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I can't get my project out of After Effects!

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Andy Bissonnette
I can't get my project out of After Effects!
on Jan 10, 2010 at 1:57:49 am

Hey everyone.

I think I have stretched AE to it's limits. The project has 183 layers, all but two layers are in 3d space. I realize this should have been done in a different program but don't have the money or knowledge of those programs. But anyways, I have 3d buildings assembled from Illustrator vectors, 3d lights, motion blur, shadows, DoF, moving shapes and moving cameras. So it is a pretty complex project.

No matter what I do AE aborts after rendering about 5 seconds of the project. I've gotten many different errors. I have taken as many steps as possible to lighten the load on the processor. I am using a Mac Pro with 6gb of ram, 2 x dual-core intel 2.66ghz processors, and enough scratch disks to go around. Here are teh steps I've taken so far:

-Trimmed all the layers as much as possible to avoid rendering them while not on screen
-Activated AE's "Secret Preference" to purge cache every 20 frames
-Enabled Disk Cache
-Render Mult Frames Simultaneously
-Precomped and Prerendered as many layers as possible
-Using different HD's to store media, render, scratch, etc.
-I have also experimented with many different render settings, it needs to be output at 1920x1080 30p. Right now I'm trying to do an uncompressed TIFF Sequence in order to save the frames that do render before it crashes.

What else can I do? There has to be some way to get this out of AE... Any help is greatly appreciated.

EDIT: I have also tried rendering on a few different computers, one of the computers had 16gb of Ram and it still aborted or failed the render, so I don't think it is a hardware issue...


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Todd Kopriva
Re: I can't get my project out of After Effects!
on Jan 10, 2010 at 7:35:55 am

The first thing that leapt out at me:

Don't use Render Multiple Frames Simultaneously multiprocessing if you're having trouble completing the render. That feature splits resources among many processes to make rendering faster. If you want to make sure that a heavy composition renders, you want to have the maximum resources dedicated to one process.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Todd Kopriva, Adobe Systems Incorporated
putting the 'T' back in 'RTFM' : After Effects Help on the Web
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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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Joseph W. Bourke
Re: I can't get my project out of After Effects!
on Jan 10, 2010 at 5:47:01 pm

Andy -

Another thing to try is the AE "secret preferences" which you can get at by holding down the shift key while starting preferences. Here's some more info that has proven to be very useful:

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

I think changing the settings to "purge every 10 frames" (or less, if this doesn't work) may alleviate the problem. Good Luck.



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


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Andy Bissonnette
Re: I can't get my project out of After Effects!
on Jan 11, 2010 at 4:58:29 am

Hey Todd thanks for the tip, I will definitely try this and let you know how it goes. It always aborts at frame 170 with a memory error (something along the lines of: "65k requested and only 3245 available"). But I have had other errors as well.

I will also check the secret option to purge cache every ten frames, I had it set to twenty, maybe ten will give me better luck.


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Walter Soyka
Re: I can't get my project out of After Effects!
on Jan 11, 2010 at 12:13:22 pm

Is there anything unique about frame 170 that might be causing it to fail? Are there any effects on any of the footage at that frame?

Can you render just that one frame? Or save it as Photoshop layers?

I've had to go as low as 5 frames on the secret Purge setting to output a project. You might even try purging every frame. Just don't forget to change your secret settings back when you are done, because frequent purges slow down render dramatically.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Andy Bissonnette
Re: I can't get my project out of After Effects!
on Jan 11, 2010 at 3:37:45 pm

170 is when a couple layers kick in. But there are many layers that kick in at different times throughout the sequence, frame 170 is probably the tipping point of too many layers..
I'm waiting till I don't need to be on my computer for at least 14 hours as this render will surely take that amount of time. But I'll post the results from using everyone's advice when I'm done. Thanks again...


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Andy Bissonnette
Re: I can't get my project out of After Effects!
on Jan 12, 2010 at 1:37:45 am

So I've tried rendering a variety of ways and all with the same result: it failed at frame 170. I also tried turning some layers off and then it kept failing at frame 187. So there is obviously just too much going on at one time. I got a few different errors:

-"Not enough memory to create shadow map, xxk requested only xxk available"
- "Unable to create an image buffer of xxx x yyy. Your memory seems to be fragmented, try and increase ram for other programs.


These aren't worded exactly as they were in AE, but this is what they basically said. The shadow map was the main error I received. *It seemed like after I told it to "Purge every 1 frame" is when the error message changed to "Unable to create image buffer". If that helps at all...

Here is what I tried to solve the problem:

-Increased "Ram left to other programs" (Mem & Multiprocessing) (I left 1.5gb, is this enough?)
-Disabled "layer cache" and am now purging "every 1 frame during make movie" (Secret Prefs) (I assume this also applies to the render queue, right?)
-Turned off "render multiple frames at once" in "Memory & Multiprocessing".

So I have a couple other questions:

-Should I enable the disk cache in "Prefs>Media & Disk Cache>Disk Cache"? I have it enabled with a max size of about 4500mb, could this be causing problems?
-Should I also enable openGL in the render queue settings? I do not have it enabled as I think I read it was less reliable for final renders. (I have an ATI Radeon X1900XT on a 1st gen Intel Mac Pro)

I am assuming the basic problem is that I don't have enough RAM. But, I don't know for sure since I also had the same problems on a MP w/16gb of RAM. Assuming it is my problem, is there a way to solve running out of memory since I am already purging every 1 frame? I don't care how long it takes, I just want it rendered...

Sorry for the length of this post, I am trying to be as thorough as possible. Thanks again.


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Todd Kopriva
Re: I can't get my project out of After Effects!
on Jan 12, 2010 at 2:12:19 am

If I were in your position, I would make sure that I had turned logging on in the render settings. Then I would look at the log to see what layer the render is failing on. That might give you a clue about whether it's---e.g., a layer with a bunch of particles---that's the problem.

I know that you said that you prerendered a lot, but it might be worth seeing if there's anything else that you can prerender. Just a thought.

BTW, the disk cache isn't relevant. It's just used for previews when you hit the spacebar.

Also, you're right that OpenGL rendering is not a good idea for final renders. The results aren't identical to what the software renderer does.


---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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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Andy Bissonnette
Re: I can't get my project out of After Effects!
on Jan 12, 2010 at 3:58:39 pm

Thanks, I'll try the log.


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Dave LaRonde
Re: I can't get my project out of After Effects!
on Jan 12, 2010 at 5:31:00 pm

....and you have to face it: AE is a RAM hog. On an 8-core machine with multiprocessing enabled, you could utilize up to 32 GB RAM. I wouldn't try multiprocessing unless I had a minimum of 16 GB to devote to AE. Since my machine has 8GB, multiprocessing remains a tantalizing but unreachable goal.... and you have 6GB.

Do what Todd says. Double-check all your layers. Prerender EVERY stinkin' thing you can.

Another thing: I'm not really sure if you have any video footage in this comp, but if you do, I doubt very much it's genuine 1920x1080 30P footage. The chances would be far better that it's HDV. If so, you need to read this:

Dave's Stock Answer #1:

If the footage you imported into AE is any kind of the following -- footage in an HDV acquisition codec, MPEG1, MPEG2, mp4, m2t, H.261 or H.264 -- you need to convert it to a different codec.

These kinds of footage use temporal, or interframe compression. They have keyframes at regular intervals, containing complete frame information. However, the frames in between do NOT have complete information. Interframe codecs toss out duplicated information.

In order to maintain peak rendering efficiency, AE needs complete information for each and every frame. But because these kinds of footage contain only partial information, AE freaks out, resulting in a wide variety of problems.


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


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