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My AE exports freeze during playback

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Katie CovellMy AE exports freeze during playback
by on Apr 26, 2010 at 1:59:38 am

I am creating 3d motion effects with photos that were originally flat still images. I prepped the pics in photoshop and then imported each pic as a composition. Added motion with the camera effect and rendered it to preview in AE and here it played back beautifully. However, when I export the finished product it doesn't play back at all. It just freezes up every other second or so.

I need the exported GFX to be HD 1080 24p to match the video project they will be included in ---but I'd be willing to just get it to some kind of HD format and then convert it in Compressor or something afterwards just to get it to work. I tried exporting through the render queue as HD 1080 24p and nada. Then I tried exporting the traditional way under file/export both as an H264 and a QT animation and that didn't work either.

I have AE and Photoshop CS4 and I'm working off one of the newest Macbook Pros with plenty of muscle and space on the hard drive. I've also exported many QT animations and HD footage through this version of AE before and been fine, although I've never tried this particular effect and incorporated so many Photoshop files until now.

What gives? Could it be the way I imported the original Photoshop files? And if so then why do they playback fine within AE? Would really appreciate the help!


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Walter SoykaRe: My AE exports freeze during playback
by on Apr 26, 2010 at 12:20:02 pm

AE is a great compositing app, but it's a lousy compression app. It's incapable of multi-pass compression, so it doesn't make very good h.264 media. Your approach of exporting a QT animation movie and then using Compressor is a good workflow.

However, you shouldn't expect to be able to play a large QT animation file back in real time. It's meant as an intermediate format (to move imagery between applications without any loss of information). It's not designed as a playback format, and its data rate requirements are way too huge for most computers to play back in real time, especially in HD. You should import your QT animation into Compressor, make your h.264, and play that.

The animation codec is more efficient when there are large areas of flat color fields. It's very inefficient for areas with texture (like particles and photos), which might explain why you haven't run into this before.

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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Dave LaRondeRe: My AE exports freeze during playback
by on Apr 26, 2010 at 1:41:44 pm

[Katie Covell] "...when I export the finished product it doesn't play back at all. It just freezes up every other second or so... I have AE and Photoshop CS4 and I'm working off one of the newest Macbook Pros with plenty of muscle and space on the hard drive."

There are two things going on here, and they're both minor problems.

To elaborate on Walter's advice by adding a factoid, your cute lil' laptop's hard drive can't keep up with the massive bit rate of a lossless HD file: that's why you're getting hiccups every so often. But don't abandon making lossless files, and don't worry about stuttery playback! Follow Walter's advice on compression, and view the compressed versions of your original AE renders with relief and satisfaction.

Next item: DON'T EXPORT. Get to know AE's Render Queue, and use it.

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


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