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Only one processor Rendering

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Matt Callac
Only one processor Rendering
on Jul 11, 2012 at 3:40:18 pm

Set out some animations to render overnight last night. Turned off the lighting and shadows, to speed up the render times, and got in this morning only to find out it only made it half way through 13 comps. Each one was taking between one and two hours. I turned on my Activity monitor only to find out that only one processor is rendering. It isn't the same processor at any given second, it bounces. from one processor another at any give time. I've never had a problem like this before.

Typically I have the opposite problem, where AE sucks out all the resources of my machine on render to where I can barely even surf the web.

I tested the project on a different machine and that machine did the same thing with this project. Does anyone have any ideas as to what might be causing this problem.

thanks in advance

-mattyc


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Matt Callac
Re: Only one processor Rendering
on Jul 11, 2012 at 3:42:56 pm

Just tested a render on another project, and it accesses all the processors on the machine.

this is really weird.

-mattyc


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John Cuevas
Re: Only one processor Rendering
on Jul 11, 2012 at 5:37:11 pm

There are some effects that don't support multi-processor rendering, that might be something to investigate.


Johnny Cuevas, Editor
Thinkck.com

"I have not failed 700 times. I have succeeded in proving that those 700 ways will not work. When I have eliminated the ways that will not work, I will find the way that will work."
---THOMAS EDISON on inventing the light bulb.


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Matt Callac
Re: Only one processor Rendering
on Jul 11, 2012 at 5:50:29 pm

all the effects are one's i use all the time.

in each comp there's:
adjustment layer with
add grain
ramp
levels
calculations

adjustment layer with Curves.

within the comp or pre comps these are the other filters
CC Repetile
tint
stroke

I can't imagine any of those filters would be causing the problem.

-mattyc


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Darby Edelen
Re: Only one processor Rendering
on Jul 11, 2012 at 6:46:41 pm

More information might help us figure out the problem.

What version of After Effects is this? How many aeselflink processes do you see in Activity Monitor? What is the memory usage for the AE and associated processes?

This answer is a long shot: if you're using CUDA accelerated ray-tracing in CS6 then AE is limited to one process.

Darby Edelen


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Matt Callac
Re: Only one processor Rendering
on Jul 11, 2012 at 6:58:20 pm

[Darby Edelen] "What version of After Effects is this?"

5.5



[Darby Edelen] "How many aeselflink processes do you see in Activity Monitor?"

Not sure what an aeselflink process is. the information showing in the activity monitor (for AE) is as follows
PID: 288 Process name Adobe After Effects10.5 %CPU 123% Threads: 66 Real Mem 7.85 GB


[Darby Edelen] "What is the memory usage for the AE and associated processes?"

nothing else is using anymore than 150 MB of ram. I'm not running much other than AE.


and nope not ray trace as i'm in 5.5

thanks
-mattyc


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Darby Edelen
Re: Only one processor Rendering
on Jul 11, 2012 at 7:24:27 pm

[Matt Callac] "Not sure what an aeselflink process is."

Sorry, I may have misunderstood the problem. Do you have "Render Multiple Frames Simultaneously" enabled in the Memory & Multiprocessing preferences? If you do then AE should load a process named "aeselflink" for each processor you have available based on your Memory & Multiprocessing settings.

Additionally, some effects disable Render Multiple Frames Simultaneously. According to the AE help these include:


Auto Color
Auto Contrast
Auto Levels
Cartoon
Lens Blur
Particle Playground
Shadow/Highlight


The sampleImage(); expression as well as some 3rd party effects also disable Render Multiple Frames Simultaneously.

If, however, you're not using Render Multiple Frames Simultaneously then it's hard to know exactly what's going on inside the black box :)

Darby Edelen


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Matt Callac
Re: Only one processor Rendering
on Jul 11, 2012 at 7:35:05 pm

Currently render multiple frames simultaneously is off. When it's on, It's a very similar situation. I've tried rendering on three different machines. All with the same result. For some reason this project and every comp in it cannot render using all the processors. I've gutted and reduced the project to one of my scene comps and gotten rid of everything that isn't internally generated by AE.

I've turned off all effects. Even deleted every except the camera, and though it does render much faster without any layers, it still doesn't ever use all processors at once. The most the CPU% hits is like 180.

This is just crazy.

I have the project gutted to where it's just internal AE things if anyone has time to take a look and see if they can figure it out.

-mattyc


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Andrew Somers
Re: Only one processor Rendering
on Jul 11, 2012 at 8:41:56 pm

If render multiple frames simultaneously is off then you will not be using all processors. It must be ON, and you must have enough RAM for each process, etc etc.

What machine and OS are you running, how many physical cores, and how much RAM do you have?


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Matt Callac
Re: Only one processor Rendering
on Jul 11, 2012 at 8:54:43 pm

No, render multiple frames simultaneously simply allows the program to assign different cores to render different frames. If it's not on. It's still using all of your processors, but it's using them to render each frame individually (not multiple at the same time).

But to answer your question

Mac OSX 10.7.2

8 cores 16 GB.


I've tired rendering this on several different machines and all yield the same results.

Here's a snapshot (maybe, I don't really know how to use the cow's file uploader).
http://f1.creativecow.net/4390/cpu-usage-during-render?uploaded=file


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Kevin Camp
Re: Only one processor Rendering
on Jul 11, 2012 at 9:13:42 pm

[Matt Callac] "If it's not on. It's still using all of your processors"

that's true for multi-threaded processes in ae, but not all processes are multi-threaded. using the 'render multiple frames simultaneously' option allows you to use multiple cores more often, but as has been noted, there are still exceptions.

it's hard to tell what's breaking the multi-frame rendering or the multi-threaded processes... you'd need to go through a comp layer by layer and doing a test render to find out which layer(s) are causing the issue. then you may even need to go through effect by effect to find out if it is an effect.

there is a thorough list of bundled effects and other things that break multi-frame rendering in the online manual, but i don't know that i've come across a list of processes that would break other multi-threaded processes.

Kevin Camp
Senior Designer
KCPQ, KMYQ & KRCW


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Matt Callac
Re: Only one processor Rendering
on Jul 11, 2012 at 9:24:04 pm

[Kevin Camp] "it's hard to tell what's breaking the multi-frame rendering or the multi-threaded processes... you'd need to go through a comp layer by layer and doing a test render to find out which layer(s) are causing the issue. then you may even need to go through effect by effect to find out if it is an effect."

Effects was easy to do, as there weren't that many effects. Went layer by layer deleting and test rendering and never found the problem. I guess i'll try that again, and look into what breaks multithread processes.

thanks

-mattyc


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Andrew Somers
Re: Only one processor Rendering
on Jul 12, 2012 at 3:47:33 am

Matt said: " It's still using all of your processors, but it's using them to render each frame individually (not multiple at the same time). "


No Matt, this is not a correct assumption. Even multi-threaded code will not neessarrly take advantage of all processors - a fact that becomes clear as you add processors. Even with a multi threaded app, when you go from 2 ores to 4, and 4 cores to 8, you will see an overall reduction in core utilization.

One way around this is to launch multiple instantiations in the background, so that each instantiation can take advantage of the unused processor time that other instantiations are not using, and also make more efficient use when dealing with single-threaded operations.

This is the reason that "render multiple frames simultaneously" was added as a feature.

EVEN SO - there are effects that will not multi thread, and I believe even some that will not work with muilt-processing at all.

In the jpeg you posted, it appears that you have something that is operating as a single thread. Not seeing your project, it's hard to know what/why - but don't assume that everything - plugin/effect what have you - is multi threaded.

ALSO, when posting images of activity monitor, the "System Memory" tab usually has some of the best clues.

Try This:

STEP ONE: Quit all other apps and log out (or reboot), then log back in and *only* start After Effects.

STEP ONE: Turn Multiprocessing ON. Since you only have 16 GB of RAM, limit the processors to 4, and set each to 2GB of RAM. Set "reserved for other apps" to 4 or 5 GB.


This should launch 4 background instances and you should then be rendering with 4 cores. You *may* be able to increase the number of cores, but generally (in practice) 16 GB is really only enough for efficient use of 4 to 5 cores when using MP. If not, then you may be using one of the effects that drags AE down to a single threaded situation. Without knowing your project or effects chain, it's hard to say.



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Matt Callac
Re: Only one processor Rendering
on Jul 12, 2012 at 2:37:58 pm

[Andrew Somers] " Even multi-threaded code will not neessarrly take advantage of all processors - a fact that becomes clear as you add processors. Even with a multi threaded app, when you go from 2 ores to 4, and 4 cores to 8, you will see an overall reduction in core utilization."

thanks for that clarification.



[Andrew Somers] "Turn Multiprocessing ON. Since you only have 16 GB of RAM, limit the processors to 4, and set each to 2GB of RAM. Set "reserved for other apps" to 4 or 5 GB."

Just ran this test and when I look at the activity monitor the 4 BG instances are are shooing .5% CPU usage, while the main AE ap is using 120%. This nearly quadruples the expected render time.


[Andrew Somers] "Not seeing your project, it's hard to know what/why - but don't assume that everything - plugin/effect what have you - is multi threaded."

Even when i turn off all the effects (which are minimal), it still has the same result.


I got everything rendered out overnight last night, there were 6 comps that needed to render. Each comp is built the same way but utilizing different assets. The first one took 2 hours the second took 1.5 hours, then the other 4 took about 30-40 minutes each. I set up a second machine to render comps from as well, and started in reverse order just in case things were still rendering when i got in. The first comp on that machine (which was the same as the last comp on the other machine) took 1.5 hours to render the second took 1 hour, and the remaining comps took 30-40 minutes each.

I'm clueless as to what is causing this weirdness. It does seem that something going on in the project is killing multithread processing, but i have not been able to figure out what.

Thanks again for your posts.
-mattyc


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Darby Edelen
Re: Only one processor Rendering
on Jul 12, 2012 at 11:57:56 pm

[Matt Callac] "I'm clueless as to what is causing this weirdness. It does seem that something going on in the project is killing multithread processing, but i have not been able to figure out what."

AE might be starved for memory, this can lead to all kinds of strange goings-on.

There are lots of things I'd recommend looking at, including memory usage in Activity Monitor, available disk space on your OS drive (used for virtual memory), location of your disk cache (if you're using one).

What resolution and bit depth are you working at? If you're using any footage items, what kind? What effects are you using?

Darby Edelen


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Matt Callac
Re: Only one processor Rendering
on Jul 13, 2012 at 2:33:55 am

[Darby Edelen] "There are lots of things I'd recommend looking at, including memory usage in Activity Monitor, available disk space on your OS drive (used for virtual memory), location of your disk cache (if you're using one)."

Not using a disk cache, and there's 500 free gigs on the system drive. without having multiframe rendering on AE was using just over 11GB of memory.



[Darby Edelen] "What resolution and bit depth are you working at? If you're using any footage items, what kind? What effects are you using?"

Rendering out full res 1080 and i'm working in 8bit colorspace. effects are pretty minimal
add grain
ramp
levels
calculations
Curves
tint
CCRepetile
and stroke

-mattyc


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Cassius Marques
Re: Only one processor Rendering
on Jul 13, 2012 at 9:12:11 pm

I've had the same thing on a project of mine yesterday... I'll try to narrow it down also... will post if I find something... Ae 5.5 too.


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Matt Callac
Re: Only one processor Rendering
on Jul 14, 2012 at 5:03:15 am

Today I finished up some of the prep work for final renders. And somehow the problem has sort of gone away.

THe only 2 real major things i did was adding trapcode's horizon to each scene to add a 3D sky to the scene. I had 35MB tiff file just dropped into the comp's in the BG without adding Horizon. The second thing I did was add an elliptical mask to the ground layer so at certain camera angle's i wouldn't get sharp conners at the horizon. The ground layer is a precomp full of vector artwork with the collapse transformations switch on.

While i wouldn't think either one of those changes would have affected multithread processing apparently they did. And 7 of the comps have rendered out on all processors.

The problem is mostly gone i say b/c the 8th comp is 2.5 hours in with 4.5 hours left, and it's limping away on one processor. So something is still wonky in that comp. The other comps rendered in roughly a half hour each.

-mattyc


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Andrew Somers
Re: Only one processor Rendering
on Jul 14, 2012 at 3:40:42 pm

Matt: Just ran this test and when I look at the activity monitor the 4 BG instances are are shooing .5% CPU usage, while the main AE ap is using 120%. This nearly quadruples the expected render time.



This sounds like you are choked for RAM.

Is your disk cache turned on? It should be set to 20 GB or so.


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Matt Callac
Re: Only one processor Rendering
on Jul 14, 2012 at 5:16:53 pm

[Andrew Somers] "Is your disk cache turned on? It should be set to 20 GB or so."

I'll make that change and see how it goes. Thanks for the tip.

-mattyc


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Matt Callac
Re: Only one processor Rendering
on Jul 14, 2012 at 5:29:04 pm

[Andrew Somers] "This sounds like you are choked for RAM.

Is your disk cache turned on? It should be set to 20 GB or so."


Just went to check disk cache and it was already on and set to 20GB

-mattyc


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Kevin Camp
Re: Only one processor Rendering
on Jul 16, 2012 at 3:36:11 pm

it sounds like it may be related to something like a memory leak... have you tried rebooting when you see this happen?

Kevin Camp
Senior Designer
KCPQ, KMYQ & KRCW


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Matt Callac
Re: Only one processor Rendering
on Jul 16, 2012 at 3:49:36 pm

[Kevin Camp] "it sounds like it may be related to something like a memory leak... have you tried rebooting when you see this happen?"

Yes, Tried that, and it still decides it'll take the same amount of time to render even after a reboot.

The worst part is my computer (iMac running lion), won't boot into the diagnostic mode, so I can't see if there's a hardware problem. Funny, how in all my time using mac's i've never been unable to run a hardware test since I had a physical disc to boot it from. But now since apple "simplified" by OS's a download, I can't get the damn diagnostic mode to boot.

-mattyc


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