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RAM Preview Works. Rendering Doesn't.

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Brent Taylor
RAM Preview Works. Rendering Doesn't.
on Jun 2, 2015 at 2:12:07 am

So I've been working on some pretty intense animation projects. A little system-intensive for my modest computer, but the work is getting done. I usually watch my previews at Quarter-quality. But at Full, the system is still capable of rendering things, albeit slowly.

However, when I try to export, either through the After Effects renderer or the Media Encoder, it freezes off the bat.

Smaller compositions do ok, so it's pretty clear that this is just too much for my system. That said, if my computer can do a RAM preview just fine, why can't it do an actual render?

This question led me to you guys as I wonder if there are some settings I can tweak to make this work. The fact that it can do a RAM preview on Full without hanging leads me to believe the computer can in fact do it if I find the way to ask nicely.

I'm also aware of the option to save the RAM preview. Might just have to do that. But I'd prefer to use one of the normal renderers if possible.

Any ideas?


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Tero Ahlfors
Re: RAM Preview Works. Rendering Doesn't.
on Jun 2, 2015 at 3:35:52 am

[Brent Taylor] "A little system-intensive for my modest computer"

Well, what are you doing and what are your specs?


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Brent Taylor
Re: RAM Preview Works. Rendering Doesn't.
on Jun 2, 2015 at 3:47:07 am

It's a lot of character animation using .AI layers. A lot of it is in 3D space with Continuous Rasterization on. Some cameras and a little lighting, too. So it can get fairly involved. My specs are like this:

i7 Quad-core 2.4 ghz
12 GB RAM
NVIDIA GeForce FT 640M

Obviously that's not amazing. It's all I can afford at the moment, however.

If I tell it to render smaller compositions it does fine, but not entire scenes I've set up with multiple character/comps, backgrounds, etc. It just freezes.

I get that the obvious answer is "get a better computer or do simpler stuff." But I'm hoping that since the RAM preview works just fine, maybe I can get the renderer to do likewise.


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Tero Ahlfors
Re: RAM Preview Works. Rendering Doesn't.
on Jun 2, 2015 at 6:51:34 am

How big are the AI files and how big is your render resolution? Have you used any effects? What are your AE memory and multiprocessing settings?


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Cassius Marques
Re: RAM Preview Works. Rendering Doesn't.
on Jun 2, 2015 at 12:24:43 pm

Render to a lossless image sequence then import that to a clean project and add your audio again. Send THAT to AME for rendering final delivery.


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Dave LaRonde
Re: RAM Preview Works. Rendering Doesn't.
on Jun 2, 2015 at 4:19:06 pm

...yeah, and turn off multiprocessing, let AE use just one processor, hit the Render button and just walk away......


.... come back no sooner than 8 hours after you hit it. Hitting the Render button at bedtime -- or even better, quitting time -- and just leaving AE to do its thing cuts down on the urge to intervene.

In Days Of Yore running AE VERSION 3 -- not CS3 -- on a Powermac with Mac OS 8.6, this used to be standard operating procedure.

Working under such restrictions, you get pretty good at error-checking so your overnight-and-into-the-next-day render doesn't reveal any unwelcome surprises.

Dave LaRonde
Promotion Producer
KGAN (CBS) & KFXA (Fox) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Brent Taylor
Re: RAM Preview Works. Rendering Doesn't.
on Jun 2, 2015 at 4:25:53 pm

Thanks guys. I'll look into some of the things you mentioned and get back to you.

I tried the Media Encoder again last night. I realized that while it LOOKS like it hangs when I send the composition for rendering (Windows even tags it as unresponsive), if I'm very patient and wait a few minutes, it does finally go. It does the same thing when I push the render button.

Ended up taking 2 or 3 hours to render about a minute and a half of footage.

Unfortunately the Render has some kind of glitch. There's a few frames that, for some reason, always render in lower resolution than everything else... odd. This also happened when I saved the RAM preview... can't figure out what the deal is. Was using the H.264 codec.

Haven't tried the image sequence. Will have to get back to you on some of the other settings.


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Dave LaRonde
Re: RAM Preview Works. Rendering Doesn't.
on Jun 2, 2015 at 4:41:05 pm

H.264 is the root of almost all evil in AE.

Unless I know I can accept garbage, H.264 footage gets transcoded to QT's in Photo JPEG, Animation or PNG codecs before I import it.

Same thing applies for audio -- no compressed audio in my projects! Wav or Aiff only....

Dave LaRonde
Promotion Producer
KGAN (CBS) & KFXA (Fox) Cedar Rapids, IA


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