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Why doesn't After Effects play back the audio automatically?

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Sam Lanes
Why doesn't After Effects play back the audio automatically?
on Dec 23, 2013 at 7:21:00 am

I am aware of how to work with audio in After Effects using the RAM Preview etc, but I am currently writing up a blog post examining how to work with audio for those who aren't familiar with the process.

However, whilst thinking about how to approach the topic, it occurred to me that I don't know the REASON why After Effects doesn't play back the audio without a RAM Preview. Do any of the COW's AE gurus know the answer to this?

My instinct tells me that it is a technical thing in that computers cannot process an audio/video preview quickly enough for a quick playback, which would seriously hinder the effectiveness of the AE process. If this is the case, would it be likely that as computers continue to improve in terms of quality, that it might one day be possible for the audio and video to play back some form of preview by default without having to load to RAM?

http://www.aefromscratch.com


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Walter Soyka
Re: Why doesn't After Effects play back the audio automatically?
on Dec 23, 2013 at 1:52:03 pm

[Sam Lanes] "However, whilst thinking about how to approach the topic, it occurred to me that I don't know the REASON why After Effects doesn't play back the audio without a RAM Preview. Do any of the COW's AE gurus know the answer to this?"

With RAM Preview, which renders first, saving final frames in RAM, then plays back those final frames flip-book style, you are virtually guaranteed real-time playback. With standard preview (spacebar), which renders as it goes, real-time playback is unlikely. How can Ae meaningfully play the audio in sync if it doesn't know how long the preview will take?


[Sam Lanes] "My instinct tells me that it is a technical thing in that computers cannot process an audio/video preview quickly enough for a quick playback, which would seriously hinder the effectiveness of the AE process. If this is the case, would it be likely that as computers continue to improve in terms of quality, that it might one day be possible for the audio and video to play back some form of preview by default without having to load to RAM?"

Pure rendering speed is not really Ae's forte today. Other apps can do this now -- process video, audio, and effects in real-time -- up to a point. No computer and no software can guarantee real-time performance of unlimited animation/effects.

When Ae was designed, no desktop computer had real-time performance potential, so what Ae lacks in real-time focus, it makes up for with features to help the user manage performance with limited resources.

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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Sam Lanes
Re: Why doesn't After Effects play back the audio automatically?
on Dec 23, 2013 at 2:08:53 pm

Thanks Walter, that's exactly the kind of information I wanted to know.

http://www.aefromscratch.com


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