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Does the Speed of the 'Assets Drive' Have an Effect on the Speed of After Effects?

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Clive Barry
Does the Speed of the 'Assets Drive' Have an Effect on the Speed of After Effects?
on Jun 30, 2016 at 1:09:45 am

This question, my friends, is dogging me...

The pervasive advice is to run the program files, media & disk cache off an ssd. Then you just have your assets drive on a bog standard hdd as no more gains are to be made? This is my setup.

I'm wondering if the cache processes STILL images for faster access [I know it does for video & audio], or does it always read them straight from the bog standard assets hdd? I use mainly hi-res multi-layered PSD's, and their resolution appears to greatly affect performance.

I would highly value enlightenment on this issue from somebody with an understanding of AE's mechanics... I've found an SSD that is 24 times faster than my current HDD... so if the cache doesn't stretch to image files this would seem like a good investment!

Cheers

Klyve


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Clive Barry
Re: Does the Speed of the 'Assets Drive' Have an Effect on the Speed of After Effects?
on Jun 30, 2016 at 1:27:46 am

Just an little update: Puget Systems, who seem to know AE inside out [and it's various hardware failings, especially with multi-threading] say "A large secondary SSD is great for your active projects as well as being the location of your disk cache".


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Does the Speed of the 'Assets Drive' Have an Effect on the Speed of After Effects?
on Jun 30, 2016 at 3:11:04 am

Well, there you have it -- SSD's for everything! People usually put the caches on the SSD and everything else on hard drive. The caches need the speed the most. Why? SSDs are expensive!

If you have an all-SSD machine, will you buy me a new car?

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


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Clive Barry
Re: Does the Speed of the 'Assets Drive' Have an Effect on the Speed of After Effects?
on Jun 30, 2016 at 3:18:42 am

Will you take Hot Wheels?

SSD's are plummeting in price... starving artists like me can still afford an 'SM951' for example.


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Does the Speed of the 'Assets Drive' Have an Effect on the Speed of After Effects?
on Jun 30, 2016 at 3:29:32 am
Last Edited By Dave LaRonde on Jun 30, 2016 at 3:31:39 am

I can get 1 TB of pretty darn fast hard drive storage for less than 75 bucks... and it's NOT from a fly-by-night vendor selling dodgy hardware.

Tell me about the similar SSD you can get for the same price.

That's NOW. I am sure it will change. In favor of. SSDs.

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


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Clive Barry
Re: Does the Speed of the 'Assets Drive' Have an Effect on the Speed of After Effects?
on Jun 30, 2016 at 3:37:00 am

Nahh... no fly by nights man. You need a little specialist knowledge to hook them up your pci-e correctly, so maybe the vendors you might come across are rather no frills as they're catering to full blown geeks.

Here in the UK they're sold by scan.co.uk... https://www.scan.co.uk/products/256gb-samsung-sm951-m2-(22x80)-pcie-30-(x4)...

But there's no reason not to get one from hong kong or wherever


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Tero Ahlfors
Re: Does the Speed of the 'Assets Drive' Have an Effect on the Speed of After Effects?
on Jun 30, 2016 at 6:08:16 am

Faster drives help up to a point. If your project gets really effects heavy then the bottleneck will change from the storage to the CPU. If you can't process the effects fast then there's no need to read/write it that fast.


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Walter Soyka
Re: Does the Speed of the 'Assets Drive' Have an Effect on the Speed of After Effects?
on Jun 30, 2016 at 10:36:15 am

[Clive Barry] "I'm wondering if the cache processes STILL images for faster access [I know it does for video & audio], or does it always read them straight from the bog standard assets hdd? I use mainly hi-res multi-layered PSD's, and their resolution appears to greatly affect performance."

Any frame of any layer of any comp which is slower to render from scratch than it is to read from the cache disk may be stored in the disk cache.

When you say you use mainly multi-layered PSDs -- do you mean that you'll traditionally base a comp on one multi-layer PSD (like you might if you were animating something you designed in Ps), or do you mean that you use image sequences of multi-layered PSDs (like you might if you were compositing 3D renders)? There's a big difference between these two.

If you're just using a few PSDs, the speed of their source drive shouldn't be a huge deal because they should be cached in RAM immediately. Ae should be reading them from disk once upfront, then storing them in RAM to refer to for each subsequent frame. You only incur a slow read once in this scenario. You should not see a significant difference in performance if you upgrade your media drive, because reading the assets off disk is not the bottleneck.

If you're using a sequence of PSDs, on the other hand, you have a slow read for each frame. Then, you would benefit from a faster media drive because reading the assets off disk is a bottleneck.

As Tero says, there are other factors at play besides just the disk. High resolution stills (how high res are we talking here?) require more RAM to store, they have more pixels for effects to process, etc. Some more information about what you're doing and what your system specs are will give us better perspective on what to suggest for your system.

Walter Soyka
Designer & Mad Scientist at Keen Live [link]
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
@keenlive [twitter]   |   RenderBreak [blog]   |   Profile [LinkedIn]


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Clive Barry
Re: Does the Speed of the 'Assets Drive' Have an Effect on the Speed of After Effects?
on Jun 30, 2016 at 11:27:31 am

Blimey... what an excellent response!!

Unfortunately it's the former: many simultaneous loading of PSD layers is what I deal with. Not the sequential loading of PSD layers, so, as you say, beyond the first frame it won't speed up.

I'm using very high res PSD's that begin as detailed drawings. Many multi-layered PSD's at once, used for backdrop, characters etc (e.g.



). Backdrop ~12000px wide, Character ~6000px tall. Both made from a gang of layers

I made the above animation with the following spec:
AE 2014
FX-8350 cpu
32GB ddr3 ram

It was positively torporous to do a ram preview of even a few seconds, as it is so detailed. Reducing the preview resolution sped this up, so I suppose this goes along with Tero's assertion of the cpu bottleneck (since it's making an initial lower res cache at the first frame, then there is less to process on subsequent frames).

My only counter to this is the fact the cpu usage in task manager rarely goes above 30%... But I've read this is AE itself not handling multithreading efficiently.

I'm going to upgrade to a new computer, with dual xeons... hopefully AE can get it's act together and fully embrace multi-threading!! Puget Systems have written an article detailing the ridiculously high diminishing returns on upping your core count... but surely someday Adobe will fix this??

By the way, have you fellows got hold if AE 2016 yet? Is it better at using all the cpu cores?

Think I'll also do an identical test RAM preview of a project on my boggy hdd and then repeat it with assets shifted to the ssd -- I'm sure there'll be no gains but can't hurt to test. Will take bloody ages as my projects are so damn complex and bulky... But I'll return with my findings.

Thanks so much!

Klyve


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Clive Barry
Re: Does the Speed of the 'Assets Drive' Have an Effect on the Speed of After Effects?
on Jun 30, 2016 at 12:32:50 pm

Balls... you were indeed correct: RAM preview sped up by 1% reading assets off ssd as opposed to the hdd rendering the above hi-res psd layer-heavy animation.

Thanks Walter, you hit the nail and explained it really well. Was actually hoping you'd respond — the glasses make you appear very studious.

CPU usage wasn't as low as I'd stated, it averaged about 47%. So, that isn't terrible. ALL about the processor then [and a fast cache drive]!!

Cheers lads


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