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.
Dowding Design commented
Years later, chipsets have got faster and so have GPUs but After Effects still lags in the past. Perhaps the new (even if it's only 2D) Cavalry https://cavalry.scenegroup.co/ is going to end up being a better option for us motion designers???
Adobe please respond!
Marion JESTIN commented
In the latest davinci resolve update, there are more useful new features than between after effects versions CS6 from CC 2021. The end of the monopoly it's here and right now. Blackmagic cares about its consumers.
David Millsaps commented
Sitting here watching my 5 thousand dollar Mac take 3 hours to render 12 minutes of relatively simple animations at HD with 70% idle resources.
The monopoly feels good doesn't it, Adobe?
John Read commented
PS... Forwarding us to a 3rd party’s list of ways we can work around your issues is about the worst excuse for a response I have ever heard of. It is not our burden to fix AE via an entire blog post of PC hacks.. Take responsibility for your appallingly poor code optimization for a “modern” application. This is like when Facestagram turned off the engagement faucet with the launch of their first demoralizing algorithm back in 2017 and then responded to anyone calling them out with “if your pictures are underperforming, take better pictures...” *mic drop*
Treve Jackson-Hicks commented
I would just like to add my voice to this thread. I don’t really require any new features in After Effects other than performance.
My Mac Pro is sitting at 85% idle while rendering.
It is one improvement that would make every single tool more useful.
John Read commented
Nov 10. This year’s edition of After Effects is not even showing up as a full new release... I have downloaded PS, PR, AI, etc, and everything else shows up as the 2021 version, not AE, still stuck in 2020 with all of the other depressing news from this year. The extremely few “updates” for this version are very clearly meant for a few small headlines and nothing more. Nobody asked for a new 3D gizmo or roto brush 2.0, at least not before optimizing this rickety, old, duck-taped together, dino framework. I cannot even find a list of any performance enhancements for what is actually just a regular update... IT IS TIME TO SETTLE YOUR TECHNICAL DEBT ADOBE. Please and thank you.
Guess what app is rendering selected on a picture?
the dudes commented
https://digitalvideoaudio.typeform.com/to/R8yACg 👈 this survey of the AE-team is from April. But I filled it out anyways.
I took a look at the other topics in 'how can we improve After Effects?' I made me pretty angry. If you want any evidence that Adobe doesn't give two figs for its customers, look no further. At 918 votes, this is the highest priority BY FAR on the forum. The next nearest 'Label Colors for Keyframes' (OK, cool) is just 513 votes. Via customer feedback, this is the most important request.
@Daniel Gheorghe 100% the truth. If we had to pay to upgrade, based on the additional features, performance and stability, I have to ask - which version would you actually pay for?! And I gladly bought EVERY SINGLE version when it was a paid upgrade, it's not like I ever avoided it.
Daniel Gheorghe commented
Such a joke this release.. if this wasn't subscription based, nobody would pay to "upgrade" from the previous version
Robert Moreno commented
wowwwwww thank youuuu a 3d gizmooooo I'm so excited!!! Dude make this thing fasteeerrr NOW!! I'm writing here frustrated trying to preview 4k comps, I also had time to make dinner and take the dog out for a ****
@Patrick Proier I was sarcastic. ;)
Patrick Proier commented
If Adobe would have redesigned the hole 3D engine with a modern poly based realtime engine, with rtx raytracing support and basic tools for modeling/deforming 3D geo (for simple logos or camera projections), import and export of 3D Data (abc., fbx., obj.), and a intelligent 3D particlesys with vdb. support i would have totaly agree with you.
But i see only a new gizmo that should have bin integrated 15 years ago and could have developed from a student in two weeks.
THAT'S PRETTY IMPRESSIVE UPDATE. THANK YOU ADOBE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Ian Davies commented
@Luc Clayton I don't think it's a question of engineering smarts, and I wouldn't presume to tell the AE team how to build an app as complex as this one is. I'm talking about shoddy communication and shockingly poor management of a customer-facing forum.
What's the score now? 16 months and 434 comments since the already overdue "update" from our benefactors, and nothing has changed. Including After Effects. Unforgivable lack of respect.
Whenever this mythical, high-performance version of After Effects eventually arrives, the product managers have already ensured that their customers will be too ******-off to show any appreciation. Great job.
15 Sept - Adobe reports record revenues. When Adobe shifted to subscription, we were sold a lie: that the regular income would fund development and result in better products with more updates. Anyone actually think this is true? Updates used to have dozens of headline features, to make it worth upgrading. Now, if we're lucky, there are a a handful of things. And this is pretty much every product, not just After Effects. Apart from XD, which is updated all of time. As we all suspected the guaranteed income, coupled with a monopoly position, has resulted is coasting. Time is wasted developing Adobe's own dialog boxes instead of using the ones in the OS. Of course, they miss a load, so we have an annoyingly disjointed UI. We get new icons - designed be someone who doesn't realise that it's a good idea that they are all different colours, so we can tell them apart. Now we're all accidentally launching the wrong app all the time. So where is the money going? Look at your mailers. It's going into Adobe building its Marketing Cloud, not into the creative apps. I feel pretty certain that if they had sometime to tell us, we'd be hearing it. They might amaze us all by revealing a reengineered After Effects but I'm really not holding my breath. Although this is the After Effects forum, most of their other apps have other similar issues. Premiere Pro's famed 'stability' for example, making it the only video editor of the three I have installed which I guarantee will choke on a big project, crashing out without notice. This is the monopoly, they don't need to try harder because they are 'the standard'. They don't need to respond because our business is assured.
Luc Clayton commented
Yeah I think it's clear that over the years the AE team have been lost at sea. If I were to guess, I would say they keep making really bad decisions on how to progress the app. I'm sure at one point they thought that optimising for GPU was the way, then single core, and now who knows (something that works on ARM?). I bet in a dusty cupboard at Adobe there are a ton of attempts to make the program fit for purpose, but were all abandoned after they realised they were barking up the wrong tree, or got diverted onto another simple program that will get them more users. I guess they are a business so maximising profit is the most important thing to them, but as with all their misguided development, they fail to see value in communication or providing good value to their customers.