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AfterEffects freezes during RAM preview on new Mac Pro

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Daniel Kanemoto
AfterEffects freezes during RAM preview on new Mac Pro
on Dec 29, 2019 at 6:15:01 am

Hi all,

I’m dealing with a persistent AfterEffects issue that I can’t solve on my own, and would love some help solving the problem.

For years I used AfterEffects 2017 on a 2010 Mac Pro 5,1 running MacOS Sierra, but I recently got a new Mac Pro, and I’m having trouble getting AE to function.

I’m now using AfterEffects 2020 (Version 17.0.1) on a new Mac Pro 7,1, running MacOS Catalina. This new machine is a 3.2 GHz 16-Core Intel Xeon W with 384GB of memory, the GPU is the AMD Radeon Pro Vega II 32 GB, and everything is running off of internal m.2 solid state drives.

AfterEffects launches super fast on the new machine, and the software has no problem converting my old projects.

However when I try to use RAM preview on my 1920x1080 compositions, I can only preview about 3-4 seconds at ‘full’ resolution before the image in the composition window freezes. When I preview at 'half' resolution, I can get about 8-9 seconds before the image freezes. (These are complex compositions with lots of layers and prerendered footage, but my old 5,1 machine with 64GB of RAM had no problem previewing these comps. Of course some took a long time to preview, but they woudn't crash the software).

Oddly enough, this isn’t a 'full' crash — I can still navigate around the project and open existing compositions, as well as save the project and set keyframes, but the image in the composition window remains ‘frozen’ — it does not update, so I can’t view or preview any of the changes I make to the project.

However when I try to close the project or quit AfterEffects, I then get the spinning color wheel until I force-quit the application -- so eventually, this does turn into a full-fledged crash.

I’ve used Apple Diagnostics to check my RAM (my first thought was maybe I had ordered bad RAM for this new machine, since the issues all seem to stem from my RAM preview freezing), but the diagnostics seem to indicate everything is working OK.

Perhaps I've set up this new software incorrectly for my new system?

I’m happy to answer any questions, and hopefully get this issue solved ASAP. I can also provide the crash log, if that’s helpful to folks. It's super long, so I'll do it in a reply if it's needed.


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Daniel Kanemoto
Re: AfterEffects freezes during RAM preview on new Mac Pro
on Dec 30, 2019 at 12:43:21 am

Update: After continuing to struggle with the issue today, I installed AE 2019 (version 16.1.3).

Happy to report that my project seems to run fine in AE 2019 (I can load the entire thing into RAM preview without any freezes), so I think I can narrow this down to an issue with AE 2020 itself, and not my new computer.

However my clients would prefer that I use AE2020 moving forward, so I'd still love to troubleshoot my existing issue with AE2020.

The crash log is super long (they always are), but I'm happy to provide it if there are folks on here who know how to read it or if that might be helpful.


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Matthew Woods
Re: AfterEffects freezes during RAM preview on new Mac Pro
on Jan 3, 2020 at 8:17:36 pm

What monitor do you have plugged into your Mac Pro, and how?

I was having no end of problems with RAM preview and After Effects. I discovered that After Effects RAM preview has issues if one of the connected displays is running at other than 60 Hz.

Go to "About this Mac" and choose "System Report", then choose "Graphics/Displays" under the hardware menu. If any of the displays say they are running at less than 60 Hz, you need to fix it.

In my case I had a 4k Vizio television plugged in via HDMI, and unbeknownst to me it was running at 30 Hz. I had to get a different USBC to HDMI adapter, and use a program called SwitchResX to create a custom resolution to get it to play in 2k in 60Hz. The TV apparently doesn't support 4k at 60Hz, even though it was advertised as a 4k 60Hz tv. It was one or the other.

After I got my display running at 60Hz it solved all sorts of RAM preview issues that I had been grinding my teeth over for months.

-Matt

Check out my plugins for AE, Premiere, Motion and FCP.

http://monadnock.org/plugins/


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Daniel Kanemoto
Re: AfterEffects freezes during RAM preview on new Mac Pro
on Jan 3, 2020 at 8:35:55 pm

Thanks so much for the response.

I have two LG UltraFine 5K displays (2019), both are connected via my GPU, which is an AMD Radeon Pro Vega II.

I can't seem to find anything in the System Report that says the monitors are running less than 60 Hz -- here's what I get for both displays in System Report/Graphics/Displays:

Resolution: 5120 x 2880 (5K/UHD+ - Ultra High Definition Plus)
UI Looks like: 2560 x 1440
Framebuffer Depth: 30-Bit Color (ARGB2101010)
Display Serial Number: (redacted)
Main Display: Yes
Mirror: Off
Online: Yes
Rotation: Supported
Automatically Adjust Brightness: No
Connection Type: DisplayPort


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Matthew Woods
Re: AfterEffects freezes during RAM preview on new Mac Pro
on Jan 3, 2020 at 9:23:45 pm

Hmmm... It might only show that informatation for things plugged in via HDMI. My iMac display and old Apple Thunderbolt Display don't show it, and Apple makes it hard to find that info for some reason.

I can find more info for your display settings using SwitchResX, the program I mentioned before.
There is a free trial, so you can see if this is your issue:
https://www.madrau.com

You could also just try a lower resolution and see if they changes anything. According to LG's website your monitor's vertical refresh rate is "48~60Hz". It might not support 60Hz at full resolution.

This is the thread that tipped me off to the 60Hz problem. Apparently it is a PC issue too.
https://community.adobe.com/t5/after-effects/ram-preview-not-in-real-time/m...

Good luck,

-Matt

Check out my plugins for AE, Premiere, Motion and FCP.

http://monadnock.org/plugins/


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Daniel Kanemoto
Re: AfterEffects freezes during RAM preview on new Mac Pro
on Jan 6, 2020 at 6:37:20 am

Thanks so much for the advice.

After doing some homework, I got confirmation that both of my LG UltraFine Displays are supported by my graphics card, the Radeon Pro Vega II, at 60Hz on my Mac Pro 7,1.

As recommended by Apple, I have the 1st display plugged into the Radeon Pro Vega II via Thunderbolt 3 into Bus 0, and the second display plugged in via Thunderbolt 3 into Bus 1.

Unfortunately, my AE2020 is still freezing up when I RAM preview complex sequences longer than 3 seconds, but the same sequences are fine when I run them on AE2019. Still haven't found a way to troubleshoot this -- I posted basically the same message on the Adobe AfterEffects forum, but haven't had any replies. Super frustrating.


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Drew Hutchison
Re: AfterEffects freezes during RAM preview on new Mac Pro
on Jan 7, 2020 at 7:14:13 pm

Curious issue, I wonder if with the update that your Disk Cacheing settings have been reset. Might be that 2020 isn't getting the same disk cache allocation as 2019 was? You can check these under After Effects > Preferences > Media & Disk Cache.


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Daniel Kanemoto
Re: AfterEffects freezes during RAM preview on new Mac Pro
on Jan 7, 2020 at 7:29:18 pm

Thanks for the question. Here are my current Media & Disk Cache settings:

Maximum Disk Cache Size: 1000 GB

My disk cache is set on an internal Sonnet M.2 4x4 PCIe card for SSDs. I have four 2TB SSDs on this card, they are merged together as a single 8TB drive using RAID 0. The drive currently has 4 TBs of space available.

One of the first things I did while attempting to troubleshoot the issue was clear the cache, and I've also tried to increase/decrease the disk cache size. It doesn't seem to affect the RAM preview issue, though. I get about 3 seconds into the preview and then it freezes and when I try to quit the software, I get a spinning color wheel/full crash.


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Drew Hutchison
Re: AfterEffects freezes during RAM preview on new Mac Pro
on Jan 7, 2020 at 7:59:49 pm

Both versions of AE are being tested on the same machine correct? If so, it more or less sounds like a AE2020 issue like you said. Have you tried breaking down your comps to shorter/smaller less load intensive comps to see if the RAM preview will work on them? I wonder if it's only your heavy load comps or just all comps in general.

In the memory section of your preferences, do you have the majority of RAM designated for AE2020 and that you aren't reducing cache size when the system is low on memory?


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Daniel Kanemoto
Re: AfterEffects freezes during RAM preview on new Mac Pro
on Jan 7, 2020 at 8:15:01 pm

Yes, both versions of AE are being tested on the same machine.

Yesterday I noticed a 'new' issue with my RAM previews in AE2019 -- for certain projects, I'm not getting 'realtime' playback speed with my RAM previews. My comps are 24FPS and AE2019 is only playing them back at about 8-10 FPS. (All of these projects, while large and complex, played back 'fine' in AE2017 on my old 5,1 Mac Pro, which had a total of 64GB of memory.)

This slow playback occurs even when I just have a single solid solo-ed, which makes no sense to me.

For both AE2019 and AE2020, I have my memory preferences set to:

Installed RAM: 384 GB

RAM reserved for other applications: 100 GB (I increased this from 25 based on a recommendation from a user on the Adobe After Effects forum, but it hasn't made a difference in solving my RAM preview issues.)

Reduce cache size -- I don't have this checked off.


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Eric Santiago
Re: AfterEffects freezes during RAM preview on new Mac Pro
on Jan 7, 2020 at 8:38:30 pm

The issues you are having is similar to what we had last summer on a slew of Mac Pro 2013 (D700s and D500s).
Where one machine can knife through butter with some intense compositions and others would just freeze up period.
It was all due un-synced versions of After Effects.
Honestly, we stayed with 2018 on the D700s since it was crashing less...still crashing but less :P

Can't wait to upgrade to what you guys are enjoying ;)


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Daniel Kanemoto
Re: AfterEffects freezes during RAM preview on new Mac Pro
on Jan 7, 2020 at 9:48:01 pm

Hi Eric,

Thanks for responding. Can you elaborate more on 'un-synched versions of After Effects' -- just wondering if your issue is the same issue I'm having, since the symptoms seem to be similar. Not sure what an 'un-synched' version of AE is -- is this related to Creative Cloud? How do I find out if what I have is 'un-synched' and how would I go about troubleshooting it? Thanks so much!


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