Nope. AE simply has the most awful EXR handling one can imagine. Even free apps like Blender or Natron work faster.
Have you tried any other file formats as an alternative?
I Tried saving out of max as 32bit tiff and hdr but get different results so ideally wanted to stick with exr.
tiff's seem to have more noise in them! Simply saving the buffer out as different formats seems to give different results even though both are floating point files.
Interestingly the exrs look slighty softer and hdrs save with a different gamma With more noise.
looks like I will stick with exr for now and put up with slower speed.
(Dont really want to buy Nuke just yet but it may come to that)
Anyone else out there noticed this or found an alternative solution?
I stuck with 16 bit whenever possible. This has the advantage that the 3D Programs themselves do a conversion to integer values and it's therefore pretty much consistent across formats and applications based on standardized assumptions like this and that Gamma and sRGB space. 16bit TIFFs are pretty snappy in AE. The issues with float TIFFs and HDR files are pretty much expected, since as far as I know there is no fixed value range defined in the file format specs and everyone uses their own mish-mash. Inevitably you can't completely eliminate EXR, but you may wish to reserve it for things where you actually need it like normal or motion vector passes. in my admittedly hacky workflows inflating a 16bit file back to 32bit never made much of a difference to native 32bit files, but of course you may use subtly lit night scenes al lthe time where this could be of greater relevance than for my reasonably uniformly lit technical visualizations and motion graphics stuff...
Thanks again Mylenium.
Just to clarify - I do save 3d renders out of Max as 16 bit (half float) .exr's
I always like to save as some kind of floating point file to give me maximum options in post - especially useful for darkening slightly over exposed renders and getting information back out of the blown out highlights. Also, as 3d renders often take so much time to process, I like to save out as much information in the render file as possible.
So it seems I'm currently stuck with my current workflow, although I may try converting the .exr's to tiff's in AE and then comp with them (if there are no issues with highlights)
Thanks again for your help.
When using multi-channel EXRs in AE, you probably want to turn on the Channel Cache. The more channels you have, the more it will speed things up. Everything you could ever want to know about it here.
Comparing 16-bit EXRs to 16-bit TIFF isn't really a fair comparison because the 16-bit EXRs quickly become 32-bit float buffers inside AE. Working with 16-bit files in a 16-bit AE project will surely be faster than working 32-bit. It may even be the way to go if you're not taking advantage of any of the benefits of float.