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Optimize Renser Speed by understanding comps, layers, expressions and effects

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Remi Monedi
Optimize Renser Speed by understanding comps, layers, expressions and effects
on Dec 30, 2018 at 2:26:08 pm

Hi,
I found many posts about render settings, but what I'm really interested here is regarding compositions, layers, expressions and effects organization. I'm making more and more complicated projects and where they are very organized, I'm not sure they are very optimized for render/preview speed.
SO I have several questions about render speed improvements (even the slightest) :

1. What is faster : One comp with a lot of layers OR One comp with a few precomps?
I guess it's the first one but I read in some cases, a precomp is actually the faster way to render especially if it rasterizes a huge layer for instance. Maybe there are other cases.

2. What is faster : A lot of layers with few effects on them OR One layer with a lot of effects applied to it?

3. How an expression can slow down the render speed?
Is it the length of it or specific expressions?

4. Let's take a layer with a Turbulent Noise. To "deactivate" it, I have two options : Set the Effect opacity OR the Layer opacity to 0% . Is there a difference renderspeed-wise? Another example with the Posterize effect, if I set it to 255 (its maximum value), is AE still calculating it?
I often ask myself if effects set not to affect their layer (with Amount, Opacity set to 0%, Blend with original set to 100%, ...) are still calculated by AE, and taking a bit of render time, or if AE ignores them.

Have a nice day!


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Optimize Render Speed by understanding comps, layers, expressions and effects
on Dec 30, 2018 at 9:02:20 pm
Last Edited By Dave LaRonde on Dec 30, 2018 at 11:17:12 pm

1) Basically irrelevant. It depends what you DO with the layers, e.g. mess with time on H.264 video which will slow down AE quite a bit.

2) Again, basically irrelevant... UNLESS you want to use effects that can utilize the graphics card; mixing effects that can & can't negates utilizing the graphics card.

3) Expressions ALWAYS slow AE down; the expression is evaluated on each & every frame. Use keyframes wherever you can. Complex expressions are worse than simple ones, and expressions that alter time on popular 4K codecs like H.264 are the worst of all.

4) Prerender! Then mess with effects like Levels on the prerendered layer.

....AND....

5) If you know you will use a layer with lots of effects over & over, prerender it! In the end you will save time.

6) The BEST way to speed up AE rendering is an application called Render Garden. It lets AE use multiple processor cores instead of just one, which it uses under most circumstances.

7) Transcoding H.264 footage to a good intermediate codec is always wise.

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


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Remi Monedi
Re: Optimize Render Speed by understanding comps, layers, expressions and effects
on Jan 13, 2019 at 7:11:06 pm
Last Edited By Remi Monedi on Jan 13, 2019 at 8:13:14 pm

Hi everyone, sorry for the late reply and Happy New Year!

Thank you Dave for your answer! Actually I should have added the mention PREVIEW SPEED with RENDER SPEED in this Thread title. This is why I was asking very specific questions. I want to find the best/fastest way to work, preview and render complex projects in AE.
To help me answer it, I finally decided to make some simple test in AE, here are my conclusions :

1. BECAUSE even set to its "dead" value, an effect takes time to render,
(for instance a Displacement Map effect with Horizontal and Vertical Displacement value set at 0%)
> THE FASTEST WAY to "deactivate" an effect is to set the opacity of the ADJ layer to 0% (if it's on an Adjustment layer)
> OR the other way is to set the effect opacity (in Compositing Option) to 0%

2. 1 ADJ LAYER with a X EFFECTS is FASTER than X ADJ LAYERS with 1 EFFECT (each) which is also FASTER than X COMPS with 1 ADJ LAYER with 1 EFFECT.

3. Expressions are calculated each frame and makes preview/render slow
> Use keyframe if possible : Convert Expression to Keyframe
> Avoid Math function expression if possible
> Use a script
> Make expression more efficient (How ?)


If there are simple tricks to make expression more efficient, I'm interested!

Have a great day


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Optimize Render Speed by understanding comps, layers, expressions and effects
on Jan 13, 2019 at 10:59:32 pm

Since I only use dead-simple expressions, I'm not the guy to answer questions like yours.

But there's something new here: adjustment layers! In general, it's better to apply effects to the layers themselves than to use an adjustment layer. If you want to use an effect on multiple layers, Just copy-paste the effect from one to the others.
If you want to apply an effect to many layers BUT want to limit the effect to the same portions of the images, an adjustment layer is good--you can mask the adjustment layer.

If you insist on using adjustment layers, but don't want to preview with the effect(s) used on the adjustment layer, just turn it off -- click the eyeball icon off.

Finally, you just have to accept the fact that AE is SLOW. You're talking about speeding things up, they're just band-aids -- not very significant. AE is SLOW.

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


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