5 hours for 4 minutes of video sounds perfectly normal. given the fact your computer specs barely qualifies for Ae's system requirements, I would say you are lucky to finish a project. As for GPU, most of Ae does not benefit from GPU acceleration. You could try to enable it for effects in the project settings if there's an option for you there. It probably won't help anyway.
What I would do with such a long composition is render a lossless version in QT Animation and then use that for encoding in AME so I can experiment with different compressed outputs without the need to render the whole thing all over again.
Perfectly normal? Not to me it doesn't, I've edited Battlefront footage and added stuff in for a 10 minute video and only ended up with an hours render time, but the time is completely dependent on what is in the video.
cristian™ what sort of animation have you done and what is the audio spectrum like? Are you rendering from AE or AME?
Welcome to Adobe software. Get used to it. Or don't use it.
While a 1.5GHz machine might make it to the finish line, it isn't going to win any render races.
I would also recommend to use Media Encoder application. It may show you other options about rendering.
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Are still asking why it takes so long or are you just sharing your video? If the former nobody can tell you much based on the finished product. As well as what effects you used It also depends on your workflow, the exact specs of images you used. Two images that are visually identical can require drastically different resources. I might get handed a file that slows AE down to a crawl but after I convert that same image to more a efficient format, pixel density, etc... it's like it's not even there. And their physical size on disc can be exactly the same.
Based on your initial post it seems you do not know alot about After Effects & as others have pointed out your system specs barely meet requirements. Without detailed information about all your assets and how you employed them I don't think anybody is going to be able to tell you why your render times are what they are or what you need to change to speed them up other than your hardware.
These types of problems are inevitable when we really don't understand the tools we're using.
Unfortunately there are not alot of learning resources I am aware of that go into great detail about render setting, codecs, formats etc...
They usually just show you what to set it at (if your lucky).
The detailed info that there is out there about these subjects is very dense (at least for me) & at times can seem like they're written in Chinese..unless you're Chinese, I suppose.
Keywords: prerendering, pre-composing, baking animation, optimizing assets, efficient workflow....
Nobody tells me how to make After Effects use the GPU. But it's ok. Thank you all for the support.
I believe somebody already told you that AE does not use the GPU for final rendering and suggested using media encoder although i doubt that will make much difference and like I said your workflow may also be a significant part of the inefficiency. No way to know really I believe there may be some external rendering engines that might be able to render AE projects but I'm not sure. Octane Renderer pops into my head but I dont know much about it. You might want to look into it.