AE performance limitations....


#1

Ok it feels like I keep hitting a brick wall… The larger the project gets, the more AE becomes sluggish and unresponsive. Although these might very well be normal problems, I was wondering if any of you have experienced these things and could have any advice on how to work around them or avoid them the next time around:

  1. Locking Existing Frames process takes a few minutes to load for the ram preview. The issue disappears when previews are muted, and when I delete all the audio.

  2. AE's user interface works fine in CS4 but is very sluggish when opening the project in CS6. This happens when there are a few thousand expressions in the project.
Is there a limit to how large your project can get before it boggles up? These problems started happening during the last few iterations of the project so I'm going back to previous versions to try to find what could have caused it... Thank you for any suggestions, they will be greatly appreciated. Such a bummer :(

#2

this is “normal” with After Effects,

not much you can do


#3
doru said

this is “normal” with After Effects,

not much you can do

not entirely true. I’m having these problems always, but I found a solution. Divide your big project into smaller projects (ie certain compositions, I believe not everything is in one comp) and then re-import them when you’re done with creative part. If everything is expression dependable then yea, not much you can do.

p.s. use cs5 or 5.5, it’s much better since it uses more than 8gb of ram.


#4

It is essential and more comfortable working from the version CS5, and CS4 does not allow you to work more fluid and not let you expand the memory up to 4 GB RAM … It is also essential to SSD hard drive and lots of RAM memory when you realize your complicated projects. Luck!


#5

Interesting idea @EFEKT , I wish I could divide it up but all the compositions are interlinked in with expressions… Maybe I can look further into that though.

As for the ram idea, I wish it made a difference. I have 16gb of ram and I get the same results when opening the project in CS4, CS5 and CS6 with or without multiprocessing (but in CS6 the AE user interface buttons and navigation becomes slow, oddly).

There aren’t any 3D layers in this project btw. I wonder if it has to do with the amount of layers with expressions applied you can have in a single composition. Maybe it makes a difference if I pre-comp batches of layers… uuuughhh looks like this will take a while to solve.


#6

don’t worry about CS6, it’s slow alright, I posted that couple of times in forum. CS6 is sloooow. (in workflow)


#7
EFEKT_Studio said
doru said

this is “normal” with After Effects,

not much you can do

not entirely true. I’m having these problems always, but I found a solution. Divide your big project into smaller projects (ie certain compositions, I believe not everything is in one comp) and then re-import them when you’re done with creative part. If everything is expression dependable then yea, not much you can do.

p.s. use cs5 or 5.5, it’s much better since it uses more than 8gb of ram.

didn’t want to say it as a negative thing,

if you add a ton of stuff you will slow down the software. It needs to make a lot of calculations and certain effects are really slow (but yes they look great)


#8

Adobe improve 3D so fast in CS7 soon, but as producers of VH, we do projects from version 5.0 to our customers!! so we must adapt and have patience!


#9

I guess its up to how fast your machine is ! I never had any problems with it. (Im using a laptop , 32gb ram , with no problems so far) !


#10

Well thanks for the suggestions guys. After a bit of tinkering, it looks like both issues 1 and 2 are coming from simply having too many compositions in the project panel… I guess it’s just too much for the software to handle. 482 comps total with 5000+ expressions… I went back on previous iterations and found that major slow-downs started happening at around 400 comps. hmmm now to reduce this project somehow :S I wonder if there’s a cutoff point or a safe zone, any ideas?


#11
andrenavarre said

Well thanks for the suggestions guys. After a bit of tinkering, it looks like both issues 1 and 2 are coming from simply having too many compositions in the project panel… I guess it’s just too much for the software to handle. 482 comps total with 5000+ expressions… I went back on previous iterations and found that major slow-downs started happening at around 400 comps. hmmm now to reduce this project somehow :S I wonder if there’s a cutoff point or a safe zone, any ideas?

5000+ expressions? forget the the amounts of comps i think its the expressions in this one. Just out of my experience i’m talking, no idea if it’s the same in your case. maybe work with proxies? Saves you a ton of comps and expression calculations, if you are set on a certain amount of frames just render out a proxy for them and work further, etc etc until you have what you need. I don’t know exactly the purpose of your project so i can’t comment further upon it.

Whatever the case, it seems like you can learn from this project for future one’s. Manage things better now you know you can come across these issues. As much as the software advertises itself that imagination is your only limitation, processing power and software handling is a limitation that you’ve got to keep in mind as well :stuck_out_tongue:


#12

5000 expressions is a lot. You might consider baking them. There are also more and less efficient ways to write expressions. You could consider compacting them (I have a feeling this makes them get parsed quicker). I have found that expression heavy projects have become slower to work with in the last couple of versions of Ae. That’s a shame. I hope it gets sorted out in the near future.

In general, After Effects likes small projects better. This has been the case going back years. I tend to break big projects down in to smaller ones wherever I can. It helps too where you have a team of people working parallel on a project. And whatever other positive effects it has on your set up, it will make opening and saving a project much quicker.

Another tip is to turn the cache indicators off. It’s a shame not to be able to see the little green line indicating what’s in RAM and what’s not, but unfortunately, they seem to currently take precedence over absolutely everything, including user interaction.


#13
felt_tips said

Another tip is to turn the cache indicators off. It’s a shame not to be able to see the little green line indicating what’s in RAM and what’s not, but unfortunately, they seem to currently take precedence over absolutely everything, including user interaction.

I just did a render test.

  • With cache indicators on: 1 minute, 40 seconds
  • With cache indicators off: 1 minute, 15 seconds

#14

Thanks for the feedback. Indeed @Massfocus this is yet again one of the many hard lessons I’ve learned this year… I was definitely overzealous in my approach. @felt_tips Next time around, I’ll be breaking the project up into smaller ones like you suggested. Unfortunately that would be next to impossible in this case, and baking them or using proxies would break the functionality of the project. The project is a pretty heavy character rig so it makes it really difficult for me to take off features once I’ve implemented them. I’m sitting with my stopwatch troubleshooting the Locking Existing Frames ram preview lag that’s stuck at 1m18s before rendering.

Some funny discoveries I’ve made so far:

  • The lag disappears entirely when there is no audio in the project (or muted ram previews)
  • The lag remains with audio when I delete all effects and expressions
  • The lag disappears with audio (mostly, to 0m15s) when there are less than 400 comps
Kind of a terrifying situation for me as I've been working on this project since June... would be a lot of work to throw away :S I've managed to reduce from 482 comps to 442 in a day, so hopefully with another day's work I can get it back down to 400 comps. Fingers crossed that this will actually make the difference.

#15
andrenavarre said

Thanks for the feedback. Indeed @Massfocus this is yet again one of the many hard lessons I’ve learned this year… I was definitely overzealous in my approach. @felt_tips Next time around, I’ll be breaking the project up into smaller ones like you suggested. Unfortunately that would be next to impossible in this case, and baking them or using proxies would break the functionality of the project. The project is a pretty heavy character rig so it makes it really difficult for me to take off features once I’ve implemented them. I’m sitting with my stopwatch troubleshooting the Locking Existing Frames ram preview lag that’s stuck at 1m18s before rendering.

Some funny discoveries I’ve made so far:

  • The lag disappears entirely when there is no audio in the project (or muted ram previews)
  • The lag remains with audio when I delete all effects and expressions
  • The lag disappears with audio (mostly, to 0m15s) when there are less than 400 comps
Kind of a terrifying situation for me as I've been working on this project since June... would be a lot of work to throw away :S I've managed to reduce from 482 comps to 442 in a day, so hopefully with another day's work I can get it back down to 400 comps. Fingers crossed that this will actually make the difference.

I wonder if this would be different if you had some more RAM in your machine. How much do you have?


#16

I’ve got 16gb at the moment… unfortunately the iMac I’m working on maxes out at 16. Multiprocessing is turned off. I’ve tried with it and there doesn’t seem to be a difference in this case. Right now I’m trying to work out different ways to link my expressions, trying to centralize them more. Looks like I’ll need to compromise somewhere and maybe drop some automated functionality.


#17

Ok after spending 2 full days relinking all expressions (thanks to Paul Tuersley’s pt_expressedit), it appears that I have excessively over 15 000 expressions … :bashfulcute: As you guys suggested, I’m ready to bake some of them. A big majority of them are linking the Stroke effect properties to a central controller. Any idea how to bake expressions or effects en masse?


#18
andrenavarre said

Ok after spending 2 full days relinking all expressions (thanks to Paul Tuersley’s pt_expressedit), it appears that I have excessively over 15 000 expressions … :bashfulcute: As you guys suggested, I’m ready to bake some of them. A big majority of them are linking the Stroke effect properties to a central controller. Any idea how to bake expressions or effects en masse?

Wow! 15,000? That’s a lot of expressions.


#19

Here’s an interesting experiment… trying to find the source of the “Locking Existing Frames” ram preview problem without effects or expressions. I just made a solid in a blank project, then keyframed rotation and position values, duplicated the layer 20 times and then pre-comped it. Then I duplicated that pre-comp 20 times and them pre-comped it again. Then I duplicated that pre-comp 430 times then made a new composition out of all those pre-comps. Added an audio file, ram preview and… spinning wheel at the locking frames stage re-created! When I remove the audio, the problem disappears and it renders instantly. With the audio in, I started removing comps until the spinning wheel lasted a reasonable amount of time, about 10 second wait at 150 comps, then 3-5 seconds at 120 comps. It just seems like AE can’t handle both audio and a high volume of comps. It definately matters what you put in the comps, but this was done with just a few solids. Now, with this in mind, and if we take audio out of the picture, AE is doing a pretty damn good job running my project with so many expressions :stuck_out_tongue: