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Render Fails on AE / ProAnimator Project
Render Fails on AE / ProAnimator Project
by Larry Delceg on Feb 5, 2011 at 8:45:12 pm

I have an AE project which will not complete a render. The failure frame varies, but (depending on render settings) will fail anywhere from 18-22 seconds in. I have tried what seems like everything - every possible combination of options in both the AE and the ProAnimator render preferences.
This 30 second project consists of two lights and a ProAnimator layer. The ProAnimator layer is a detailed modeled animation with a video layer map and shadows (set at 1500) generated from the After Effects lights. The project does not become increasingly complex - the full 30 seconds is a single animated scene.
I use a PC with CS3, ProAnimator 4.5.1, Win 7x64, 4 gig ram, 2TB HD. Project is 8bpc color. I am rendering to lossless AVI. I've tried rendering to other formats - also resulting in failure.
I've tried altering the Max Mem and Max Ram settings, and well as the 'secret' rendering options - all to no avail.
This is especially frustrating, because the project has an over 8 hour render time, and every time I make a change it takes 6-7 hours to find out if it has failed.
I've been trying to complete this render every night for a month and am exasperated. I'll post this on both the AE and Zax forums, hoping that some of you in the COW brain pool can assist. I'm grateful for the help! Thank-you!

Re: Render Fails on AE / ProAnimator Project
by Matt Rhodes on Feb 5, 2011 at 11:30:04 pm

Hi Larry.

Sorry to hear about your frustrations.

The first suggestion I'd make is to break your renders into a few segments and then
edit them back together once each has finished rendering. This would at least let
you make forward progress if, say, the third segment didn't finish rendering.

Offhand, I'd say that you may be running out of memory over time.
AE likes to control all available memory (unless you change the AE prefs).
And they request plug-ins only get memory from them. While we have
accommodated this request for the most part, there are still instances
where we allocate memory for ourselves without using AE's memory mechanism
(this is due to a few technical and historical reasons).

For a long render, we've found that our plug-ins can eventually have a conflict
with AE and available memory. We've suggested users like you render in segments
and then stitch the segments back together as a post-process.

If you'd like to send me your project, I'd be happy to take a look to see if there's
a hidden bug.

Send files to:

Let us know if you have more questions.

Matt Rhodes
Zaxwerks, Inc.

Re: Render Fails on AE / ProAnimator Project
by Larry Delceg on Feb 9, 2011 at 8:06:10 am

Hi Matt - Thanks for the great help and excellent suggestions. It sounds like you're saying that ProAnimator has a very small memory leak that can add up over rendering hundreds of frames. Just knowing that will at times help me design my projects to compensate.
I have now succeeded in rendering my project! I rendered using frame sequences of limited ranges - rendered a third of the project at a time and then combined them. Whew! Glad to get this competed!
Thanks for your offer to have me send the project to you to examine for bugs. I think I'll take you up on your offer. I may wait a week or two until I catch up on my schedule, but then I'll send a zipped file.
Your expertise and support is greatly appreciated.
Warm Regards,
Larry Delceg

Re: Render Fails on AE / ProAnimator Project
by Austin Reeves on Feb 7, 2011 at 7:04:48 pm

I'm not sure it will help in your particular project, but if possible try rendering elements as separate passes. For example if you had a Title Text casting shadows on a background model...

1. Title Text (toggle others off)
2. Background (toggle others off)
3. Background Shadows (others off and replace background material with Shadow Catcher)

The idea being you reassemble the image in AE once the renders are done just as you would composite a 3D render from multiple render passes. I've used this process to do extremely complicated and high-res renders with projects that would bring a system normally to a crushing halt and actually expedited the overall render process.

Austin Reeves
Production & Post-Production Services
Washington, DC

Re: Render Fails on AE / ProAnimator Project
by Larry Delceg on Feb 9, 2011 at 8:09:31 am

Hi Austin - Thanks for the great suggestion. Fortunately, I have successfully completed the project by rendering limited ranges of frame sequences as .tiff's and then combining them. However, I learned something really useful from your suggestion and I'd like to try your technique in the future.
Thanks Again,
Larry Delceg

Re: Render Fails on AE / ProAnimator Project
by susan anson on Feb 15, 2011 at 5:38:39 am


I have just had the same issue. Renders would fail after a number of frames and freeze.

For me... I have a backup program called Memeo from Western Digital that is running in the background and it backs up files to an external drive for me so I dont loose any work.

When I disabled the program...then my files would completely render. It seems like Memeo was grabbing the very young and incomplete file and was beginning to save it...and it locks the file.

Strange. But that might be a possible issue for you. Do you have your firewall on or an archive program that is running. Try disabling some background programs and see if your render is released.

Re: Render Fails on AE / ProAnimator Project
by Larry Delceg on Feb 15, 2011 at 6:25:09 am

Hi Susan,
Great thinking! I'm running Carbonite online backup in the background. I can definitely see the possibility that it could be attempting to back up the incomplete render file and causing the freeze. I'll try disabling it and see what happens.
Excellent suggestion. Thanks for taking your time to assist!
- Larry