Adobe Media Encoder vs AE


#1

Hey guys,

I just wanted to share my experience from yesterday.

That Adobe Media Encoder does a better job in encoding than After Effects’ built in Encoder is something I heard quite often, but I never did really bother as I didn’t thought the diference would be that dramatic.

Yesterday I had to send a preview to a client and I used the same encoding I use everytime for previews: Quicktime h.264, 80% Quality. This always looked good with reasonable file size.
The project was already prerendered as image sequence, I just did some simple retiming, added audio and needed to encode it to a video format.

But I had a strange problem as I got artefacts appearing always at the same moment (no it was not a player problem). I tried to set AE to do a (codec-) keyframe every second, I even encoded in Quicktime Foto-Jpeg format. Always artefacts.

Then I thought, okay, I know that AME is better with h.264 codecs, let give that a try.
And what shall I say, dramatic difference.

  • First of all, no artefacts.
  • Then, with the same settings in AME and AE (Quicktime h.264, 80% Quality), the perfect looking video that came out of AME was 37mb in size, while the AE result (with artefacts) was 150mb!
  • Playback was more smooth and the audio sync felt much better (could be due to smaller filesize).
  • Rendertime was a bit quicker.

So if there is anyone out there who hasn’t tried the AME, do it now. I was totally baffled of the difference. At least with AE CS6 (maybe with CC the internal AE encoder has improved).


#2

I think there is a difference between Quicktime H264 and AE MP4 H264

From my experience Quicktime file is bigger. Also with AE MP4 H264, you have a bit more control than Quicktime

But wait, where you really have all the option for MP4 is Media Encoder, off course don’t use quicktime but H264

Just open the options for the MP4 H264 in After Effects and in Media Encoder and you will see the difference

In CC H264 MP4 encoding in After Effects had been removed (you can get it back using the legacy unsupported codecs)

Quicktime version is still there but as above the real control is in Media Encoder.

So in CC you need to render the project through Media Encoder if you want an MP4 directly from the render. This creates problems as certain plugins can’t be loaded by Media Encoder (for example Element3D )

So back to your problem the H264 issue may be a Quicktime problem. Try render using H264 directly see what happens


#3
doru said

So back to your problem the H264 issue may be a Quicktime problem. Try render using H264 directly see what happens

Didn’t compare it with h.264 mp4. I rendered Quicktime h264 in both programs, and got a perfect file from AME.
I might try AE’s mp4 h264 again, but so far I have no problems.

I render always from AE to an image sequence and then I need to reencode that again. So there is no problem like no E3D support cause everything is already prerendered.


#4

last few project I do this:
I render from AE - Quicktime - Uncompressed YUV - 8 bit 4:2:2
and than encode with Quicktime Pro at H.264 (it has multipass rendering option)

The result is very good quality and file size.


#5
Creattive said

I render always from AE to an image sequence and then I need to reencode that again. So there is no problem like no E3D support cause everything is already prerendered.

is what I’m doing also :smiley:

adobe said rendering to h264 in ae is broken and they remove it in CC. I never had a problem with this but if they are saying is broken, they maybe know something


#6
OrpheusFX said

last few project I do this:
I render from AE - Quicktime - Uncompressed YUV - 8 bit 4:2:2
and than encode with Quicktime Pro at H.264 (it has multipass rendering option)

The result is very good quality and file size.

I think it is very risky to render directly to a video container, especially with large rendertimes. Image sequences have the big advantage of that you have saved every frame that has been rendered, and if your computer dies at the last frame you do not end up with a corrupted video file, but with one single corrupted frame and thousands of correct frames.

Also, if changes do need to be made, it is easy to override only some frames.

So not sure if you render to an image sequence and then to the YUV, but if not I highly recommend that.


#7
Creattive said

I think it is very risky to render directly to a video container, especially with large rendertimes. Image sequences have the big advantage of that you have saved every frame that has been rendered, and if your computer dies at the last frame you do not end up with a corrupted video file, but with one single corrupted frame and thousands of correct frames.

Also, if changes do need to be made, it is easy to override only some frames.

So not sure if you render to an image sequence and then to the YUV, but if not I highly recommend that.

Depends of what you need! For large render time I prefer image sequence too, especially for 3D softwares. But when I have to convert AVCHD video for videohive assets and have few color grades FXs I use direct uncompressed format. But totally agree - AE + Quichtime h.264 rendering - not a good combination.


#8

I was about to start a media encoder thread a few days ago.

Unlike Creattive, I was on the other end of the spectrum. It’s maybe fair to mention that my experience comes from using CC 2014 and results would certainly differ with other versions.

Funny, they removed the h264 format from Ae and now kindly ask users to render it via AME.
“Fine” I say. I do that and come to realize that AME renders it almost twice slower than Ae. Alright, I do a google search and find that plenty of folks complain about slow AME CC / 2014. Additionally, I ran into a couple of benchmark tests users did - results were always in favor of directly exporting from Ae. I can say the same, as far as my experience goes. Adobe confirmed there was some sort of an issue with AME. I am positive I can find the thread at their forums if needed. Very frustrating, seems like a job half done.

As far as workflow goes - I always export an image seuqnce fist, then whatever the client requests. Having an image sequence is far more flexible than any video format. Seems to be the safest rout as well.


#9

yes is true it renders slowly in Media Encoder. (it will just load an instance of AE in background, probably this have some issues with the memory management and temp files, who knows.

Just another feature that no sane people can even think of using it. Render sequence is the way to go and you learn this the hard way when you lose 5 - 6 hours of render because AE or the computer crashed for some reason. Also way easier to just render the part where the client needs some changes than render the whole project again.

I have this setup like this.

Main file renders to PSD Sequence -> Import this sequence in the same file and create a comp with the audio added -> export this comp to different formats.

If client needs something to change then just render the part where the issue is, reload the sequence and you are ready to render for the final video.

WARNING

if you have an antivirus that is set up to automatically check files (for example “On access” setting or similar) turn this feature off for the time you render the sequence. Do not turn off the antivirus just that part where it check live on access files.

This will improve the speed of render with an impressive percentage.

Also the export sequence type of file needs to be uncompressed. If you export to something that needs encoding like jpg or something similar you increase the render time by a good factor.

It off course depends of how much power the computer have but for down to earth normal computers the above solution earns you a lot of time.


#10

Cool this thread,

I therefore take this opportunity to ask a question that comes from the bottom of my pocket :

you’ve never had a problem about encoding in AME, as effects that are not recognized

or taken completely delirious? because I have already had that in of previous version …


#11
InlifeThrill said

Funny, they removed the h264 format from Ae and now kindly ask users to render it via AME.
“Fine” I say. I do that and come to realize that AME renders it almost twice slower than Ae. Alright, I do a google search and find that plenty of folks complain about slow AME CC / 2014. Additionally, I ran into a couple of benchmark tests users did - results were always in favor of directly exporting from Ae. I can say the same, as far as my experience goes. Adobe confirmed there was some sort of an issue with AME. I am positive I can find the thread at their forums if needed. Very frustrating, seems like a job half done.

that was exactly the same problem I had with a client couple of days ago. he had AE CC 2014 therefore used AME for rendering one of my templates into h264 mp4 and it took 22 hours (yes 22 goddamn hours) for it to render. later I searched about AE CC 2014-AME issue and told him to render it directly through AE into another format and it took 4 hours to render. that is a huge difference! if I am not wrong it has something to do with multiprocessing feature which AE has and AME doesn’t.


#12
doru said
Creattive said

I render always from AE to an image sequence and then I need to reencode that again. So there is no problem like no E3D support cause everything is already prerendered.

is what I’m doing also :smiley:

adobe said rendering to h264 in ae is broken and they remove it in CC. I never had a problem with this but if they are saying is broken, they maybe know something

I’m not sure if you’ve tested this lately, But Media Encoder now renders E3d projects just fine. At least for me.

I used to use it for 2d projects, but noticed it started working with e3d projects, so i started using it, and honestly, at least for me, it’s been working great.

I don’t know what the deal is, but I did a fresh install of Win 8.1 recently. I purchased a project last year that took a long time to render. it’s Creattive’s beautiful ‘Word’ template. When I rendered it last year it took 15 hours.

I loaded it up to actually finish the project a couple weeks ago, and Media Encoder rendered it in 7 hours and change.

One caveat, I could very well be that I had the rendering set up badly before, but the difference is shocking.

now, I’m certainly not going to give that credit all to the encoder, maybe the new AE 2014 performs multi threaded work better now, but whatever the case, it cut 50% off my render times on several projects. And I don’t have a monster PC, or a thousand dollar vid card. I’ve got a decent one (GTX 770) but nothing crazy

I never render to PNG. Though i should, or at least some kind of sequence but I’m lazy and end up with folders full of images when i do it that way. I used to use BG render, but with the improvements I’m seeing I just use media encoder so i can keep working in my project.

Just my observation, but i know for sure it can render e3d projects now.


#13
MHF said
InlifeThrill said

Funny, they removed the h264 format from Ae and now kindly ask users to render it via AME.
“Fine” I say. I do that and come to realize that AME renders it almost twice slower than Ae. Alright, I do a google search and find that plenty of folks complain about slow AME CC / 2014. Additionally, I ran into a couple of benchmark tests users did - results were always in favor of directly exporting from Ae. I can say the same, as far as my experience goes. Adobe confirmed there was some sort of an issue with AME. I am positive I can find the thread at their forums if needed. Very frustrating, seems like a job half done.

that was exactly the same problem I had with a client couple of days ago. he had AE CC 2014 therefore used AME for rendering one of my templates into h264 mp4 and it took 22 hours (yes 22 goddamn hours) for it to render. later I searched about AE CC 2014-AME issue and told him to render it directly through AE into another format and it took 4 hours to render. that is a huge difference! if I am not wrong it has something to do with multiprocessing feature which AE has and AME doesn’t.

you can still encode in AE with h.264 if you do so in quicktime. it renders to MOV but you do still have the option. although I will admit, you definitely sacrifice the small file size doing it that way

I also do not at all believe that AME doesn’t support multi processing because there is no possible way I could have rendered the “Word” project i have with one CPU and done it in 7 hours.

if it is true I’d like to see documentation on it, because I cannot believe it’s possible to render that so quickly without it