How can we improve After Effects?

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.

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  • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    @Anonymous (from one to the other):
    It wasn't buggy per say: The efficiency of the Render multiple frames simultaneously feature depended a lot on how much external ressources / footage was involved in the project. The more external footage, the longer it needed to launch (probably because each core had to load them all separately).

    But when the project involved light external ressources (like stills or logos), or none at all (with everything generated within AE), it always worked very well, and very fast.
    It also required a lot of ram allocated to each core (at least 3 to 4gb in my opinion) to avoid immediate bottlenecks.

    In an ideal world, Adobe would have updated it to make it snappier with complex projects, and optimize it's ram usage. Instead they chose to remove it (and not even honestly since they initially announced it as "temporary").

    That was a terrible move of course. Even without updates, they should have kept it, explained how it worked better, and underlined it's limits. That would have allowed users to use it when needed, gain a huge amount of time on most of our renders... and spare us the lecturing from lazy know-it-alls (especially on Reddit) telling everyone it just "didn't work".

    It worked very well (and still does) when used right.

  • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    @Seth cool, that would do the trick. Don't have CC 2014 anymore or I'd give it a shot! Personally never used multiprocessing anyway, it was too buggy for me - more often than not it would just hang during RAM preview and not actually render anything (Win 7 here). Been rendering to image sequences for years and it goes amazingly fast, I even wrote a little article on it a while back but can't remember where that is now. I got 10x speed increase during non-GUI render on just one station, and forget about it when I send that to our farm! Can't recommend Deadline more if you're at a studio with more than a handful of people. I believe they even have a free version for less than two licenses (used to anyway).

  • Seth commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    @Anonymous: Disk Cache was deactivated on both versions.
    (And besides, yes, there are separate folders for each versions.)

    If you have doubts about how this test was done, you're welcome to run your own. The more evidence of the problem the better anyway.

  • y promo commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    @Anonymous there is a separate disc cache folder for each AE version installed on your computer (at least on the mac).

  • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    @Seth That only clears RAM (the first layer of cache), the disc cache stays on the ...disc. I'm not 100% it goes across versions, but supposedly it does. If you purge "All Memory & Disc Cache" you'll see gigabytes of data get deleted which is stored in temp folders on your local drive.

  • Seth commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    @Peter: Thanks for the tweets!

    @Anonymous: I restarted the mac before each render.

  • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    @Seth Hopefully you didn't forget the persistent disc cache, which would *theoretically* work across application versions. If you didn't clear your cache then the CC 2018 render might have been piggy-backing on your earlier render, meaning this performance gap might have even been bigger...

  • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Ahaha that support thread is hilarious! Can't tell if I'm crying tears of laughter or tears of sadness...

  • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Not trying to lessen the gravity of this scandalous problem with Afx still not being hyperthread ready. (Hyperthread began in 2004...)

    But, while we wait, As I said already in that thread, I found a painfull workaround that revives the "multi-After effects launched in parallel" solution we had in 2014. (Wich is still not a good way of doing things in my opinion)

    "Render Garden"

    Works great for final renders.
    When projects renders certain effects with on core out of my ten, I can see with tears in my eyes, 8-12% usage uf my CPUs.
    I launch ten render garden instances and I get 80%.

    If that's of any help.

    Spamming their twitter is a good idea too ;)

  • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Holy sh*t Seth, we all thought it was bad but it's good to have an actual test confirming it. Maybe also try contacting people like School of Motion, Lester Banks etc, people with big email lists that might be interested in this test, write an article on it and could pick up some real traction.

  • Seth commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    ***Benchmark results***

    First, a few notes about methodology:

    Since AECC 2014 is now officially forbidden in production, my company only allowed me to run this test on an offline station, so the CPUs are a few years old, and it was updated until AE CC2018. Still, I believe the test remains relevant.

    The station is a 12-core Mac Pro 5.1, with 32GB of ram.
    To minimize disk access speed issues and other potential hardware bottlenecks, and give priority to raw software performance, I used a project featuring low external ressources (animated fractal noise with the cartoon, invert an Add Grain effects slapped to it). The rendered sequence was 1000 frames long.
    Following official guidelines, I allocated 10 cores to AE CC2014 with 3GB ram each, leaving the remaining 2 to the OS.

    And here are the results (screen grab enclosed):

    AE CC2014: 9mn 57s
    AE CC2018: 26mn 38s

    Performance with recent AE versions is actually worse than I thought...

  • Ian Davies commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    @Anonymous. Your tone in that chat transcript sounded like you were typing with gritted teeth. At one point you literally ask "What are you doing about it?" Honestly, what answer were you expecting from them? "Sorry Sir, you're absolutely right, please hold while I re-engineer After Effects' whole rendering engine…"??

    Look, I'm not disagreeing with your sentiment - I sympathise and empathise with your every point - but there's absolutely no gain in making some probably-low-paid support jockey's life more difficult that it needs to be. And as Peter said, it most likely won't get passed up the chain anyway.

    As I say, direct your frustration at the people who are actually responsible for some of the decisions that are causing us problems.

  • Peter Labrow commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    There's no doubt in my mind that the subscription model is failing subscribers. I'm sure Adobe don't see it this way, genuinely, I think they are proud of what they bring to us. But we used to get a decent number of features per application every full point release (the .5s were a bit lame and often just fixes we should have got anyway). How we get a few updates per app or across the suite.

    Yes, it must have been frustrating to have people upgrade every couple of full point releases or fewer. (I personally took almost every one.) But the hunger to not only innovate but to make these applications rock solid has gone. They just don't need to.

    And the subscription costs me twice what the updates used to - and I updated nearly every time.

    I have a high spec iMac Pro and After Effects can bring it to its knees. Easily. The only system crashes I have are when I'm running Adobe applications - it's no mean feat to floor OS X entirely. These issues are more important to me than any other.

    Yes, we get them spending time on dialogue box UIs which don't match the system - for what reason? To show me starter videos, or templates or something I don't need. And the UI for these doesn't work - many essential options such as page size in InDesign are hidden unless you scroll. It's wasted development time, the OS has these already. We're professionals, we don't need this stuff. And don't get me started on inconsistencies in keyboard shortcuts, naming conventions and UI between apps. Acrobat 'Professional' (the air quotes indicate irony) has back-peddled in terms of UI to be the opposite of professional, it's a literal joke.

    Adobe's monopoly came from people needing to exchange files - InDesign, Photoshop and Illustrator primarily, back in the day. Using anything else wasn't optional. Today, this isn't true and they're getting a proper drubbing from the likes of Affinity.

    For video editing, the space is really hotting up. Resolve is superb. Final Cut is decent again. I only moved to Premier because one client needed me to share files, so it made sense to shift everything. But I've never seen a really viable alternative to After Effects - and as I work on projects, with a computer which cost as much as a car dragging its feet painfully, it's soul-destroying. I use After Effects because I have no choice and it's the only thing which keeps me a subscriber - if I needed to, and I'm looking at it, for everything else I can move. Easily.

    End of rant!! Thank you for your patience.

  • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    @Ian. Thanks for your reply - respectfully though, I don't see how I berated anyone.
    I asked a question, several times, and was given nothing but the run around...

    Let's all remember, that Adobe, are the ones happily billing us good money each and every month ($75+ AUD/month for me), yet choose to ignore the core issues and are happy releasing bug-ridden updates time and time again. I mean, we aren't talking a one-off here...

    This costs professional users income. Daily. We have families to provide for....

    I'm no AE OG, but I have done my time @10yrs in.
    And honestly, software that worked faster 5 years ago than it does today is just WOEFUL.

    The subscription model is just a glorified cash grab. They have us over a barrel and they know it.
    It really is, without a doubt, unacceptable.

    Adobe should be aware of their users frustration. If they choose to continually ignore it, well, other options become increasingly viable.

    I just downloaded a trial of hitfilmpro.
    It, at least on paper looks good.

    Now, my 10 yrs of AE hurts me to abandon, but if Adobe can't fathom that PRODUCTIVITY is important to users who LOSE MONEY waiting for their products to under-utilise their hardware they PAID GOOD MONEY FOR... Well.....
    The writing is on the wall isn't it.

  • y promo commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    i agree on the spammy side of change.org ("we see you ordered a coffin - may we suggest a family package?").
    i started my own war within facebook: on each and every CC ad i respond with short information about our predicament. not the biggest success ever - so far they didn't even bother to delete my responses. :)
    BTW i'm happy for anyone who has somewhere else to go to (compositors, special effects etc.); it's the motion designers who have no other solution whatsoever.

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