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How can I make Adobe After Effects CS5 run smoother?

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Andrew Vance
How can I make Adobe After Effects CS5 run smoother?
on Dec 23, 2011 at 3:28:40 pm

So here's my story...

I recently upgraded from CS4 to CS5 because CS5 works with 64 bit and it can read all my RAM. However, when I'm working in CS5 things aren't running smoothly. I see others who use CS5 moving across the timeline extremely smoothly while every frame they pass is rendered right away. However, when I move across my timeline it skips rendering on frames and when it does render it frame it takes about 2 seconds. The RAM Previews in half quality take pretty long also. My computer can give After Effects CS5 more than it needs to run very smoothly. Here are my computer Specs:

Alienware M11xR2 Laptop

8.0 GB RAM (7.8 Usable)

Intel(R) Core(TM) i3 CPU U 330 @ 1.20GHz

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium Edition Service Pack 1 (build 7601), 64-bit

Nvidia GeForce GT 335M 4.0 GB Video RAM

176.4 GB Free Disk Space

I also have 4 CPUs according to After Effects.

So how do I make After Effects run smoother? I've already enabled Disk Cache to 2000 MB. I made it so After Effects can use 6.3 GB of RAM(it wont let me go lower than leaving 1.5/7.8 GB of RAM for other applications). I have OpenGL enabled, but when I enable OpenGL in fast previews to interactive or always on, huge black lines start to appear like this:

I've fixed this problem by turning it off or changing it to adaptive resolution. If I make the limit of adaptive resolution to 1/8 then it runs faster, but I can't work with low quality like that even in the preview window. When OpenGL is on it is fast while keeping the quality so I'm not sure how to make it run smoothly without those huge black lines when I move the timeline.

CS5 is also very laggy when I bring it up again after minimizing it. It takes a longer time to start up compared with when I started up CS4. This happens every time it loads or I bring it up after it was minimized:

Basically it is always slow to load.

So how can I make After Effects run smoother? By smoother I mean by stopping this delay in opening the program up along any other delay when selecting an option in it, and rendering frames faster when moving the timeline with RAM Preview.

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Brandon Fenty
Re: How can I make Adobe After Effects CS5 run smoother?
on Dec 23, 2011 at 4:15:47 pm

To be honest, this sounds to be pretty typical performance, depending on the amount of effects in the preview window. I've got a core i7 w/ 8GB of RAM, and I have the same thing happen to me.

To my knowledge, After Effects only stores the rendered frames in your RAM, the actual rendering is done by your CPU, and while an i3 is no slouch, I don't believe it will give you instantaneous renders.

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Dave LaRonde
Re: How can I make Adobe After Effects CS5 run smoother?
on Dec 23, 2011 at 5:09:07 pm

You mentioned AE is now 64-bit, and it carries a LOT of implications. Believe it or not, 8 gigs is no longer a boatload of memory!

I recommend checking out Adobe's recommended processor & memory settings:

And please bear in mind that these settings are NOT etched in stone; they're gust general recommendations that benefit the majority of users, but may not be useful in certain instances.

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

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