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figuring out why AE is slow?

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Andy Engelkemier
figuring out why AE is slow?
on Jul 26, 2019 at 2:20:24 pm

Is there a way to tell what's slowing a project down?

It started off pretty fast, and I don't remember when it got slow, but it took 30 minutes to render out a 2 minute clip, all vector. It's at 4K, but even previews using a small region of interest are slow.

I did use Motion V2 quite a few times, which is controlling some things via scripts. I noticed when I was animating things with Behaviors for fading in/Out, things slowed down a ton, so I have since abandoned those. It's a shame, because that was pretty convenient. I wish Adobe would have been better at implementing a feature like that, which sticks to the beginning/end of a timeline without slowing down renders.

But I'm wondering what I can do to figure out what in the project is causing a slowdown, without just going through and adding one layer at a time, then seeing how much slower it is, then comparing percentage speed change. I have 90+ layers in my main comp, with Almost as much as possible precomped. I didn't precomp a few last minute additions yet. But I designed Most of the precomps to be cropped as well, so hopefully that helps. And I also have those cut down in time as well, then use time remap to hold time between or after animations. No reason to keep calculating a frame that isn't doing anything different right?

I'm just curious if there's a way to tell what's causing things to go slowly. Sort of like a Task/Process manager but for after effects layers and comps.

The part of Motion V2 that I'm wondering about is I'm using Excite. I haven't dug into the code, but I have to imaging that it's calculating every frame, and eventually either dividing by zero, or determining if it's going to be dividing by zero and skipping the calculation. But that still means the expression is running every frame right? I don't know how to speed that up, unless it's suggested to precomp and trim the comp as Soon as that item stops, then just hold frame from there. With this many layers, it's already getting difficult to change timing and order though. This morning's meeting already has me changing the order of something, but that's shuffling around a Lot of keys. I SO wish you could select keys and layers to move at the same time.


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Walter Soyka
Re: figuring out why AE is slow?
on Jul 26, 2019 at 4:06:40 pm

While rendering, you can open the disclosure triangle in the render queue to get a sense of what Ae is doing, but there is no real profiling tool built into Ae.

Things like shape layers and expressions (which it sounds like you're using a lot of) can really affect performance (even more so with motion blur).

We use RenderGarden a lot to speed up final renders. It launches multiple instances of the command line renderer on the same computer and stitches together the output, somewhat similarly to what the old multiprocessing feature did:
https://www.mekajiki.com/rendergarden/

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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Andy Engelkemier
Re: figuring out why AE is slow?
on Jul 26, 2019 at 5:56:17 pm

Luckily, most of the movements are relatively slow, so I didn't need to use motion blur.
It might just be that I have a lot of shape layers and expressions.

Are shape layers expensive because they use the entire composition size, even if the shape is just a circle that's 40x40px or something?
I kind of want to do a test of a few ways of doing that. Like, use the same shape, but on a precomp, that is the same size as the shape.

I suppose my computer is also starting to age quickly. My Titan X is leaning toward old these days. And the processor is 2-3 gens back now.

Thanks for the link to rendergarden. I have seen it before, but dismissed it due to us not having enough AE work to justify. But these days it's involved in nearly every project, unless I'm just doing 3D renderings or something for print.


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Walter Soyka
Re: figuring out why AE is slow?
on Jul 26, 2019 at 7:25:48 pm

I think (but don't know for sure) that shape layers are slower because they are continuously rasterized.

With each release, the Ae team has moved more and more rendering and/or effects processing onto the GPU, so I'm still hopeful for a real speed increase in the future.

In terms of performance, how much RAM do you have in your system? What kind of disk is your cache on? I know you mentioned your CPU is a little older, but what kind do you have?

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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Andy Engelkemier
Re: figuring out why AE is slow?
on Jul 26, 2019 at 7:58:56 pm

It's a 2016 Razer Blade.
It's got an i7-67000HQ (2.6Ghz on battery, 3.5Ghz plugged in...which is pretty much always)
only 16GB of RAM. The one downside to the system.
512GB single drive system NVME. So it's fast, but only one drive. It's a samsung drive, can't remember which one off the top of my head, but they didn't skimp on the drive. It's one of the fastest ones.

Laptop manufacturers are always a bit behind for the needs of designers that do sort of everything. SolidWorks demands 32GB now, pretty much anything 3D wants lots of everything, and the mobility of laptops get me out of a bind frequently. Processors are usually ok, but it either is Stupid large, or they skimp on one or two things. Mine was hard drive size, and memory. 512MB is not big enough for video work.

Our budget is usually 2500-3000 so this was the best I could do. Then when docked, I have an external Nvidia Titan X. Otherwise, I'm stuck with a 960M with 6GB. Definitely respectable for laptop video card memory, but I wouldn't want to run this project on it.


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