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Please help me understand this :(

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Richie Tovell
Please help me understand this :(
on Oct 31, 2009 at 10:49:36 pm

I need to optimize my system and I'm looking again at investing in a better machine to run after effects but it feels like I'm just throwing money down the drain, the last time I forked out a grand to get my machine to a standard it can comfortably run AE I saw little improvement in render speed or ram preview, please can someone explain this to me.

This machine is running XP Pro 64.
It has 8 gig of ram.
an Intel core2 duo 3gz processor.
2xRadeon HD 4870's

I've tried just about every different configuration of settings I can find in After Effects and never really seen much improvement, have a look at this . .

This is a render of my Ram Preview.



I have 8 gig on this machine, why can After Effects only provide 1.5 gig of ram preview? Is this Program not the most in efficient program in the history of the universe, or whats going on?

Next question.

What do I invest my money in to next? A new Processor? An SSD drive? More ram? . . . more Ram? At this rate I'll need 32 gig of ram to reach 1 min of ram preview. :(

Please someone give me some answers because the guy's at the PC store are slowly bleeding me dry and I'm getting nowhere :(


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Todd Kopriva
Re: Please help me understand this :(
on Oct 31, 2009 at 11:54:02 pm

Regarding the length of RAM previews, see this page, including the comment at the bottom: RAM and disk caches.

This will be greatly improved with the 64-bit version of After Effects, which we recently announced.

More RAM beyond what you have does help when you're using Render Multiple Frames Simultaneously multiprocessing, but it won't help you to get longer RAM previews. BTW, don't expect Render Multiple Frames Simultaneously to improve performance in every case. The most common mistake that I see is people turning that on when they don't have enough RAM to feed all of the processor cores or when the CPU isn't the bottleneck in the rendering of the composition.

Here's an entire page of tips to improve performance: "Improve performance".


Also note that Windows XP 64 is not listed as one of the operating systems in the system requirements.




---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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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cow
Richie Tovell
Re: Please help me understand this :(
on Nov 1, 2009 at 1:57:42 am

Sorry if it seems like I'm asking you to repeat yourself.

It would be best for me to know this now before I commit to upgrading this machine any further. I was about to put 8 processors and 32 gig in this machine, from what I've read from other users this hasn't made much improvement to render times. I'd like to ask, how would it benefit me to put this much processing and ram in my machine?

If adding more Ram can't extent the available preview time I already have then in what way will it help? Would I see faster render times and faster Ram previews?

I've read that AE allocates 4 gig per available processor, with sufficient processors and ram available to AE surely we would see this resulting in 4 gig of Ram preview, no?








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Walter Soyka
Re: Please help me understand this :(
on Nov 1, 2009 at 2:22:57 am

[Richie Tovell] " I was about to put 8 processors and 32 gig in this machine, from what I've read from other users this hasn't made much improvement to render times."

With multi-processing, After Effects will launch multiple instances of itself to render frames simultaneously. You will see a huge improvement in your render time if your renders are CPU-bound (meaning it takes longer to crunch the numbers than it does to read the source data and write the output).

If your renders are memory-bound (meaning you are working with many huge images) or disk-bound (meaning the CPU idles while your machine loads all the source footage), then adding processing power won't help.

[Richie Tovell] "If adding more Ram can't extent the available preview time I already have then in what way will it help? Would I see faster render times and faster Ram previews?"

You've got 8 GB of RAM in a dual-core machine right now. That's 4 GB per core, so you won't see much benefit from adding more, unless you are trying to run other programs at the same time. If you step up to an 8-core machine, then you will definitely want to add more RAM.

[Richie Tovell] "I've read that AE allocates 4 gig per available processor, with sufficient processors and ram available to AE surely we would see this resulting in 4 gig of Ram preview, no?"

I believe that RAM previews "belong" to the main instance of After Effects, which must also hold memory for everything else in the program, so you'll never get all 4 GB for the RAM preview. This is one of the reasons why AE going 64-bit in its next release is such a big deal.

Walter Soyka, Principal
Keen Live, Inc.
Presentation, Motion Graphics & Widescreen Design
RenderBreak: A Blog on Innovation in Production



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cow
Richie Tovell
Re: Please help me understand this :(
on Nov 1, 2009 at 3:09:36 am


Ah, I see now.

So what about using an SSD to store HD footage on, would that help? If so would After Effects need to be installed on the SSD as well?

I can see that I'll need more processing for effects, but I'm starting to work with a lot of 1080p footage as well now, so SSD, will it do the trick?


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Walter Soyka
Re: Please help me understand this :(
on Nov 1, 2009 at 3:23:27 am

Whether a fast SSD will help you or not really depends on what sort of work you're doing, and what resources are constraining you now.

Look your CPU usage while rendering. If your processors are working at or near 100%, then adding faster disks won't help.

That said, I believe Adobe recommends three drives: one for the application and operating system, one for source footage, and one for render output.

Walter Soyka, Principal
Keen Live, Inc.
Presentation, Motion Graphics & Widescreen Design
RenderBreak: A Blog on Innovation in Production



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cow
Richie Tovell
Re: Please help me understand this :(
on Nov 1, 2009 at 3:44:40 am

Of course, running all that data back and forth on just one drive is bound to slow slow rendering time down, it never even occurred to me, presently I just use separate partitions.

On top of that, yes my cpu is constantly running up around %95 so a new cpu would have to be my first priority.

Rather than fitting extra Ram I think I'd rather add a couple of SSD's in to the equation and see where it gets me, I'm sure they'll help with handling all the HD footage, however I'm not sure whether After Effects would need to be running on an SSD as well to be able to benefit from such a set up?


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Joseph W. Bourke
Re: Please help me understand this :(
on Nov 1, 2009 at 5:32:00 pm

Hi Richie -

I recently went from a single-core 3.0GHz multi-threading machine with 4GB of RAM running XP Pro to a Core 2 Duo Quad machine running Vista 64 bit, 8GB of RAM, and a GeForce GTX 260 graphics card. I have a 500GB OS drive, a 500GB Applications drive, and two 750GB media drives (not striped, no RAID). I plan on adding a RAID array as the HD work gets heavier (long form projects, in other words).

I went from an average graphics heavy project in AE (about 15 to 20 layers - many comps in the same project) taking about 90 minutes to render on the old box, to a 7 minute render on the new one - same project. Nothing scientific here for the comparison, but I was astounded by the speed increase. As I said, this was an SD project, but I have played around with some P2 footage, and had very quick response.

Here's another link that will help you out in your optimization quest:

http://generalspecialist.com/2007/02/troubleshooting-after-effects-7.asp



Joe Bourke
Creative Director / Multimedia Specialist
B&S Exhibits and Multimedia
bs-exhibits.com


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Butch Golden
Re: Please help me understand this :(
on Nov 1, 2009 at 7:07:23 pm

[Richie Tovell] "Of course, running all that data back and forth on just one drive is bound to slow slow rendering time down, it never even occurred to me, presently I just use separate partitions."

Just part of the learning curve we all go through at some point and it's good that you now know about the huge bottleneck that is occuring.

After separating my opsys drive from my data drives I saw a very appreciable increase in performance. Moving up to a 10,000 rpm drive for the opsys (instead of the typical 7200 rpm drive) gave me an even better increase. (My fav NLE loaded up in 10 seconds instead of 22)

If you don't want to go that route, even a SATA 7200 will give you faster throughput than an IDE - if that's what you currently own.

Get started like there's no tomorrow with rearranging drives and their functions. Redoing your opsys drive is a pain to be sure but this is one time you'll be very happy you did.


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cow
Richie Tovell
Re: Please help me understand this :(
on Nov 1, 2009 at 9:09:08 pm

Thanks, I'm actually feeling a lot happier about this, the SSD drives are definitely the way to go for HD video work, I found that 8 or so relatively cheap 60 gig SSD's in a raid array configuration will provide a read write speed of over 2 gig per second, with a total storage of nearly 500 gig.

Even on my budget the price of all those SSD's is low enough to leave me enough cash to upgrade my processor. I will (as has been suggested) create three separate drives using the Raid array to further try to optimase my system also.

For now this is I think my best option.

I found this video interesting it's about ram discs and SSD's I didn't know anything about them until a couple of days ago, now it looks like they're going to be the answer to a lot of my problems.






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Walter Soyka
Re: Please help me understand this :(
on Nov 2, 2009 at 1:44:12 am

[Richie Tovell] "I found that 8 or so relatively cheap 60 gig SSD's in a raid array configuration will provide a read write speed of over 2 gig per second, with a total storage of nearly 500 gig."

It sounds like you're suggesting RAID 0 for your setup, which offers no redundancy. If a single drive were to fail, you'd lose all your data.

Also, many of the low-cost, low-capacity SSD drives were based on a JMicron chipset which performs erratically and unreliably. The only SSD drive I use and trust at this point is the Intel X25 series, which are wonderful, but pricey.

Using an SSD as your main drive for your OS and apps will give you a big speed boost opening and running applications, but since your renders are running your processors at capacity, reading and writing footage faster won't help you render any faster.

If you're interested in a RAID, I'd suggest getting a RAID system with standard hard disks from an established vendor like CalDigit or Maxx Digital (or any of the folks who advertise here -- they are all good). You can get an uncompressed-HD-capable RAID 5 system which will offer you both speed and redundancy with great support from the vendor, and the price/performance still beats SSDs by a mile.

Walter Soyka, Principal
Keen Live, Inc.
Presentation, Motion Graphics & Widescreen Design
RenderBreak: A Blog on Innovation in Production



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Brian Lynn
Re: Please help me understand this :(
on Nov 2, 2009 at 5:48:44 am

I have 2 internal 3 Tera Byte RAID5 arrays built from (3)7500rpm SATA HDDs and two Adaptec RAID cards, 3405 I think is the card number. I also have 2 10,000 rpm system drives (mirrored). One raid for content, one raid to render to, and the system drive... 1080p content has been easy. I've worked with some footage off a RED ONE as well. I edit/touch up the Eos 5D Mark II footage a lot, and a ton of P2 stuff from HVX-200 cameras as well. And the whole setup was very inexpensive relatively speaking. The rest of my machine is a Core2Duo 3ghz CPU with 8gb of RAM. If I hadn't of maxed my MoBo RAM limit I would go to a QuadCore but I'd lose RAM per Core and I believe performance would suffer. I don't get a lot of RAM preview time, but I deal with it. I just watch small chunks at a time!

I built this machine to create super widescreen content for blended projection delivery. I work in some massive pixel spaces the biggest so far being about 4736x1080 (three HD projectors on one screen with a 256 pixel blended area). The machine handles it all. Playback of that content is another issue for another forum though!

I've suffered a few drive failures but the RAID5 setup has pulled me though with flying colors.

I'm sure my power supply hates me!

I am SO happy to hear the next version of AE is 64bit! That's exciting!



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cow
Richie Tovell
Re: Please help me understand this :(
on Nov 2, 2009 at 1:03:38 pm

Brian, if you've got 8 gig, surly After Effects is leaving 4 gig redundant? AE can't see more than 4 gig up until the point that it begins to render out when it opens multiple instances of itself.

Going to a quad core from a dual core must boost performance in system such as yours, no?


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Walter Soyka
Re: Please help me understand this :(
on Nov 2, 2009 at 1:55:40 pm

Hi Brian,

I work with one of my clients regularly on ultra-widescreen projects around 13,000 x 1,200 pixels -- 15.5 megapixels, or about 7.5 times bigger than a single HD frame. Render time is often measured in days instead of hours, and sometimes becomes a design constraint.

Because of this, After Effects workflow, performance, and network rendering issues are really important for me. I share your excitement about the 64-bit version!

I should add that moving to an 8-core workstation with 32GB of RAM made a world of difference to me over my prior dual-core system -- I imagine you would see a huge boost as well.

Walter Soyka, Principal
Keen Live, Inc.
Presentation, Motion Graphics & Widescreen Design
RenderBreak: A Blog on Innovation in Production



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cow
Richie Tovell
Re: Please help me understand this :(
on Nov 2, 2009 at 12:57:53 pm

Using an SSD as your main drive for your OS and apps will give you a big speed boost opening and running applications, but since your renders are running your processors at capacity, reading and writing footage faster won't help you render any faster.

It's this speed boost that I need, I don't mind the preview length being limited or the long render times if I'm honest, what 's really killing me is the Ram Preview time :( I just can't work with it as it is, I make a few tweaks and adjustments to an effect, then I have to wait ages for the preview, this is in fact what I'm spending most of my time doing, waiting for my projects to ram preview :( (More so than actually working on them!

Both my processor speed and read/write speeds are painfully slow. How do I fix this, will moving to a quad core processor help optimize the Ram Preview or will it help more with Rendering time?

From what your saying I gather that a Raid Array (even without SSD's) will boost the run time of the app also, these are then the two areas I need to address most urgently, am I right in thinking that a quad core will do this?


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Walter Soyka
Re: Please help me understand this :(
on Nov 2, 2009 at 2:03:15 pm

[Richie Tovell] "I don't mind the preview length being limited or the long render times if I'm honest, what 's really killing me is the Ram Preview time"

RAM preview essentially is rendering. When you RAM preview, AE will use its background processes to accelerate your preview, though it must all fit in the foreground process's RAM. In other words, more cores will speed up, but not lengthen, your RAM previews.

You might benefit from some changes in your workflow. Read up on proxies and see if they apply to your projects. You might also check out Nucelo Pro 2, particularly the spec preview feature which continually re-fills the RAM cache as you work.

Walter Soyka, Principal
Keen Live, Inc.
Presentation, Motion Graphics & Widescreen Design
RenderBreak: A Blog on Innovation in Production



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cow
Richie Tovell
Re: Please help me understand this :(
on Nov 2, 2009 at 2:36:18 pm

Cool app :)

Thanks Walter, it's true my workflow is part of the cause of my problems, I should use adjustment layers more to apply effects for a start.

My budget is going to go on a new quad, a Raid Array (Probably not SSD's though) and nucleo pro 2, I think that app looks awsome!!

Thanks again to everyone.


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