Bug: UI is glitchy and slow on high DPI monitors
I'm on Windows, using a UHD 4K monitor and running 175% display scaling.
After Effects scales the UI correctly, but the performance of the Timeline panel especially is atrocious. Merely trying to scrub the timeline is very laggy. There are also visual glitches, like vertical black lines, and the playhead not redrawing correctly when using J & K to move between keyframes (the playhead gets disconnected from the line in a redraw glitch). Even doing a RAM preview on a fully cached timeline causes frame drops.
If I use the Windows high DPI settings dialog to override the scaling behavior (set scaling to be performed by System), all these performance and glitch issues go away. Scrubbing the timeline and resizing panels is smooth, and no visual glitches appear. Unfortunately, the entire UI is drawn in low res - pixellated and blurry, so it is not usable like this.
This has been a long-standing bug and I reported it over a year ago, thinking it was a graphics card issue, but it is clearly related to severe performance issues when doing high DPI scaling.
Here is the original post, which has screenshots and more details about the problems that occur:
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Nate Foster commented
wow... reported in 2018 and here we are 4 years later and the horribly laggy UI is still here. Machine speed and resolution of display are irrelevant to me (I haven't worked on a 1080 display in years.) This issue has plagued me.
Here's some example of what causes a slow laggy UI experience on a 24 core threadripper with a Quatro RTX 6000:
- More than 20 layers in the timeline.
- Layers or masks with their keyframes visible in the timeline.
- More than 10 masks visible in the comp window
- several effects properties visible in the timeline.
in other words: NORMAL OPERATIONS OF THE PROGRAM.
David Cabestany commented
I'm on mac. If you open the get info window for each program there is an option to launch it in low resolution. The difference is negligible and 98% of my interface issues went away once I enabled that.
Kevin Nielsen commented
glad I found this thread, I have an HP OMEN gaming PC. I upgraded my monitors to dual Samsung 4K. Experiencing massive slow down all adobe apps. Reading this thread I see people only having problems with 4K monitors. I can confirm when I switched back to my 1080 P monitor, adobe apps performance went through the roof! So it seems to be confirmed in my opinion that adobe does not work with 4K monitors.
Gregory Pin commented
Indeed, 2 years struggling with this issue (Dual 4K Dell).
Some suggestion for very slight performance improvements (like suggested previously), but definitely still sluggish.
- Disable Hardware Accerate Composition
- Reducing timeline window
- Bringing the timeline window on the same monitor as the preview window (kind of defeats the purpose of DUAL monitor) but helps a bit.
- Changing to HIGH DPI Settings to System > Causes low resolution preview and blurry interface.
- Disable your second monitor (just kidding).
Adobe must tackle the issue. It is NOT an isolated case. I can reproduce the issue on any system with dual 4k monitors. (Tested on 3 systems).
Please ADOBE, conduct a thorough analysis of the UI drawing issue using a complex composition setups and multiple open panels. The struggle is real.
David Cabestany commented
Same here, been having this issue for at least 2 years, maybe more. I had an HD monitor as my 2nd screen for years and it worked great up until then. My main monitor is an iMac Pro with a Retina 5K display.
If I expand the timeline panel to cover the whole screen and leave the comp panel on the 2nd monitor, scrubbing the timeline is impossible, the playback is all choppy and for lack of a better word, it stutters. As long as the timeline panel is on the bottom half of the screen, scrubbing works as expected.
I got a BenQ 4K monitor about a month ago and the problem became even worse. Now I have to actually go into the system preferences and lower the resolution of both screens to less than the default and only then the scrubbing works fine.
I reached out to Adobe about a year ago with this problem and they said they had no other reports of similar problems so they did not do anything, other than blaming my setup. Now, I'm with one tech support on chat checking what could be it, I'll report back after we're done, somehow I suspect it will not be fixed in this remote support session.
Blasko Arsov commented
I have the same problem here. I'm working on Asus 4k monitor MG28U and it's very laggy with After Effects.
Can someone tell me if this problem occurs on 2K monitor as well ? Because I'm planning to buy a new one.
High performance mode is not working as an option anymore
will leigh commented
go to windows 10 power managerment then switch to High performance mode. After effects 17.1.1 feels ok to me
Daniel Belay commented
I'm having the same issues as well!
I work on two 2k monitor's. I like to keep certain panels on a separate monitor for the sake of increasing my workflow, and I've noticed that this makes working in AE terribly slow, laggy, and sometimes nonresponsive.
I've been dealing with this for a few years, but this version of AE has really been on another level of frustration for me.
BUT, as soon as I have all my panels on one monitor, AE is back to being buttery smooth, quick, and responsive!
Not sure whats going but this definitely needs to be addressed.
It's definitely not my machine, I'm on a 3960x cpu, with 64gb RAM, and a 2070rtx GPU, and working on m.2 drives.
FIX THIS ADOBE!
Jo Ben Haim commented
I have been talking with adobe support about this issue and it looks like they dont understand the problem (i think that they do) even one "senior support" for after effects took control of my pc and i gave him full space to do anything, i was watching the whole time, he spent one hour doing the same thing and asking me to see if the problem is solved, clearly it was not. So now i have a call appointment tomorrow.
I will update.
Christoph Heimer commented
This problem still persists. With each update I'm hoping for a fix but getting just more and more hopeless... These displays are not around just since yesterday. Is there ANY official statement on this from Adobe?
The same problem persists in Premiere too (and lightroom classic, but at least there you have the option to switch to CC, which solves the issue!). In Premiere it's even worse because you are scrolling ALL THE TIME.
Seth Short commented
FYI I found that the Windows system's display "Scale and Layout" is causing the issue for me. If I set (in Display settings) the Scale to 100%, After Effects works like butter. If it's at 125% (which I'm more comfortable with), all the glitches mentioned in this post appear. At 150% scaling, I'm still getting a little lag but not as nice as 100%.
So, as long as you don't mind squinting 6 inches from your screen, problem solved?
Also... if you set the Scale to 100%, open AE, and then change the scale without closing/reopening AE, the interaction stays very smooth... but the UI is blurry. It's definitely an issue with AE's scaling to various resolutions.
Turning off the "Advanced scaling" > "Fix scaling for apps" doesn't work, FYI.
Simeon in't Veld commented
I cant believe this is still not fixed... 4K is the norm nowdays and it is almost unusable on a 5000$ PC. unbelievable...
Francisco Ramon Santiago Moray commented
Please fix asap. It's a mess of using the UI that laggy when in 4K nowadays.
Kris Cave commented
Just got the Adobe suite set up on my new PC that has an i7, 32gb RAM, and a GTX 1070 Ti on my 4K Dell monitor, and good lord this is awful. The lagginess from the UI makes the app literally unusable to work in.
It blows my mind that my 2015 Macbook Pro had no problem powering the same 4K monitor and After Effects without a GPU yet this mid-tier PC can't handle it because of Adobe's poor optimization. It's even more disappointing that after 12 years of Apple, I reluctantly yet excitedly made the switch to PC (I'm not a fan of Windows, but the cost to performance ratio is incredible). Now I have to deal with a goofy OS and I can't even use it to work.
Ignatz Johnson Higham commented
Switched from a mac as I've been disappointed with apple for a while. Got a shiny new pc and 4k monitor. The lag is minor, but it's annoying enough that it slows down my workflow, a missed click here and there adds up as does the frustration. Adobe really needs to focus on fast and stable apps, lose the extra features. Yes its boring and it doesn't make people gasp at their events. But it would make the majority of their users so much happier.
Though - I have found that switching to scaling of 150% and allowing windows to fix blury apps is the smoothest.
Chris Phillips commented
Same as above. I've had to get an old 12 year old 1080 monitor out of storage to use instead of my brand new beautiful 4K monitor. Such a bummer. I'm so unsatisfied with After Effects these days and just don't want to work in it at all.
Michael Jakob commented
What I recently found out is that as soon as I have the display with the highest resolution set to "make this my main display" (Windows 10 settings: https://windowsreport.com/change-primary-monitor/), the interface is running considerably smoother (for AE terms).
Not only in AE but also in Premiere, Figma, Miro etc.
Even without the "High DPI scaling override" to system (recommended by eikonoklastes Jul 17, 2018 in the original post linked above)
I'm running a Huawei MateBook X Pro 2018 (3000x2000px display) and two 4K external monitors on an Aorus Gaming Box RTX 2070.
When I switch my main display back to my laptop screen, beforehand mentioned software works only smooth within this main screen, not anymore in the external screen.
I switch it back to the screens with the highest resolution. Smooth again. On all 3 screens.
Martin Aggerholm commented
thanks for posting this!!
Same problem here.
Sitting on a ryzen 3900x with a 2080ti-card on win10. my screens is also a UHK 4k, with 125% display scaling.
and after effects is paaaainfully slow.
If i have to work in ae I have to use my old mac-laptop, which runs fairly smooth
Thomas Carter commented
This would have to be my current number one complaint about after effects at the moment. I have found the more layers I add, the slower the UI gets. The slowest part is scrubing through the timeline with the playhead. I have found it gets slightly faster when you turn off the option to see track mattes and the other layer settings however those are important and I dont have time to be turning those on and off.
I think its also important to note this is on a purpose built after effects machine, 9900K, 64gb of ram, 1080, separate ssd just for cache file so its not the cause of a slow machine.
Also I know this is a thread for 4k displays which I currently use, but the UI is still slow on a 1080p display but just not as slow. My only solution at the moment is to keep the layers per comp under around 30-40 which is fine but gets annoying. Sometimes there is just a need to have all your layers in a single comp.
Guillermo Sevillano commented
This is a huge issue. Since I got my dual 4K monitors, working on After Effects has become a real pain. Scrubbing through the timeline or selecting keyframes is a nightmare.
Reading other comments, it seems like Adobe directly omits user feedback as long as people keep paying the subscription. Year after year they update minor things and keep on going, but still no proper multithreading, useless UI on 4K...
I suggest everyone to take a look at a new app called Cavalry. It's still far behind AE for professional work (specially for composition) but it has very interesting features for motion graphics. They are constantly listening from user feedback and trying to improve the app. There is a free beta for download at the moment. Also they have plans for supporting Linux, which is awesome. Maybe if everyone of us take a look at it or start using it, Adobe will care more for improving AE. It's time for a new competitor to seriously face Adobe.