15 Replies Latest reply on Oct 29, 2014 9:55 AM by Mylenium Branched from an earlier discussion.

    ray-traced 3D renderer

    chrisjacek Level 1

      Todd Kopriva said:

      "The ray-traced 3D renderer is an obsolete and overly simplistic way of working in 3D in After Effects."


      I find your reply a bit simplistic, and frankly, a little insulting to users of the Ray-Traced 3D feature.  You, and other representatives of Adobe, continually talk about how obsolete your Ray Tracing feature is, and how Cinema 4D is superior in every way.  This is quite disingenious on at least 2 fronts:

      1. This "obsolete" feature you speak of, was a major talking point in your AE marketing just a few short years ago.  This isn't path text we're talking about.  This is a fairly robust feature, that was heavily promoted in the recent past.  The implication is that what Adobe claims to be awesome about today's product, will be garbage in a couple years.  That's not an innovative approach.  It's an insulting approach.  Why not just call the content-aware fill obsolete in Photoshop?

      2. Cinema 4D is NOT better than AE's Ray Traced 3D in certain circumstances.  I think CD4 is great, and have altered my curriculum to teach more of it.  It is, however, limited in many aspects when compared to the Ray Traced 3D options.  Most of the parameters of a C4D project are NOT keyframable in the After Effects interface, which means that you are also not able to use expressions on those parameters.  You also cannot use AE's robust collection text effects or shape layer effects on your C4D objects (or are those tools considered obsolete, since they are both far older than the Ray Traced 3D engine?). 

      In conclusion, if you can't show me how to use a repeater on a C4D file; if you can't show me how to use a range selector to have my C4D text fall out of the screen and change color one character at a time; and if you can't show me how to tie the extrusion depth of a C4D file to the volume of an audio layer via expressions, then please STOP telling me how Ray Traced 3D is not necessary or is obsolete.  It isn't, and as a user of all these tools, I'm frankly a little insulted every time someone from Adobe says it.

        • 1. Re: ray-traced 3D renderer
          Todd_Kopriva Level 8

          If the ray-traced 3D renderer is satisfying your needs, then I'm glad to hear it. This puts you in the minority, though.


          We are not claiming that the ray-traced 3D renderer does not have a few features that are currently unique to it. What we are saying is that there will be zero further work in this area, and that those few features (and many more) will be provided by deeper integration with Cinema 4D and by extensions of our 3D APIs for other partners.


          For now, we'll keep shipping the ray-traced 3D renderer for the few people who use it, at least until we've completely replaced it with an entirely superior solution.

          • 2. Re: ray-traced 3D renderer
            Todd_Kopriva Level 8

            > then please STOP telling me how Ray Traced 3D is not necessary or is obsolete.

            By the way, I think that this is the crux of the problem here. When we say these things, we're not talking to you; we're talking to the vast number of people who have no need for this feature set but are confused because they see a warning message at application start-up. Nearly everyone who sees a message telling them that they don't have the right GPU for this feature doesn't need to care about this feature, because it wouldn't provide them any features that they need for their work.


            If you're one of the people who has found productive use from this feature, then you are not the intended audience for the responses that you are saying that you are insulted by.

            • 3. Re: ray-traced 3D renderer
              chrisjacek Level 1



              But you ARE talking to me.  Otherwise your postings would be private messages.  These are postings on Adobe's own public forum.  And of course, I've found my way here because I AM having the error problem.  And I DO use all those features, or at least I would if my card wouldn't keep crashing. 


              I think it's presumptuous to assume that "nearly everyone...doesn't need to care about this feature."  I tend to be a bit "vocal" on these forums, so I'm sure there are others like me who are reading this, but are not loudmouths like me, and who haven't posted anything.  There are still others who might appreciate the simplicity of using the familiar Adobe interface for simple 3D jobs, rather than the much more daunting C4D interface.  What's worse, is others may be keeping quiet because they are intimidated by the continued talking points of Ray Traced 3D being obsolete.

              While there's certainly a great deal of truth in what you're saying, I question the use of such strong words like "obsolete" when referencing your own product's feature.  This the very feature that you and others from Adobe were loudly praising during the release of CS6 in 2012.  Now it seems that you are easily brushing off the very users who "bought in" to your grandiose claims from just two years ago.  It comes off as insensitive at best, cavalier and cynical at worst. 

              From my own perspective as an educator, this is particularly frustrating given the fact that Adobe's ACA program  (which is heavily promoted on my campus) still does not offer ACA video certification newer than CS6: the very same version that includes the features that you publicly label as "obsolete."  On one hand, Adobe is calling CS6 functionality obsolete, and on the other, Adobe is promoting certification exams for same CS6 family of video products.  It just doesn't add up, and it makes enthusiastic supporters like myself want to pull out our hair.

              That said, I'm very interested to hear about the further integration of C4D into After Effects.  I'll be happy to loudly praise it when it arrives and works well.  But until that has come to fruition, maybe Adobe as an organization should show a bit more reverence to the feature that was such a big talking point in the very recent past. 


              • 4. Re: ray-traced 3D renderer
                Rick Gerard Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                Try the AtomKraft rendering plug-in for CC... https://atomkraft.hk/aftereffects

                • 5. Re: ray-traced 3D renderer
                  Todd_Kopriva Level 8

                  > What's worse, is others may be keeping quiet because they are intimidated by the continued talking points of Ray Traced 3D being obsolete.



                  Our data collection is nowhere near that naive. I've visited two dozen different customers this year and observed their work and asked questions about their 3D workflow, and only one has found actual productive use for the ray-traced 3D renderer. Add to that the fact that we can see (from people who have opted in for data collection) how many users ever use this feature... which comes out to less than 5%. Then add the _enormous_ technical support burden that we incur from having a feature that requires a specific and fragile set of hardware and driver configurations...


                  The result is that this feature set delivers remarkably little value for the work that we have put into it.


                  We get vastly more complaints about this feature than requests to continue with it.


                  Based on all of this observation and feedback, we have chosen to go down a different path now. We are now putting all of our 3D resources into APIs to enable better plug-in creation and integration, both with Cinema 4D and with partners like AtomKraft. If we do this, then all 3D applications and plug-ins can have access to all of the data that you mentioned liking having in the ray-traced 3D renderer.


                  You mention that we loudly touted the ray-traced 3D renderer. Yep. That was a mistake. Mea culpa. Rather than harshly criticizing us for going against that praise of a few years ago, might you consider a little support for a major software company saying candidly "Yes, we made a mistake there, and we're not going to throw good money after bad, but we're instead going to go down the path requested by the vast majority of our users"?

                  • 6. Re: ray-traced 3D renderer
                    chrisjacek Level 1

                    But that is not what happened.  In fact, this response from you is the first time I've seen anyone from Adobe offer a "we got it wrong" sentiment. (outside of the educational sales people).  It's refreshing.  Thank you.  But it's not like there was a major announcement, or "Mea Cupla" press release.  Many of your arguments revolve around how hard it is on you (Adobe) to continue supporting an idea of your own creation.  Your solution to those who are having technical difficulties with your product is "don't use it because it's crap anyway."  Forgive me for saying so, but that is pretty Bush League.  It also seems to be a bit of a bad PR move to flippantly alienate even 5% of your user base.  I know, you have us because we like your product otherwise, but it still isn't very nice to be condescended to, especially when it was, as you say, "a mistake."   Why then, does it feel like we (the 5%) are the ones being labeled foolish?  Overall, I hear a great deal of defensiveness, but not much concern.  As a loyal After Effects user of 20+ years, I get a sense of institutional arrogance that does not make me feel very valued. 

                    • 7. Re: ray-traced 3D renderer
                      Todd_Kopriva Level 8

                      I'm sorry if you have missed the repeated instances of us (especially me) saying that the ray-traced 3D renderer was a mistake that we are putting no more work into. We've been saying that for more than a year.


                      I find it odd that you're accusing us of "institutional arrogance" when what I'm telling you is that we have responded to overwhelming feedback by choosing a different path than the one that we had initially set. Changing course based on someone else's feedback seems like the opposite of arrogance.


                      Again, for those of you who are finding value in the current ray-traced 3D renderer, we are not yet taking it away. It will stay until it is completely replaced by an entirely superior solution. But our current efforts are all down a different path, the one explicitly requested by the vast majority of our users.


                      How is that arrogant?

                      • 8. Re: ray-traced 3D renderer
                        Mylenium Most Valuable Participant

                        I'm really getting some weird kick out of this thread and having fun. A round of popcorn for everyone, perhaps? Let's fire up the time machine:


                        Extrude me this! | Mylenium's Blog


                        GPUs and Fairytales | Mylenium's Blog


                        I'm not going to defend Adobe's stupid decision making - the recent madness about the blue interface is just another of those unnecessary f-bombs - but as far as the 3D Raytracer was concerned, all the signs that it would blow up in everyone's face were already there. It was outdated the moment it was first shown. Did it stop Adobe from making grandiose marketing claims? No, it didn't, but if you have nothing else to talk about, then you can't quite well be shy about your "beacon" feature even if it sucks.


                        Anything else? Ah, yes, AtomKraft was already on the horizon back then as was Element 3D and Invigorator/ Animator Pro had been available for years, other solutions like Shapeshifter and Freeform Pro were also available. So from my position, making an uneducated decision about which 3D tool to use by you as a user is just as much part of the problem here. And who cares about ACA? If nobody even uses those features in production, what kind of leverage do you think passing those exams gives you or your students? It's not worth the paper it's printed on and for all intents and purposes completely irrelevant.



                        • 9. Re: ray-traced 3D renderer
                          chrisjacek Level 1

                          Plug ins are great for individual users.  I've been a user of 3D Invigorator for over 10 years.  Plug-ins present more of a problem in an educational environment.  First, there is the difficulty of implementation across many stations.  You often cannot get a site license for plug-ins, like we currently have for CC.  Then there is the problems with assigning homework.  Many students choose to get CC with the discounted pricing, especially because it can be used for other classes, like graphic design, photography, publishing, etc.  Asking them to shell out money for plug-ins that may only be used for a couple assignments is another thing altogether.   And then there is the question of how valuable it is in the workforce.  How many potential employers are going to have Invigorator, or AtomKraft, or Element 3D?  Unless one plug-in entirely dominates the landscape, it's not really viable for me to fit into the budget.  Even the Trapcode suite, which has been a "go to" for me for many years becomes tricky when it comes to curriculum and logistics.


                          As for the ACA testing, I'll tell you who cares about it: my institution, and many others like it.  More importantly, Adobe certainly cares about it.  Or at least they market the heck out of it.  Again, I find it extremely frustrating to try evaluating the value of something, when I get such mixed signals from the company who is promoting it.  There are posters and handouts everywhere touting the ACA exams, and yet the only certification for video is 2 major releases out of date.

                          • 10. Re: ray-traced 3D renderer
                            chrisjacek Level 1

                            Well, to start with, continually being combative with your customer base can certainly be considered arrogant.  I know we may not always be kind when it comes to posting our frustrations.  I at least try to be diplomatic, but admittedly fail sometimes.  Regardless, there is a higher bar that must be set from the side of the institution.  Criticizing your customers for choosing to use your own products?  Arrogant in my opinion.  Giving non-apology apologies? Arrogant. It's like the athlete who's "apology" is "I'm sorry if someone is offended by what I said."  It may not be to the level of Apple's arrogance, but it is in the same ballpark.

                            • 11. Re: ray-traced 3D renderer
                              Szalam Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                              I got to have a peek at some of what Adobe is working on for 3d.

                              They made a good decision to stop development of the GPU-specific oddity of the ray-traced renderer. The new features that Todd is mentioning are superior. You will like them.


                              And Todd's apology wasn't a non-apology. He said specifically that the ray-traced renderer was a mistake (and not just here, I've seen Adobe folks say that numerous times). They are following customer feedback and leaving behind a cranky, rarely used feature and moving forward to a more powerful and more widely useable solution that will have much farther-reaching benefits.

                              • 12. Re: ray-traced 3D renderer
                                chrisjacek Level 1

                                Well, I certainly look forward to seeing that.  I have no doubt that it will be good.  Perhaps the dismissiveness of Ray Traced 3D is a result of the inside knowledge that you and Todd have about the future of 3D in After Effects.  I imagine that it would be very difficult to "unsee" the future you've already seen, and how it may well blow away what currently exists.  If Adobe could use another beta tester, as a former QA for Apple, I promise that you'll get my honest opinions (whether you want them or not, right?). 


                                But seriously, for those of us who are still using Ray Tracing because of some of its unique features that are cannot be done with any other tool, it does not feel very good to be told that we shouldn't be using it because it is obsolete.  I think you can understand the frustration.  In fact, I just found an online tutorial that Todd is part of, that is covers both Ray Tracing and Cinema 4D Lite.  So now we're talking 2013.  Nowhere in the tutorial is it said that Ray Tracing is a mistake, or that it's obsolete.


                                Put yourself in the position of a user who may be watching a tutorial from just last year, which covers the ins and outs of the ray tracing engine.  And then a year later, the same person who is involved with that tutorial is talking about how ray tracing was a mistake, and how it is obsolete, and that nobody should really be using it.  I don't think it is unreasonable for someone to be taken off-guard by that. 


                                I also think that it does somewhat strain the credibility of Adobe's claims of how great any new feature is.  Why should we, as a user base, believe that the same things you're touting today, won't be "obsolete" tomorrow.  Maybe next year you'll be telling us that nobody should use Cinema 4D, or even the Creative Cloud itself.  Maybe they'll be deemed obsolete.

                                • 13. Re: ray-traced 3D renderer
                                  Todd_Kopriva Level 8

                                  The last thing that I recorded about the ray-traced 3D renderer is from early 2012. I'm curious what you're referring to.


                                  I'll try this again: We are not telling people who are currently successfully using the ray-traced 3D renderer to stop using it. We are telling people who have not yet begun to use it that learning it, troubleshooting it, and getting hardware specifically for it are likely not worth their time. The primary audience for our "don't bother" message is the huge set of people who don't have a GPU that can run the ray-traced 3D renderer; I absolutely do not want hundreds of thousands of people buying specific GPUs for this feature when I know that this requirement will be moot rather soon.


                                  If you are successfully using this feature as it exists now to do real work, then more power to you. It's not going away yet.

                                  • 14. Re: ray-traced 3D renderer
                                    Szalam Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                    I understand everything you're saying.


                                    I say, use the tool that suits your current project. If the ray-traced

                                    renderer is working for you, great! Go for it! For you, that workflow it is

                                    not obsolete. As Todd said before, when he says it's obsolete, he is just

                                    reassuring new users who have an angry-looking error message that it's

                                    nothing they need to concern themselves with.


                                    I agree with you wholeheartedly that the ability to use expressions and

                                    control things in the AE timeline is vital to an efficient workflow. Until

                                    Adobe has a new solution for that, keep going with what works for you.

                                    (Although, if you're teaching new students, I'd suggest focusing away from

                                    the ray-traced renderer in those classes.)


                                    Also, for your own work, this is my answer for Adobe's touting of new

                                    products: whether or not it may be obsolete in the future, if it works for

                                    you now, use it!


                                    I was somewhat skeptical of the usefulness of the ray-traced renderer as

                                    soon as I saw the technical requirements to get it working. I doubted Adobe

                                    would be able to sustain the processes required to whitelist a growing

                                    number of GPUs. The fact that you had to have a specific kind of a specific

                                    brand of card didn't bode well for it either. Great for NVIDIA though, I'm



                                    While the marketing folks may be talking up a certain feature, I'm not all

                                    that concerned about it unless it's something that's going to be useful for

                                    me. For example, the current integration with Cinema 4D is kinda cool, but

                                    I still don't use the Cineware plugin often. I usually just render my scene

                                    and import the .aec as before. I have Zaxwerks 3D Invigorator and Mettle's

                                    ShapeShifter at home, Element 3D at work, and C4D in both places, so I'm

                                    not hurting for alternatives to the ray-traced renderer either!


                                    But anyway, my point is, I understand your frustration and your workflow

                                    sounds perfectly fine to me. Don't take it personally when Adobe folks say

                                    that the ray-traced renderer is obsolete. They don't mean you or your

                                    workflow are; they are merely saying that they are not focusing any more

                                    development on it and new users with error messages about it needn't be


                                    Although, if those new users would just read the message, they would

                                    understand it. It's pretty explanatory. A couple of months ago, we had a

                                    surprising number of folks on the forums who had been misreading that error

                                    message and installing CUDA drivers on Radeon GPU's and messing up their

                                    whole machine. How they thought the message was telling them to do that was

                                    beyond me.

                                    • 15. Re: ray-traced 3D renderer
                                      Mylenium Most Valuable Participant

                                      I also think that it does somewhat strain the credibility of Adobe's claims of how great any new feature is.  Why should we, as a user base, believe that the same things you're touting today, won't be "obsolete" tomorrow.  Maybe next year you'll be telling us that nobody should use Cinema 4D, or even the Creative Cloud itself.  Maybe they'll be deemed obsolete.


                                      "The industry" is fast-lived and this happens all the time. Programs and features come and go and people have to adapt and learn all the time. That's the simple harsh truth here. You simply cannot rely on programs or features remaining unchanged forever and that goes way beyond just Adobe. Sometimes, as in the case of the Raytrace 3D stuff, it's simply short-sightedness, other times it's technical evolution, sometimes expiring licensing deals, sometimes changing market demands. Yes, that even means Cinema 4D (in the form it exists in AE) could be old news one day or nobody even use AE anymore because some new program we may not even know about yet takes the throne.