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Thoughts on how to simplify this project to speed rendering?

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Stephen Pickering
Thoughts on how to simplify this project to speed rendering?
on Feb 12, 2013 at 3:59:02 pm

Hi everyone,

Here's the project: http://we.tl/UAtxWYBUFP

I have a project I've been working on which is essentially a "Venetian Blinds" effect controlled using sliders. I've never done expressions to this extent, so there was A LOT of learning. And I'm sure I've even got bottle necks in the expressions themselves...

But here's the deal, the video is for an awards ceremony which will have MANY awards (meaning many videos (about 30+)). Currently the videos take a lot of time to render. I know this is because I am using 3d, lights, shadows, and lots of comps.

But I'm wondering if anyone might be able to take a look and see if there is anything that stands out as being an unnecessary bottleneck.

Of course "pre-rendering" is certainly the first thought I had but nearly every comp is taking information from the comp above it, so I can't figure out a way to make that work. I have an additional "highlight" layer with blending, a ramp, and transparency one each layer which is not needed but adds the "Bevel" look which I cannot figure out a different way of achieving. The biggest issue is that I want (but don't NEED) my control slider to control the size, rotation, spacing, etc (which it does now, but then limits my ability to pre-compose, pre-render, etc.) Every animation will be near identical but just different text and video.

So, anyone willing to take a look to see what I might be able to do away with to speed up my render time?

Thanks for any suggestions!

-Stephen



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Dave LaRonde
Re: Thoughts on how to simplify this project to speed rendering?
on Feb 12, 2013 at 4:28:57 pm

Sorry, I can't get to the file.
Sorry as well to hear you're having speed problems, but at this point we can't help much because there are too many unknowns:
  • Your platform: Mac/Win
  • Your OS version
  • Your processors
  • Your RAM
  • Your third-party cards
  • Your SPECIFIC version of AE: look at the About selection in AE for info
  • Your configuration of AE: multiprocessing (#processors, amount of RAM), ray tracing, etc.
  • Your footage: media container & codec
Give us that and people can help you.

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


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Stephen Pickering
Re: Thoughts on how to simplify this project to speed rendering?
on Feb 12, 2013 at 11:44:01 pm

Thanks Dave,

The system this project is currently on is a PC with Windows 7 64bit
Intel Xeon X3440 @ 2.53 (8 cores)
16GB RAM
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 260 video card (I know this is not a supported card)
After Effects CS6 v. 11.0.2.12
Multiprocessing disabled, 13GB RAM reserved for AE, ray tracing off, "Classic 3d" on.
The video footage is h.264 (.mov) from t2i, however I think I will end up just using still graphics instead of video for this opening.

I know these specs are poor so I'm not expecting great performance, but I thought there might be some gurus out there who know the effects are that kill performance (or tricks to simulate render-intensive settings without the real thing).

Thanks Dave,

Stephen



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Dave LaRonde
Re: Thoughts on how to simplify this project to speed rendering?
on Feb 13, 2013 at 8:59:53 pm

H.264 isn't AE's favorite kind of codec.

The compression occurs across a group of frames: any given frame may contain incomplete image info. It's a really big problem for effects that look backwards & forwards in time, the warp stabilizer and rotobrush, to name a few. AE will really slow down if you use those features. The fix: convert your clips to a lossless codec like Quicktime's PNG codec, a real honey.

You should be okay to use multiprocessing, but I wouldn't advise any more than 4 processors and 12 gigs of memory total. It seems counterintuitive, but the nature of the project may mean that AE will do more with less.

Then there are the normal things that bring AE to a snail's pace: gigantic layers with effects applied to them, multiple lights, layers that are both accepting lights & casting shadows and ray tracing (the WORST offender).

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


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Stephen Pickering
Re: Thoughts on how to simplify this project to speed rendering?
on Feb 19, 2013 at 12:49:48 am

Thanks Dave,

I appreciate your help on this. I've read about h.264 being hard for AE. Even without the video (just the stills) it was sluggish which I realized was due to the lights. The nature of the project was multiple layers of a single composition (split up like blinds using masks). Each layer both accepted lights and cast shadows.

My workaround was a bit of a cheat which actually worked really well in this case. I rendered out the animation with just white layers (accepting lights and casting shadows). This created a video with just shadow. Then I turned off the lights in the original composition and simply put the rendered video on the the top layer with a multiply mode and 32% opacity. I also needed to compress the curves a little. While it was not perfect it worked really well and allowed me extremely fast render times which let me hit my deadline.

I really appreciate your time to help on this Dave!

Take care,

-Stephen Pickering



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