I have used the AME to render client previews directly from the AEP project files since AME was introduced. This works because I have never produced a project for a client using Ray-traced rendering. It also works because I can send a comp to the AME, start it rendering, and keep working in AE on more projects. This results in NO down time waiting for renders. The days are long gone when you could bill a client for rendering previews. For final delivery and for archiving I set up the Render Cue to render to a 10 or 12 bit lossless 444 master and drop those in a watch folder for the AME when I leave the office at night and render my deliverables while I sleep. AME is, if properly utilized, a great addition to the workflow. It's the only way to render things from Premiere Pro, which is where most of my final deliverables come from because I use AE to create shots and composites and almost never produce a comp that is more than a few seconds long. All editing is done in Premiere Pro, sound mixing is done in Audition via dynamic link, and the final color grade for the most part is done in Premiere Pro or Speed Grade.
If AME rendering directly from AEP files slows down AE or is really slow in AME then you need to check your memory settings. If you happen to be creating a project that would seriously benefit from MP rendering in AE then you are better off rendering a lossless production master or DI in AE because AME does not use MP rendering.
I have found very few projects that did not benefit from this workflow. Any projects that do not benefit from this workflow are rendered directly in AE to a DI (digital intermediate) using a frame based 10 or 12 bit codec and 444 color at a minimum. BTW, as much of a fan as I am of Apple, Quicktime, in it's current version is a mess and I don't use it for any rendering or encoding or compressing. AME is almost as good as any of the third party compression software out there and it's free with PPro or AE so I have long abandoned use of 3rd party compressors but feel free to explore them.
BTW, the next version of AE and PPro are just around the corner. It sounds like you can expect some major speed increases with these new versions.
Yeah i works.. but I usually have shots that render quite fast in preview stage of a project. so it would be a few hotkeys, enter and send it off to client.. now I use the watchfolder which adds at least 20 seconds and there is no auto-delete source file so I had to add a task for that on shutdown to clean up the mess etc and all output ends up in the same folder.. It's all not the end of the world but workflow wise it was a bit cleaner then it is now.
A quick 'make preview' button would be nice which just throws out a mp4 on a decent bitrate and be done with it.
You can always save your ram preview. There are settings for that, but IMHO it is not wise to send clients partially completed work even if they are in the production business. I never send anything that I would not deliver. Occasionally I'll send a still frame of a composite for positioning and I often send stills with font choices. In 40 years in the business this has turned out to be the best, most profitable, and in the long run, fastest work to deliver approved projects.
I'm in the 3d business where clients/art directors etc have to approve previews before time consuming 3d renders are started and such, so previews are an essential part of my workflow. Hence the frustration this process is now less convenient.
I understand. Your 3D workflow is different than mine. If I'm doing 3D work I send pencil tests (draft quality no effects) previews to show the action and blocking in the scene and still frames of the rendered 3D. Most post houses, including Pixar and Sony Animation do this. Compositing tests are usually reviewed as still frames also. Full Composite tests of individual shots are usually the last thing I send to a client and in most cases there are no changes if the pencil test (motion and blocking tests) and compositing tests have been approved. I've done a ton of this work over the years and every post house I ever worked for had a slightly different approval pipeline but I have never been asked for full compositing tests like I would run from AE without having the pencil test or motion study and some still frames already approved.
Another suggestion would be to save your ram previews and drop them in a watch folder for AME. That would go very quickly.