There is no way to make AE or Premiere Pro use 100% of the resources 100% of the time. Neither program are built that way. You need to make sure that you do not starve other apps of CPU power or memory. I've seen so many screenshots of the memory settings in AE where folks thought they were doing a good thing when they jacked up their memory allocation to AE so much that they didn't leave enough for background apps to run efficiently. Think in multiples of 4 GB of memory. If you are running an older version of AE that allows you to assign CPU's make sure that there is at least one pair assigned to other apps and that AE will use all of the ones that are left.
Generally if you follow Adobe's recommendations (Optimizing After Effects Performance - Adobe Support) you'll do fairly well. Pick good drives for storage, don't fill them up past about 80%, close all apps that are not necessary for your work and organize your projects and workflow in an efficient manner so you're not rendering things twice or building projects that would render in much less time if you rendered and replaced complicated effects instead of relying on dynamic link or nested comps for everything. You also need to understand what kind of hit your source footage is adding to the project. Highly compressed source files (mpeg video especially) can easily take 3 or 4 times as long to decode as a good production format. Clips that are warp stabilized should be rendered, clips that have temporal effects like time blend, frame blending and other time based effects will probably benefit from pre-rendering before you apply other effects and save you a bunch of time in the long run. I can't give you a list, you have to figure things out on your own and you have to know when 4 frames a second is a good render time and when 5 minutes per frame is also a good render time. As you gain experience you'll get a handle on it.
Thanks for your reply Rick. I guess I am just a little confused. For instance I had a composition that included camera tracking, color correction layers, time remapping. And there was no issues at all actually the program handled it quite fast. Also the dynamic link was pretty fast as well. But when I tried using a clip that the only affected the position, it started acted crazy and had a substantially longer export time. Also many compositions that ran pretty fast in the beginning of the process are also lagging. Do you think this is because it is in the latter part of the editing phase and I had created more compositions to my disk space? My disk space is only 40% used. Also I do have many after effects premiere linked sequences that are on file. But I dont open them up while after effects is running. Would that be the culprit? Thanks for the help. I value your assistance.
All the best,
If you use dynamic link it is very important that you understand that each new instance of dynamic link puts pressure on the rendering time. The more complex the AE comp the higher the likelihood is that you'll be better off rendering the Comp and using rendered footage in Premiere Pro. I render every shot longer than a few seconds that involves stabilizing or temporal changes or effects. I also render any shot that turns in to a comp with more than a few layers and any shot that involves a lot of particle use or other complex CPU intensive effects. I find that the majority of shots that stay dynamically linked to AE involve very simple things like lower thirds with editable text and simple fixes. If I need to do something like replace a sign in a window in a scene where a whole bunch of folks are walking past the window I'll use dynamic link to get the AE comp started then I'll extend the clip a bit in AE to give it some handles in case I want to retime the edit later, then I'll build the complex compositing shot in AE, render it to a suitable production format and use the DI (digital intermediate) in Premiere and delete the embedded AE file. I do this because with complex shots you have more access to rendering power inside AE when it is running as the foreground app. Until that changes, and I think it will, you have to be be very careful with the way you use Dynamic link.
It's also a very good idea to break longer edits into scenes or acts and work on them as individual sequences and then combine the scenes into the final movie. This is the way professionals work when they cut feature films and documentaries. Almost nobody with experience starts a sequence for an long move and does the whole thing in one timeline. It makes it way too difficult and dangerous to move shots round. There is a real temptation to just start editing your movie and keep everything in a single timeline because it seems logical, but the longer the project the more difficult it becomes to make changes in the middle or rearrange parts of the story so that it works better. For projects that are longer than five or ten minutes I almost always break them into sections. You end up with more pieces but it's actually a much more efficient way to work. As soon as you have picture lock for a scene you can render that and start really saving time.