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Intel Quick Sync/After Effects/Adobe Media Encoder/Performance

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Tommy Caiels
Intel Quick Sync/After Effects/Adobe Media Encoder/Performance
on Dec 28, 2011 at 5:46:23 pm

Dear CreativeCOW

long time reader, first ever post...

I am trying to learn about optimising performance in After Effects (RAM previews, frame rendering time) and also optimising Adobe Media Encoder performance

My system:

i7 2600K @ 4.4ghz
16gb RAM 1333mhz
560ti SLI
ASRock Z68 Extreme4 motherboard

I am not confident my system is set up properly. When I am rendering a video or doing RAM previews in Adobe AE, my CPU usage is at just 30%, my memory usage is around 60%, both GPU usage is 0-10%. When I disable hyperthreading, my CPU usage will be 90-100%, but it does not make any notable difference in the performance (rendering speed).

I have been editing video for 8 years using Adobe After Effects and I am extremely well versed with the software, but I have never took the time to learn about the technical processes behind compression/rendering. I have only used After Effects in a creative capacity for all of this time so please excuse my lack of knowledge for technical terms regarding rendering/compression. I realise I may be thinking two steps ahead trying to learn about quick sync before my actual system is even caliberated correctly.


My questions:


1) Can any software support Quick Sync and allow H.264 compression? I am reluctant to use something other than Adobe Media Encoder because it allows me to render directly from an After Effects Composition to a compressed file.


2) Can I use quick sync to accelerate RAM previews and such within after effects?


3) Is there any way of knowing that quick sync is active? is it a plugin/encoding option or does it happen in the background?


4) I allocate 3GB RAM per core in AE using multiprocessing, is this choking my performance? With hyperthreading enabled: 8 cores = 24GB memory?


5) terminology: Rendering = drawing frames, Encoding = Compression, Editing = compositing my video clips. Correct?


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Walter Soyka
Re: Intel Quick Sync/After Effects/Adobe Media Encoder/Performance
on Dec 28, 2011 at 10:08:42 pm

[Tommy Caiels] "1) Can any software support Quick Sync and allow H.264 compression? I am reluctant to use something other than Adobe Media Encoder because it allows me to render directly from an After Effects Composition to a compressed file."

You may not want to use Adobe Media Encoder (AME) to render directly from After Effects (AE), because AME doesn't use AE's multiprocessing [link] settings. This hurts performance on multi-core systems. You'd be better off rendering to a lossless intermediate file through AE's Render Queue, then importing that intermediate file into AME and compressing from there.

AE's "Lossless" output module creates huge files that will probably not play in real time on your PC, but they are pristine and you will not incur any generational loss by using them as a go-between from AE and AME for your encode, and you may actually shorten your total time because you'll be able to use AE's multiprocessing feature.


[Tommy Caiels] "2) Can I use quick sync to accelerate RAM previews and such within after effects?"

No. AE uses its own renderer for previews. There are no accelerators for it, but do check out the Improve performance [link] page in the documentation for system, preference, and workflow tips.


[Tommy Caiels] "3) Is there any way of knowing that quick sync is active? is it a plugin/encoding option or does it happen in the background?"

I'm not familiar with Quick Sync, and I've actually never even heard of it until now -- so sorry I can't help you there.



[Tommy Caiels] "4) I allocate 3GB RAM per core in AE using multiprocessing, is this choking my performance? With hyperthreading enabled: 8 cores = 24GB memory?"

See the recommended memory settings [link].


[Tommy Caiels] "5) terminology: Rendering = drawing frames, Encoding = Compression, Editing = compositing my video clips. Correct?"

Yes on rendering for drawing frames, and yes on encoding for compression, but no on editing for compositing. Editing is making selections from source clips and arranging them in time -- what you do in Premiere Pro, FCP, or Avid. Compositing is combining multiple clips, creating a single image.

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
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