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AE CS4 Incredibly Slow Render Times

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Fabio Basone
AE CS4 Incredibly Slow Render Times
on Mar 29, 2010 at 10:16:04 pm


I'm fairly new to AE so i'm not sure what i should be expecting in regards to Render times but they seem to be incredibly long. For a 1'30" project - it takes over 20hours with motion blur on and about half that without.

Here are my specs
Model Name: MacBook Pro
Model Identifier: MacBookPro3,1
Processor Name: Intel Core 2 Duo
Processor Speed: 2.6 GHz
Number Of Processors: 1
Total Number Of Cores: 2
L2 Cache: 4 MB
Memory: 4 GB
Bus Speed: 800 MHz

The project is fairly complex (in my opinion) with about 8 layers of video animating in 3d space with camera moves.

I'm exporting to Quicktime in Full Res HD (1920 x 1080) although i've tried motion-jpeg and it doesn't seem to be that much quicker.

I've tried fiddling with the Multiprocessor settings and although it does make some difference, the render times still seem to be very long.

What should my multi-processor settings be for a laptop of the above specs?

Also, although i have 4gig of RAM installed when i render out the message in the bottom left says it's only using 13% of 3gb of RAM. Why is that? It seems AE isn't using all the resources at it's disposal?
Obviously, i've tried quitting other apps / background processes and i have over 70GB left on the hard drive.

Any advice / tips would be greatly appreciated as at the moment i'm finding the long render times make the program unusable.



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Dave LaRonde
Re: AE CS4 Incredibly Slow Render Times
on Mar 29, 2010 at 10:24:44 pm

Common causes for AE woes have only been covered many times:
  • Got the free upgrade to AE 9.02? Get it.
  • Got Open GL turned on for rendering? Turn it off, it does more harm than good.
  • Using multiprocessing? It can be tricky. In your case, you shouldbn't use it at all. Read this: .....and this: h
And it could also be your footage, Read on:

Dave's Stock Answer #1:

If the footage you imported into AE is any kind of the following -- footage in an HDV acquisition codec, MPEG1, MPEG2, AVCHD, mp4, m2t, H.261 or H.264 -- you need to convert it to a different codec.

These kinds of footage use temporal, or interframe compression. They have keyframes at regular intervals, containing complete frame information. However, the frames in between do NOT have complete information. Interframe codecs toss out duplicated information.

In order to maintain peak rendering efficiency, AE needs complete information for each and every frame. But because these kinds of footage contain only partial information, AE freaks out, resulting in a wide variety of problems.

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

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Fabio Basone
Re: AE CS4 Incredibly Slow Render Times
on Mar 29, 2010 at 11:03:34 pm

yes thanks i\'ve read various posts including the ones you mention. With multi processor off it seems to be even slower. My footage isn\'t in any of those codecs either. Is animation a very slow format to render to?

Fabio Basone
Shot Films
London, UK

Creative Video Production

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Dave LaRonde
Re: AE CS4 Incredibly Slow Render Times
on Mar 30, 2010 at 1:05:57 pm

Multiple lights in a 3D comp dramatically increase render times. Casting shadows dramatically increases render times. Certain effects, like Remove Grain, dramatically increase render times. Large layers, such as 4000x7000, for example -- especially those with effects applied -- increase render times. Do any of these apply?

Then consider this -- you are trying to do things that couldn't be done ten years ago on a mainframe computer using just a tiny little laptop -- certainly not a machine that can match a dual quad core Mac Pro with 16GB RAM.

Laptop technology certainly has advanced, but has it advanced to the point where magic wands are commonplace? You may simply need a machine capable of doing the job properly.

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

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Jeffrey Kaplan
Re: AE CS4 Incredibly Slow Render Times
on Apr 12, 2010 at 7:54:12 pm

You can also render faster using your Terminal and 'aerender.' Simply set up your project to render with the desired settings and save the project. Open Terminal and drag the 'aerender' script (found in Applications > After Effects > aerender) into the terminal window. Then hit space bar then type '-project' and drag your AE project file into the terminal and hit the return key. Your project will then render fairly fast and you will still have enough remaining ram to continue working on your computer without it slowing down. This is also a great way to render multiple AE projects at once!

Jeff Kaplan
Point 360 WEST
Animation & VFX Department

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Pedro Navarro Giner
Re: AE CS4 incredibly slow render times
on May 17, 2010 at 11:12:42 am

I use a macpro 3.A 2x 2.8 GHZ quad-core Intel Xeon with 6 GB of RAM, And me the same problem occurs, I try to make a render of a project rather heavy to 1920 x 1080, Composed of various compositions (7) Las which use Trapcode form, Lux and shine, And takes about 11 hours to render 42 seconds.

Is normal or a fault on my machine?


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Peter Parise
Re: AE CS4 Incredibly Slow Render Times
on Mar 31, 2010 at 2:43:50 pm

You may have tried this already. I'm using the same MacBook Pro laptop. After upgrading to 10.6.3, I noticed almost a doubling of render times on a comp I use every week. I found that I had turned on “Render Multiple Frames Simultaneously” at some point. I turned this off and restarted AE and my render times dropped dramatically.

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