I'm guessing that your computer is defaulting to the uncompressed animation codec.
For better playback in after effects try setting your preview to adaptive resolution.
Here's what I would try for rendering:
In your render settings, click output module, and set the format to Quicktime,
in that window, there is a button called format options- this is where you can change the drop down video codec to H.264
or if you have the option, I recommend rendering through Media Encoder, it's a simpler process to get to H.264
You should never use Quicktime H.264. Apple never really supported that format in a QT container, it's buggy, it gives you poor results and it has never been a real good idea.
If your project requires rendering through the Output Module in AE's render cue then the best practice is to render a digital intermediate using a visually lossless format and then import that file into the Adobe Media Encoder and use the H.264 presets that match your intended use. Monkeying with the knobs in any encoder without a thorough knowledge of encoding, formats, video standards and delivery requirements is asking for trouble. Don't create custom settings until you know what you are doing.
I love Adobe Media Encoder, but I feel like default export out of After Effects ought to be a high bitrate H.264 codec mp4 - (the default in media encoder).
Is there a good reason why this isn't the case? Is this because people would complain about alpha options being hidden in menus? H.264 seems purposely hard to find in AE's render queue.
and, often when I don't want H.264, I often have to use an extension like AEmpeg to the the file I want, it just seems a little backwards.
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The render cue works directly in AE processing a frame at a time, which is the way AE renders natively. The AME is a delivery format rendering engine and it does a lot better job with MPEG - not all frames are real but many are made up from guesses - compression. There is no way for the Output Module to look at more than one frame at a time, therefore it is a poor choice for rendering h.264 or any MPEG format. To get the best out of your video you need multi-pass rendering.
Most folks that complain about the lack of formats in the AME do not fully understand how AE processes video. Maybe it will change in the future, but for now the fastest way to a visually lossless frame based digital intermediate is the Render Cue and the best way to render a delivery format is the AME.
Good to know.
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