Full program multi-threaded support
After Effects would benefit greatly from being able to actually utilize all cores when rendering, rather than having to rely on a third party solution, like the excellent program Render Garden by Mekajiki.
(This post was co-authored by Tim Kurkoski (After Effects Product Owner), Andrew Cheyne (After Effects Engineering Manager), and Victoria Nece (After Effects Product Manager).)
This thread has been sitting here for quite a while without a response. To start, we want to apologize for that. We haven’t been ignoring you or your feedback – this is just a particularly complex topic. That said, it’s time for us to check in with you, clarify a few things, and give you an idea of what we’re looking at for the future of After Effects, especially when it comes to performance.
Before jumping into the specific request here (multi-threading AE), we should talk about how the AE team looks at performance in general. There are three areas:
- Rendering Performance: How fast can AE get pixels onto your screen?
- Interactive Performance: How fast does the UI respond to your actions?
- Workflow Performance: How fast can you complete a task in AE?
All three are important. All three impact how quickly you can make creative decisions and get your work done. This request and this discussion are focused on the first area, rendering, so we will focus on that, however we don’t want to lose sight of the bigger picture.
What have as the AE Team been doing? When we set out to tackle rendering performance, we looked at the potential improvement offered by different technical paths. And we set a high bar: we didn’t want to just have an incremental speed increase. We wanted a major leap forward in rendering power.
The obvious technology that would enable us to achieve that goal was leveraging the GPU. Because GPU processing power has leapfrogged the CPU — and is explicitly designed to handle this type of processing — the decision was made to invest in getting AE’s core rendering pipeline running on the GPU.
This is not a small task, and we’re not done yet. The most visible result of this effort has been the porting of individual effects to the GPU – more than 40 so far. Less visible is the work we’ve done getting the rest of the After Effects rendering pipeline on the GPU, such as layer transforms and motion blur or debayering RED raw R3D footage.
We still have further to go, as the real power of the GPU is unlocked when you don’t have to send a frame back and forth between CPU and GPU for different stages of rendering. As more links of the GPU chain come online, you can expect further rendering performance gains.
We do know what you’re thinking at this point. You want to know what we’re doing about multi-threading.
We all recognize that After Effects would benefit from additional general-purpose multi-threaded rendering. And while we can’t get into specifics here or make any promises about our future roadmap (that’s all confidential when you’re a publicly traded company), we are actively working on multi-threaded CPU rendering.
Ultimately, when it comes to achieving the best rendering speeds possible for AE, we know we’ll need a combination of GPU and CPU processing that maxes out all the resources on your machine.
We recently partnered with the folks at School of Motion and they did a fantastic video on how to get a more optimized system for After Effects: https://www.schoolofmotion.com/tutorials/after-effects-computer
Please keep posting and letting us know what you think. We’ll continue to watch this thread (and all the others on UserVoice). And we appreciate your patience with our response to this post.
Piero Glina commented
lol welcome to the party!
Hollow Earth commented
No multithreading? You're kidding me right?
I appreciate Adobe’s comment here but it says nothing about working on Macs! A huge percentage of the creative community uses Apple products whether Adobe likes it or not, and they need to be taken into consideration as well
Hahahahaha, the video is best comment ever!
Lol, that video is perfect. Freaky but perfect!
dr peper commented
This video could not be any better at describing the current situation oml
I think that is what they have been doing for the last couple of years, working on ARM versions. **** they must be doing something, because there has been nothing good to happen to any of the products since I can remember.
Its going to be weird though, as they will release it and no doubt it will be buggy and slow. Then there will be double the products to maintain. Currently they can't maintain their x86 software.
Yaneev T commented
Would you suppose, that Apple's switch to arm processors will force Adobe to re-write AE for mac?
If Adobe ever does, would it take themeless than five years to accomplish that?
On the other hand, might that be the end of After Effects for mac?
(I'm not optimistic, yet hoping for surprises)
Christopher Jeffries commented
Michael Szalapski It's a scene that was created by Brian Maffitt, available here:
Over time, in my copy I've replaced the now obsolete effects with the updated equivalents which are, ostensibly, GPU accelerated. Attached is the original ZIP which does not include these changes.
Peter Labrow commented
Yep. Latest update - new icons. Best bit, they ignore one of the key principles of UI design and make groups of icons the same colour. So useful when looking for Premiere or After Effects in the same dock. Total kiddie mistake. Meanwhile, my Media Encoder says that all media is offline when it isn’t. Fun being an Adobe customer:
A year almost passed since Adobe commented on this and now they released new set of icons for their apps. Well done Adobe. AE feels much snappier since!
@Vanessa Even though AE supports GPU accelerated functions and Nvidia's CUDA cores, it's not known to have that much of an impact on performance outside of select filters & third party plugins. A year ago I went from a GTX 1080 to an RTX 2080Ti and I don't recall noticing that much of a difference in AE. I also doubt a Quadro will benefit you in AE.
In addition to Daniel's recommendation regarding RAM (32 minimum, 64+ recommended), I do suggest having a fast PCIe or M2 SSD for AE's cache/preview render files separate from the O.S./AE software drive.
There maybe some workflow considerations that can help, depending on what you're doing...
Daniel Gheorghe commented
If you use GPU accelerated 3rd party plugins for your VFX, then it might be a good idea to upgrade your GPU.. and perhaps consider a Quadro instead of RTX... this is a good website to get information about what hardware works best with After Effects: https://www.pugetsystems.com/recommended/Recommended-Systems-for-Adobe-After-Effects-144/Hardware-Recommendations .. You can probably increase your AE performance a lot more by increasing your RAM than by upgrading the GPU (it depends on what GPU you currently have).
Vanessa Taljaard commented
OK, Thanks. I have an New I9 9900 and wonderd why I have to go quarter rez if I have a bit to much animations. I was on my way to buy a RTX2080TI to see if it is going to solve my problems. I can't work with VFX in Quater rez. You strugle to see fine detail's. Is there a work around on that?
@Vanessa that's Adobe Media Encoder that's using all cores, not After Effects. Media Encoder is a separate piece of software that AE or Premiere launches to encode final rendered frames into a compressed video format.
AE itself makes pitiful use of multiple cores. In AE 2014 and earlier you used to be able preview & render multiple frames using all cores.This version was substantially faster for the most demanding aspect of everyday work: previewing and rendering your timeline. Third-party plug-ins allow you to render multiple frames simultaneously, but none are able to support the most commonly used task of previewing.
Vanessa Taljaard commented
Hi Guys, I an not a expert so please someone tel me what you meen by not rendering with all the cores beacuse my one does. Or do I not understand it well?
Garen Mirzaian commented
@Yaneev T -- at round the 51 minute mark - they talk about multithreading.. "hard at work" they said "and stay tuned" they said...
So I'm thinking in like 7-8 years we'll have it implemented. hopeful.
Yaneev T commented
has anyone watched the multi-headed interview with the AE team, on ECAbrams youtube channel?
here's a link, specifically beginning with the awkward silence before the current answer.
dear Victoria: i'm not an engineer, i don't know why AE utilizes only a sliver of the computing power of my 5 yo iMac (a single processor here is faster than those in newer computers!). multiple instances of AE or not - how does other software use computers? who should answer this, if not you?
somebody here wrote: drop everything else, and just make AE a 2020 application.
you dissect it into "what do you call 'faster'" elements - and i say - "we could have had it all by now".
anything else is pointless when the core is inadequate.
Really well said @Ian Davies! Adobe are the very worst of the tech companies now for arrogance and cost, I used to think Apple were bad for these 'qualities' but at least Apple innovate a bit. It's a bit like when I look at how Trump is still in the white house, I'm shocked but then I'm also resigned to it.
Ian Davies commented
This is just the worst-run software product community I've ever seen, and I don't just mean within the Adobe family. I mean *anywhere*. Bug reports are poorly engaged with, feedback is disregarded, good ideas - ideas that some people take a great deal of time to think through and then work up demonstrations, and which prove popular - are ignored.
Even threads started by Adobe staffers - threads like this one, titled "How can we improve After Effects?"- are left to just sprout weeds. The whole attitude is abysmal.
If I could leave After Effects behind right now, if there was a piece of software that could do the same things, or most of them, I would jump *in a second*. Maybe the AE product team think that position gives them strength? That people feeling locked in is a good thing? Wrong. If your customers *resent* you, and remain customers *despite* your product and not *because* of it, that represents the greatest vulnerability that any product can have. It means the minute a half-decent competitor comes along, your user-base is toast. Ask companies like Blackberry. Hell, Adobe did it themselves to Quark.
I honestly don't know what goes wrong in a product team to think that simply ignoring customers will ever work out well, in the end.