5 Replies Latest reply on Mar 25, 2014 8:22 AM by thevisualedge1

    LONG render times ... is this normal?

    thevisualedge1 Level 1

      Hey guys--

      I'm running a brand-spankin' new MacPro with the following specs:


      Mac OSX 10.9.2

      3.5 GHz 6-core Intel Xeon 5

      12 GB RAM

      Dual AMD FirePro D700 GPUs

      ... and all my project assets are on my system's internal SSD. 


      I'm running the most updated version of After Effects CC (, and I've got as much RAM allocated to AE as it'll let me select.


      I've got a 20-second composition that includes just a few layers--a ray-traced 3D text logo, a flat background, a couple lights, and an invisible environment layer that's set to show up in reflections on the text.  I'm working in 1920x1080.


      I rendered the comp last night, and it took 5 1/2 hours to render.  20 seconds ... 5 1/2 hours.  Maybe I'm just naive here.  Maybe ray-tracing creates render times that are orders of magnitude higher than normal 2D projects ... but after spending mega-bucks on this computer and expecting it to revolutionize my After Effects work, this has been pretty frustrating. 


      Any new MacPro users out there who are having this same issue?  Am I just naive to have higher expectations here?  I've read up on creative ways to increase render times, but nothing seems to be helping me much. 


      Any advice would be appreciated.

        • 1. Re: LONG render times ... is this normal?
          Rick Gerard Adobe Community Professional & MVP

          Your Ray-traced comp is the problem. Try creating the 3D logo using C4D that comes with CC and you'll see a dramatic decrease in render times. Ray-traced rendering requires Nvidia graphics and even though I have the proper card in my Mac I have only used Ray-traced rendering on two paid projects since it came out. I find using C4D a much better option with many more features. I suspect that the entire rendering engine will be improved and changed in the near future.


          In the mean time you might want to take a look at the AtomKraft rendering engine. It will allow you to use AE's extrusion and bending tools and there is a work around for extruding text. Render times using AtomKraft are very reasonable and much faster than AE's Ray-traced rendering using a CPU. It works great for me and it's only about a hundred bucks.

          • 2. Re: LONG render times ... is this normal?
            thevisualedge1 Level 1

            Thanks Rick, appreciate the input.


            I've been resistant to jump into Cinema 4D just because it looks SO much different than AE ... I know AE very well so staying within the program was a matter of personal comfort, but if Cinema 4D will dramatically shave down my render times, I guess that's what I'll have to do. 


            C4D, here I come ...

            • 3. Re: LONG render times ... is this normal?
              Rick Gerard Adobe Community Professional & MVP

              C4D lite is a little confusing to get started with, but follow the help files and you will be pointed to some good getting started resources.


              Now days any AE artist worth their salt should have a good handle on a 3D app. I actually build most of my .obj files in Blender (open source, free, and powerful). About half the time I export them to C4D lite or just bring the obj file directly into AE using the AtomKraft rendering engine. Works very well.

              • 4. Re: LONG render times ... is this normal?
                Szalam Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                I just want to second the things Rick has said.


                1. If you are trying to use the ray-tracing renderer without GPU acceleration, it will take forever (unless you use a third-party tool). Personally, I would recommend skipping AE's ray-traced renderer altogether and would use something like VideoCopilot's Element 3d, Zaxwerks 3d Invigorator, or Mettle's ShapeShifter to do 3d in AE. They're much faster to render and they give you much more powerful options.


                2. C4D Lite is better than the ray-traced renderer too. Much more powerful and it renders faster.


                3. Any motion graphics artist really needs to know a 3d program these days and especially if you're an After Effects artist, Cinema4D is really the best choice. There is a learning curve, but it is well worth it.

                • 5. Re: LONG render times ... is this normal?
                  thevisualedge1 Level 1

                  Thanks guys.  Understood on all counts.


                  Upon inspection, I'm very frustrated that Cinema 4D Lite doesn't include the text tool.  I'm just not ready to spend another $1000 on Cinema 4D Prime ... so until then, I guess I'm stuck with horrible render times.


                  EDIT:  Nevermind ... I'm a bonehead.  I found the Text tool.