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Are my drives my bottleneck for After Effects CS5?

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Jacob Kerns
Are my drives my bottleneck for After Effects CS5?
on Sep 6, 2011 at 9:52:56 pm

I just upgraded my computer( with budget restraints) for Premiere with AVCHD footage and it works awesome for Premiere CS5. However for AE CS5 works okay but I think somethings not tweaked right or missing that would help out.

Here are the Specs

i5-2600k 3.2Ghz OC to 4.5Ghz
16Gb System Ram
Nvidia GTS 450 1Gb
Windows 7 64bit
500GB Main Drive with OS and APPS
500GB Scratch Drive
160GB eSata Drive
700W PSU


I believe my Hard Drives are the Bottle Neck.

Was going to Purchase a 120GB SSD for Main and Apps then Raid0 the 500s.
Would this help in render cause its seems to thrash the drives?

Also Ram-Previews render fast its just the final render output.
I need to go from PP to AE back to PE what is the standard HD codec to use for this?


NIADA
Technical Director


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Kevin Camp
Re: Are my drives my bottleneck for After Effects CS5?
on Sep 8, 2011 at 2:45:08 pm

i think you may want to try giving more ram to 'other apps' in ae's memory preference... i don't know your multiprocessing & memory settings, so i'm guessing here, but i have found that giving more ram to the os reduces the amount of disk caching that the os would do during renders, and greatly improved render time... and that seems like what might be happening here -- fast ram previews, slow renders.

i have an older 8-core mac (16-cores with hyperthreading) and 16gb of ram here at work. i have 8 cpus and 8 gb of ram left for other apps, and when i monitor processes i get can see great cpus levels across all 16 cpus. i had originally set 4gb for other apps, and had noticed that renders that were taking 15 minutes or so to render were hitting a wall part way through -- they'd cruise through the first 2/3 and then really slow down. at that same point i could see high levels of disk activity, so i knew it was a disk caching issue, so i disabled ae's disk caching and still had the same problem. i increased the ram for other apps to 8gb, and those renders didn't hit that wall, and took nearly half the time to render.

i think your core i5 is quad core, i'm not sure about hyperthreading on that cpu, but with 4-cores and 16gb, i would think you could easily leave 8gb for other apps, which would leave 2gb per core for ae. if you wnated you could play around with leaving 2 cpus for other apps too (ae will use them most of the time, it just won't take them from other apps).

Kevin Camp
Senior Designer
KCPQ, KMYQ & KRCW


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Jacob Kerns
Re: Are my drives my bottleneck for After Effects CS5?
on Sep 8, 2011 at 7:40:56 pm

Kevin thanks for the Reply.

I did mess with memory settings as you suggested and it did speed up the rendering times a little. I also followed the Adobe blog post on memory and Multi CPU settings.

I'm rendering out 5.5min 1080i Chroma Key video with a background and some simple transitions. Its taking 1.3hrs to 2hrs to rendered it out. Using same settings on both import and export. I think this seems kind of a long time for this computer. Its still ram previews at full res faster than the output rendering.

Their isn't much to the project. Unless lights and cast shadows slows it down a lot.

The video is Mpeg exported with match settings from Premiere. Original AVCHD footage is from a Sony HXR-MCR2000. Is there a better codec to be using in AE?

If setup network render to my Laptop C2Duo 2GHZ will that help at all?

NIADA
Technical Director


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Are my drives my bottleneck for After Effects CS5?
on Sep 8, 2011 at 8:02:47 pm

[Jacob Kerns] "I'm rendering out 5.5min 1080i Chroma Key video with a background and some simple transitions. Its taking 1.3hrs to 2hrs to rendered it out... Their isn't much to the project. Unless lights and cast shadows slows it down a lot."

Oho! That last bit is a new piece of information! Rendering does indeed slow down if a layer is set to cast shadows. Multiple lights make it that much slower.

Once you have your shot completely rendered, turn off the lights & cast shadows if you have the time. Then just for the heck of it, render another copy and see how long it takes.

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Kevin Camp
Re: Are my drives my bottleneck for After Effects CS5?
on Sep 8, 2011 at 8:31:26 pm

[Jacob Kerns] "Unless lights and cast shadows slows it down a lot."

shadows cast from 3d lights does require quite a bit of processing, but i'm not sure that's what is really slowing things here.


[Jacob Kerns] "The video is Mpeg exported with match settings from Premiere. Original AVCHD footage is from a Sony HXR-MCR2000. Is there a better codec to be using in AE?"

mpeg and similar camera acquisition codecs usually use what's called intra-frame compession where portions of a given frame are often taken from other frames before or after that frame. it greatly reduces the file size and data rate, but requires more processing when used in ae.

personally i never use those kinds of codecs in ae (either coming in or going out).

quicktime lossless animation is a good one to use, it encodes and decodes quickly, but creates large files with high data rates.

quicktime photo-jpeg at around 90-95 quality is nearly lossless but will produce files with around 1/3 the file size as lossless animation. it's a very common codec for stock footage, and may be a good one for you to try. you may be able to get as low as 75 quality before seeing much difference between that and the avchd footage.

avid offers their software codecs for free, and their dnxhd codec is quite good and works well with ae. it's pretty similar to apple's prores, just search their site for codec download. they are quicktime codecs and will work with any applicaiton that uses quicktime (premiere, ae, media encoder, etc.).

however, i'm still iffy on whether that's whole the issue, since your ram previews are fast... try running activity monitor when you ram preview and render and look at the cpu levels to see how high they are. if they are low, then you would seem to have a data bottleneck.

if you check the memory tab in activity monitor it will show you details about how the ram is being used (see this page this page for a description of those details). if the memory levels remain low, then you would have a bottleneck at the drive level... essentially the drives can't get data into ram fast enough.

Kevin Camp
Senior Designer
KCPQ, KMYQ & KRCW


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Jacob Kerns
Re: Are my drives my bottleneck for After Effects CS5?
on Sep 9, 2011 at 9:11:55 pm

Kevin,

The Avid codec looks like a winner I'm going to try all 3 suggestions and see which one works better.

Also Kevin the Memory tab Page that you suggested doesn't work for me anymore I've switch to Win7 and don't have a Mac anymore.

Dave,

That's a good idea I'll render one without shadows and lights to see if changes things.

I'm also going to go pickup another 500GB drive and leave one for Main with apps. Then put the other 2 in Raid0 for footage.

NIADA
Technical Director


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Jacob Kerns
Re: Are my drives my bottleneck for After Effects CS5?
on Sep 10, 2011 at 2:36:26 am

Ok, with cast shadows off it rendered in half the time.

I also moved the project over to the old MacPro Dual Xeon and it took a hour longer on that machine however I noticed the ram previews were quicker because of the Raid0 setup.

So I grabbed to old 250GB SATA drives and Raid0 them and it made a world of difference.

So it looks my drives are the bottleneck so I'm going to purchase another drive tomorrow.

Thanks for all the help!

NIADA
Technical Director


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