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incredibly long render times

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James Hooeyincredibly long render times
by on May 1, 2009 at 4:08:14 pm

I'm pulling my hair out over rendering issues I'm having....

I have a 15 second 1920X1080 , 29.97 progessive AE composition with a very simple invigorator PRO layer in it.

The Invigorator layer has two 3D letters with flat bevel, a illustrator file that creates a frame around these letters with flat bevel and a plane behind them all to create a coloured background that also acts to show the shadows (Invig shadow quality set to 1500). Both the letters and frame are using animated layers maps on their front faces. I have lit the scene with AE lights one spot, one point. The spot is casting shadows, the spot is not. I have also put a curves and glow effect onto the invigorator layer to juice it's look up a little.

It looks nice, it is pretty simple and when working with the project in AE I can preview very quickly in openGL mode or have a single frame render out in about 15 seconds using the invigorator render engine with 3X3 anti-aliasing which shows all the shadows and the best quality possible (composition view settings at full gives me the 15 second/frame render out time).

The problem I am having is upon trying to render the project out it must be having some sort of issue. The render starts well with estimated time being mabey 4 hours (even this seems quite long for a 15 second clip).....but as I leave it to render the render seems to bog down. I left it overnight to render and have come back to see it has been rendering for 11 hours with an estimate of 15 hours to go. This is absurd and un-usable. To consider such a simple project to need 25+ hours to render makes the plugin virtually valueless to me. On the other side of the coin I have rendered this project out in openGL mode and it rendered completely in about 25 minutes (the shadows look poor and the anti-aliasing is not nearly as good).

I have a pretty capable machine....
Windows Vista 64 bit Home
AMD Phenom 2.2gHz/quad processor
8 gig OCZ ram (don't remember speed right now but it's solid ram)
Gigabyte MA790FX motherboard
MSI 7800GT video card
2 7200rpm drives 250g/500g

Rendering out the project as a Quicktime motionJPEG 1920X1080, 29.97 progressive, 85% quality with openGL turned off both in AE and invigorator PRO. Using multiprocessor minimum 1GB per core (7GB total AE memory use).

Can people with experiences using the invigorator render engine PLEASE respond with some insight and examples of what they have found for render times on their projects? Mabey I am wrong in thinking that there are things amiss and should just let it muddle through the render but....

All the best,
James Hooey

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James HooeyRe: incredibly long render times
by on May 1, 2009 at 4:02:34 pm

Forgot to mention I'm using AE from my CS4 Production Suite.

If I'm not learning something....I'm bored.

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Edward WuRe: incredibly long render times
by on May 1, 2009 at 10:17:58 pm

Hi James,

One of the first things to check for in this situation is if you are using Motion Blurring. If you applied a standard Motion Blur, it could the total render time by as much as 8 times. In addition, since you are rendering a 1920x1080 progressive comp, this will take as much as 6 times the render time of a standard size composition as well.

As for your rendering time getting bogged down, does your animation start with the object being small, while it gets bigger and bigger? If so, this will make the render start out fast while the render time increases quite a bit over time. This is because when your object becomes bigger the amount of pixels being rendered increases as well.

In terms of the 15 second/frame you were getting, if you are rendering the frame where the object is smaller, then it's possible that you get 15 seconds/frame at this position of the animation, while another part takes much longer.

In any case, it's most likely that if you have Motion Blurring, this is what is adding significantly to your render time.

Hope this helps.


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James HooeyRe: incredibly long render times
by on May 7, 2009 at 7:32:43 pm

Just to finish off this thread I wanted to summarize what Edward Wu (Zaxwerks tech support) has suggested after looking at my project file in question. (Great fast response from Edward btw!)

Thanks for sending the project! That helped a lot in clearing this issue out.

Right, like you mentioned, the setting that is
actually bogging down your project is the Shadow
Diffusion. Unfortunately, when you are using a
Shadow Diffusion of 100 pixels, it will make the
rendering exponentially slow because it is
actually taking 100 x 100 pixel sample of the
shadows. The default shadow diffusion for the 3D
Invigorator light is 6, meaning it is taking a 6
x 6 pixel sample for the shadow diffusion.

That's the main reason why you are seeing the
huge difference between rendering from the 3D
Invigorator light versus using the After Effects
comp light.

The 3D Invigorator light is sampling 36 (6 x 6)
surrounding pixels per shadow pixel while the AE
Comp Spot Light is sampling 10,000 (100 x 100)
surrounding pixels per shadow pixel inside of

So unfortunately, the 10,000 pixel sampling is
most likely being applied to a lot of pixels in
your 1920 x 1080 composition, which will cause
quite a bit of rendering.

Hope this helps.

Edward Wu
Zaxwerks, Inc. Technical Support>

So long story short if you are using comp lights with an Invigorator layer, particularly with the comp lights casting diffuse shadows you can expect really long render times.

Having compared this workflow (AE comp lights/diffuse shadows/invigorator 3D layer) vs (AE comp lights/diffuse shadows/AE 3D layer) I can say that there is a very large difference in how quick the render is. Using all AE 3D layers and lights/shadows is much faster, the flip side is of course that Invigorator can create far more complex 3D objects.

Mabey there's more to consider here but it does highlight some of the factors involved.

All the best,
James Hooey

If I'm not learning something....I'm bored.

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