10 Replies Latest reply on Nov 4, 2016 10:30 PM by davidg29667392

    Cache all frames before playing? Like old numpad 0

    chrisbrearley Level 1

      As much as I like the idea of AE playing back straight away which works great for lightweight comps that can render faster than real-time, I really would like the option to have all frames cached before playing just like in the olden days. If I have a comp that I know is not going to playback in real-time I don't need it to be stuttering all the way through once before it then begins to playback real-time. I've been up and down this all about previews in After Effects CC 2015 (13.5)  |  After Effects region of interest twice and have played with all the new preview settings for the last hour but whatever I do AE always wants to begin to try and playback straight away.

       

      For example.. I have a 30 second comp. The first 20 seconds are already cached. I have Preview Favors set to Frame Rate. AE begins playing back nicely in real-time straight away and I can see the remaining uncached frame from 20 seconds onwards being cached. However, they're not getting cached quick enough so by the time the playhead reaches 29 seconds it has run into uncached frames and stutters through the last second. I now have to go back to and watch from the start again to view my full comp back in one go when it would have been easier just to have the last 10 seconds cache before it started playing.

       

      Is just me being stupid or has this option completely vanished? There is a line in the blog that says 'Pressing Numpad 0 starts a preview that is substantially identical to RAM Preview in previous versions of After Effects.' How? Before it would not play until all frames were rendered. Instant playback is great when it works but we still need the old way as well.

        • 1. Re: Cache all frames before playing? Like old numpad 0
          Tim Kurkoski Adobe Employee

          whatever I do AE always wants to begin to try and playback straight away.

          This is the design of the new preview architecture in After Effects CC 2015 (13.5). When you start a preview, playback starts immediately. There is no option to change this.

           

          The intent of the design is, as you've noted, to address cases where frames can be rendered faster than the real-time frame rate of the comp. In these cases, you no longer need to wait for the first render pass of the composition, playback just begins.

           

          For cases like the one you're describing where the frames are slower than real-time to render, which we know are more common than the above, the experience between the new behavior and the old RAM Preview behavior should be the same: on the first pass, the frames will be displayed in the Composition viewer as fast as they can be rendered. On the second pass, playback of the rendered frames will be in real-time.

           

          The only other significant difference between the new behavior and RAM Preview is that After Effects CC 2015 (13.5) will also play audio during that first pass. If you don't want to hear audio during the first pass, you can enable the new Mute Audio When Preview Is Not Real-Time option in Preferences > Previews, or you can simply click the Mute Audio (speaker icon) button in the Preview panel to dynamically mute/unmute audio during a preview.

           

          All of the above said, we're listening to feedback we're receiving from users about the new preview behavior. Several other users have requested what you are suggesting: an option to have After Effects render a preview and only start playback once the render is complete. My interpretation of these requests is that what is desired is more like the Render Entire Work Area command in Premiere Pro, or a more functional version of the Cache Work Area In Background command that existed in previous versions of After Effects. It's something we're considering for the future. To me, it also indicates how unintuitive the old RAM Preview command was: it did a desirable thing (rendering frames then playing them) but did so by conflating the contexts of rendering and previewing.

          There is a line in the blog that says 'Pressing Numpad 0 starts a preview that is substantially identical to RAM Preview in previous versions of After Effects.' How?

          This line refers to more than the behavior of starting playback. There are many behaviors that were associated with RAM Preview, including the caching behavior, not displaying layer controls and overlays, and what range was previewed. Most of these behaviors are now user-configurable via the updated Preview panel, and the intent of this statement was to indicate that, by default, the controls are set to match the previous RAM Preview behaviors.

          • 2. Re: Cache all frames before playing? Like old numpad 0
            chrisbrearley Level 1

            Hi Tim, thank you for such an in depth reply. I've been switching back and forth between 2014 and 2015 dependent on my current job. Yesterday I had a full day of 2015 for the first time. What really stuck out for me and relevant to my initial point was when I had a large portion of the timeline already cached with a few scattered uncached frames. In a one minute timeline with only around 10% uncached frames an old-style ram preview would only take lets say 5 seconds to cache just the frames it needed to before beginning to play. Now I have stumble through the first part of the timeline while it caches all the frames ahead, something which is unnecessary. I don't need to see the first part play back badly before restarting again at realtime. An old ram preview would not go through every frame on the timeline first, now it does. This is the major difference.

             

            I work a lot with a client in the room and I don't always want them to see it playing back slowly as it gives away some of the workings of the comp which can occasionally look a bit ugly when not seen it realtime and I'm sicking of them asking why it was dropping frames. Producers and Directors do not know what rendering is. At least with the old ram preview it would only show uncached frames and it was obvious it wasn't trying to playback. On this point I would love a 'blind cache' option where it doesn't show any frames while caching them to ram.

             

            I also found that when Preview Favors was set to Length, it wouldn't cache frames far enough ahead. It seems that it only caches frames 10 frames or so ahead of itself, even if the current group of frames it is playing back are already cached but there are uncached frames say 3 seconds ahead, it will wait until about 10 frames before to start caching. Preview Favours Frame Rate seems to look at lot further ahead so that there is less chance of it stumbling. Could Preview Favors Length look further into the future as well?

             

            I really like where things are headed, I just think there is still a bit of tweaking to and having the old style ram preview as an option is no bad thing. It's very much comp dependent and what is already cached on the timeline which dictates which type of preview is needed. I'm very much looking forward to having MP re-introduced, I think this will make a huge difference and it's probably not fair to completely judge the new preview system until this is functioning. 

            • 3. Re: Cache all frames before playing? Like old numpad 0
              Tim Kurkoski Adobe Employee

              Thanks for the feedback.

              What really stuck out for me and relevant to my initial point was when I had a large portion of the timeline already cached with a few scattered uncached frames. In a one minute timeline with only around 10% uncached frames an old-style ram preview would only take lets say 5 seconds to cache just the frames it needed to before beginning to play. Now I have stumble through the first part of the timeline while it caches all the frames ahead, something which is unnecessary. I don't need to see the first part play back badly before restarting again at realtime. An old ram preview would not go through every frame on the timeline first, now it does. This is the major difference.

              When Preview Favors is set to Frame Rate in After Effects CC 2015 (13.5), the case you describe here shouldn't behave differently from how RAM Preview did in older versions of After Effects. (The best way to think of it is that Preview Favors Frame Rate is the new version of RAM Preview.)

               

              That is to say, when Preview Favors is set to Frame Rate, playback starts immediately as described, and simultaneously After Effects will seek ahead on the timeline to render frames as fast as possible. If you have a mostly-cached composition with gaps, the cached frames will play while the gaps are being rendered. (The PTI does not need to hit the gap before rendering. This is different from Preview Favors Length; more on that below.)

               

              The case where Preview Favors Frame Rate will be less smooth than the old RAM Preview is where you have a gap in the cached frames relatively early in the playback range, and those frames take a long time to render. In this case, playback will cruise through the cached frames but then slow down while trying to move through the gap while rendering is in progress. Not an uncommon case, to be sure, and this is how I see a "render, then play" function being a useful addition to the new preview functionality.

               

              I also found that when Preview Favors was set to Length, it wouldn't cache frames far enough ahead. It seems that it only caches frames 10 frames or so ahead of itself, even if the current group of frames it is playing back are already cached but there are uncached frames say 3 seconds ahead, it will wait until about 10 frames before to start caching. Preview Favours Frame Rate seems to look at lot further ahead so that there is less chance of it stumbling. Could Preview Favors Length look further into the future as well?

              This is by design. Preview Favors Length is analogous to Standard Preview (spacebar) in previous versions of After Effects. It only seeks ahead* of the PTI a few frames, and when the RAM cache is full the oldest frames are dumped so preview can continue. Compare this to Preview Favors Frame Rate, which seeks ahead as far and as fast as possible and caches until the RAM cache is full, at which point it stops caching and only plays back the cached frames.

               

              *Note that the small seek ahead (10 frames is about right, though I forget the precision) is new to After Effects CC 2015 (13.5), and helps to balance the playback performance. The old Standard Preview didn't seek ahead at all.

               

              It's feasible that we could increase the seek ahead cache for Preview Favors Length, though I'd want to sit down and think through the implications of this, and talk with the developers.

              • 4. Re: Cache all frames before playing? Like old numpad 0
                NXEjay

                Hi I would simply like to add that I would really desperately need a feature to wait until my work area is fully cached and rendered before playing like before. It's overkill to have it played all wrong, mute the speakers and look away from my screen in order to wait for a full clean rendered scene one-shot. Also, like before, I could simply do something else, let AE render and when it was all ready it would flash on my taskbar; it was perfect and now it's extremely frustrating to have broken renders and be obliged to go through them.

                • 5. Re: Cache all frames before playing? Like old numpad 0
                  davidg29667392 Level 1

                  I agree. It's stupid to watch the video stuttering around. So many responses I get from Adobe these days is a generic "This is by design." Then REMOVE the damn buttons! Why is there even a check box that says cache before playback if this is a LIE! The same thing with everything else they broke, like "Browse Presets" is completely non-functional, but I found out through Adobe Support "This is by design" as they randomly decided this should just no longer work, but WHY leave the button there?? This is infuriating. It's really sloppy programming to leave old functions lying around enticing people so when they try to use it they think it's broken, then later discover "This is by design." I think they replaced their support staff with bots that just auto-reply "This is by design."

                  • 6. Re: Cache all frames before playing? Like old numpad 0
                    Szalam Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                    davidg29667392 wrote:

                     

                    I agree. It's stupid to watch the video stuttering around. So many responses I get from Adobe these days is a generic "This is by design." Then REMOVE the damn buttons! Why is there even a check box that says cache before playback if this is a LIE!

                    The thread you're replying to is nearly a year old.

                    Some significant updates to AE have come out since this thread stopped being active. The Cache Before Playback option works as expected for me in the latest version. What is the exact version number you are using? And what troubles are you having? If you have a cached preview that isn't playing back at the correct speed, are you on a 4K, 5K, or otherwise retina-like screen? If so, I might have some suggestions for you to try, but since I don't know for sure what your problem is, I can't really make any good suggestions.

                    • 7. Re: Cache all frames before playing? Like old numpad 0
                      davidg29667392 Level 1

                      Most of the problems I have TODAY with the most up to date version I see on threads that are YEARS old. I Guess 2015.5, whatever the newest version is. It automatically updates. The cache before playback does NOTHING. The behavior is the exact same whether is is checked or not. You would think, it would Cache BEFORE playback, but that would make sense. The preview will play immediately and not Cache first then playback. So another useless check box. At least the brainstorm button was actually removed when they decided less features was better for us.

                      • 8. Re: Cache all frames before playing? Like old numpad 0
                        Szalam Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                        Please double-check your AE version number and tell us what it is. (It should be something like 13.x.x.x, please fill in those x's). The Creative Cloud software doesn't automatically update anything. And sometimes it doesn't even let you know there are updates to install. I've seen people saying they're on the latest version who were still on AE version 12 because the CC app said it was up to date when it wasn't.

                        The Cache Before Playback option behaves very differently for me than it does for you, so I suspect you may be missing an update.

                        • 9. Re: Cache all frames before playing? Like old numpad 0
                          jackthegiantslayer Level 1

                          I have updated everything, tried a dozen settings and I still get stammering playback on my iMac Retina which is completely juiced to the max RAM and video card wise. The update did nothing to fix the live preview issue on this iMac, still having to use the hack where I park a useless interface section under the timeline just to get smooth play. Sometimes it just randomly decides that all I want to see are 10 frames when I hit either the spacebar or the numpad 0, regardless of how much RAM is left, how big my disk cache is, how many times I clear out the cache and memory, etc. etc. I cannot believe Adobe is still pushing such a steaming heap of crap down our throats with this "by design" fallback. I did not have any of these problems in CS6, except for preview glitch where it would skip the first second on initial playback. I'll take that glitch over the near inoperability of this unstable POS.

                          • 10. Re: Cache all frames before playing? Like old numpad 0
                            davidg29667392 Level 1

                            I'm on build 2017. This has FINALLY been resolved for me. I feel bad for the guy that posted this issue 1 year ago.