3 Replies Latest reply on Aug 25, 2014 7:14 AM by Rick Gerard

    Need help to figure out why AE is taking 20 to 30 hours to render 5 minutes of Virtual studio


      While I have been doing video editing for years, I am new to After Effects....Still, I went through the tutorials and Lynda.com, and I think I know my way around it well enough so that my renders should be working far more effectively than they are.

      The big problem is the duration it is taking to have After Effects render a virtual Studio clip, whether I just use a 20 second clip of my reporter with a video playing behind them in an LCD tv set, or if I try to run a full 5 minute version of the entire show....Friday night I tried to run the full 5 minute version of one of , and it took over 36 hours!!!  I am not getting any real help from Blue FX...either the support they offer is really for people that have been using After Effects for many years, and they can't imagine the issues I am having..or, maybe they feel that my issues are more After Effects issue than template issues.


      When I first bought the template a month ago, the PC I had been editing with for years was not powerful enough by most accounts I have read, about what is useful for AE....So I put together a new PC, this one with 32 gigs of ram, an Nvidea 760 video card with 2 gigs of RAM, 8 hard drives and tons of fans for 24 hour operation.


      Some of the things I don't know..... How long "should" one of these 3D virtual studios take to render, where you have already stripped out the greenscreen and are feeding the reporter video in with alpha channel on a quicktime 32 bit animation codec video....and have a 1080p hi res video playing in the TV behind the reporter--in the virtual studio...and you have all the 3 D renders and shadows and effects of the studio template being rendered? Do people really wait 24 to 30 hours for a 5 minute long finished rendering?


      To give you an idea of the studio template and what my computer is having to process, here is a sample we did, no script, just trying to see how this would produce.....and this one I did in 25 second and 10 second chunks/renders, assembling later in Premiere,....still, the rendering was close to 20 hours.


      Beyond the Beach - YouTube


      If any one can suggest what might be going on wrong, that is taking so long, I'd appreciate it. One are I wonder about is whether something needs to be collapsed--I read that some elements need to be collapsed prior to rendering--but how would I know which?

        • 1. Re: Need help to figure out why AE is taking 20 to 30 hours to render 5 minutes of Virtual studio
          Rick Gerard Adobe Community Professional & MVP

          I am not familiar with that particular template but one of the things that can cause AEE to run very slowly on a renter is using the Ray-traced rendering engine. Another thing that can cause problems is insufficient memory or improper Multi processing set up in your preferences. Without specific details about your composition, your system set up, and your software version, it is impossible to guess what may be going wrong.


          Have you gone through this information? Optimizing After Effects Performance

          • 2. Re: Need help to figure out why AE is taking 20 to 30 hours to render 5 minutes of Virtual studio
            dlv3 Level 1

            Thanks for the response....yes, I did see this, and went out an bought more ram so that I could use more cores....so now with 32 gigs of ram, I have 3 gigs set aside on the top for all the other applications, and i have 2 cpus I set aside for other applications, and 2 gigs of ram for each cpu---it shows me as using 6 cpus with this config....and when running task manager,  my RAM use did not run over 21 gigs at any time.....Interestingly, when I output to a cineform AVI format, I was getting CPU utilization no higher than 35 %, but  when I tried a render to the Qucktime Animation codec, at 32 bit, this ran CPu output to 99%....render times were still about the same though...


            And yes, the Ray Tracing was a huge problem....I think it is almost Criminal for Adobe to not have posted major warning about how users SHOULD NOT have AE set on Ray Trace except for very specific situations....or it could cost massive time wastes and cost some people a fortune in this time wasted. My 35 hour render of a 4 minute and 30 second avi file had been accidentally on Ray trace level 5..... I can't tell you how pissed I am at Adobe for not warning about this.


            On the other hand, while Classic is much faster, it is still around 8 hours for a 5 minute show, and I don't see how  people in this AE community have the amount of time available to render this slowly?????  

            • 3. Re: Need help to figure out why AE is taking 20 to 30 hours to render 5 minutes of Virtual studio
              Rick Gerard Adobe Community Professional & MVP

              Rendering composites has always been slow. It is much faster than it used to be. MP rendering still does not work for all situations. Temporal effects and MANY, let me repeat that MANY codecs do not respond well if at all to MP rendering so you should turn that off unless you know for sure your comp and your codec work with MP rendering. I seldom if ever use MP rendering for anything that is not rendered to an image sequence. It is not uncommon for my complex composites to take 2 or 3 minutes a frame. I have had many that take longer. Simple projects, on the other hand, can render as fast as 2 or 3 frames a second. It all depends on the project. That's the way compositing goes.


              Compositing is almost always faster than 3D rendering. I had a 3D project last week that took 25 hours to render 100 frames. You just have to plan for it early in the project.


              Here's what my usual workflow is:

              1. Avoid Ray-traced rendering unless there is no other way to achieve the design (I also minimize the ray traced paths in 3D apps because it is very slow)
              2. Pre-render and replace footage elements that I am going to re-use. For example, if I pull a key and I'm going to need to use that key for 5 or 10 layers to pull off a convincing composite I'll pre-render the keyed footage to a lossless production codec and replace the keyed layer in the comp with the rendered file
              3. Render and replace all Warp Stabilized footage with a suitable DI (lossless digital intermediate)
              4. Use the Adobe Media Encoder render all deliverables, including production proofs and production masters, usually directly from an AE project file, then start or switch to another AE project and continue working while the AME is chugging away
              5. Render Image Sequences whenever possible in the production pipeline because it's easier to make changes to frame 200 through 220 when the client wants a change in less than a second of a 30 minute project.
              6. NEVER try and edit a movie in AE. AE is for sequences or shots, your NLE is for editing

              I have not sat around twiddling my thumbs waiting for AE's render cue to churn out a project in years. The only time I wait for anything is for ram previews. I also have some workflow suggestions for that.

              1. Just as cell animators do, run motion tests with the most basic of your project's elements. By that I mean set Comp Resolution to automatic, set the Zoom factor to 50 or 25% and check how the motion works before you add any effects that are going to slow things down. If you have already added effects you can temporarily turn them off in the Timeline view
              2. Check only critical frames or a few critical frames that are in transition (moving) at full resolution because RAM previews at full resolution are short and slow to render and you don't have time to mess around
              3. If you have long sections to ram preview to verify timing follow rule 1 but modify the ram preview settings to use only every other or every fourth frame
              4. THE MOST IMPORTANT RULE: Remember that video moves and that you cannot judge the final quality of a video by nit picking a single frame. You must watch playback in real time on the playback device that will be used to see if your scene is working.
              5. Last rule, if you have gone over the same few frames of a sequence trying to fix something about it for more than 10 minutes, step away from that project and do something else for at least 20 minutes. You'll be amazed how good it looks when you get back to it

              I have one more suggestion for a new AE user. Actually, this is for anyone that works at a computer for a living. Never sit staring at the screen and pounding at the keyboard for more than one hour without standing up and walking at least around the room for 5 minutes to let your head clear and get the blood circulating. You'll be happier, more creative, and have better health and posture.