12 Replies Latest reply on May 4, 2016 3:01 PM by Szalam

    iMac late 2015 (skylake) after effects experiences?

    u_felski Level 1

      Hi there,

      i`m considering buying one of the late 2015 iMacs with with 1 TB SSD and 4GB GPU mainly for after effects. I also use the Trapcode suite, Element 3D and optical flares quite a bit.

      The Mac Pro Tube doesn`t really appeal to me in terms of price/power relationship

      I´ve been searching the web, considering all the possibilities, buying an upgraded MacPro (2010) even thought about putting a Win PC together.

      I keep coming back to the iMac. I like the Apple Hardware and i have very good experiences with it and the display is great. It`s also still kind of portable, as i am doing work on site at trade shows and so.

      I am still on a 2008 MacPro 3.1 with a flashed GTX 570 GPU, great reliable kit, But e really need more speed now.

      I consider maxing out an skylake iMac to 64GB, any experience if it`s worth that? Does AE really speed up, being more responsive?

      I still have a whole bunch of Mac Minis i had set up for rendering on a Network on longer Projects, so i am interested in fast real time performance/previews, not so much render times.

      I don`t want to start emotional Mac vs WinPc discussions, i am only interested in facts.

      Is the CC 2015 still slower and buggy under El Capitan? would you recommend installing cc 2014?

      Thanks a lot for any advice.

      Uwe

        • 1. Re: iMac late 2015 (skylake) after effects experiences?
          u_felski Level 1

          i also i keep thinking about this PC build:

           

          • GA-Z170X-UD5 TH
          • INTEL Core i7-6700K 4,00 GHz
          • 64gb Ram
          • Samsung MZ-V5P512BW 512 GB, Solid State Drive (for  system & AE Cache)
          • Samsung 850 Pro 2,5" 512 GB (for work)
          • 4TB sata (storage)
          • GTX 980 GPU
          • Eizo EV3237-BK

          What 64 bit windows Version would be best?

          • 2. Re: iMac late 2015 (skylake) after effects experiences?
            Szalam Adobe Community Professional & MVP

            Windows 7 Professional is great. I haven't heard of many problems on Windows 10 (other than the personal privacy issues [which are fixable], but that's unrelated to AE). I wouldn't suggest Windows 8 (also for non-AE reasons).

             

            You get more processing power for your buck with a PC.

             

            After Effects seems to work much better on a PC these days.

             

            That being said, the El Capitan issues with AE have been mostly been fixed or worked around (you just dock another panel under the timeline and it seems to fix the real time preview issue until the next update comes out with a real fix), so if you REALLY, REALLY want to use Mac, you can. I just wouldn't do it if I were in your position.

            • 3. Re: iMac late 2015 (skylake) after effects experiences?
              Szalam Adobe Community Professional & MVP

              u_felski wrote:

               

              would you recommend installing cc 2014?

               

              Yes. Even if you have Windows.

              The AE team at Adobe suggests this too. Work in CC 2015 to utilize the much snappier interactivity and then render in CC 2014 to use multiprocessing for your render.

              • 4. Re: iMac late 2015 (skylake) after effects experiences?
                u_felski Level 1

                Thanks so much Szalam,

                the PC route is very tempting just saw the ability to install fast m2 sata disks directly on the mainboard (Gigabyte) and overall upgrade ability.

                would you recommend a fast GPU like the GTX 980 TI? i know, AE doesn`t make too much use of it.

                Not Sure if Trapcode Suite, wich i am using a lot uses GPU Power. Element 3 d does.

                The only thing that makes me hesitate is navigating through a new operating system, The mac way would be more familiar.

                I changed over from Final Cut to Adobe When Final cut X came out, the Apple thing is getting less and less attractive to me. I like the hardware but i think they are getting really sloppy with software.

                Thanks a lot for advice,

                Uwe

                • 5. Re: iMac late 2015 (skylake) after effects experiences?
                  Szalam Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                  u_felski wrote:

                   

                   

                  would you recommend a fast GPU like the GTX 980 TI? i know, AE doesn`t make too much use of it.

                  Not Sure if Trapcode Suite, wich i am using a lot uses GPU Power. Element 3 d does.

                  You're right that AE doesn't really use it (yet), but a lot of new plugins do. I've heard from folks who say that, for Element, the GTX 970 gets you more bang for your buck. They say that the 980 isn't enough of a performance boost to warrant the price difference.

                  Yes, some of the Trapcode Suite does use the GPU - Tao does, I know that. Red Giant Universe uses the GPU too. If you use any of these things, you want a good GPU!

                   

                   

                  It does take a little while to get used to a new OS, but once you're in After Effects, you won't notice the OS at all. AE looks the same on both.

                  • 6. Re: iMac late 2015 (skylake) after effects experiences?
                    Rick Gerard Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                    Trapcode suite (TAO especially) will use the AMD card but will fail on laptops with onboard GPU's like Intel Graphics Processors. You need an actual GPU like the iMac has.

                    • 7. Re: iMac late 2015 (skylake) after effects experiences?
                      ashcello93

                      Hi, new here and new to the CC. Looking to start learning and really delving deep into AE, looking to use Raytracing, Trapcode Suite, and possibly mocha. I am looking to buy a new iMAC with these specs:

                       

                      2015 IMac 27inch 5K

                      4.0-4.2 quad core Intel i7

                      32GB ram

                      512 GB Flash Storage

                      AMD Radeon R9 M395 (2gb)

                       

                      Am I safe?

                       

                      Thank you!!

                      • 8. Re: iMac late 2015 (skylake) after effects experiences?
                        Szalam Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                        ashcello93 wrote:

                         

                        ...looking to use Raytracing...AMD Radeon R9 M395 (2gb)

                         

                        Am I safe?

                         

                        ...

                        No.

                         

                        If you really want to use the ray-traced renderer (which is considered obsolete), you need (and I mean NEED) to have an NVIDIA card (ideally of the GTX 700 series or GTX 900 series). The ray-traced renderer is prohibitively slow running on the CPU, so you need to run it on the GPU, but it is NVIDIA technology and requires certain NVIDIA cards to accelerate it, so the AMD card in that iMac is not going to be of any use to you with the ray-traced renderer.

                         

                        That being said, the ray-traced renderer is something I completely ignore and I would suggest you do the same. The After Effects team at Adobe isn't developing it anymore so it is basically dead. There is a much more powerful option that comes included with AE for free (and, on that iMac, it will render faster than the ray-traced renderer). It's Cinema 4D Lite INCLUDED FOR FREE. More info here.

                         

                        Now, if you want a fast-rendering 3d solution that uses any decent GPU (NIVIDIA or AMD), I'd recommend Element 3d, Mettle's ShapeShifter, and/or Zaxwerks 3d Invigorator. They all provide some unique and quick solutions for various 3d tasks and I like all of them for various reasons. Element has quickly become an industry stable, but don't overlook some of the other options. ShapeShifter, is an under-appreciated plugin. You can do some really neat things with it ShapeShifter that you can't do with Element (or even a full-fledged 3d package like Cinema 4D, Blender, or Maya without a lot of work). Not enough people know about it.

                         

                        HOWEVER, if you're new to AE, I wouldn't worry about any of the 3d options just yet. After Effects is a lot more complicated than it initially appears and, if you want to be successful at using it (or, heck, even enjoy using it at all), you really, really, really need to get a solid foundation in how it works and how to work with it. PLEASE, do yourself a favor and go here first when you get AE. Go through all of the linked resources (especially the Andrew Devis tutorials). If you skip this and just try to jump straight into the "cool 3d stuff", you are going to end up in a world of frustration.

                         

                        Now, as to your prospective computer purchase. I would recommend against an iMac for After Effects work. They're a great choice for photographers using Photoshop and Lightroom, but I wouldn't use them for video work of the level you're talking about. The problem with iMacs is that they're, essentially, notebook-level components without the portability. (They are, however, attached to a gorgeous screen.)

                         

                        For doing heavy-duty motion graphics and visual effects, you really want the flexibility and power of a workstation. So that leaves you with the Mac Pro (which professionals in the industry really don't care for) or a Windows workstation. Personally, I have been fairly impressed with Windows lately. I use both Windows and Mac for my AE work and I find you get a lot more bang for your buck with PC's these days. Windows 7 and Windows 10 both work really well with the entire CC suite of software and have been very stable. And, if you don't mind buying used and upgrading some parts yourself, you can get a machine for around $800 that performs better than the highest end Mac Pro you can buy new. (I know because I just built a new workstation based off of a used Dell workstation I got off of eBay and it is fantastic.)

                         

                        For working with AE, you want at least three hard drives - and you can't get that in an iMac. An SSD for your OS and software. An SSD for AE's cache. And a big hard drive for your footage, assets, and renders.

                         

                        However, if you are dead set on getting an iMac (they are really pretty), the specs you've listed are okay for AE (assuming you take my advice and never use the ray-traced renderer). However, you're going to want to get some extra storage because 512 GB is not much when it comes to video. You'll likely be rendering intermediate files out of AE at some point and lossless HD video takes up A LOT OF SPACE. If you've never worked with it before, you will be shocked.

                         

                        I hope this helps.

                        • 9. Re: iMac late 2015 (skylake) after effects experiences?
                          ashcello93 Level 1

                          WOW! Thank you so much, that helps a lot!

                           

                          Yes, I absolutely plan on building a strong foundation first, gotta walk before i can run!

                           

                          You've killed my soul a bit, I was hoping the iMac would be a worthy purchase (they are pretty), and I've always used macs, and Ive researched that the new iMacs are very close to being on par with the Macpros. guess not!

                           

                          would you recommend any particular brand (with awesome specs) on PC? Im completely lost when it comes to PC's (been a mac user forever). Id prefer to just buy a PC with everything as opposed to doing any sort of advanced customization or building it from scratch (this may seem sacrilege to most pc users).

                           

                          Thank you so much for your help!!

                          • 10. Re: iMac late 2015 (skylake) after effects experiences?
                            Szalam Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                            ashcello93 wrote:

                             

                            Ive researched that the new iMacs are very close to being on par with the Macpros. guess not!

                             

                            They are pretty close and that's kind of part of the problem I have with the Mac Pros. I want more power than Apple offers. (But I also do a lot of work with Cinema 4D where CPUs are pushed to the max.) Speaking of pushing things to the max, that's an issue I have with iMacs. Since they're basically made to look amazing, their cooling isn't as good as it could be. So, if you put a long render into it (say, an animation), it'll eventually have to throttle down to keep cool vs. a Mac Pro or PC workstation where there is plenty of airflow.

                             

                            If you've been an Apple user your whole life, I don't want to completely dissuade you from continuing that trend. There are many pros who are happy to use their Macs. I just found more value for money in PCs (especially since the internal components are pretty much identical these days).

                             

                            ashcello93 wrote:

                             

                             

                            would you recommend any particular brand (with awesome specs) on PC?

                            I'm not going to be able to give great suggestions here as I often build stuff out myself. It helps to have a bit of an IT background. And it REALLY helps that I have a significant other whose full-time job is IT work and that's coupled with a love of shopping, so we got some great deals for my new machine in my home office!

                            My current freelance machine is a used Dell we got from eBay and then we just put two Xeon processors we bought (eBay again) into it. Found 72 GB of used RAM for dirt cheap (I think that was also eBay). Threw in some SSDs we got on sale at Amazon and BAM! (Oooh, we also used an extra video card we had lying around so I can have four monitors, but that's a different discussion.) Anyway, I'm now running a Windows 10 machine that does Cinema 4D and AE work quite nicely for around $700. Even the highest end Mac Pro can't  touch my processing power, and it's literally more than ten times the price! Wow. I just looked at Apple's website to check. I have 12 cores running at 3.33 GHz (the best you get from a Mac Pro is 12 cores at 2.7) and the most RAM you can get from Apple is 64 GB.

                             

                            To be honest, with the current version of AE, you don't need quite so many cores. Aiming for a higher clock speed at the expense of cores is better. But if you do C4D work, you want the most GHz (by multiplying the clock speed by the cores) you can get. Little pro tip there for your shopping.

                             

                            You can't even use multiple cores to render in the current version of AE (CC 2015). You can (sorta) use more cores in older versions (and that's why I often work in CC 2015 and render in CC 2014 with multiprocessing), but that's another discussion too.

                             

                            The next version of AE that's coming out has some GPU acceleration, but only for some effects, not overall. So the GPU doesn't matter much for AE unless you're planning to use third-party effects (like Element, ShapeShifter, Red Giant Universe, etc.)

                             

                            ANYWAY...

                            If you're buying new, the price difference between a high end Mac Pro and a high end PC workstation isn't going to be as vastly different. It will still be significantly cheaper to get a PC and you'll be closer to getting the actual specs you want (and easier upgrading in the future). Now, Premiere Pro does use the GPU a lot (as do many popular AE plugins and third-party renderers for C4D), so you should probably consider the GPU a bit as you look down the road. I don't know of any video pros, especially using Adobe CC products who prefer AMD cards. But just try getting an NVIDIA card in any current Apple product! They used to give us the option, but no more. I know of many folks who have the old "cheese grater" Mac Pros who prefer how they work with video compared to current "trash can" Mac Pros.

                             

                            I actually still like Apple as a company. I may feel they have abandoned their professional users, but I don't hate them for it. (I could point you to some folks who used Apple products for 20 years in the video world who have now switched entirely to Windows and have some major Apple hate, but I'm not among their number.) I still use my 2011 MacBook Pro for AE CC 2015 and it works just fine, but for my main workstation, I use a PC.

                             

                            I don't know if that helps much...

                            Honestly, putting computers is kinda fun and it isn't very hard. It would be a good learning opportunity for you!

                            If you want new, check Dell. They've got some good workstations, but their website can be a bit...confusing.

                            I've heard good things about CyberPower too. They're aimed at gamers, so you'll just get a fast i7 option and no dual Xeons for the processor, but if you're just doing AE, that's probably all you need.

                            Maybe some other folks can offer some good suggestions.

                             

                            Alternatively, use the advice I've given as a guide for which Mac to buy.

                            • 11. Re: iMac late 2015 (skylake) after effects experiences?
                              ashcello93 Level 1

                              Just one final quick question (so sorry for taking any bit of your time, but you're advice is just so outstanding)

                               

                              it sounds like the distinction is, I am going to get a more powerful machine for cheaper cost on a PC and the ability to use AE and Cinema 4D  and other 3rd party plugins with greater ease and speed. Vs an iMac will be more expensive with less power, however my question is will the 3rd party plugins like you mentioned be virtually unusable? Or will they just require patience? I would like to stay at my apple home, but will get a divorce if 3rd party plugins (Especially red giant and element) are unusable. I am patient, if it has to do with slow rendering times then no biggie, buuuut if it ruins a steady workflow with major hiccups then no bueno.

                               

                              Thank you for helping this college student newbie! It has really given me the ability to make a more informed decision with my purchase.

                              • 12. Re: iMac late 2015 (skylake) after effects experiences?
                                Szalam Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                ashcello93 wrote:

                                 

                                ...will the 3rd party plugins like you mentioned be virtually unusable? Or will they just require patience?

                                Neither, really. I mean, it depends. Most third-party plugins that use GPU acceleration can use AMD cards. Check the requirements for whichever ones you're interested in to see how they do with the ones you're planning to get.

                                 

                                The next version of AE (which I saw demonstrated at NAB last month) is going to be released pretty soon (well, that's if previous release history is anything to go by) and it actually will use the GPU to accelerate some native effects. This marks a change as AE hasn't really had that before. And yes, it should use an iMac's AMD card for that as well (as far as I can tell).

                                 

                                Other than After Effects, if you're planning to use any other software, read through some of the respective forums on what they recommend. I know the Premiere Pro forum has had many threads of discussion about this sort of topic too.

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