I've been using premiere over the past while and gotten used to the option of 'render effects in work area' and then leaving it for a few minutes till the green bar is ready to be viewed, but now that I am using After effects, i have found that RAM preview is extremely slow, very very slow, especially when working with particle systems, is there a quicker option to select is i only wish to preview the small work area of the composition? Is RAM preview work the same way as 'render effects in work area' as in premiere or should i be using a different preview render option?
There are numerous options in the RAM Preview pallet for creating faster previews. You can preview just the work area. You can reduce preview resolution. You can reduce preview frame rate.
You can also solo layers to preview a specific layer animation without having to render the entire composition.
Remember that AE previews in a very different way to Premiere Pro. AE loads every pixel of every preview frame into RAM before it plays, while PPro can play straight off your hard drive.