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Help needed with slow rendering

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Nicolas Schevin
Help needed with slow rendering
on Sep 20, 2009 at 2:43:22 pm

I am having a crazy slow rendering issue with an animation project right now.

Here are the specs of the project:

The main comp is 3476 x 2494 with 300 layers (graphic, most of them pretty small) + 3 small nested comps of 100 layer each.

Most of the layers are 3D and half of it has motion blur.
There is one camera but it’s only moving a couple of seconds.

The animation is 5 minutes long but there isn’t much animation going on (3 short explosions using most of the layers, and three faces making simple facial expressions, mainly with the puppet tool).

The puppet tool effect is used on approx. 50 layers.

The whole comp is then rendered inside a standard PAL DV comp.

It took 24 hours to render 1 min 23 sec on a G5 PPC Dual 2.5 with 1GB of ram and good a good video card (GeForce 6800 Ultra)


I know all my PSD file are 300 dpi. Do you think it’s a smart move to change all files resolution to 150 dpi (these files are not ‘zoomed’ in the comp). Is it going to cause trouble in my composition (anchor point have been moved, puppet tool have been used, lots of parenting etc...)?

Do you have any other suggestion?

Thank a lot!

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Danny Winn
Re: Help needed with slow rendering
on Sep 20, 2009 at 4:37:48 pm

My guess is that it's your low amount of Ram. If you can, I would get a minimum of 4GB, 6 or 8 would be optimal. That would be in the PC world anyway, not sure about Mac. That comp size sounds pretty big too, could be that.

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Todd Kopriva
Re: Help needed with slow rendering
on Sep 20, 2009 at 5:31:25 pm

Yes, as people answered on the other forums where you posted this question, 1GB of RAM is very little for such a large composition. Also, you don't say what version of After Effects you're using, so it's harder to help you.

For a list of tips on improving performance, see "Improve performance".

Todd Kopriva, Adobe Systems Incorporated
putting the 'T' back in 'RTFM' : After Effects Help on the Web
If a page of After Effects Help answers your question, please consider rating it. If you have a tip, technique, or link to share---or if there is something that you'd like to see added or improved---please leave a comment.

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Nicolas Schevin
Re: Help needed with slow rendering
on Sep 20, 2009 at 6:12:37 pm

Thank you for your time! I will buy more ram.

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Dave LaRonde
Re: Help needed with slow rendering
on Sep 20, 2009 at 6:39:10 pm

Considering your system and especially your RAM, the render time doesn't seem all that odd at first blush. That's a BIG comp with a LOT of layers and a lot of Motion Bur, plus the Puppet Tool on a substantial number of layers.

You have to remember that Motion Blur doesn't only affect the camera as it moves, but any affected layers that pass in front of a stationary camera.

The obvious fix is to get more RAM -- you barely have enough to run the operating system. 4GB would be good. It won't help right now, but it will help in the future.

Don't fool with the stills unless you feel compelled to do so. And remember this: AE knows ABSOLUTELY NOTHING about DPI. It only knows about pixels.

A 3-inch wide still at 300 DPI is 900 pixels wide.
A 6-inch wide still at 150 DPI is 900 pixels wide.

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

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david bogie
Re: Help needed with slow rendering
on Sep 21, 2009 at 2:26:12 pm

I have no patience with this kind of post.

You don't need more RAM. You need to comprehend After Effects and how it works and then you must learn to work within the reasonable limitations of real-world, single machine computing.

There are probably 400 of your 500 layers that can be pre-rendered as movies and reimported and thus eliminating tons of processing overhead you do not seem to think you can afford and yet you have deliberately designed your project to surpass your hardware's capabilities.

Motion blur effectively doubles or triples the render time for every frame; double this again if you're rendering fields. Multiply it again if the camera is moving.
3D effectively multiplies single frame calculations by 6 to 9 times, more if you have shadows and lighting. Much more if you have depth field activated on the camera.
Nested precomps must be completely drawn within the machine and cached as they are handed downstream tot he enclosing nests and this is the place RAM will help you since every one of your 3k frames is being written to virtual memory on disk several times and disks are thousands of times slower than hardware RAM.


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Tony Silva
Re: Help needed with slow rendering
on Sep 21, 2009 at 10:40:19 pm

absolutely hilarious!!!
Reminds me of the time I first drove a Ferrari, it would only go 60mph and would redline at 12,000rpm! Then I realized I didn't know how to drive! Later on I learned how to shift out of first gear, then things were groovin!

Just buying more ram isn't going to solve your long term problem of not understanding how the program works. You need to understand how AfterEffects works with motionblur/3d layers/comps/pre-comps. Comps of 3476 x 2494 and 300 layers is a gross waste of resources.(hence your slow render times) Learn about Pre-comps and PreRending them.
Good Luck.

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