22 Replies Latest reply on Jul 8, 2009 10:08 AM by dpm6300

    After Effects Multi-Core Benchmarks

    digitlman Level 1


      I have been doing some testing trying to figure out how fast after effects renders and how to

      help it render faster. So far i have been very dissapointed with the results. no matter how

      much money we spend buying the fastest systems we can i cant seem to get much of a speed

      increase. we have 8 computers with 8 cores each now. but i cant seem to get after effects to

      use the extra cores even when i have 20Gb ram and enable multi frames with 2GB per frame. i see

      it load all the extra copies in task manager but when i render each time 1 core has "some"

      usage and the other 7 are always around 10-15% usage.

      so i wanted to try a simple benchmark that everyone could try and post their results.

      so i made a ntsc dv composition default at 30 seconds and just render it. NOTHING, just blank

      frames of nothing. how fast can afx output data like this? i tried tests with multiple frames

      enabled and disabled and output to tiff files (no compression) or the microsoft DV 48khz

      preset, both with the default BEST setting.

      Now i understand that after effects and premiere have 2 completely different rendering methods

      but still it is worth pointing out that premiere will output 30 seconds of blank video or

      actual real dv video footage to a DV AVI file in about 3-4 seconds. so why is it the same

      machine takes 10 times longer to render from after effects?

      I know in premiere i can simple drop in a dv avi file and export to mpeg2 and i can watch all 8

      cores almost max out as it renders about 6X faster then realtime.

      How can i do something in after effects to see my 8 cores max out?

       

      Please give any tips or tricks to speed up after effects. We must use vista64 as we have a 30TB fibrechannel array.


      Dell Laptop M6300 - Core 2 Extreme x9000 @2.8ghz (2 cores)
      Adobe CS4 Windows XP 64 bit - 8GB ram

      Multiple OFF     Tiff=1:24
                             DV=1:24
      Multiple ON      Tiff=1:32
                             DV=1:30

      Dell Precision 690 - Dual Quad Core Xeon E5320 @1.86ghz (8 cores)
      Adobe CS4 - Windows Vista 64 bit - 4GB ram - Matrox Axio LE

      Multiple OFF     Tiff= :47
                             DV= :43
      Multiple ON      Tiff= :56
                             DV= :52

      Dell Precision T7400 - Dual Quad Core Xeon X5482 @3.2ghz (8 cores)
      Adobe CS3 - Windows XP 32 bit - 4GB ram - Matrox Axio LE

      Multiple OFF     Tiff= :30
                              DV= :30
      Multiple ON      Tiff= :31
                             DV= :30

      Dell Precision T7400 - Dual Quad Core Xeon X5482 @3.2ghz (8 cores)
      Adobe CS4 - Windows Vista 64 bit - 20GB ram - Matrox Axio LE

      Multiple OFF     Tiff= :30
                             DV= :31
      Multiple ON      Tiff= :35
                            DV= :35

        • 1. Re: After Effects Multi-Core Benchmarks
          Adolfo Rozenfeld Adobe Employee

          Digitman:

          How can a test project with zero image processing be relevant to benchmark a feature that is about splitting CPU-intensive tasks across multiple cores in a compositing application?

          I don't think the  comparison with Premiere is adequate - they are designed for different tasks. The project you describe would only show I/O performance, which I would expect to be much faster in an editing application.

          A more meaningful comparison, I think, would be rendering a CPU-intensive Composition with "Render Multiple Frames Simultaneously" turned on for all cores and then with it turned completely off, and compare the results. Then you can get really picky, and test it 4 cores versus 8, etc

           

          Here you can download the total AE benchmark project designed by Brian Maffitt, which I think could be a good example of a benchmark project that stresses performance.

          • 2. Re: After Effects Multi-Core Benchmarks
            yenaphe Level 4

            MacBook Pro 13,3 Intel Core 2 Duo @ 2,53Ghz 4Ghz Ram

            Windows 7x64 RC1

             

            Multi OFF: TIFF: 18sec

                             DV: 12sec

             

            Multi ON: TIFF: 22sec

                           DV: 14sec

             

            The loss of speed is due to the fact that i'm using the internal drive hdd so it can't really handle 2 thread writing at the same time.

            • 3. Re: After Effects Multi-Core Benchmarks
              Mylenium Most Valuable Participant

              digitlman wrote:

               

              How can i do something in after effects to see my 8 cores max out?

               

              I think you are confusing some conceptual differences in how the programs work. It's perfectly possible to make your processor glow in the dark, but only with pretty complex, processing-heavy stuff. Most of what you are seeing in your tests solelly depends on footage I/O and that's a whole lotta different to what Premiere or otehr editing programs do. AE always works on uncompressed discrete frames, meaning unlike PPro it cannot simply decode an existing data stream and pass it through to your viewer. On the contrary, everything, even HDV, gets expanded to full RGB and stored in memory for processing, which can include additional steps for color space conversion or decompressing multiple frames just to reconstruct the current one. The same happens in reverse, when you store your frames again to movie clips or image files. Ergo, by the way the whole process works, it will never be as fast as what otehr programs do. If you really wanted a true and honest benchmark, you'd have to come up with far more complex and balanced testing scenarios than just rendering some footage in and out.

               

              Mylenium

              • 4. Re: After Effects Multi-Core Benchmarks
                digitlman Level 1

                I understand your points, but you are missing the heart of my problem/question. How can i get after effects to render faster?  Why does it seem so slow when seemingly doing nothing? why is it when i do real stuff with a few things composited that my cpu's dont ever max out? NOT EVEN CLOSE

                 

                why is it sebastian's slower core 2 duo cpu in windows 7 rendered the same blank project out to a dv file in only 12 seconds?!? more then twice as fast as my tests on completely different CS3/4 and windows XP/Vista machines.

                 

                my core 2 extreme 2.8ghz took 7 times longer then his machine.

                 

                Am i missing some settings here?

                 

                I will download those benchmarks and check them out.

                 

                thanks

                • 5. Re: After Effects Multi-Core Benchmarks
                  yenaphe Level 4

                  On what drives are your source elements on ? Is it on a local drive, raid array, network, external usb/firewire ?

                   

                  Because with an empty comp, it's basically speed for I/O access as AE doesn't compute much.

                  • 6. Re: After Effects Multi-Core Benchmarks
                    digitlman Level 1

                    Drives are not a problem, we have high speed sata Raid0 arrays and 4gbit fibrechannel arrays.

                     

                    thats why i did the blank test, no source footage to load, and it is simply outputting dv 3.65MB/sec data files.

                     

                    rendering 30 second clip in 30 seconds means its only writing 3.65MB/sec anyways which any 10 year old hard drive could do.

                    • 7. Re: After Effects Multi-Core Benchmarks
                      Adolfo Rozenfeld Adobe Employee

                      Yes, hard drive speed is not a factor in this case.

                      The multiprocessing feature can in fact make file writes slower, since it has to collect the frames from all cores.

                      Now, if you have a Comp that takes an hour to render without multiprocessing, and 15 minutes with it, I think adding a minute of two to the total render times because of slower file writes is not much of a problem, is it?

                       

                      I think everyone agreed that your project is not suitable to measure multiprocessing performance in After Effects.

                      • 8. Re: After Effects Multi-Core Benchmarks
                        digitlman Level 1

                        My apologies, in retrospect it was improper for me to coin this as a multiprocessor benchmark.

                         

                        I just want to figure out how to get after effects to render faster. any tips or tricks i should know about?

                         

                        starting with the most basic function, outputting blank frames seemed like the simplest test.

                         

                        Any idea why someone else with a slower computer was able to render that in 12 seconds instead of my 30 seconds?

                         

                        i tried that benchmark and it rendered the first part in :32 seconds and the second part in 4:13

                         

                        forget about the extra cores, whats the best settings for a single cpu system?

                        • 9. Re: After Effects Multi-Core Benchmarks
                          Todd_Kopriva Level 8
                          > I just want to figure out how to get after effects to render faster. any tips or tricks i should know about?

                           

                          There are several tips here:

                          "Improve performance"

                           

                          Keep in mind that performance depends greatly on your composition and footage, so something that works to improvement in one instance may not work well in another.

                          • 10. Re: After Effects Multi-Core Benchmarks
                            Adolfo Rozenfeld Adobe Employee

                            No need to apologize, digitlman.

                             

                            Now, why do you think After Effects needs to render faster?

                            The results you got from the benchmark tests are very good.

                            Since you're unlikely to render blank video from After Effects, how about performing multi-layer compositing, which is what you are most likely to do in After Effects?

                             

                             

                             

                            forget about the extra cores, whats the best settings for a single cpu system?

                            Why would you forget the extra cores? It adds a few seconds for writing files, while it saves whole minutes to render the actual content!

                            This doesn't happen in every case, since not all projects are CPU intensive. Other projects may be more memory intensive, or I/O intensive, etc.

                            • 11. Re: After Effects Multi-Core Benchmarks
                              gklindt Level 1

                              Well we can toss around reasons for AE not using a processors full potental on a comp, but all I know is that all of the truly multithreaded and multi-processor enable applications I use are much better at using resources to their fullest than AE, or for that mater, most of the programs in the MC.

                               

                              When I run those programs my system is pushed to the limit- which is why I bought a quad core system in the first place. Mental ray, Fusion, 3D Coat, Zbrush...the list is long of programs that have no problem using all my cores for 90%-100% of opperations.

                               

                              In the end it just adds up to the fact that Adobe owns a large corner of the market- and since there is no competition, sees no reason NOT to be 5-10 years behind the curve when it comes to resource managment in their software.

                               

                              Making maters worse is how a lot of the user base is oblivious to the technological changes in processors over the last five years. These people don't know that all but one of their cores sit idle most of the time, and they buy the corp. speak put out by Adobe about "...how complex every thing is- so you don't understand...". Sorry- I may not be a programer or a processor engineer for Intel or AMD, but I know when a program is using resources or not and I know quite a few of the things Adobe has said are "...just too complicated to do..." are really covers for lack luster R and D. Either your programers need to get up to speed, or Adobe needs to actually do the right thing and set more money aside for development. I'm betting it's the later.

                               

                              Softimage 7.x is fully multithreaded and 64bit (yes all the way through not just with mr). This is a complicated program- and the development team is probably 1/10th the size of that working on PS. So why after all of these years are we still waiting for even a half baked attempt at such things on the Adobe front?

                               

                              The way AE handles RAM compared to programs like Fusion and the like is pathetic.

                               

                              Don't get me wrong- I love the program for motion graphics and simple comp work, but again, the resource management with AE feels like I'm back in OS8.

                               

                              -Gideon

                              • 12. Re: After Effects Multi-Core Benchmarks
                                yenaphe Level 4

                                I can't be the only one here maxing out AE ? I'm having a quad core with 8gb of ram, I setuped AE to use 3 cores with 7 gb of ram, and most of time it uses them at max.

                                 

                                Maybe it's not as straight forward as other apps in it's way to handle memory & process, but once you know how it works, AE is happy to eat for breakfast all the power you wanna give it.

                                • 13. Re: After Effects Multi-Core Benchmarks
                                  Adolfo Rozenfeld Adobe Employee

                                  That's correct, Sébastien.

                                  For most projects, Render Multiple Frames Simultaneously will make renders go much faster.

                                  Other than that, I am hanging here to help users, not to debate with them.

                                   

                                  So, just for the purpose of making a few points more clear:


                                  If it's about seeing your CPUs maxed out in Activity Monitor, as it happens with the 3D apps the previous poster mentioned, that will happen indeed if your project is CPU intensive. Just bear in mind you just have to look for the AEselfLink instances, not the main After Effects app. By the way, this is a  similar scheme to the one used by Apple for multi-core rendering/encoding in QMaster/Compressor, and I don't think they stayed in OS 8

                                   

                                  However, seeing all your CPUs maxed out not always brings a linear speed-up factor in rendering times. Not always an octo-core machine taxed at 800 per cent will render 8 times faster. Sometimes, not even close. In worst case scenarios, it even takes longer than no MP at all. And I don't mean just for After Effects. So, evalutating multithreading/multiprocessing by the usage percentages is not always the right way. You can in some cases get slower rendering times even if all cores are maxed out. So, It's more complicated than that.

                                   

                                  Photoshop architect Russell Williams wrote an extremely informative blog post about the advantages and limitations to multithreading.

                                   

                                  Also, It's important to note that www.barefeats.com, a web site devoted to Macintosh performance, has taken After Effects and it's multiprocessing capabilities as a standard benchmark to measure multiprocessor peformance in new Macs released by Apple. Such is the drastic speed-up factor they're seeing between 8-core, 4-core and 2-core Macs. Here is their analysis of the latest generation of Mac Pros, including AE benchmarks in which the octo-core machines take a fraction of the time to render.

                                  • 14. Re: After Effects Multi-Core Benchmarks
                                    digitlman Level 1

                                    I have also been using many other multi-threaded apps over the years. lightwave3d and 3ds max both render out 100% max of every core all the time. however in defense of adobe in this case i have to say when i downloaded the benchmark project i did actually get it to almost max out all 8 cores on one machine and completely max out all 8 cores on another so i am satisfied now that it is capable of using them all.

                                     

                                    on the other hand you are correct about them being "behind the curve" in development. How long has  it been since windows released a 64bit version? It is rather pathetic that adobe hasnt already made every app compiled for 64bit Windows. Yet of course they ported it over to the mac and it is 64bit and can use more then 4GB of ram. So the mac users get to rave about how much better their mac's are because adobe has programmed the windows version properly yet. Obciously we are all expecting CS5 to come out and be completely 64bit and solve all of our speed issues.

                                     

                                    Anyways, again the point of my thread was that it seemed wrong that AFX would go so slow at rendering blank frames. It almost seemed like a programming flaw to go that slow, which obviously trickles down to rendering real frames slower...and again why is it that guys mac could render out blank frames twice as fast as i can on my machine?

                                    • 15. Re: After Effects Multi-Core Benchmarks
                                      Impulse Fire Level 1

                                      Pentium 3

                                      100 mb's of ram

                                      5GB Hard Drive

                                      Ati onboard grqaphics 20 mb :

                                      Blu ray HD full length 2 hr film :1.2 seconds to render

                                      now beat that...

                                      • 16. Re: After Effects Multi-Core Benchmarks
                                        yenaphe Level 4

                                        Just to clear things up a little big:

                                         

                                        Adobe CS4 apps are 32bit, Mac and PC. The only way you can bypass the 4gb limit is by running several instances at the same time (for exemple in AE, you can use the render multiple frames).

                                         

                                        Now in CS4 Adobe started to develop some apps in 64bit, that's the case of Photoshop CS4 Extended on Windows (not on Mac, John Nack explains why on his blog), and Lightroom (both platforms).

                                         

                                        Now all we have to do is to cross fingers and hope that more Adobe apps will jump in the 64bit bandwagon for CS5.

                                        • 17. Re: After Effects Multi-Core Benchmarks
                                          digitlman Level 1

                                          So your saying that the mac version of cs4 is limited to only 4GB of ram for each app? Do you know that for a fact? It was my understanding that it is a 64bit OS and 64bit app and can use more then 4GB of ram on the mac.

                                          • 18. Re: After Effects Multi-Core Benchmarks
                                            yenaphe Level 4

                                            Well the Mac OS is indeed 64bit (like Vista x64) but the applications are still 32bit, so they can't take advantages of the 64bit environnement. But once again, it's 4gb per process, so that's why you can "break" (workaround would be more appropriate) the 4gb limit when you use the multiprocessing options.

                                             

                                            I'm sure Adolfo or Todd can confirm this.

                                            • 19. Re: After Effects Multi-Core Benchmarks
                                              Todd_Kopriva Level 8
                                              > So your saying that the mac version of cs4 is limited to only 4GB of ram for each app? Do you know that for a fact? It was my understanding that it is a 64bit OS and 64bit app and can use more then 4GB of ram on the mac.

                                               

                                              Sebastien's statements are correct.

                                               

                                              From "Memory usage and storage":

                                               

                                              "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."

                                               

                                              Here's a blog post about 64-bitness and Production Premium applications.

                                              • 20. Re: After Effects Multi-Core Benchmarks
                                                dpm6300 Level 1

                                                QUOTE:

                                                Dell Laptop M6300 - Core 2 Extreme x9000 @2.8ghz (2 cores)
                                                Adobe CS4 Windows XP 64 bit - 8GB ram

                                                 

                                                Hello Digitlman

                                                Sorry if my english is bad and little out of context of discussion, but i need to ask you about your Dell M6300

                                                Im also using Dell M6300,but Dell Technical Support said its only up to 4gigs of RAM

                                                 

                                                My Specs:

                                                XP 64bit

                                                Intel T9300 2.5ghz

                                                Corsair 4gb RAM

                                                Seagate Momentus 500 gb 5400rpm

                                                 

                                                It could hold up to 8gig of RAM?

                                                Your BIOS could detect that 8gigs full?is REV012 BIOS?

                                                The memory PC5300/PC6400?brand?

                                                 

                                                Regard,

                                                dpm6300

                                                • 21. Re: After Effects Multi-Core Benchmarks
                                                  digitlman Level 1

                                                  Yes 8GB works fine for us. go to their website and spec out a new one and it should show you that option.

                                                   

                                                  http://img44.imageshack.us/img44/7449/m63008gb.jpg

                                                  • 22. Re: After Effects Multi-Core Benchmarks
                                                    dpm6300 Level 1

                                                    thanx for your short answer digitlman