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Yup. For the time being, that's an OSX limitation.
It'd be great to unlock the full potential of the 64-bit OS and allocate more RAM per-process, but for now, that's the cap.
darn, thanks for the reply.
To be clear, the report of the RAM being used is for the foreground application. The background instances that are spawned when the Render Multiple Frames Simultaneously option is selected are not reported in that number. They can and will use all the RAM you can feed them (up to a maximum amount of 2-4GB).
from "Memory usage and storage" page of After Effects Help:
"The operating system imposes certain limits on the amount of memory that an application can use. After Effects on the Mac OS X operating system can use up to 3.5 GB of RAM, although only about 3 GB is actually available to the foreground application, because Mac OS X uses approximately 500 MB to load the user interface libraries. After Effects on 32-bit Windows operating systems can use up to 3 GB of RAM; however, to use more than 2 GB in After Effects, you must configure Windows XP or Windows Vista appropriately. After Effects on 64-bit Windows operating systems can use up to 4 GB of RAM with no special configuration.
Note: These numbers are for each After Effects process. The background processes used to render multiple frames simultaneously can each use the amount of RAM mentioned above."
thanks Todd, following your link to an additional page I found this
"If background processes are used for rendering, then the main foreground application is not used for rendering. Therefore, creating background processes only adds to the total number of processes used for rendering if enough resources are available for at least two background processes to run."
Which leads me to believe that on my Dual core G5 I will gain nothing by enabling multiprocessing (in CS3), Is that correct?
> Which leads me to believe that on my Dual core G5 I will gain
> nothing by enabling multiprocessing (in CS3), Is that correct?
Not necessarily. If you've given little RAM to the foreground application, then you may have enough for 2GB for each of two background processes. But then your RAM previews will be very short, since the foreground application's RAM is used to collect those frames.
Whether you'll benefit from enabling Render Multiple Frames Simultaneously depends on a lot of things, including the complexity/size of your composition. Give it a shot; do some tests.
FWIW, I don't use Render Multiple Frames Simultaneously on my personal two-core laptop until I'm rendering for final output. That's just what happens to make the most sense for my personal projects. But I almost always leave Render Multiple Frames Simultaneously on on the four-core machine that I use for work.
Thanks Todd, really appreciate getting answers to these questions.
On a Dual Chip? Probably not.