ADOBE AFTER EFFECTS: Forum Expressions Tutorials Creative Cloud

Will a "better" computer h*lp me?

COW Forums : Adobe After Effects

<< PREVIOUS   •   FAQ   •   VIEW ALL   •   PRINT   •   NEXT >>
Bobby Kay
Will a "better" computer h*lp me?
on Jan 3, 2013 at 5:25:52 am

Hopefully the AE crowd is the right forum and not the MAC one. Here goes:

I run a small freelance production business as a second job...mostly music videos and online promos. I find the only part I don't like about all my projects is the frustrations I have with computing power on a whole, but it's not something I completely understand.
For example, I can mess around in After Effects (the program this post is centered around) with little trouble when testing an effect, or doing a small motion graphic. However, when I get my hands dirty I really struggle. If, for example, I have to use a keying plug-in like Keylight on an interview in HD footage and replace the background, I'd like to view it Full Res with a smooth RAM preview to see where it's unclean, but I cannot. I end up with choppy playback and end up rendering out a portion, reviewing the file, and then trying to go back in and fix what I saw based on that, which is very difficult to be accurate and takes FOREVER as far as I'm concerned. That's one example of many. I realize some plugins are demanding, but I'm trying to figure out what constitutes a computer that is READY to handle After Effects, without being overkill. I don't do any 3D, although if I do get a new computer I would like one that could at least handle learning 3D program like C4D or 3DSM smoothly. I'd hate to spend a fortune to find it's insufficient.

Without further adieu I currently work on a:

MacBook Pro
2.66 i7 Dual 8 GB
Graphics card looks to me like 512MB if I'm reading it right.

I'm looking at a brand new:

iMac 27"
3.4 i7 Quad 32 GB RAM
2GB Graphics Card

So my big question is, if I invest in a new computer like this, am I going to find huge relief in my workflow, or should my current computer be handling my work better and I would find similar frustration anyway? I imagine the faster and multiplied processors plus the hugely increased RAM would have to give me a boost, but I also don't know how much AE can take advantage of it, and how much improvement I should realistically expect? And also if something seems just wrong with my current configuration's lack of performance. I never expected to be rendering out Avatar on my laptop, but I thought I could RAM preview one or two sweet effects with ease so my creativity could flow without giving up from impatience with technology!
And for fun, what would be considered an UNSTOPPABLE computer for AE. Is it even feasible to be able to load something FX-heavy QUICKLY into RAM and preview back smoothly when working on something big, or is it inevitable to be slowed down no matter what your computer?

Thanks and sorry for being long-winded.


Return to posts index

Dave LaRonde
Re: Will a "better" computer h*lp me?
on Jan 3, 2013 at 4:13:50 pm

Here's the thing: AE may be an application that can run independently from other applications, but it's not wise to run it in a vacuum.

Tell us about the other applications you use regularly. Tell us about the camera you shoot with. Tell us about the codecs you regularly use. Tell us about the files you're expected to deliver.

Having said that, a laptop generally isn't the best environment for AE. You find yourself paying a penalty in ease of operation and time.

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


Return to posts index

Bobby Kay
Re: Will a "better" computer h*lp me?
on Jan 3, 2013 at 4:58:55 pm

I use Final Cut Pro, Premiere, Photoshop, Pro Tools, Compressor, MPEG Streamclip, Safari...off the top of my head, and other than maybe PS and AE, I rarely have any of these running simultaneously. The majority of what I shoot is on a 5D and a 7D. I convert to and edit mostly in AIC, although understand Pro Res is more widely used so will experiment with that some. And a lot of my output is to YouTube h264, mpeg4, or mpeg2.

Thanks for your help, eager to know what the root of the hold up is, and the best ways to overcome them!


Return to posts index


Dave LaRonde
Re: Will a "better" computer h*lp me?
on Jan 3, 2013 at 5:27:13 pm

FCP.... hmmmm.
If you run FCP classic -- i.e. NOT FCPX -- I would recommend a visit to the COW's FCP forum. Double-check if the new OS on an iMac is compatible with your version of FCP, and if it can me made compatible, the steps you should take.

The same thing applies to your other applications. Or you could just upgrade all the software along with the machine.

And you're right about the AIC - ProRes thing. ProRes is definitely better. It is much, much less lossless. You have to push ProRes 422 to 6 generations of re-rendering before you see any visible change in image quality... and who re-renders six times?

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


Return to posts index

Bobby Kay
Re: Will a "better" computer h*lp me?
on Jan 3, 2013 at 6:44:11 pm

Good thoughts on the potential software issues. I may just jump ship to premiere. I always consider it and then no project ever seems like a good one to 'learn' on. So would you think that the AIC format has anything to do with my issue or just my quality compromise. Also, is there a significant file size difference with 422? or same ballpark?


Return to posts index

Walter Soyka
Re: Will a "better" computer h*lp me?
on Jan 3, 2013 at 7:20:42 pm

[Bobby Kay] "So would you think that the AIC format has anything to do with my issue or just my quality compromise."

I doubt that AIC is the source of your problem -- but you should switch to ProRes anyway, because AIC is ghastly.

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


Return to posts index


Walter Soyka
Re: Will a "better" computer h*lp me?
on Jan 3, 2013 at 4:43:34 pm

[Bobby Kay] "I'd like to view it Full Res with a smooth RAM preview to see where it's unclean, but I cannot. I end up with choppy playback"

RAM preview should always be smooth. Are you doing real RAM previews (Ctrl-0 on a MBP), or are you doing standard previews (spacebar)?



[Bobby Kay] "So my big question is, if I invest in a new computer like this, am I going to find huge relief in my workflow, or should my current computer be handling my work better and I would find similar frustration anyway? I imagine the faster and multiplied processors plus the hugely increased RAM would have to give me a boost, but I also don't know how much AE can take advantage of it, and how much improvement I should realistically expect?"

You should expect quite a bit of improvement. You don't really have enough RAM in your current computer to enable multiprocessing. With 32 GB in a new iMac, you can enable multiprocessing, which allows Ae to render multiple frames on those multiple cores at the same time.


[Bobby Kay] "And for fun, what would be considered an UNSTOPPABLE computer for AE. Is it even feasible to be able to load something FX-heavy QUICKLY into RAM and preview back smoothly when working on something big, or is it inevitable to be slowed down no matter what your computer?"

RAM preview playback should always be smooth, but rendering the RAM preview before playback can take a while, depending on the complexity of the comp.

Ae benefits from a balanced systems -- imbalanced systems inevitably bottleneck somewhere, meaning there are system resources available that cannot be exploited. For example, a system with lots of processors but too little RAM will not be able to max out the CPU usage.

More specifically, Ae's classic renderer benefits most from having multiple processors and enough RAM to keep them all busy. The new ray-tracing renderer benefits from a CUDA-enabled NVIDIA graphics card. CS6's new global performance cache benefits a great deal from a fast storage system.

You can easily spend $10,000 to $15,000 on a high-end workstation for Ae.

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


Return to posts index

Tom Daigon
Re: Will a "better" computer h*lp me?
on Jan 3, 2013 at 5:53:16 pm

[Walter Soyka] "You can easily spend $10,000 to $15,000 on a high-end workstation for Ae."


Dont I know it :D

Tom Daigon
PrP / After Effects Editor
http://www.hdshotsandcuts.com





(Best viewed at 1080P and full screen)
HP Z820 Dual 2687
64GB ram
Dulce DQg2 16TB raid


Return to posts index

Bobby Kay
Re: Will a "better" computer h*lp me?
on Jan 3, 2013 at 6:49:48 pm

I manually click the RAM preview button to do it so I believe I am getting the desired function. RAM preview is not always smooth for me.. Sometimes it plays back and above the button it will tell me it is not playing back in real time, or it can only load very little into the preview which isn't always enough. So if I had this quad core machine with faster processor and way more RAM, would I find a pretty smooth work environment for my level of work, or am I dreaming of the 10-15k machines you referenced and this iMac would only be a 'less slow' option to my current setup. I know it's not a straight forward objective answer, but trying to guage if the investment is worth it!


Return to posts index


Walter Soyka
Re: Will a "better" computer h*lp me?
on Jan 3, 2013 at 7:19:42 pm

[Bobby Kay] " So if I had this quad core machine with faster processor and way more RAM, would I find a pretty smooth work environment for my level of work, or am I dreaming of the 10-15k machines you referenced and this iMac would only be a 'less slow' option to my current setup. I know it's not a straight forward objective answer, but trying to guage if the investment is worth it!"

It is absolutely worth it.

A 2.66 GHZ i7 2010 MacBook Pro with 8 GB of RAM renders the Total Benchmark test in 243 seconds.

A 3.4 GHz i7 2012 27" iMac with 16 GB of RAM renders it almost 3x faster, at 82 seconds. (Go for 32 GB anyway.)

http://www.barefeats.com/mbpp23.html
http://barefeats.com/imac12p2.html

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


Return to posts index

Todd Kopriva
Re: Will a "better" computer h*lp me?
on Jan 3, 2013 at 10:51:00 pm

In addition to the good advice that you've gotten so far, I recommend that you check out the following sets of resources:

See this page for resources about making After Effects work faster: http://adobe.ly/eV2zE7

See this page for information about hardware for After Effects: http://adobe.ly/pRYOuk

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Todd Kopriva, Adobe Systems Incorporated
After Effects quality engineering
After Effects team blog
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Return to posts index

Brent Dunn
Re: Will a "better" computer h*lp me?
on Jan 8, 2013 at 7:26:44 pm

Yes, you need a better graphics card. As they say in video land, the more the better.

By the way, you have a quad core system, not a dual core. The i7 is a quad core chip. I'd recommend at least a gig video card. You also need more memory for Adobe's software to take advantage of the processing.

Laptop's are not really great at processing after effects projects. They fill the need when you are on the road, but not for your main editing machine.

So, it comes down to money. I love Mac's, but you can get a great machine on the PC side for around half the price.

Brent Dunn
Owner / Director / Editor
DunnRight Films
DunnRight Video.com
Video Marketing Toolbox.net

Sony EX-1,
Canon 5D Mark II
Canon 7D
Mac Pro
with Final Cut Studio Adobe CS6 Production






Return to posts index

<< PREVIOUS   •   VIEW ALL   •   PRINT   •   NEXT >>
© 2017 CreativeCOW.net All Rights Reserved
[TOP]