5 Replies Latest reply on Jan 13, 2016 11:50 AM by Szalam

    New to AE and have a lot of questions.

    MudBERT

      Hello,

       

      This is my first post on here and I did some searching on the forums/google before asking most of these but I'm not the most knowledgeable person when it comes to terminology of use within After Effects. This will be a big wall of text but I'll try to make it simple and to the point. My specs are below.

       

      OS Windows 7

      MOBO -MSI Z77A G41

      CPU INTEL I5 3570 @ 3.4GHZ

      GPU 2047 NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660 (MSI)

      RAM - G SKILL 12GBS DDR3 @ 666MHZ

      SSD Samsung 250GB Pro

      External HD for storage is a 2TB G-Drive.

       

      I'm a CSUN graduate for TV Arts and was only into video editing off Premiere. In school they always taught us how on a set you're doing one job specifically but I guess its a bit different if you're doing lower budget work. After moving into the real world of freelancing, I quickly realized that video editing and color correction can only take you so far and you really need to add as many tools to your arsenal. I'll just list the questions here and hope to get as much as possible. Please be honest as possible. More info the better!

       

      1. I've been doing Andrew Kramers tutorials (finished 40/150 that he offers) and have got some basics/hotkeys down. Occasionally I'll lag with my previews and was curious as to how I can improve it (exporting times doesn't matter to me). Budget is $800 to $1000. I have my settings in AE optimized already (cache, ram, multiprocessing). What should I be upgrading in my system?

       

      2. I was taught in school to always edit off an external hard drive for Premiere, FC7, and Davinci Resolve. Does that apply to AE as well? I run the program off my SSD and have the footage on my G Drive.

       

      3. Besides videocopilot and lynda.com, are there other websites/tutorials that could help me with basics and just drilling concepts in to my head? With my experience using AK tutorials, I personally have problems with expressions the most.

       

      4. Would I benefit more from upgrading my CPU/RAM or my GPU? I basically want something that fits my budget and best bang for the buck. Is DDR4 ram worth the upgrade or should I get more DDR3? Is it better to go for a low end "workstation card" (QUADROS) or high end "gaming card" (GEFORCE) do the job? This was an interesting article when I was searching up a GPU to use but now I'm more confused - http://motionworks.net/after-effects-3d-future/

       

      5. Based on your experience of learning AE, should I be going about learning AE differently? Are Andrew Kramers tutorials a solid way to be learning the program?

       

      6. Lastly, I'm really just looking to improve my skill set and be a more well-rounded person for editing. Are there any other programs that are essential to learn along with AE and Premiere? I think I've had a few problems in tutorials because I had no knowledge of Photoshop and Cinema 4D. I also hear and have seen some amazing work with 3DS MAX and Element 3D.

       

      I hope someone can lead me in the right direction as to what I can do to improve my specs. With technology constantly improving, I obviously can't get anything too future proof with a 1k budget but I primarily just want the program to run smooth as possible. Please be blunt with your answers. I won't take it personal and I'll just soak in the information like a sponge. Thanks in advance!

        • 1. Re: New to AE and have a lot of questions.
          squidkings Level 1

          First thing is your education of using external drive had more to do with university environment rather than real world workflow. Secondly for 1k I would get your machine up to Adobe minimum requirements by upgrading to a I7 processor if your MB can use one. With the funds left over I'd install a two drive RAID array and use your external drive as archive  for completed project and weekly backups for current projects. Thirdly add more ram then when your ram is full consider a better GPU one from the tested ones.

          • 2. Re: New to AE and have a lot of questions.
            dissidently Level 1

            1. AE 2015 lags in previews, terribly. Make sure you're using your SSD as cache, problems after that are AE, not your system. If you want solid, reliable previews, use AE 2014.

             

            2. School is stupid. They set their courses years before you arrive, based on technology from previous purchases, years before that. An internal SSD is the fastest (and best) place to be working from in terms of footage. To buy another SSD is the best single upgrade - render to one, while pulling footage from another. Then sort/store/collate final products on external storage so you don't need huge SSDs.

             

            3. ECAbrams and Mt Mograph on Youtube, best insights in the least time. Most others waffle on for way too long. There's some more specialised and individual tutorials on vimeo that are good, too. But you'll probably find them when you search for how to do something specific.

             

            4. CPU upgrade, to as many cores as you can get, is the best upgrade. GPUs aren't that significant (or at all) in AE.

             

            5. Reading a book in your spare time will help, too. But there's no really great books on AE. AE isn't well designed, uses archaic user paradigms and has a large group of stalwart users. So the documentation and the literature of others reflects this "legacy" nature. The passion has long been stripped from the majority of the Adobe AE community by their monopolistic manner and disregard of AE users. You should (concurrently) learn BlackMagic's Fusion 8 (free in beta) for an alternative perspective on many of the tasks AE does. This will be the fastest way to gain an holistic understanding of the problems compositing software solves.

             

            6. Rendering is the thing you need to first learn about 3D apps, particularly multi-pass rendering, so you can understand the place and purpose of compositing. Rendering is an art form in its own right, as are lighting, materials and effects.

            - 3ds Max is probably the most difficult 3D app to get your head around due to the depth and flexibility of its Stack approach. However this does provide a truly amazing degree of creative options unlike any other app in the world. And it has (way and by far) the most diverse range of renderers available for it.

            - Maya is much easier to learn, but more linear in workflow, and nowhere near as fun, as a result. Feels like walking up and down stairs as opposed to taking the elevator. Rendering always feels like an afterthought in Maya.

            - C4D is a really well sorted and simplistic approach to 3D, wherein linearity rather than flexibility is the primary focus. This is like walking around on level ground compared to the above two. The default renderer in C4D is surprisingly capable, and easy to use, and the tutorials for it much more simplistic and practical than the above two apps.

             

            All 3 of the above apps do a far better job of providing the user with motion graphics power and potential than AE ever will. For that alone, you should dive into at least 2 of them. I'd say start at C4D, then move to either Maya or Max based on whatever motivates you most.

            • 3. Re: New to AE and have a lot of questions.
              MudBERT Level 1

              Thanks for the recommendations. And yes school does suck LOL. Although, my college was fortunate to work with pretty recent technology as far as cameras go (REDS) my professor (Saunders from Big Brother) was pretty knowledgeable of real world situations on set.


              If I were to go for a CPU based on all those programs you listed (C4D, 3DS MAX, etc) and not just AE, is it better to go for a processor with more cores, threads, or cache?

               

              From what I've read on these forums, AEs main priority is CPU SPEED, then from there I don't know what's more significant. After Effects is suppose to have an update utilizing more cores in the future?

               

              My choices are i7 4790k or the i7 6700k. Seems like I can't go wrong with either one but the 6700k utilizes DDR4. Not sure how big of a deal that is on these programs. Thanks again for your post it was very informative and I'll be looking in to C4D.

               

              http://cpu.userbenchmark.com/Compare/Intel-Core-i7-4790K-vs-Intel-Core-i7-6700K/2384vs3502

              • 4. Re: New to AE and have a lot of questions.
                dissidently Level 1

                If you can make the leap to the 6 core 5820k and the appropriate 2011v3 motherboard, this is a much better investment for all the 3D apps and rendering of all sorts.

                 

                And it's going to be nicely upgradeable to a 10core CPU later this year, should you feel the need to really juice your rendering speeds.

                 

                The 5820k won't make any difference to gaming, but will greatly help your ability to multi-task, too. You can farm of some cores for rendering, and keep some for working.

                 

                And it's a great value proposition. The only problem is the extra cost of the MB and RAM, but they'll last a good few years.

                • 5. Re: New to AE and have a lot of questions.
                  Szalam Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                  MudBERT wrote:

                   

                   

                  1. I've been doing Andrew Kramers tutorials (finished 40/150 that he offers) and have got some basics/hotkeys down. Occasionally I'll lag with my previews and was curious as to how I can improve it (exporting times doesn't matter to me). Budget is $800 to $1000. I have my settings in AE optimized already (cache, ram, multiprocessing). What should I be upgrading in my system?

                  As has been mentioned, CPU is primary. Until AE can utilize more cores, single core clock speed is best for AE. For AE, I'd suggest 4GB of RAM per core of your processor. AE can make good use of an SSD for its cache, so you want an SSD that isn't holding your footage for AE to use.

                   

                  For 3d programs like C4D, multiply your clock speed by your number of cores and that's about what it'll use when rendering!

                   

                  Now, you can try using both AE CC 2014 and AE CC 2015 on your system. I've found great success with CC 2015. Some of my comps even render a little bit faster in it! However, some folks have experienced some show-stopping issues with the new architecture that Adobe is beginning to use in CC 2015. For a bit more info on the big changes from CC 2014 to CC 2015, you can read this page: features not available in After Effects CC 2015 Short version: they're completely re-writing AE to do away with the old, buggy multiprocessing in favor of a truly multithreaded approach, but that new architecture is only partly done in CC 2015.

                  MudBERT wrote:

                   

                  2. I was taught in school to always edit off an external hard drive for Premiere, FC7, and Davinci Resolve. Does that apply to AE as well? I run the program off my SSD and have the footage on my G Drive.

                  It's not that you should be editing off of an external drive, it's that you should be rendering off of a separate drive. If you're on a laptop, that's probably going to be an external drive. However, on a workstation that could be a separate internal drive, an SAS, RAID box, etc.

                  If you are using an external drive, you better hope it's connected with Thunderbolt 2 or USB 3.0 or something similarly fast. Quality HD footage comes at a high data rate so you want something that can deliver it quickly.

                   

                  MudBERT wrote:

                   

                  3. Besides videocopilot and lynda.com, are there other websites/tutorials that could help me with basics and just drilling concepts in to my head? With my experience using AK tutorials, I personally have problems with expressions the most.

                  I like AE tutorials with Mikey. Quick, to the point, and with less faffing about than Mt. Mograph. I get too frustrated with Mt. Mograph sometimes when he's doing something in an inefficient way. Mikey tends to be more streamlined. Digital Tutors has some great stuff especially for learning C4D.

                   

                  If you do end up getting C4D, check out Cineversity. Not only does it have a lot of useful tutorials, but they provide some pretty useful plugins.

                   

                  MudBERT wrote:

                   

                   

                  4. Would I benefit more from upgrading my CPU/RAM or my GPU? I basically want something that fits my budget and best bang for the buck. Is DDR4 ram worth the upgrade or should I get more DDR3? Is it better to go for a low end "workstation card" (QUADROS) or high end "gaming card" (GEFORCE) do the job? This was an interesting article when I was searching up a GPU to use but now I'm more confused - http://motionworks.net/after-effects-3d-future/

                  CPU.

                  AE doesn't use the GPU for much. As the article you pointed to mentions, AE's ray-traced renderer is pretty sucky so the AE team is abandoning it in favor of a much more powerful solution.

                  Here's more GPU info here: GPU (CUDA, OpenGL) features in After Effects

                  Now, if you do use Element 3d, Red Giant Universe, or other third-party plugins for AE that do make use of the GPU, a higher end "gaming card" as you call it gets you a LOT more bang for the buck vs. Quadro cards. Like, a lot.

                  For the most part, the native renderers that come with C4D and other 3d software make use of the CPU to render. So, again, the GPU isn't terribly useful. Now, one of the most popular third-party renderers for C4D (Octane) does use the GPU. But I wouldn't worry about that until you've used C4D for at least a year. You need to get familiar with a lot of other, more basic things before you worry about adding a third-party renderer to the mix.

                   

                  MudBERT wrote:

                   

                   

                  5. Based on your experience of learning AE, should I be going about learning AE differently? Are Andrew Kramers tutorials a solid way to be learning the program?

                  Kramer's tutorials are good for learning some flashy techniques. I prefer a more foundational approach. More the "how it works" and less of the "how to do". This is a good resource: Getting started with After Effects

                  I don't have the link handy (I can't access Reddit from work), but in the sidebar of www.reddit.com/r/AfterEffects there's a more in-depth set of resources that includes the one I just linked and a bajillion others.

                   

                  MudBERT wrote:

                   

                  6. Lastly, I'm really just looking to improve my skill set and be a more well-rounded person for editing. Are there any other programs that are essential to learn along with AE and Premiere? I think I've had a few problems in tutorials because I had no knowledge of Photoshop and Cinema 4D. I also hear and have seen some amazing work with 3DS MAX and Element 3D.

                  I'd suggest learning Photoshop first. A lot of the techniques you learn there will apply to After Effects (or any other compositing software).

                  After you have a solid knowledge of still image compositing, dive back into AE. After you're pretty set on AE's foundation, move on to 3d. I wouldn't worry about 3ds Max too much. Cinema 4D Lite comes free with AE and the compatibility between AE and C4D has been really growing a lot over the years. So, if you really get into 3d and want something more powerful, you can upgrade to the full version of C4D. You can do anything in any of the major 3d packages. Some are a bit better at some things, but worse at others.

                   

                  Element 3d is a very useful plugin for AE. But it's much more powerful if you can use it in conjunction with C4D.

                   

                  I agree with dissidently that it wouldn't hurt to learn some other apps too at some point down the road - especially if you're into composting VFX vs. motion graphics. I wouldn't do mograph in Resolve, but it's got some pretty great compositing tools. Or you could get the personal version of Nuke - again, not a good motion graphics choice, but good for compositing and visual effects.

                   

                  So...pretty much what has already been said. Hope that helps clarify a few things.