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How do I Improve After Effects render/preview speed on iMac

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Jonathan BarrettHow do I Improve After Effects render/preview speed on iMac
by on Aug 5, 2016 at 4:05:22 pm

So I have an iMac I use for work (the specs are below) and we recently started doing a lot more video projects mainly AE, with some Premiere, and the render/preview times have been killing me. I only have the standard 5400 rpm hard drive, and an external back up drive right now. What I would like to know is what could I purchase for the mac to help me out, would a thunderport SSD make a huge difference? Should I try to get a raid drive of some kind? I have to convince them of the purchase so whatever would get me the biggest improvement for the money, is what I am looking for. As always thanks for the help guys!

Model Identifier: iMac17,1
Processor Name: Intel Core i7
Processor Speed: 4 GHz
Number of Processors: 1
Total Number of Cores: 4
L2 Cache (per Core): 256 KB
L3 Cache: 8 MB
Memory: 16 GB


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Dave LaRondeRe: How do I Improve After Effects render/preview speed on iMac
by on Aug 5, 2016 at 6:26:23 pm

I guess it all depends on how much you'll need to store. Can you nail that down?

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


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Jonathan BarrettRe: How do I Improve After Effects render/preview speed on iMac
by on Aug 5, 2016 at 7:11:41 pm

I don't think I would need more then 1 tb of space since I can backup my projects two places off the mac. I am just wondering if a ssd drive will make a large difference in after effects, or if there is some other way to speed up the preview render since its taking a very long time even at a quarter resolution. Right now I have 100 gb of Disk Cache but its on the internal hard drive, would having that on an external drive make it faster, or would the connection speed make it slower.


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Dave LaRondeRe: How do I Improve After Effects render/preview speed on iMac
by on Aug 5, 2016 at 7:32:16 pm

An SSD will make a very big difference in AE speed... especially if the caches are on it, along with the media. I'd get the biggest one possible.

But since you're kinda new to all this, it would be good to know what your definition of "a very long time" is, along with the effects being used, 3D layers and light(s) in the comp, and any extrusions. It could be that things are fine, and you're not used to the way the application works.

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


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Michael SzalapskiRe: How do I Improve After Effects render/preview speed on iMac
by on Aug 5, 2016 at 7:45:28 pm

Dave is right. If you're new to AE, you may just need expectations adjusted.

Have you tried rendering in CC 2014 with multiprocessing? Sometimes that can make a big difference. CC 2014 is included with your CC subscription and it can open files created in CC 2015 and CC 2015.3 pretty seamlessly.

- The Great Szalam
(The 'Great' stands for 'Not So Great, in fact, Extremely Humble')

No trees were harmed in the creation of this message, but several thousand electrons were mildly inconvenienced.


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Jonathan BarrettRe: How do I Improve After Effects render/preview speed on iMac
by on Aug 5, 2016 at 8:09:43 pm

I am not sure what you mean by CC 2014 are you talking about AE CC 2014?


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Jonathan BarrettRe: How do I Improve After Effects render/preview speed on iMac
by on Aug 5, 2016 at 8:18:51 pm

I figured out what you meant I will give that a try, thanks for the advice.


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Jonathan BarrettRe: How do I Improve After Effects render/preview speed on iMac
by on Aug 5, 2016 at 7:46:01 pm

That is a good point I have started using 3d layers which have increased the load quite a bit. However if the SSD will make a big difference that is probably the best purchase. I think I also need to set the proper expectations for how much longer a more complex video can take, just to get better deadlines. Thanks for the advice I appreciate it.


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