more than 95% of the time that I have MP rendering turned off.
How can I take the increase in rendering time you ask? Simple, I never wait for renders unless all my other work is done. I do my work in AE, send the Comps to the Adobe Media Encoder, then jump back in AE, or Premiere, or Photoshop and continue my work as my projects render in the background. That's the only way I can be productive. Working in AE, droping a comp in the Render Cue and then waiting for the render to move to the next step is just not an option. I have not worked that way, or cued things up to render overnight, since the AME has been available.
Disk cache, caching previews in the background, and the other workflow improvements do make AE easier to use, and I utilize them but never at full rez. I also never do full frame full rez ram previews, seldom do ram previews longer than a few seconds, or waste time looking at things over and over again and tweaking a frame or two here and there that isn't perfect. Once you gain some experience you will know what you've got when you set up your animation, check a few motion tests, color correct a few critical frames, and send things off to render. I spent years shooting 16mm and 35mm film and sending it off to the lab and except for a very few occasions the first 3 months of my career, I got back exactly what I expected. It's all a part of learning your craft.