24 Replies Latest reply on Nov 26, 2014 12:30 AM by martinc13962311

    After Effects CC 2014 only using 30% of CPU when rendering

    naty722 Level 1

      I've scoured the internet for details but there's surprisingly little help when it comes to After Effects and performance.

       

      Basically, I built a new workstation awhile ago with the hopes of really speeding up my video editing as I was starting to do a lot more. Here are the specs:

       

      Core i7-4930k

      32 GB RAM @ 1600MHz

      Stock GeForce 780

      Samsung 840 EVO 500GB OS drive

      Crucial 240 GB SSD for Scratch Disk

      3TB WD Red for Mass Storage

      Windows 8.1

       

      I must say that I've been quite disappointed so far with the setup when it comes to the CPU, especially After Effects. I would think the 6 core would greatly outperform my old 4 core, but I've found hardly any performance improvements, and in fact have seen it perform worse in a number of situations. And I think the issue is that somehow, After Effects is not fully using the CPU. Whenever rendering or previewing, all 6 physical cores as well as the 6 logical cores hover around 30% usage. Never any more. And yet, the comp it's rendering could be chugging away at maybe 2-3 frames per second, and it could clearly go faster with more CPU usage. Heat isn't throttling anything as all the cores are still at a very cool 48-50 C, and this is just pretty basic air cooling. It's definitely not being pushed that much.

       

      I don't think it's the CPU itself as Maya gladly takes up as much CPU as possible and my render times on that have improved dramatically. After Effects however (and Premiere when not using GPU effects) can be quite slow. It's especially frustrating when other older, clearly slower computers end up rendering my comps faster.

       

      Is there any info at all out there as to why this is? Any advice on troubleshooting? I've tried many things and can't think of anything short of maybe it being an OS issue and having to reformat (which would be quite a pain).

       

      Any and all help would be greatly appreciated.

        • 1. Re: After Effects CC 2014 only using 30% of CPU when rendering
          martinc13962311 Level 1

          Welcome to the frustrating world of AE performance! It's essentially down to the program still being based on old code. Adobe need to just bite the bullet and start again. I recently used one of the new Mac Pros with 12cores, 64gb ram, 12gb graphic card, absolutely zero performance increase using AE!!! Every other programme was lightning fast on it. Instead of constantly introducing gimmicky features they need to concentrate on performance.

          • 2. Re: After Effects CC 2014 only using 30% of CPU when rendering
            naty722 Level 1

            Not the answer I was hoping to get, but at least it's not just me or something silly I'm missing. It's very frustrating as AE is the program I use the most by far, and it is so slow, hardly using the CPU that my entire computer was built around. Hopefully Adobe can address this kind of stuff sooner rather than later.

            • 3. Re: After Effects CC 2014 only using 30% of CPU when rendering
              Dave LaRonde Level 6

              Don't hold your breath. 

               

              People have wondered why Adobe hasn't tended to its knitting... oh,  since Version 4, to do precisely what you suggest.

              You know, just take a version off from making new sparklies and blinkies and fluff and concentrate on making the thing work right and work faster.  It hasn't happened yet.

              • 4. Re: After Effects CC 2014 only using 30% of CPU when rendering
                martinc13962311 Level 1

                Obviously Adobe don't believe in freedom of speech as they just removed that last comment!

                 

                SIgn of a weak company when they can't take criticism!

                • 5. Re: After Effects CC 2014 only using 30% of CPU when rendering
                  martinc13962311 Level 1

                  Anyway despite their petty editing, give Nuke a try and see what kind of performance you can get. Will be a good benchmark for your machine, and try not to be put off by the steep learning curve!

                  • 6. Re: After Effects CC 2014 only using 30% of CPU when rendering
                    Todd_Kopriva Level 8

                    Your comment was deleted because it insulted other people, not because it insulted Adobe.

                    • 7. Re: After Effects CC 2014 only using 30% of CPU when rendering
                      Todd_Kopriva Level 8

                      > You know, just take a version off from making new sparklies and blinkies and fluff and concentrate on making the thing work right and work faster.  It hasn't happened yet.

                      Dave, I'm surprised that you haven't seen any of the numerous times that I've stated that we have nearly the entire After Effects team working on doing that right now---that we are spending a year with the majority of the After Effects team working on nothing but performance.

                      • 8. Re: After Effects CC 2014 only using 30% of CPU when rendering
                        martinc13962311 Level 1

                        Insulted other people? Really... I expect better from you guys than using that pretty lame excuse.

                        • 9. Re: After Effects CC 2014 only using 30% of CPU when rendering
                          martinc13962311 Level 1

                          That still doesn't detract from the original post which is why it doesn't work now? Think he is wondering why he just spent a load of cash on a new machine for no reason...

                          • 10. Re: After Effects CC 2014 only using 30% of CPU when rendering
                            martinc13962311 Level 1

                            Also to defend what Dave said, don't think it is unreasonable to ask why it has taken so long for performance to make it onto your radar ahead of other features that were not paramount.

                            • 11. Re: After Effects CC 2014 only using 30% of CPU when rendering
                              naty722 Level 1

                              I think what's most frustrating to me is just how inconsistent performance seems to be, machine to machine. I've heard plenty of people getting great performance when going to x79 and 6 cores or the more recent x99 and 8 cores. So I was quite excited to get a huge performance boost. However, here I am sitting with my processor almost idling as I try to playback my comps, and of course it's going to be slow then. Again, it doesn't seem to be my chip or anything, as Cinebench gives great results, and Maya loves having so many cores to render with. But my most used program struggles to use all of that horsepower at all.

                               

                              After Effects is a great program and I love what I've been able to create with it, but this is quite frustrating. I may try a reformat one of these days out of desperation, and will update if suddenly things change.

                              • 12. Re: After Effects CC 2014 only using 30% of CPU when rendering
                                martinc13962311 Level 1

                                If you guys spent less time listening to the voices you want to hear, and more time on the 'yes some time difficult to hear' but nether the less valid concerns of experienced users, you would have addressed this fundermental flaw years ago.

                                • 13. Re: After Effects CC 2014 only using 30% of CPU when rendering
                                  Todd_Kopriva Level 8

                                  > I think what's most frustrating to me is just how inconsistent performance seems to be

                                   

                                  Some things are bottlenecked by the CPU. Other things are bottlenecked by RAM or disk speed or GPU. Some items are multithreaded; some are not. This varies from composition to composition depending on many different factors.

                                   

                                  See this page for resources about making After Effects work faster: http://adobe.ly/eV2zE7

                                  • 14. Re: After Effects CC 2014 only using 30% of CPU when rendering
                                    Todd_Kopriva Level 8

                                    Martin, please stop the attacks.

                                     

                                    We are trying to help. We take the feedback from all of our users and consider carefully how to prioritize our work based on this feedback. If things aren't performing as well as you'd like, then we welcome the feedback, but antagonism is not going to make the changes occur faster.

                                    • 15. Re: After Effects CC 2014 only using 30% of CPU when rendering
                                      martinc13962311 Level 1

                                      I hear you dude, it is frustrating. Comes back to my original reply that if other apps are using all the power what is wrong with AE? Was up until 3am 5 nights last week doing a 5k projection job. AE just kept running out of memory, not releasing it... Not much fun when you have a young family at home! And is why this gets me a little annoyed. Looks like it may get addressed in a year or so... Some comfort right?

                                      • 16. Re: After Effects CC 2014 only using 30% of CPU when rendering
                                        naty722 Level 1

                                        Thanks for the link Todd. I actually remember going through quite a bit of that material a long time ago to try and optimize my old computer, but maybe I'll go through it all again, more detailed and try and figure some of this stuff out. It there nothing more recent though? That all seems so old, CS5 era. I know certain settings and menus have changed a good deal sense then.

                                         

                                        And that also reminds me, I know that it could definitely just be the effects I'm working on. I know certain effects don't work with Mutliprocessing. However, I feel like that list is always changing, and certain effects and things are coming in and out that I never really know if I'm getting slowdown because of a simple effect that I might not need, or it's something else. Are there any resources for something like this?

                                         

                                        Thanks

                                        • 17. Re: After Effects CC 2014 only using 30% of CPU when rendering
                                          martinc13962311 Level 1

                                          They aren't attacks Todd mate, like I said this effects people's lives. And surely you understand this is a pretty long running issue which is only now being addressed, or in a year. This certainly isn't the first time I have heard this mentioned on here or whilst we were on the prerelease program.

                                           

                                          We gave constructive feedback whilst part of that program and none of it was ever addressed. There seemed to be a weird attitude to any criticism which didn't fit the given narrative.

                                           

                                          I'm sure you probably see it differently and it is great to hear it is being addressed.

                                           

                                          Cheers

                                          • 18. Re: After Effects CC 2014 only using 30% of CPU when rendering
                                            martinc13962311 Level 1

                                            You have also kind of just reinforced the issue many AE users suffer by sending Naty to that link. The days I have lost chasing that ghost!

                                             

                                            He will now be going around and around for days trying to get AE to work within those narrow perimeters, when the issue is more fundermental than that. Otherwise why would the whole team being concentrating on performance? That was Dave and I's original point... Not an attack.

                                            • 19. Re: After Effects CC 2014 only using 30% of CPU when rendering
                                              Todd_Kopriva Level 8

                                              > That all seems so old, CS5 era.

                                              The early part of the post refers to a video series that I created for CS5.5 and then mentions addenda that I created for CS6. This material is all still relevant.

                                              • 20. Re: After Effects CC 2014 only using 30% of CPU when rendering
                                                Tim Kurkoski Adobe Employee

                                                Martin, I don't know if there's anything Todd or I can say to change your opinions. We try to represent how After Effects works, and why the After Effects team chose to make it work that way, in a way that all users can understand so you can get back to creative work as fast as possible.

                                                 

                                                What tends to rub us the wrong way are your assertions and accusations about that. For example:

                                                If you guys spent less time listening to the voices you want to hear, and more time on the 'yes some time difficult to hear' but nether the less valid concerns of experienced users, you would have addressed this fundermental flaw years ago.

                                                We gave constructive feedback whilst part of that program and none of it was ever addressed. There seemed to be a weird attitude to any criticism which didn't fit the given narrative.

                                                 

                                                I'm sure you probably see it differently and it is great to hear it is being addressed.

                                                That last statement is quite true, your perspective is your own. From our perspective, your statements do not reflect how the After Effects team interacts with After Effects users, either the users in our prerelease program or users who are not a part of that program. Fact is that we spend a lot of time talking with users: in forums, at user groups, on the phone, via email, and by visiting work sites. We take notes and discuss as a group what we learned, and use that feedback to guide the future development of After Effects. It's not all sunshine and roses, we hear plenty of negative things about After Effects. This is important as it helps us understand how to make After Effects better. At the same time, we're also cognizant that we have many different types of users with different needs and workflows, and we can't make all users happy all of the time.

                                                 

                                                What I think is not visible to you, or to most After Effects users, is how we prioritize the development of After Effects. There are many factors that go into that, starting with input from users but also including (in no particular order) fixing bugs and general improvements, industry trends, changes in hardware and software environments, maintaining a large and complex codebase (some of which is shared with other Adobe applications), maintaining interoperability with other applications (both Adobe and non-Adobe), and ultimately delivering a product that people want to use. To see how all that comes together is harder to communicate; really, you would need to sit down with us and watch us work.

                                                 

                                                The more relevant point here, Martin, is that you appear to disagree with how much priority we've given to performance improvements in After Effects. You indicate that you would prefer that we had started on this work a long time ago.

                                                 

                                                All work we do in After Effects comes at the cost of work we don't do. I'm confident that you're like me in that you have a long list of enhancements, beyond performance, that you'd like to see in After Effects. But the After Effects team is relatively small for such a complex application, and the scope of the performance-related improvements we are currently making is huge, a massive re-wiring of the application. Doing this work in a reasonable amount of time, with the number of people that we have, with as few moving parts as possible, is tricky. In that context I hope you can see that it has not been easy for us to justify putting the entire team on this effort and doing no other work, no creative features, no workflow improvements, no fixing of long-standing bugs and gotchas, etc. What is important is that this work is now in progress.

                                                 

                                                On that note, I need to temper any expectations that you may be building based on this conversation. We're laying the groundwork for the future of After Effects, and the first iteration of performance improvements that you see next year might not meet your expectations if we hype it up too much. We plan to share specific detail when we get closer to a public release, but suffice that what we are doing now is absolutely necessary for even better things to come later.

                                                 

                                                We understand your frustrations, that you'd like After Effects to be faster. We're working on it, and we appreciate your patience. We also appreciate constructive comments and questions.

                                                • 21. Re: After Effects CC 2014 only using 30% of CPU when rendering
                                                  Dave LaRonde Level 6

                                                  Jeez, I didn't intend to start a skirmish.  But I have to tell you, Todd: the issue of performance in AE has been around almost as long as I can remember.

                                                   

                                                  The application's served me well, but as feature has been piled on feature over the years,  I've become reluctant to change  my version at home for fear of mucking something up.  Sure, I run version 13 at work, but that's because it was installed and double-checked by guys at Sinclair Broadcasting's home office in Baltimore, then shipped to my station in Cedar Rapids.  That's all those guys do: they solve all the potential problems in the group's edit systems beforehand so we can just work.

                                                  I'm no IT guy.  With the varieties of operating systems, third-party cards and hardware out there, the number of things that can go wrong with AE these days is mind-boggling.  I'm afraid of taking on a new AE installation, quite frankly.  So at home, I'm stickin' with version 10.5.  It ain't broke, and I see no need to tempt fate; as mentioned just a few words ago, I'm no IT guy.   And it's paid for: another good thing.

                                                   

                                                  I long for the days when you installed AE, and it just worked.  No complications.  No updates necessary to correct a minor gaffe in the code.

                                                   

                                                  If you and your team can create a Version 14 that just works and works fast -- no new features necessary, in my book -- you will have accomplished something people have wanted for about 20 years, sir.

                                                  • 22. Re: After Effects CC 2014 only using 30% of CPU when rendering
                                                    martinc13962311 Level 1

                                                    Wow thanks for that reply Tim. I do understand your position totally, and also know your team is quite small and that doesn't help. Also I know you guys are trying to please quite a large user base with different demands for their sectors.

                                                     

                                                    And I probably should have said that some of the improvements that have been made in recent times are fantastic. 3D camera tracker, 2D tracker and Cineware especially.

                                                     

                                                    That said It is not a matter of changing my opinion or anyone elses, I simply can't believe in all the meetings, online discussions and other user interactions you have had over the years performance was not pretty high on everyone's list of improvements. This is becoming especially important for us as 4k workflows are only going to increase over the next few years.

                                                     

                                                    And as Dave has just mentioned it is constant tinkering, re introducing bugs that were fixed and never ending releases which now cause us real troubles. Unlike Dave we generally have to keep our software upto date so we can make sure we are inline with our clients. Also we get new workstations often and CC has been great for software implementation and cost control. But as I said the latest release on Yosemite is leaking memory and directly led to some late nights and thraid tempers last week. Just in the last year I can think of some pretty big bugs that were on releases and had direct consequences for us on projects. There was also the rendering Quicktimes larger than 2.15gb over afp issue that went on for over two years before it got fixed. That hurt a lot of people for a very long time... It all leads to draining customer confidence.

                                                     

                                                    That is why some of us get worked up about it, I'm really not sure you why guys cannot see that yourselves? I would never for one minute suggest this is intentional on your part but it is happening. There seems to be a systemic breakdown in either bug reporting/fixing or unrealistic update scheduled being imposed on you. Thats what it looks like from the outside, but I'm sure you guys probably know more than me.

                                                    • 23. Re: After Effects CC 2014 only using 30% of CPU when rendering
                                                      Tim Kurkoski Adobe Employee

                                                      But as I said the latest release on Yosemite is leaking memory

                                                      I don't recall reading that in your comments above. Can you be more specific? We are currently investigating a particular third party plug-in that may be leaking memory, but After Effects itself is not known to have such an issue. Please provide more info.

                                                      There was also the rendering Quicktimes larger than 2.15gb over afp issue that went on for over two years before it got fixed.

                                                      The issue you refer to was (is?) actually in Apple's API, not After Effects. I don't remember the specific circumstances anymore (the blog link below has some of the detail), but if my memory is correct we finally gave up on waiting for Apple to fix it and found a way to work around the problem in our own code.

                                                      http://blogs.adobe.com/aftereffects/2011/05/cant-create-quicktime-movie-larger-than-2-15gb -across-network-using-afp.html

                                                      I'm really not sure you why guys cannot see that yourselves?

                                                      This is your assumption, and it is not true. This is the type of comment that is bothering us, assertion of negative characteristics towards others. We don't mind that you express your feelings, but would hope that you could do so respectfully rather than make implications that you cannot know.

                                                      There seems to be a systemic breakdown in either bug reporting/fixing or unrealistic update scheduled being imposed on you.

                                                      Please refer to my earlier comments about the factors that affect how we prioritize what to fix or change.

                                                      Thats what it looks like from the outside, but I'm sure you guys probably know more than me.

                                                      We don't expect you to have full visibility into our development processes. As I said before, Todd and I make an effort to make parts of it visible to you, but we don't appreciate these sort of assertions being aimed at us. It's counter-productive to the conversation.

                                                      • 24. Re: After Effects CC 2014 only using 30% of CPU when rendering
                                                        martinc13962311 Level 1

                                                        I did mention it above and on my own thread about the issue. Todd responded to it. Also I have responded to other users mentioning a similar issue on this forum and have given advice that we found a work around using Memory Freer.

                                                         

                                                        Whether it was Apple's api or not, to the end user it is irrelevant. It didn't work for over two years (when fcp could render over networks) and that was a fact. Don't get me wrong I'm sure having to rely on Apple must be extremely irritating.

                                                         

                                                        Do you recall earlier when I mentioned that feedback that wasn't on script is somehow deemed negative or unconstructive. This is exactly what I mean, the criticisms of bugs being in releases, and performance only now being addressed and this causing issues is not fabricated or meant to non constructive. The problems we are having are real and yes personal perhaps to us, but real nether the less. I think in a lot of facilities you would hear similiar issues and fears when upgrading AE over the last few years. And I understand for marketing reasons and growing your user base new features would be given priority over performance so really that is understandible.

                                                         

                                                        Anyway this seems to be a largely futile disagreement as you guys are addressing the issues and that really is great to hear. I obviously have a lot of good will towards you guys and AE is and will remain an important part of our workflow. So best of luck with your current efforts and we all await the results.

                                                         

                                                        Cheers