7 Replies Latest reply on Sep 10, 2009 8:11 AM by ingvarai

    How to improve AE's performance

    ingvarai Level 1

      I have a Panasonic HMC 151 and it outputs MTS (this is AVCHD) files. I have used Sony Vegas as my NLE video editor now for more than a year, and acquired After Effects to work on certain scenes, where an NLE editor comes short. I am a little disappointed by AE's performance. Don't misunderstand - I like AE a lot! It can do miracles, and it will definitely become a much used tool in my toolbox. But at the same time, I had thought i would eploy all possible CPU resources, to speed up things.

       

      I have an MTS file, 10 seconds long, and put this on the timeline in AE, no effects applied at all. I render it out to AVI, best settings. AE uses 4 minutes for this render. I load the same MTS file in Sony Vegas, and render out to AVI here too. Vegas uses 23 seconds! And the resulting files are almost exactly the same size. By using the Windows task manager, I can se that when rendering in AE, the render job occuopies 23% resources. In Vegas, on the other hand, it is all the way up - 93-97%. I have a Quad Core and obviously After Effects use only a fraction of my PC's available horsepower.

       

      As it is, rendering speed is not my main issue. I am more interested in increasing the general performance when working in AE, previewing, applying effects and so on. And when it comes to this, things are surprisingly slow, and my CPU is mostly idle, or about 25% occupied.

      Is there a performance setting in AE I have overlooked? Something like "use n number of cores"?

       

      ingvarai

        • 2. Re: How to improve AE's performance
          ingvarai Level 1

          MadsRH,

           

          thanks, this is helpful, although I know some of it already.

          But what I really am interested in, is to what extent I can adjust the performance under som kind of "Preferences dialog". Being a Sony Vegas user, I always come back to this application . Here I can set the amout of RAM used for preview (render to RAM), and also the number of threads used for rendering (max 16 in Vegas). Vegas also has the ability tu use several PCs on the network to assist rendering operations, the same applies to 3D modeling application Carrara, which I use a lot.

           

          To use other words - I wonder if it is possible, if there is a way to tell AE to use more of my PC's power. I plan to upgrade to an i7 CPU, or even consider a mobo with dual i7 CPUs. Multimedia apps are really heavy beasts, untile they render real time, they can never get fast enough IMO. I know Sony Vegas and Carrar definitely will benefit from more horsepower, the question is to what extent After Effects is written to take advantage of multicore computers with tons of RAM.

           

          ingvarai

          • 3. Re: How to improve AE's performance
            Adolfo Rozenfeld Adobe Employee

            ingvarai:

            Before anything, it's worth noting that comparing After Effects to any editing application just in terms of file I/O is not a good idea. Obviously, editing software will be speedier at that. AE performance should be evaluated in the conext of complex layering and image processing, which is what it's designed to do. In ohter words, measuring how long it takes for AE to render a bare video clip is not representative of what you may want to do in After Effects.

             

            That said, After Effects has a very powerful multiprocessing scheme in which it spawns a rendering instance (not a thread but a whole headless version of the application) for each core in your computer. So, for a quad core CPU, for example, AE could transparently use 4 rendering instances. However, this requires that you have at least 2 GB of RAM per core, or it will counterproductive - the background rendering processes would starve and slow things down. To enable this feature, go to Preferences > Memory and multiprocessing and enable the "Render Multiple Frames Simultaneously" section. If you don't have at least 2 GB per processor/core, it's important that you limit the number of instances so they do get no less than 2 GB of RAM each.  You do this by setting a number of cores/processors free for other applications in this section. Also, it's not a good idea to spawn rendering instances for virtual cores (i7 familiy processors may report twice as many cores as there physicial ones because of hyperthreading).

             

            For more information, see the After Effects Help page on Memory and multiprocessing preferences.

             

            Note that for formats like AVCHD, if your project is more I/O intensive than processor intensive (several footage items with little processing), you may see little improvement because interframe/temporal compression is very intensive to decode. If at all possible, it's not a bad idea to convert these items to a lossless/uncompressed format-codec combination for beter performance. For typical AE projects, ie lots of layering and composting operations, the "Render Multiple Frames Simulataneously" feature can provide drastic improvements in rendering speeds. Again, it depends on the nature of the project.

            • 4. Re: How to improve AE's performance
              Todd_Kopriva Level 8

              There's a whole section of After Effects Help dedicated to this question: "Improve performance"

              1 person found this helpful
              • 5. Re: How to improve AE's performance
                ingvarai Level 1


                Adolfo,

                thanks a lot! This is precisely what I am after.

                Note that for formats like AVCHD, if your project is more I/O intensive than processor intensive (several footage items with little processing), you may see little improvement because interframe/temporal compression is very intensive to decode. If at all possible, it's not a bad idea to convert these items to a lossless/uncompressed format-codec combination for beter performance.

                Yes, I have seen this many times, and detest the whole idea, becasue it adds more steps to my workflow. As a matter of fact, it seems to be unneccesary, since the improvemet I achieved following your instructions, is huge. Having adjusted tje AE settings, the render time went down from 4 minutes to 33 seconds, which is just where I want it to be. I am impressed! Now I will eagerly test some of my projects to see if my the general user experience also will be better, if AE becomes more snappier and responsive. BTW, I have 8 Gb of RAM.

                 

                ingvarai

                • 6. Re: How to improve AE's performance
                  Adolfo Rozenfeld Adobe Employee
                  Now I will eagerly test some of my projects to see if my the general user experience also will be better, if AE becomes more snappier and responsive.

                  No, it may improve drastically the time it takes to build RAM previews, but it won't speed up UI interactions. For that, setting Fast Previews to OpenGL - Interactive could help, for many (but not all) features. Also, you could enable "Hardware Accelerate Composition, layer and footage panels" in Preferences > Display. For all this, of course, make sure your graphics card/driver combo is listed in this page. If it affects stability in any way, just keep it off.

                   

                  But, yes, the Help page Todd mentioned should provide a lot of useful tips. For example, working at full resolution when you use 1080 footage may be overkill considering the kind of screen real state required for that to make sense. Using the new auto setting in the Resolution menu, in which resolution automatically follows zoom ratio, and then setting zoom to 50 per cent (for example) is a great idea. That in itself will give a much smoother experience.

                  1 person found this helpful
                  • 7. Re: How to improve AE's performance
                    ingvarai Level 1
                    Also, you could enable "Hardware Accelerate Composition, layer and footage panels" in Preferences > Display.


                    Done! (My graphics card is supported).

                    All adjustments so far have been real improvements!

                     

                    ingvarai