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All mixed up about graphics cards

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Max PalmerAll mixed up about graphics cards
by on Nov 3, 2011 at 4:19:07 pm

Yes, I know... who needs another graphics card thread? But I guess I'm just not sure what I should be searching for.

I'm pretty new to motion graphics and video in general, so I'm not sure what features I need or what kind of card I should really be looking at. I want the best card I can buy, or at least a significant upgrade for the work I do without wasting money on cards I don't need or won't utilize.

Right now, I have a bone stock Mac Pro 2.26 8 core, 8GB of ram and the ATI GT 120. I plan on upgrading the ram significantly, so that will be done in conjunction with the GPU upgrade. My work involves mostly after effects and premiere. In AE, I don't use any third party plugins yet, so my effects are pretty much limited to glows, shadows, lighting, and blurs, used often in AfterEffects' "3D" environment. I would like something that would speed up these processes for me.

What kind of features should I be looking at?


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Walter SoykaRe: All mixed up about graphics cards
by on Nov 3, 2011 at 4:49:29 pm

AE renders on the CPU, not the GPU. You don't need a fast graphics card, unless you intend to use GPU-accelerated effects.

You do need a lot of RAM -- aim for 2 to 4 GB per core.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Max PalmerRe: All mixed up about graphics cards
by on Nov 3, 2011 at 5:06:21 pm

Yes, I did post a thread on RAM a while back. I plan on getting at least 24GB. What sort of effects can I expect to be GPU accelerated then? What if I want to pick up a piece of 3d software in the future such as Cinema 4d? Or even a basic one, like Cheetah?

Just want to make sure I cover all my bases- technology isn't easy to get where I work, so I don't want to have to go back and forth with them too many times. ;-)

Thanks for the reply.


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Michael SzalapskiRe: All mixed up about graphics cards
by on Nov 3, 2011 at 7:45:30 pm

Third party effects such as Knoll Light Factory and the upcoming Element from Video Copilot use the GPU. If you have a GPU that can do Mercury Playback Engine in Premiere, you're pretty good for AE too.

For 3d software, you'll have to do some research. They often don't render with the GPU either. However, it can really speed up previews.

- The Great Szalam
(The 'Great' stands for 'Not So Great, in fact, Extremely Humble')

No trees were harmed in the creation of this message, but several thousand electrons were mildly inconvenienced.


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Max PalmerRe: All mixed up about graphics cards
by on Nov 3, 2011 at 7:55:01 pm

Previews are a big part of why I want to speed up my work, but I think I will start with RAM and see where it takes me.

Thanks for the help guys.


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Walter SoykaRe: All mixed up about graphics cards
by on Nov 3, 2011 at 8:36:14 pm

[Max Palmer] "Previews are a big part of why I want to speed up my work"

I think Michael was referring to previews in your 3D app, where the viewport is generally OpenGL-accelerated.

Back to After Effects, AE's "OpenGL - Interactive" setting for Fast Previews [link] works nicely; AE's OpenGL renderer [link] should remain turned off. Avoid it at all costs.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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