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Why no AMD Firepro Cards?

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Rex Polanis
Why no AMD Firepro Cards?
on Jul 13, 2012 at 7:36:04 pm

I just updated to After Effects CS6 and I couldn't wait to use the Ray-traced 3D feature. I have the AMD Firepro V7900 graphics card and figured it would eat extrusions for breakfast. I have read that the Firepro works perfectly with 3D Max and Cinema 4D. However, Adobe is a different story!!!!

Using the AMD Firepro; The render time for a 5 second ray-traced animation was just over 2.5 hours. Compared to CS 5.5 using the 3D Extruder Script (from aescripts.com) it only takes 5 minutes. But I read that using a Nvidia CUDA enabled card cuts ray-traced render times down considerably. Boo!!!

Does anyone know Why did Adobe purposely based their software on Nvidia CUDA cards and nothing else? This really bugs me because AE CS6 does not take full advantage of my graphics card while other high end software does.

Will Adobe mend their ways and offer a update that will exploit other cards that are not Nvidia? Thank you.

One man with courage makes a majority.

Canon 7D
Sony Vegas Pro 11
Adobe CS5.5 Master Suite


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Kevin Camp
Re: Why no AMD Firepro Cards?
on Jul 13, 2012 at 8:29:12 pm

i can't speak for adobe... but i can say that the raytrace feature does not use opengl or opencl for acceleration as most of the other 3d softwares do. it is using the cuda cores to process the math involved for the rendering.

i will say that you may want to take a look at video copilot's element:

https://www.videocopilot.net/products/element/

it does use opengl and you should get nice hardware acceleration from your setup.

Kevin Camp
Senior Designer
KCPQ, KMYQ & KRCW


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Rex Polanis
Re: Why no AMD Firepro Cards?
on Jul 13, 2012 at 8:34:00 pm

They finally released that!!! I was wondering how much longer Kramer was going to take making that plugin. Thanks Kevin.

I love my AE, so I hope Adobe decides to open up the software to the rest of the world using other graphics cards.

One man with courage makes a majority.

Canon 7D
Sony Vegas Pro 11
Adobe CS5.5 Master Suite


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Walter Soyka
Re: Why no AMD Firepro Cards?
on Jul 13, 2012 at 9:30:36 pm

[Rex Polanis] "Does anyone know Why did Adobe purposely based their software on Nvidia CUDA cards and nothing else?"

Adobe has used NVIDIA's OptiX ray-tracing library for their new 3D renderer. With an appropriate CUDA-enabled NVIDIA card, this can render on the GPU instead of just the CPU.

AMD does not currently offer a comparable library.


[Rex Polanis] "This really bugs me because AE CS6 does not take full advantage of my graphics card while other high end software does. "

Other 3D apps like Max and C4D may use DirectX or OpenGL acceleration for their viewports, but this is not the same as actual production renders on the GPU.


[Kevin Camp] " i can say that the raytrace feature does not use opengl or opencl for acceleration as most of the other 3d softwares do. it is using the cuda cores to process the math involved for the rendering. i will say that you may want to take a look at video copilot's element"

Element is very cool (see my rave mini-review below [link]), and you can do an awful lot with, but it is not a ray-tracer. Things like truly realistic lighting, shadows, transparency, reflection, and refraction are not doable with OpenGL, which is why OpenGL is not used for most production renderers. OpenCL is comparable to CUDA in allowing mathematical processing (instead of graphical processing) on the GPU, but OpenCL renderers in general are still very new.

Honestly, I don't think the ray-tracer is the killer feature in CS6, anyway -- the global performance cache is.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Brian Charles
Re: Why no AMD Firepro Cards?
on Jul 13, 2012 at 10:21:38 pm

[Walter Soyka] "Honestly, I don't think the ray-tracer is the killer feature in CS6, anyway -- the global performance cache is.
"


Agree completely. Ray-tracing in in AE is a good feature, if you need ray-traced 3D in AE without an nVidia card, look at Invigorator Pro 6.0



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Rex Polanis
Re: Why no AMD Firepro Cards?
on Jul 13, 2012 at 11:01:58 pm

Does Invigorator work with lights and shadows in AE CS6?

One man with courage makes a majority.

Canon 7D
Sony Vegas Pro 11
Adobe CS5.5 Master Suite


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Brian Charles
Re: Why no AMD Firepro Cards?
on Jul 14, 2012 at 2:08:23 pm

[Rex Polanis] "Does Invigorator work with lights and shadows in AE CS6?
"


Yes.



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Rex Polanis
Re: Why no AMD Firepro Cards?
on Jul 13, 2012 at 10:58:35 pm

Thank you! That was a very detailed answer.

I still would like my software to use my graphics card; even if it doesn't contain a complete OptiX ray-tracing library. Adobe did push and market this particular feature but didn't make it common knowledge that it requires a Nvidia CUDA card to fully exploit it. The AMD Firepro V7900 was made to handle stuff like this and the fact that Adobe only wants it's software to use Nvidia CUDA screams of special interest to me. This just annoys me. I spent money on a card I thought would expedite my editing needs and found out that I just wasted money.

One man with courage makes a majority.

Canon 7D
Sony Vegas Pro 11
Adobe CS5.5 Master Suite


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Walter Soyka
Re: Why no AMD Firepro Cards?
on Jul 15, 2012 at 4:21:39 pm

[Rex Polanis] "I still would like my software to use my graphics card; even if it doesn't contain a complete OptiX ray-tracing library. "

I hear you. You have a nice and expensive professional-grade GPU, and you want to put it to use.

It should perform well in some other DCC applications. The sorts of things that workstation-caliber GPUs like the FirePro are good at are generally things like live OpenGL rendering and high-quality, high-speed anti-aliasing that improve viewport performance with complicated models in 3D/CAD applications.

It may seem counter-intuitive, but After Effects has never used a GPU well in its 19-year history. The things that graphics cards are traditionally good at are not really applicable to the things that AE needs to do.

The now-defunct OpenGL renderer was a disaster that caused more problems than it solved. CS6 is the first version of AE that can reliably render anything on any GPU at all. Again, it's important to understand that AE is not using the graphics card for in a traditional sense -- it's using the graphics card for numerical calculations, not pixel-based calculations.



[Rex Polanis] "Adobe did push and market this particular feature but didn't make it common knowledge that it requires a Nvidia CUDA card to fully exploit it."

I do think that the ray-tracer has been way over-hyped, largely by the community, but in fairness, the system requirements [link] are very clear about which graphics cards are supported for GPU acceleration.

I actually like the idea that that you can buy specific hardware for the best performance -- it makes it easier to purpose-build a system. For now, an NVIDIA GPU is like an ICE board for a new generation of AE users.

Is there another app you're using that really benefits from the FirePro over an NVIDIA GeForce or Quadro?



[Rex Polanis] "The AMD Firepro V7900 was made to handle stuff like this and the fact that Adobe only wants it's software to use Nvidia CUDA screams of special interest to me."

I certainly don't speak for Adobe, but I don't think it's fair to suggest special interest or collusion with NVIDIA here. Let's look at the industry in general for a moment, and then at Adobe specifically.

NVIDIA did some really highly innovative work on GPGPU (general purpose computation on graphics processor units) with their CUDA technology that ATI, AMD, and Intel were not able to match at the time. As a result, NVIDIA built a commanding (and well-deserved) early lead in GPU co-processing, which they compounded by developing libraries like OptiX that make it easier for developers to build applications targeting CUDA. For a while, CUDA was the only serious option for GPU co-processing, and other notable apps like Resolve actually required a CUDA card to work at all.

OpenCL is a heterogenous parallel computing library which, among other things, allows for GPGPU similarly to CUDA (NVIDIA is a major contributor to OpenCL). The downsides? OpenCL is newer than CUDA and its development tools are less mature. The upside? As you note, OpenCL is an open standard which will run on any hardware, not just NVIDIA's proprietary cards.

I don't think Adobe is interested in picking hardware -- I think they're interested in getting features out to their users.

Starting with CS6, Adobe introduced OpenCL support in Photoshop (which never supported CUDA acceleration anyway) and added OpenCL acceleration alongside the existing CUDA acceleration in the Premiere Pro's Mercury Playback Engine.

Without a library like OptiX as a starting point for the developers, I doubt that AE would have had ray-tracing in CS6 at all.

This is all pretty complex stuff in an emerging field, and it'll take some time to shake out.

In the mean time, if you want to see OpenCL support in AE's ray-tracing renderer, please consider submitting a feature request [link]. The developers actually read them all, and the more people who request a feature, the more attention it usually gets.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Rex Polanis
Re: Why no AMD Firepro Cards?
on Jul 15, 2012 at 5:24:50 pm

Walter, well said! Thank you for the enlightening response. You point out a lot of things I wasn't aware of or completely over looked in ignorance. You definitely have all your ducks in a row and have a commanding knowledge of the field. I may have to convince the wife to let me add 3D Max or Zaxwerks to my software artillery.

Thank you all for your helpful replies! Creative Cow is a awesome place.

One man with courage makes a majority.

Canon 7D
Sony Vegas Pro 11
Adobe CS5.5 Master Suite


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Walter Soyka
Re: Why no AMD Firepro Cards?
on Jul 16, 2012 at 1:29:19 am

You're welcome, Rex, and thank you for the kind words. Everything in our industry is changing very quickly right now, and it's practically a full-time job keeping up. I'm glad I was able to help out a bit in my little area of specialty.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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