10 Replies Latest reply on Feb 2, 2012 8:46 AM by dh91

    Will the 2012 MacBook Pro "up" the usability of After Effects?

    dh91 Level 1



      I know it is not really possible to answer this with 100% certainty, but lets say assuming Apple doesn't mess up the next generation of macbook pro's (due out sometime in the first half of the year), will those computers be capable of running After Effects fast and efficiently?


      The model i'm looking at now is the upper level 15inch (with matte screen). It has a 2.4 ghz quad core i7 processor. Intel graphics 3000 (meh) with a Radeon HD 6770M with 1GB GDDR5, 4gb of ram (upgrading that seperately).


      We are too far into 2012 for me to not wait for the next refresh, so based on the assumption that the model i'm looking at will be replaced with a better processor (intel's new Ivy Bridge), how does the usability of AE look?


      I am comparing this to my current MacBook Pro, a Mid-2009 2.53 ghz intel core2duo with 8gb ram and.. an ndvidia 9400m graphics card with 256mb of vram. (at the time I didn't really use AE, so I went with the lower end 15inch without the dedicated graphics card)


      Right now, as soon as a project becomes 3d or has any complexity to it, AE becomes almost unusable. New changes are slow to render, I have to view at half or lower resolution in order to see a preview without waiting 30 seconds. If the project gets complex enough (and im sure not even "complex" by most standards), I get crashes due to opengl and other things which I mostly attribute to the bad video card.


      I feel like with the newer macbook pro's I will be able to focus more on productivity rather than "can the computer handle that 3d effect?"


      I'm trying to teach myself particular and lots of other 3d plugins, and as of now, it's hard to do that because i can't quickly assess what i'm doing wrong or what.


      Some of you may say i should go with a desktop and such. But being in college, portability is of utmost importance. I also feel like i get more creative when i'm sitting in the library.


      So any thoughts on this issue would be greatly appreciated. Hopefully the current (and next) gen macbook pro's have what i'm realistically looking for. I seem to think they do (considering what i'm using now), but I would also like your opinions.





        • 1. Re: Will the 2012 MacBook Pro "up" the usability of After Effects?
          Mylenium Most Valuable Participant

          I'm trying to teach myself particular and lots of other 3d plugins,


          Erm, but do they use any OpenGL? Particular doesn't and neitehr does Form. They are 100% CPU code and at best memory intense, but 8GB is quite a bit to go on. Sorry to disappoint, whatever problems you are having come from elsewhere. That doesn't preclude they could be graphics related, but in no way tied to a specific plug-in but if at all rather AE's own crappy stuff like Media Core or its flakey composition OpenGL. And being dependent on Apple's whim to allow NVidia fix their graphics drivers certainly doesn't help. *booh* And you are all too quickly ruling out otehr things like footage I/O possibly killing you or your system doing something wierd in teh background. So for what it's worth, unless you can specifically can figure out why your stuff is slow, you could be throwing a lot of money on a new aluminium brick and not achieve anything.



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          • 2. Re: Will the 2012 MacBook Pro "up" the usability of After Effects?
            bogiesan Level 4

            It's simple math.

            3D in DV tripled processing needs. HD is a geometric progression in complexity approaching a factor of 9. when you hit 3D in HD, that goes up by at least a power of 3 to more than 27 times the memory and computational effort, just to handle the number of pixels involved in the base layers. Each effect and stuff like motion blur is compounding the processing and memory load. Some effects are written better than others.

            1 person found this helpful
            • 3. Re: Will the 2012 MacBook Pro "up" the usability of After Effects?
              dh91 Level 1

              I did turn off openGL and that seems to have sped things up a bit, but I also do work with plugins like Magic Bullet Looks, and it is nothing short of a nightmare as far as performance goes. It took me a couple days to finally figure out that the program wouldn't even work when it was configured to render off the GPU. Instead of displaying the desired color adjustment, I would get this really nasty yellow-orange color that would not go away nor change. I tried lots of things: reinstalling, trashing preferences, checking to see if my drivers were up to date (apparently they can't be upgraded any more), reinstalling AE, turning off openGL. Eventually I went and switched the processing from GPU to CPU, and hoila, I finally got a picture, but it still takes 20 minutes to render 30 seconds of color corrected footage. I contacted Red Giant on the issue, and after they went through the paces diagnostically (e.g. have you tried this? Have you tried that?), they told me that most likely the video card is not up to the task.


              And what Bogiesan said makes it sound like you need a computer with power to work easily with intensive programs and 3d. Somehow, I think a core i7 and dedicated graphics will allow me to work much more easily, to say nothing about the need for a matte screen.


              Thanks for your replies.

              • 4. Re: Will the 2012 MacBook Pro "up" the usability of After Effects?
                bogiesan Level 4

                Well, it's really SIMPLE math. And simpley getting a CPU that is 30 times faster or installing 30 times more memory does not yield 30 times the performance, you wil only see incermental improvements.


                There is a weird expectation that has crept into the csonmer side of the equation. Sorry to bring it up, but when I was using CoSA (AE before it was After Effects), my Mac tooka weekend to render ten seconds of one effect on eone layer. We still got our work done and we had a great time doing it.


                If you want to do 3D in a big way, you decide on your 3D application and then study the platforms built for that app. There are big numbers of Macintosh users moving to those hug HP workstations to get the work done. Then they go back to the Mac to do the compositing. Other outfits are abondoning their Macintoshes but these are, for the most part, specialized shops.

                • 5. Re: Will the 2012 MacBook Pro "up" the usability of After Effects?
                  Navarro Parker Level 3

                  If I may chime in, expecting a quad core laptop with 4GB of RAM to perform like a 12 core Mac Pro tower is a little more than wishful thinking.

                  • 6. Re: Will the 2012 MacBook Pro "up" the usability of After Effects?
                    bogiesan Level 4

                    Thanks, I just couldn't think of a nice way of saying that.

                    • 7. Re: Will the 2012 MacBook Pro "up" the usability of After Effects?
                      dh91 Level 1

                      bogiesan wrote:


                      Thanks, I just couldn't think of a nice way of saying that.


                      Judging by the way you guys gave your answers above, I would hate to see your mean answers.


                      I'm smart enough to know that a quad core with only 4 gb of ram will not match up to a 12 core mac pro, but then again I didn't say I thought it could. I can't afford a Mac Pro anyway. I'm in school, and I need something that I can carry around with me. I really love OSX, and DON'T like Windows (in any of its post XP iterations). I have an established workflow on OSX that I would rather not change.


                      If i purchased the quad core macbook pro, the first thing i would do is upgrade the ram. I KNOW 4 gb of ram is not good enough,that's why I upgraded my current laptop a long time ago. Thing is, it can't be upgraded any further. I was doing research, and apparently the 2011 macbook pros will accept and use 16 gb of ram. When this first happened, it cost as much as the laptop to upgrade, but now it's only around $250 from crucial.


                      My macbook pro is also plagued by an EFI firmware issue that Apple refused to recognize and fix. As soon as I swapped out the old drive for a faster drive with greater capacity, the system would refuse to acknowledge the OS. After literally a month of troubleshooting and agony I realized I could revert the EFI firmware back to an older version. Everything seemed to work, but who knows if this issue has contributed to my less than desired performance. All i know is that if i follow software update and upgrade the EFI, my computer literally becomed a brick.

                      • 8. Re: Will the 2012 MacBook Pro "up" the usability of After Effects?
                        bogiesan Level 4

                        People around here can have REALLY thin skin. We never know how to assess unstated levels of knowledge or experience.

                        RAM isn't the issue with After Effects and its performance. It helps, go ahead and buy all yo want, but RAM just stores stuff, stuff that still has to be processed.

                        Your workflow, whatever it might be, may be a collection of your favorite routines but it may not make you any money. If that's not your goal, we have not been having the same conversation, my fault for not asking the correct questions earlier. Portability is a luxury with students but you must operate within the limitations of your hardware choice. To do otherwise leads only to frustration.

                        And I'm giving up my Macintoshes only after they peel my cold fingers off 'em.

                        Sorry, I don't understand your reference to EFI. I could look it up…wait…nope, couldn't find a definition that suits me, just endless complaints and a few magical snake oil-style cures. Thankfully, that's not an After Effects issue.

                        • 9. Re: Will the 2012 MacBook Pro "up" the usability of After Effects?
                          TimeRemapper Level 4

                          Here's my 2 cents:


                          The display adpater/gfx card...rule out for After Effects. If you're doing 3D work in a dedicated 3D app, then yes, splurge. Especially if it's complex 3D work.


                          Aside from that, After Effects relies on:

                          • fast (and as many as you can have) processors
                          • lots of good, fast RAM (enough to feed your hungry processors...think 2GB/core)
                          • fast disk i/o (as fast as you can...limited with a lappy, but SSD may help with increased drive sizes, but still can't compete to magnetic for $)


                          You can never totally predict what Apple will release. Make yourself a budget, and get the best thing you can afford to maintain a stable workflow and reliable backup system. If you're getting into the video/animation world, consider backups via a dockable USB SATA drive device to plug in raw HDs. This will allow you to plug one in, offload a couple of terabytes of data, and forget about it until next month.

                          • 10. Re: Will the 2012 MacBook Pro "up" the usability of After Effects?
                            dh91 Level 1

                            TimeRemapper wrote:


                            Here's my 2 cents:



                            Thanks for the input. I do currently have and use a 2tb FW 800 drive. It's a Seagate Goflex, and the bottom has an adapter for the type of interface I want (USB, FW 800) and I found out yesterday that they are releasing a Thunderbolt adapter. So when I upgrade to a new machine, all i need to do is get the thunderbolt adapter and the drive is compatible with that technology.


                            I also hear that Intels Ivy Bridge processors bring native support for USB 3.0. Of course, whether Apple implements that is anyones guess (probably not because of Thunderbolt), but if that were to happen I would be prepared for that as well.



                            Bogiesan, I do hope to hopefully make money someday doing what i'm doing, but right now I am definitely in the learning stages. I would love to have a Mac Pro, but I spend most of my day away from my dorm room and therefore would be away from the desktop. If i have free time inbetween classes, I go to the library and fire up After Effects to try and recreate a cool effect i've seen (right now i am working on my own version of the Fringe TV intro.. just because I feel like I will learn a lot from doing so, and it's fun.)


                            I guess i goofed on what i meant to say about workflow. I'm definitely open to new possibilities as far that is concerned, I feel like a lot of professionals use similar workflows (but i could be wrong). I like to use ProRes 422 for just about everything. If the footage comes from my camera, it comes in as ProRes to use with Final Cut Pro (although recent events may be changing that). If that video footage needs work done in After Effects, it comes in as ProRes and leaves as ProRes. When a project is finished in Final Cut, it leaves as ProRes and is sent to MPEG Streamclip if I want an uploadable H264 .mp4 ,and on my Mac it seems like a very simple, albeit effective, process. Of course, I could be overlooking a lot of better workflows, and if that is the case then I would welcome suggestions. I like OSX because that is what makes it simple, yet effective.