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Adobe After Effects CC 2018 takes 92~98% of PC's memory!

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Eojin Kim
Adobe After Effects CC 2018 takes 92~98% of PC's memory!
on Feb 26, 2019 at 2:24:48 pm
Last Edited By Eojin Kim on Feb 26, 2019 at 2:36:05 pm

So, a couple days ago, I asked why my AE was constantly crashing and not loading. Somebody kindly told me that I was "out of memory" and that I needed to "get more". Then, for a couple days, I didn't touch AE for a while.
Today, I got to trying to clear unneeded memory on my PC, and turned on the Process Manager. AE, with a project loaded, would take around 300MB of memory. Good, that's understandable. But everything I had on would only take up around 30~40% of my total memory! (I have 8GB of RAM.)

Chrome was taking up around 1000MB~1500MB of memory at a point, so I thought turning it off would solve it.
But it kept on crashing, even after I did so.
I checked on the process manager again, and.. AE WAS TAKING UP 5000~6000MB of memory with the SAME project. (Even as a background Process!) That brought the total usage to over 90~95%.

Opening a project and doing the slightest action on it, even something as small as playing the preview for a couple seconds, would send the memory usage soaring to over 5000MB and staying there, permanently, until I turned it off or it crashed, whichever one came first.
The project only has around 4.5GB worth of video footage in it, no fancy effects added in (only brightness and saturation).
I doubt that AE is supposed to take up that much memory.
This did NOT happen when I was working on another project, which was much longer and had multiple video clips and effects on it. Never did it crash, even once. But after I created a new project and started working with these (untouched, straight-from-the-camera) video clips, it started acting like this!

Now, BEFORE YOU REDIRECT ME TO THE HELPX PAGE: I HAVE ALREADY READ IT. First of all, I have never received any warning for memory usage, it just crashes. And second, I have no idea what to do after reading it. What does "purging" memory even do? To what extent should I "purge" memory? Is it even the right thing to do in this case?? The article does not do a good job in explaining something to an inexperienced user.
Please don't pull a parrot and copy+paste what's written on the help page; Please tell me exactly how to MAKE AE NOT USE AS MUCH MEMORY (NOT CLEAR memory, unless that is DIRECTLY effecting the spike in memory usage.)

Thank you for reading; Please understand that I am frustrated, since this problem has been going on for a while and it makes editing halfway impossible, and I have had to save the project every couple seconds or else the progress would be erased.


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Walter Soyka
Re: Adobe After Effects CC 2018 takes 92~98% of PC's memory!
on Feb 26, 2019 at 2:55:59 pm

1) Ae generally manages its own memory pretty responsibly. Are you sure you're having a crash due to lack of memory? I wasn't able to find a previous post where you've mentioned the application crashing. I do see that you're not able to preview beyond a few seconds, so I'll comment over in your other thread. Can you please confirm which behavior it is you're seeing?

2) Your memory usage sounds perfectly plausible. Ae stores frames internally in memory as uncompressed images at the size of the comp and the bit depth of the project -- and that adds up fast! A single 1920x1080 frame at 8bpc requires about 4 MB of RAM; a 3840x2160 frame at 8bpc requires about 16 MB. At 30fps, 10 seconds of 8bpc, 3840x2160 video is 4,826 MB. And that's just for the composited image; that doesn't count any individual layer caches.

Walter Soyka
Designer & Mad Scientist at Keen Live [link]
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
@keenlive [twitter]   |   RenderBreak [blog]   |   Profile [LinkedIn]


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Eojin Kim
Re: Adobe After Effects CC 2018 takes 92~98% of PC's memory!
on Feb 27, 2019 at 1:04:06 am

Thank you all for your help. I see now that I forgot to mention that AE was crashing very frequently (in previous posts).
I have read your (Walter Soyka) reply, and that seems very helpful!
I believe that the frequent crashes was caused by me putting the preview panel at "Full", instead of "half" or "quarter", which would be less burdensome on the PC.
As I now see that 5GB of RAM usage isn't unusual for AE, I will try all of your methods to see which one brings down the RAM level to a reasonable degree.

Thank you again!


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Walter Soyka
Re: Adobe After Effects CC 2018 takes 92~98% of PC's memory!
on Feb 27, 2019 at 2:04:43 pm

[Eojin Kim] "As I now see that 5GB of RAM usage isn't unusual for AE, I will try all of your methods to see which one brings down the RAM level to a reasonable degree."

You will not reduce RAM usage by any of these methods; you will increase the length of the preview within the same amount of RAM.

To limit how much RAM Ae uses, go to Edit > Preferences > Memory... and set the "RAM reserved for other applications" higher.

However, I do not think we should assume that low RAM is the cause of your crashes. Can you describe what happens when Ae crashes? Are you usually doing the same kind of thing when Ae crashes? Do you get any error messages? Have you tried resetting your preferences at all?

Walter Soyka
Designer & Mad Scientist at Keen Live [link]
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
@keenlive [twitter]   |   RenderBreak [blog]   |   Profile [LinkedIn]


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Eojin Kim
Re: Adobe After Effects CC 2018 takes 92~98% of PC's memory!
on Feb 27, 2019 at 2:16:53 pm

Thanks for the help!
Now, answers to your questions:
1. I turn on AE, load a project, then scroll through the preview or add a clip.
2. It usually crashes when I press on the timeline, so yes.
3. No, I have never gotten any error messages. It just crashes.
4. No, I have not. Should I?

I have Windows 10, if that helps..


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Walter Soyka
Re: Adobe After Effects CC 2018 takes 92~98% of PC's memory!
on Feb 27, 2019 at 3:27:54 pm

What kind of footage are you using in your project?

Yes, resetting preferences is a good trouble-shooting step for strange Ae behavior. Close Ae, then re-launch it and hold Ctrl+Alt+Shift while Ae is starting.

Walter Soyka
Designer & Mad Scientist at Keen Live [link]
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
@keenlive [twitter]   |   RenderBreak [blog]   |   Profile [LinkedIn]


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Eojin Kim
Re: Adobe After Effects CC 2018 takes 92~98% of PC's memory!
on Feb 28, 2019 at 2:08:58 am

I am using raw camera footage from a Canon SX530 HS. About 5 clips, the biggest around 2.4GB, were imported into the project via drag and drop.
I reset preferences (as evidenced by the different text in the splash screen), and AE seemed to work normally, but as soon as I started playing the preview (by pressing space), the memory usage went up rapidly, going from 40% to 93% in a matter of seconds. I stopped it and the memory usage went down to 64% (1,238MB).
One other thing I noticed was a spike in CPU usage, it went up to over 90%, which I suspect may have something to do with the crashes.
When I was previewing a little bit where the video was sped up a lot, the CPU usage went up to 97%!
(Now please have in mind that the CPU and Memory usages are of TOTAL usages, which means AE isn't taking up 97% of CPU by itself. The CPU is around 2~10% when AE is not running, and memory usage is around 25% when I have Chrome on.)

I also tried your method of increasing memory usage for other programs with preferences.
I put up the option from 2GB to 3GB, then played through my preview.
The program froze up, and the task manager showed the program as using only around 300MB.. Then it crashed. No error message.

Thankfully, when I tried again with 3.5GB set apart for other programs, the total memory usage stayed firmly at 83% and didn't crash!
The previews are a bit slow, and the CPU usage still goes over 90%, but at least it doesn't crash.

Thank you so much, at least for now!
I hope nothing more goes wrong X)


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Adobe After Effects CC 2018 takes 92~98% of PC's memory!
on Feb 26, 2019 at 3:37:47 pm

8 gigabytes may sound like a lot of memory. However, it is not a lot in terms of After Effects. I'm not surprised at all that you are using that much memory.

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


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