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Particular kind of video, Too Long render time

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Driss Devadip
Particular kind of video, Too Long render time
on Apr 18, 2017 at 3:53:37 pm

Hi Creative Cow community, I am new and glad to be able to speak with you. I am also new to video-making and I feel I am hitting a wall, so I humbly ask for your wisdom concerning this issue:

I try to make step-by-step geometric construction videos in After Effects CC, like this one





My problem is the render time getting exponentially bigger as the video is encoding (displays 3 hours at start, ends up taking 50 hrs +).


I highly suspect the sequential nature of the video to be the cause of it. or maybe I am tuning the software wrong to this specific kind of videos, because of my inexperience.

I use a 2.2 GHz, 16 GB Memory MacBook Pro

Any feedback is highly appreciated, thanks very much in advance!


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Particular kind of video, Too Long render time
on Apr 18, 2017 at 5:09:07 pm

That happens frequently. Many factors influence the total render time. The worst offenders are 3D + several lights, noise removal, and ray tracing. Rendering with ray tracing is the absolute worst.

Tell us more about the particulars of your project for a better diagnosis.

Dave LaRonde
Promotion Producer
KGAN (CBS) & KFXA (Fox) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Driss Devadip
Re: Particular kind of video, Too Long render time
on Apr 18, 2017 at 7:06:48 pm

Thanks Dave for your fast reply! Here are the informations that you might be looking for. If it is not the case, I apologize, I am quite new to the animation field.

  • The settings of the videos are 1920*1080, 60 fps, no sound. I use the standard Adobe Media Encoder preset "Youtube HD 1080p"

  • All the properties I use to animate are: Scale, Opacity, Anchor Point, Fill Colors, Stroke Width, Position. The only effect I use is Trim Paths, I use it a lot. I think this is basic stuff, is it not?

  • All the animations are animating one at a time, which the whole purpose of these videos I try to make (Thus their length).

  • In fact, there are no 3D, lights, noise removal, ray tracing nor any fancy effect that After Effects is known for.
    It all consists of 2D vector shape layers from Illustrator CC, so I have to deal with fills and strokes all day long!

  • Main composition counts a total of 700-800 vector shape layers imported from Illustrator CC, which I used to leave as is, but are now pre-comped into 7-8 pre-comps for less sluggish editing (and this also seemed to speed up the rendering)

  • At some point I started using this expression on hundreds of these shape layers and it seems to create expression errors:
  • s = transform.scale[0];
    scaleFactor = 100/s;
    value*scaleFactor;
    Research showed that it might be a potential culprit.


    Again I apologize if this is not what you need, I am a noob who's trying to get better!


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    Dave LaRonde
    Re: Particular kind of video, Too Long render time
    on Apr 18, 2017 at 11:47:54 pm

    I think it's the number of layers. 700 - 800 is a lot.

    Perhaps other people will have more ideas on what's slowing it down.

    Dave LaRonde
    Promotion Producer
    KGAN (CBS) & KFXA (Fox) Cedar Rapids, IA


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    Kevin Camp
    Re: Particular kind of video, Too Long render time
    on Apr 19, 2017 at 12:13:34 am

    your expression is pretty simple, but with hundreds of them it may be causing a slow down.... if you are done manipulating the scale of the layers, you can cover the expression to keyframes (animation>keyframe assistant>cover expression to keyframes) and see what effect that has.

    you mentioned that you were getting an error with the expression. looking at the expression, it could be due to the layer's scale being zero. if that is the case, just never set the layer to 0%, or change the first line to something like this:
    s = Math.max( scale[0], .01 );
    rasterizing of vector illustrator layers every frame also takes some render time. possibly importing those into photoshop to rasterize them at the size you need and then importing the photoshop file into ae may reduce render time.... but i think you may be importing the vector files and then converting them to shape layers to use trim paths and such, so i'm not sure that would work for you.

    you also might try rendering with the render queue in ae rather than media encoder. ae usually renders quicker. render to a good intermediate codec like quicktime photo-jpeg, prores 422 or avid's dnxhd (to name a few) and then take that rendered file into media encoder, mpeg-stream clip or handbrake (or another compressing prog) to do the compression for youtube.

    Kevin Camp
    Art Director
    KCPQ, KZJO & KRCW


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    Driss Devadip
    Re: Particular kind of video, Too Long render time
    on Apr 19, 2017 at 8:56:47 am

    Thanks Dave and Kevin for your great and detailed feedback, it is really appreciated! This forum is awesome.

    @Kevin:

  • A youtuber also suggested to convert expression into keyframes, but he also suggested to delete these keyframes after being done with manipulating and then activating the expression, he claims it to drastically reduce render time. What do you think of that?

  • So, according to you, the expression will become:
  • s = Math.max( scale[0], .01 );
    scaleFactor = 100/s;
    value*scaleFactor;

    Did I get it right?

  • I feel the same way about AE rendering faster than AME, because, as you said, the latter is also compressing while rendering. I will definitely try separating the two processes.

  • What do you think of splitting the project into 2 (or more) parts, and then joining them together in iMovie or AE? Will it have any bad consequence on the size/quality of the video?


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    Kevin Camp
    Re: Particular kind of video, Too Long render time
    on Apr 19, 2017 at 5:16:22 pm
    Last Edited By Kevin Camp on Apr 19, 2017 at 5:17:24 pm

    [Driss Devadip] "A youtuber also suggested to convert expression into keyframes, but he also suggested to delete these keyframes after being done with manipulating and then activating the expression, he claims it to drastically reduce render time. What do you think of that?"

    if there is no animation, you could delete the keyframes. I'm not sure removing the keyframes will reduce the render time significantly, but if there's no animation, you definitely don't need the keyframes.


    [Driss Devadip] "So, according to you, the expression will become:
    s = Math.max( scale[0], .01 );
    scaleFactor = 100/s;
    value*scaleFactor;
    Did I get it right?"


    correct. it wouldn't address the render time, but it might address the error you mentioned... if you voted the error message, we could troubleshoot that more, if needed.


    [Driss Devadip] "What do you think of splitting the project into 2 (or more) parts, and then joining them together in iMovie or AE? Will it have any bad consequence on the size/quality of the video?"

    unless you felt like you might make need to make changes to individual parts, and thus would avoid having to re-render the entire project if you changed just a part of it, i don't think this approach will have too much advantage... but i could be wrong.

    Kevin Camp
    Art Director
    KCPQ, KZJO & KRCW


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    Driss Devadip
    Re: Particular kind of video, Too Long render time
    on Apr 20, 2017 at 2:40:20 pm

    Sorry, I could not reply earlier. Thanks Kevin again for your time and concern!

  • To be specific about the expression error, here is what AE says: After Effects warning: Expression Disabled. Error at line 0 in property "Stroke Width" of layer 12 ("Untitled-1 Outlines 60) in comp 'Pre-Comp16'. Invalid Numeric Result (Divide by zero?).

  • I tried splitting the project into multiple parts rendered separately, and then joined together in iMovie, it worked, but some fps was lost in the way, which is bad knowing that Youtube will also take its share of fps.

  • I forgot to mention an important detail about this particular video that wouldn't render: I could render it in 5 hours 3 weeks ago, but after applying really minor changes (changing color of fills from black to purple), that's when infinite rendering hours started.


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    Kevin Camp
    Re: Particular kind of video, Too Long render time
    on Apr 20, 2017 at 5:47:22 pm

    [Driss Devadip] "Error at line 0 in property "Stroke Width" of layer 12 ("Untitled-1 Outlines 60) in comp 'Pre-Comp16'. Invalid Numeric Result (Divide by zero?)."

    that's the divide by zero error that i had suspected if the layer scale as zero. using the Math.max() function should prevent the expression from ever reaching zero... note that it could present an issue if the scale was negative... not so likely, but just an FYI.

    that's an interesting note about the color change and long render times... i'm not sure why that would effect the render time so dramatically...

    Kevin Camp
    Art Director
    KCPQ, KZJO & KRCW


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    Driss Devadip
    Re: Particular kind of video, Too Long render time
    on Apr 21, 2017 at 7:29:55 am

    CASE SOLVED!

    I have found out why the render time was increasing: it's because of heat.

    By pressing the sleep command (alt+cmd+power button) and then waking it up again, I noticed the remaining time started decreasing! That's where I remembered that I set my mac never to sleep while rendering: this in particular was the cause of all my problems. So I put it back to standard (sleep after 2 mins idle), and it rendered it one night!

    Some guy on the internet even bought a pair of fans for his rendering computer.

    This will eventually help someone in the future who will encounter the same problem, so I hope it won't be deleted!

    Either way I am delighted with the quality feedback I have been receiving in this forum and will be recommending it to any potential creator in my social circle. See you soon, you are great!


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