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After Effects and METAL - revised messaging.

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Bill Davis
After Effects and METAL - revised messaging.
on Oct 5, 2015 at 7:10:29 pm

Seems to be a bit of confusion about what Adobe announced at the WWDC about Metal Integration within AE.

As a MoGraph total rookie, I don't follow this stuff very closely, but I know a lot of folks here do and the promise of potential significant speed increases in their graphics work was a big deal coming out of the WWDC - so I'll just post the link to story without any comment and let those who are closely involved sort it out.

http://www.macrumors.com/2015/10/05/adobe-backpedals-metal-after-effects/

Know someone who teaches video editing in elementary school, high school or college? Tell them to check out http://www.StartEditingNow.com - video editing curriculum complete with licensed practice content.


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Aindreas Gallagher
Re: After Effects and METAL - revised messaging.
on Oct 5, 2015 at 7:23:09 pm

adobe are up to their eyeballs re-architecting the guts of AE - CC2015 AE has multi-processing formally taken offline for the duration. That should give an indication of how far into the entrails they are.

I'm inclined to leave them at it - but some of the speed increases on AE effects demoed under metal were pretty mouthwatering.
But the fact that Todd Kopivra doesn't want to nail his flag to the mast on metal isn't maybe utterly surprising. They've probably got a couple of considerations as a cross platform vendor. In a way - if they went hell for leather with metal it would almost work out as a reverse of the windows cuda situation they've just half backed out of.

If there was a lot less joy for windows CC customers in a heavily metal focused scenario I doubt Walter or Chris Petit (who just forked over for CC under duress) would be exactly over-joyed?

http://vimeo.com/user1590967/videos http://www.ogallchoir.net promo producer/editor.grading/motion graphics


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Oliver Peters
Re: After Effects and METAL - revised messaging.
on Oct 5, 2015 at 8:20:51 pm

First off, AE doesn't exclusively use GPU power, so Metal may or may not be that big of a factor. Second, AE needs to maintain cross-platform parity. Third, Metal isn't necessarily that highly regarded in the developer community. For example:

http://streamcomputing.eu/blog/2015-06-08/apple-metal-versus-vulkan-opencl-...

- Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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Andrew Kimery
Re: After Effects and METAL - revised messaging.
on Oct 5, 2015 at 8:51:58 pm

[Oliver Peters] "First off, AE doesn't exclusively use GPU power, so Metal may or may not be that big of a factor."

IIRC AE barely uses the GPU at all (last I heard the only GPU accelerated effect is the ray tracer, but I'm no AE expert). Of course I have no idea how much AE will take advantage of GPUs once the team is done redoing the guts of the app. With that being said, AE is cross platform and Metal only officially works on Macs made since 2012 so I have to wonder about the cost/benefit of Adobe spending a whole lot of time on such a specific market segment.

To me it seems that speeds gain benefiting both Mac and PC users on both newer and older hardware would be the natural place for Adobe to start focusing on improvements.


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Bret Williams
Re: After Effects and METAL - revised messaging.
on Oct 6, 2015 at 12:34:15 pm

I doubt that many people willing to rent their software have computers much older than 2012. I thought that metal was just an apple name for a tech that also exists on PC platform, no?


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Andrew Kimery
Re: After Effects and METAL - revised messaging.
on Oct 6, 2015 at 4:49:46 pm

[Bret Williams] "I doubt that many people willing to rent their software have computers much older than 2012.

Why? Year over year computer speed advancements aren't nearly what they used to be and if you have a computer that can be upgraded (such as PC or an old MP) you can greatly extend the life by just swapping out slower parts for faster ones. My news computer is a 2011 MBP and many of the places I work at still run the old MPs (though the nMPs are starting to pop up).


I thought that metal was just an apple name for a tech that also exists on PC platform, no?"

Apple is the name of their version of this type of API. On the Windows side you have DirectX12 (aka DX12) and there is a cross platform one in the works called Vulcan which may or may not gain traction because obviously MS and Apple want devs to use their proprietary solutions. Apple has never had very good GPU support compared to Windows (in terms of cards supported, driver support, and API support) so I would assume Metal will look even more enticing to Mac devs. It's almost like Apple wants to hamstring other options so their solution looks so much better. ;)


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Aindreas Gallagher
Re: After Effects and METAL - revised messaging.
on Oct 5, 2015 at 11:13:05 pm

[Oliver Peters] "Second, AE needs to maintain cross-platform parity. "

I know - but didn't I say that?

http://vimeo.com/user1590967/videos http://www.ogallchoir.net promo producer/editor.grading/motion graphics


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Mathieu Ghekiere
Re: After Effects and METAL - revised messaging.
on Oct 7, 2015 at 12:54:57 am

[Oliver Peters] "so Metal may or may not be that big of a factor."

The demo of both Illustrator and AE on WWDC was *very* impressive in how much faster and smoother it seemed though.


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Walter Soyka
Re: After Effects and METAL - revised messaging.
on Oct 5, 2015 at 8:31:04 pm

[Aindreas Gallagher] "If there was a lot less joy for windows CC customers in a heavily metal focused scenario I doubt Walter or Chris Petit (who just forked over for CC under duress) would be exactly over-joyed?"

*shrug* I'd just use the right tool for the job. We have a few nMPs, too. I now actually prefer PCs myself, but we're trying to stay cross-platform whenever possible, just in case, and we use a few products that are only available on one platform or the other.

Apple would have you think Metal is unique, but in fact Apple is one of an industry full of players making the same move: dropping abstraction layers from the GPU pipeline (requiring programmers to know more about the guts of the GPU, pushing programmers "closer to the metal"), offering a unified model for graphics and compute shaders (letting programmers use the same hardware and data structures for both drawing and calculating), and increasing pure graphics performance by reducing the GPU's dependence on the CPU for managing state for draw calls (making programmers work harder to manage the flow of their render pipeline in order to reduce the amount of time the GPU is blocked from drawing, waiting on the CPU).

AMD's Mantle was first. Microsoft's DirectX 12, Khronos Group's Vulkan (a new standard from the consortium who administer OpenGL and OpenCL, based on Mantle), and Apple's Metal are all following.

Beyond that, not all visual tasks are suitable for GPU acceleration; thinking "it'll be lots faster if you run just it on the GPU" is not universally true. There's a lot more complexity here than what demos well, and an OpenGL fragment shader pipeline in Ae (like Flame's) could probably deliver most of that same acceleration for the simple effects in David's demo.



tldr; Metal is cool, but it is not the only game in town for next-gen GPU acceleration. Apple's a fast-follower, and if you only watch WWDC, you'll get a very distorted view of the state of the art. Ae needs to get faster, and Metal might help make that happen, but there are other ways worth considering, too.

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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Dennis Radeke
Re: After Effects and METAL - revised messaging.
on Oct 6, 2015 at 9:57:00 am

[Walter Soyka] "
tldr; Metal is cool, but it is not the only game in town for next-gen GPU acceleration. Apple's a fast-follower, and if you only watch WWDC, you'll get a very distorted view of the state of the art. Ae needs to get faster, and Metal might help make that happen, but there are other ways worth considering, too."


This ^^^

Other than quoting Walter, I will stay out of this one.


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David McGavran
Re: After Effects and METAL - revised messaging.
on Oct 6, 2015 at 3:22:49 pm
Last Edited By David McGavran on Oct 6, 2015 at 3:29:42 pm

Adobe is firmly committed to performance because it accelerates creativity - Adobe is also firmly committed to the Mac platform. We share as much as we can about the directions we’re exploring and will continue to try and set realistic expectations about when specific advancements will come to market. When we demonstrated what was possible, we made a clear statement - which I repeat here: "Adobe is committed to bringing Metal to all of its Mac OS Creative Cloud applications, such as Illustrator and After Effects I showed you today, as well as Photoshop and Premiere Pro. We are very excited to see what Metal can do for our Creative Cloud users."

David McGavran
Director of Engineering
Adobe Professional Audio and Video

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
David McGavran, Adobe Systems Incorporated
Director of Engineering, Adobe Professional Audio and Video
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


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James Culbertson
Re: After Effects and METAL - revised messaging.
on Oct 6, 2015 at 9:34:10 pm

I've been using AE for 20 years and at this point I rarely pay attention to speed enhancements. Everything renders so fast I don't really care. I do have a MacCylinder though.


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Walter Soyka
Re: After Effects and METAL - revised messaging.
on Oct 6, 2015 at 10:40:38 pm

[James Culbertson] "I've been using AE for 20 years and at this point I rarely pay attention to speed enhancements. Everything renders so fast I don't really care. I do have a MacCylinder though."

I don't really care about final render speed, either. Computer time is cheap.

I do care quite a bit about interactive render speed. Artist time is valuable, and every... little... delay... while... you're... iterating... a... design... is... maddening... and... kills... creativity.

Performance is a creative feature.

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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Shawn Miller
Re: After Effects and METAL - revised messaging.
on Oct 6, 2015 at 11:09:32 pm

[Walter Soyka] "[James Culbertson] "I've been using AE for 20 years and at this point I rarely pay attention to speed enhancements. Everything renders so fast I don't really care. I do have a MacCylinder though."

I don't really care about final render speed, either. Computer time is cheap.

I do care quite a bit about interactive render speed. Artist time is valuable, and every... little... delay... while... you're... iterating... a... design... is... maddening... and... kills... creativity.

Performance is a creative feature."


Exactly! Along that line, I often wonder what happened to Octane for AE.







I didn't really notice it before, but the more I use Octane or Arnold in C4D, the less patience I have for look development in AE. Even Fusion's viewport performance seems sluggish by comparison.

I'm really hoping that Adobe and Blackmagic have something special brewing in the lab.

Shawn



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Walter Soyka
Re: Look Development
on Oct 6, 2015 at 11:14:48 pm

[Shawn Miller] "I didn't really notice it before, but the more I use Octane or Arnold in C4D, the less patience I have for look development in AE. Even Fusion's viewport performance seems sluggish by comparison."

Shawn, would you mind to elaborating on look dev in C4D/Octane/Arnold? I'd love to hear about how you're using it, and what benefits/limitations you see.

Thanks!

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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Shawn Miller
Re: Look Development
on Oct 7, 2015 at 1:27:00 am

[Walter Soyka] "[Shawn Miller] "I didn't really notice it before, but the more I use Octane or Arnold in C4D, the less patience I have for look development in AE. Even Fusion's viewport performance seems sluggish by comparison."

Shawn, would you mind to elaborating on look dev in C4D/Octane/Arnold? I'd love to hear about how you're using it, and what benefits/limitations you see."


Hey Walter, I started using Octane earlier this year after working through a particularly challenging scene in C4D. I really loved the look I was getting out of the Physical Render with global illumination, but I didn't love discovering that I had GI flickering after test renders. I also really hated going through the proccess of, change parameter, render, change parameter, render, repeat until satisfied. So, I downloaded Octane, spent a few days learning the lighting and shading system, and then re-textured and re-lit the scene. Not only did I cut test renders down by 75% (only rendering to see motion blur), I discovered that it was much faster and easier to see how changes to my lights and shaders affected the look of the piece I was working on in (near) real time. Best of all, no GI flicker. If Octane can't resolve ray bounces with the number of samples you give it, it displays errors as noise. So, your biggest decisions when setting up Octane are; how much time (or samples) you want to give it, and how much noise you can live with.

Fast forward a few months, I was happily working away in Octane when I read the announcement that Arnold had been released for C4D. I had heard great things about it, so I downloaded the trial, learned the basics of the lighting and shader system and gave it a try. I was hooked in a day. Octane is a fantatic renderer that runs like a dream on relatively inexpensive nVidia GPUs, but there's just something about the renders I get out of Arnold, something I can't quite put my finger on. Arnold's interactive viewport is a little slower than Octane's, but (IMO) Arnold's shader, camera and lighting systems seem more intuitive and a bit more mature. Arnold is also a little more stable on my system.

My biggest surprise working with these renderers, is speed of iteration. With both applications, I can work side by side with visual reference, while refining the look of the scene as I go. I don't think about how much time the final render is going to cost me, becuase I can see how long it takes to render things like transparency or subsurface scattering as I'm working. Again, I don't have to change something, wait six minutes, change something wait three minutes - I just work, and I get a feel for how expensive my changes are as I go (did I mention that GI flicker is a thing of the past). I should also mention that motion blur doesn't add very much time to the final render with either application... I'm still trying to wrap my head around that.

Of course, both renderes also have their downsides. Octane is fantastic, but it's not as stable or as intuitive as the Physical Renderer. It also has some issues rendering caustics, and the viewport stalls once in a while. When using Arnold, I find that the displacement node isn't nearly as prectictable as it is in C4Ds material system. I also dislike that fresnel isn't supported on the reflective channel. There are other issues with Octane and Arnold, but I haven't found any show stoppers yet.

To sum things up, the strengths of both renderes for me are; speed of iteration due to viewport previews, more accurate lighting (than PR), faster rendering of motion blur and no GI flicker. The only real drawback IMO is the less intuitive material/shader systems compared to C4D.

As a quick example, here's something I was working on a few days ago. I went from no shaders, to look A, to look B in about an hour - I rendered a few test frames so I could evaluate motion blur. Otherwise, I just concentrated on refining the shaders and the lighting. I'm obviously not finished, but I think this would have taken me more like two hours if I had to render every 10 or fiften minutes, and then tweak GI parameters to avoid flickering.





Lastly, I really like both of these renderers. But I find that I gravitate toward Octane for speed, and Arnold for beauty. I still like C4D's built in render engines, but I've been using them less and less.

Shawn



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James Culbertson
Re: After Effects and METAL - revised messaging.
on Oct 6, 2015 at 11:31:23 pm

[Walter Soyka] "I do care quite a bit about interactive render speed. Artist time is valuable, and every... little... delay... while... you're... iterating... a... design... is... maddening... and... kills... creativity."

I was talking about both; though primarily in 2D space. If I did more 3D work I'd probably feel differently.


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