7 Replies Latest reply on Aug 10, 2016 8:53 AM by cn57664331

    Slow Preview and Hardware Tuning

    cn57664331

      I've noticed that recently AE's preview has slowed significantly on a variety of projects I'm working on. We're talking anything from simple motion graphics to camera moves on 3d layers.

       

      I'm not using Raytracing, for what it's worth, and I'm on the latest version of AE on Windows 7: 13.7.1.6

       

      I have two video cards on this machine, a Geforce GTX 680 (main) and a GTX 970. The CPU is an i7-3930K, and I have 32gigs of RAM.

       

      It seems like this is a somewhat recent development, perhaps in the last month or so it's become a commonplace occurrence in my projects. Does anyone have suggestions on how I can test or tune my AE hardware configuration to find out where the bottleneck is occurring - or have you experienced something similar on comparable hardware?

        • 1. Re: Slow Preview and Hardware Tuning
          Szalam Adobe Community Professional & MVP

          Why is the GTX 970 not your main card? (Just out of curiosity.)

          Do you have the option to use hardware to accelerate your panels turned on or off?

          When you say "simple motion graphics", do you mean like one shape layer moving across your scene? Like, even in a brand new project?

          • 2. Re: Slow Preview and Hardware Tuning
            cn57664331 Level 1

            If I recall correctly, there was some evidence that a 680 could edge out the 970 on certain processor intensive tasks. For me, that meant 3dsMax renders. It's been a while since I looked into that, though, and swapping them wouldn't be an issue.

             

            Do you have the option to use hardware to accelerate your panels turned on or off?

            This option was off until earlier today, actually. I switched it on while I was testing some settings before posting my question. It didn't appear to make a difference, but experience may show otherwise.

             

            When you say "simple motion graphics", do you mean like one shape layer moving across your scene? Like, even in a brand new project?

            This includes brand new projects. An example of "simple" to me would mean slowly zooming in on a 1920x1080px jpg image while animating a shape pre-comp over it with motion blur enabled. Just standard everyday kind of stuff.

            • 3. Re: Slow Preview and Hardware Tuning
              Szalam Adobe Community Professional & MVP

              Hmmmm... talk to us about your cache setup. What sort of hard drive, how much space, etc.

              Please describe in a bit more detail what you mean by "slow". Slow to cache or slow to play back once cached? (Or both?)

              Also, please pull down the bottom of the preview panel to reveal all of the possible settings and have a poke around and tell us if you find anything odd.

               

              You say it just started happening, so that means something changed. We just need to figure out what it is! Any hardware added or plugged in? Any new software installed? Any OS updates? (Speaking of which, what version of your OS are you using?)

              • 4. Re: Slow Preview and Hardware Tuning
                cn57664331 Level 1

                Please describe in a bit more detail what you mean by "slow". Slow to cache or slow to play back once cached? (Or both?)

                Once cached it plays perfectly. The difference I'm seeing is when the preview cache is being generated. Notable instances where I've seen this lately are when there are more than a handful of layers (40+) in a composition. A slideshow with simple transitions between images would be a good example. Generally I use precomps for repeating elements, if that's a clue. Also, I typically use 32 bit color depth.

                 

                When using cameras and 3D elements and Cameras I kind of expect a certain amount of processing lag, but that also seems to have slowed down a bit too. I think some of the render times I'm seeing in these cases might be related to scale. I'm not sure how the AE 3D engine works, though. If a 3D element is scaled at 1000% far away from the camera should it take significantly longer than a 100% scaled object near the camera to render? It'd be great if there was some sort of benchmark that I could test against so I could tell if something was taking longer that it "should" for AE.

                 

                Disk Cache

                Max Size: 23GB

                SSD - Crucial M4 256GB

                Available: 80.5GB

                 

                Conformed Media Cache

                WD Black 2TB SATA

                Available: 76GB (This is current, but try to keep 200GB free)

                 

                Preview Settings

                Resolution: Auto

                Cache Before Playback: False

                 

                Windows Version:

                Version6.1.7601 Service Pack 1 Build 7601
                • 5. Re: Slow Preview and Hardware Tuning
                  Szalam Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                  cn57664331 wrote:

                  If a 3D element is scaled at 1000% far away from the camera should it take significantly longer than a 100% scaled object near the camera to render?

                  As far as I understand how AE works, no; it should be the same. As long as the image is at 100% scale visually, AE thinks of it the same. I haven't tested it to see if that's really what would happen, but I would be surprised to if there were a big difference.

                   

                  cn57664331 wrote:

                  Preview Settings

                  Resolution: Auto

                  Cache Before Playback: False

                  What are the rest of your preview settings?

                   

                  cn57664331 wrote:

                  It'd be great if there was some sort of benchmark that I could test against so I could tell if something was taking longer that it "should" for AE.

                  I know! But AE is so different system to system and project to project!

                  You could find someone else who uses AE and see how the project works on their system. Like, for example, someone on a forum to whom you could send a private message with a link to a dropbox folder containing a project with some example compositions.

                  You know, or something like that.

                   

                  Have you tried it in CC 2014 yet?

                  As you may already know, AE CC 2015 is the first step in a major re-architecture, separating the renderer from the UI for the first time in AE's 20+ year history. This is a big job and it's clearly still in progress. It's a necessary step for improving After Effects performance, but it's taking a while (and multiple versions) for them to get through it. So, during this time of transition as they're introducing elements of the new architecture, it's a good idea to keep the old version around to check weirdness and sometimes to just get a job done.

                  If you don't have the old version, it's super-easy to install.

                  • 6. Re: Slow Preview and Hardware Tuning
                    Szalam Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                    cn57664331 wrote:

                     

                    Disk Cache

                    Max Size: 23GB

                    SSD - Crucial M4 256GB

                    Available: 80.5GB

                    That's a pretty tiny cache, by the way. You might consider re-organizing some things to give AE something more to work with. In my freelance studio, I have two SSDs, one for my OS, software, etc. and one strictly for AE's cache. (Well, I use it for Premiere's cache too, but at the home studio, I'm almost exclusively AE and C4D.)

                    • 7. Re: Slow Preview and Hardware Tuning
                      cn57664331 Level 1

                      A few weeks ago I bought a 500GB SSD drive that's only used for caching. That alone made a huge difference in the day-to-day feel of After Effects. There have been updates in the software as well, but I think this was a crucial step. Thanks for the tip!