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After Effects : Out of Memory Error

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Maygo Calme
After Effects : Out of Memory Error
on Jul 20, 2018 at 12:19:41 am

Hi everyone,

I have a little problem with AE (CC 2018)... When doing Ram previews a pop up open telling me an error message : "Out of memory".
I know that the quicker anwser is "just update your Ram", but it seems that the problem isn't comming from my use of memory...

See, when i make ram preview of like 3 compos of 10sec (in FHD), even with half resolution, AE take ALL his allocated memory (97%-99%)... I have 16Go of Ram, 10 Go for After so it shoudn't be a problem right ?
I tried to open an 'old' project from january 2018, and it still takes all the ram, but as long as I remember this project wasn't consuming that much at the time... So I was more thinking about a bad configuration of AE, since my system specs should be enough... I tried everything I found in preferences, my AE is up-to-date, all my drivers too... In fact it's like if after effects wasn't purging memory cache automatically (if i do it manually it works of course).

Plus, there are some 'strange' things I didn't see on any other post, like that I have no trouble during Render (using media encoder though), and nor my AE or system crash : it just open the popup error 20 times, I hit 20 times 'Ok', purge memory and It's on again...

So, my questions are : does this happens to someone else ?
Do you thing it might be a bad configuration or a bug of AE ?
Or should I just update my ram ? (I can do it but i just wanna be sure it would be useful)

My system specs (PC laptop) :
After Effects CC 2018 - Windows 10
I7 7700HQ 2.8Ghz-3.5Ghz
Nvidia GTX 1050 2Go
16 Go Ram
500Go SSD (M.2 PCIE) + 1 To HDD 7200rpm

Thanks in advance for your help 😉


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Steve Bentley
Re: After Effects : Out of Memory Error
on Jul 20, 2018 at 10:30:22 pm

Something to check: In the preview panel check what the preview rez is set to. "Auto" will mirror what you have set in your main viewer, but if its set to full, then even setting the main viewer to 1/4 will still result in a full rez preview.
I know that doesn't answer you main ram question but its worth a shot.

Also (for AE2018) get used to purging all the caches frequently. While it will purge your frames it will also purge all the glitches that seem to crop up in this version - these can hog ram too.

I haven't actually seen that out of ram warning: usually when its full the green bar just stops advancing and the preview starts playing. And we're normally working on some pretty big and very long stages - 20k pixels across and up and minutes in length! So I would have seen it.



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Maygo Calme
Re: After Effects : Out of Memory Error
on Jul 20, 2018 at 11:29:36 pm

Thanks for the answer ! ☺

I've already checked that indeed, I even tried to reduce the resolution to the quater but it's doesn't seems to change a lot ... I've checked in the "previews" menu in the settings, reduce them to 1/16, all the same...
About purging all the caches, that's what seems to be wrong here... When I do it manually it reset ram usage to 5% for AE (I do it 5-7 times a day).
It's like AE was waiting the very last moment to purge the caches, just enough to not crash...

I was wondering, my disk cache seems a bit high to me, it's writting 30Go - 40Go / day, is this usual ?
I don't remember having a cache disk that high before... (I've never checked but never have any error too...)

I've post a screenshot to illustrate a bit :

Here I have 14 compos of ~4sec each, all previewed in "auto" (='half') resolution...
And my memory is up to 94% ... (just got AE + 1 browser tab open)

I've also made a test : I've oppenned at the same time Indesign + Photoshop + Illustrator + AE + Webbrowser ... All running or set to max resolution...
And the ram usage is the same, without any error....


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Steve Bentley
Re: After Effects : Out of Memory Error
on Jul 20, 2018 at 11:44:17 pm

You can also reduce your color space level if that works for your output and comp needs. 16 bit is sooooo much bigger than 8 bit ram-wise.
Keep in mind that other Adobe products running at the same time seem to share the ram needs and caches. So if you can reduce that habit, things should go better. I can make pshop's interface go wonky when I start pushing AE to the limit - there is a memory leak, always has been.
As far as Gb sizes of cache, it really depends on comp size, how many elements are in memory, number of layers, the kinds of effects, number of precomps and the layers in them, length of comp and the number of frames in memory, and the bit depth. Adjustment layers ad to this too as they "flatten" whats below them in the layer stack.
My current project is 6000x2000, 3D, hundreds of layers, two minutes in length, 16bit, and I'm routinely purging 200 GB and waiting for that to happen even though i'm previewing in 1/4.
Memory has always been an adobe issue. Given what has to be "live" in memory, I get why pshop and AE are ram hogs, but I would have thought by now, 30 years on, it would have been a little more streamlined.



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Maygo Calme
Re: After Effects : Out of Memory Error
on Jul 21, 2018 at 12:11:12 am

Unfortunaltly, my color space is already set to 8 bit... And I work in 25imgs/sec by the way...
And I usually don't use other Adobe products at the same time (or maybe just Illustrator or Indesign in background), It was just for testing purpose ☺

Thanks for cache disk numbers, seems really small now 😃 My projects doesn't have that much heavy needs of course, I though it should be okay ...
Always in 1920x1080, sometimes 3D (regular 3D or Raytraced), about 1min in lengh, 8 bit... Also have a few pre-compos and adjustment layers... But nothing really ram consumming...

So, do you thing AE really needs more ram ?
I mean given my settings and needs, it should be okay right ? I just don't want to upgrade to 32Go for nothing...


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Steve Bentley
Re: After Effects : Out of Memory Error
on Jul 21, 2018 at 12:49:03 am

I wonder if its your graphics card that's complaining and not the computer - as soon as you said raytracing, an alarm went off in my head.

The more ram the better - used to be AE would only use about 6 Gb no matter what you had on board. But now, finally, I can slam all my procs and all the ram. Who needs a furnace in their house when you have AE!



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Maygo Calme
Re: After Effects : Out of Memory Error
on Jul 21, 2018 at 1:19:29 am

Well, I've seen some graphic card could be problematic indeed... Mine is compatible with CUDA and Mecury transition however...
I've just close/open AE and disable everything using my graphic card (Mercury transision + in projects setting menu + lauch AE using the integrated Intel GPU). And I made a preview of the exact same compos than i did in a previous post...
Still goes up to 95% of ram usage... (I don't have any Raytraced 3D in this project)

Yeah that's really the thing here, ram monster ... I remember when everything was quite okay with CS6 with 4Go of ram ...
Anyway I'll probably add extra ram to my laptop...

Thanks a lot for your time and advices !
(I'm still open if you have any other ideas or if someone else does)


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Chris Wright
Re: After Effects : Out of Memory Error
on Jul 22, 2018 at 2:44:49 am

you have too many nested comps. render them out.
do you have hold shift- prefs enable secret purge every 5 frames?
render out to tiff not png. png is not thread safe. don't import/export h.264 directly. use tiff as intermediate first.


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Melvin Chong
Re: After Effects : Out of Memory Error
on Jul 22, 2018 at 11:29:48 am
Last Edited By Melvin Chong on Jul 22, 2018 at 11:30:57 am

Upgrade your ram to 64Gb. AE is a ram-eater. The more plugins you have, the more they're loaded into ram, leaving you with less "headroom", so to speak.



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Maygo Calme
Re: After Effects : Out of Memory Error
on Jul 22, 2018 at 1:14:15 pm

Hi and thanks for your anwsers to both of you !

@Chris Wright :
Well, I know less comps are better, but most of these are precompos, because of some static mask on it or time remapping needs... Plus I'll have to either modify them afterwards or keep them editable by someone else in the future, that is just beginning with AE, and otherwise I'll have to render out these comps 4 time a day... wich would be even worse than purging memory cache in the end... It's not the best but I think it will be way more easier and faster for me & him ...

Wow I don't even know about this secret menu, thanks for the tip !
However, the "purging memory every 5 frame during make movie" is only useful for render right ? Because my memory isn't so overload during renders and I have no error.... I check this out, it doesn't change a thing to previews... I use Media Encoder for renders anyway.

But can you tell me more about render to tiff not png ? And why is using h264 so bad ? I'm interested ...

@Melvin Chong
I was thinking upgrading to 32Go, do you thing this won't be enough ? I mean from what I've read, 64Go is for really heavy projects, like 4k resolution & 30min comps ...


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Melvin Chong
Re: After Effects : Out of Memory Error
on Jul 22, 2018 at 11:38:31 pm

From my experience as a ex-post-production support engineer, there is no such thing as too much ram for After Effects. It still retains much of its DNA from its CoSA days and hence is still not an efficient compositor. As with any other Adobe software, it has become way too bloated for its own good.



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Maygo Calme
Re: After Effects : Out of Memory Error
on Jul 25, 2018 at 7:09:41 pm

Okay thanks for the advice !
I'll see because 64Go is a little bit out of my budget for now... 😅


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Steve Bentley
Re: After Effects : Out of Memory Error
on Jul 25, 2018 at 8:17:34 pm

IMHO you have to go a little nuts to get AE to run out of memory. That's the whole point of the Disk Cache. I've seen it chug, I've seen massive disk caches, but even when I'm working remotely on a small laptop (8GB), it's slow but it still does the work. Even my decade old Macbook Pro with only 4Gb handles stuff we're doing now (albeit at a snail's pace).

It may be a single effect that needs a large memory buffer or an adjustment layer, or a continuously rasterize setting that's keeping a file huge before sending it into either of the previous two listed items.



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Melvin Chong
Re: After Effects : Out of Memory Error
on Jul 26, 2018 at 1:15:13 am

After Effects loads every frame as an uncompressed frame, hence the high ram usage. You can mitigate it with an NVMe drive as disk cache if your machine allows it or alternatively use a raid-0 Sata SSD.



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