Problem! - 5.7GB After Effects Project :(

Hi Guys,

I’m in a bit of a pickle here. I’m designing an AE project which uses green screen placeholders over a CGI video clip generated in Maya 3D.

The video clip generated in Maya is 33 seconds long (an animation of a shot swooping down accross a street).

The video dimensions are 4K - 3840 x 2160.

The problem now, is that when rendered to video, the 33 second length produces a huge video file.

The video MUST include an alpha channel, so exporting it as H264 or PhotoJPG is impossible.

SO i am having these problems.

  • If i render to Apple Pro-Res 4444 - file size 5.7GB
  • If i Render to Animation RGB+Alpha - file size 9.1GB !!!
  • If i split them into Tiffs or PNGs, they are thousands of inidividual PNGs of about 25mb each - it comes to a whopping 25GB ! (imagining trying to upload that to the 'Hive!

Has anyone any idea how i can get the video down to say 2.5 or 3gb, and still maintain my alpha channel and a good quality? Also - What is the maximum file size for AE projects?

Thanks Guys!


Render the main movie in Photo JPG and render one matte movie also.
Combine the RGB and Matte in AE…

Bingo ! i think you’re onto something…

I think i can see how it’ll work.


In case nothing works, try rendering AVI with alpha channel. The AVI file itself will be too large but will compress a lot when zipped. Depending on the content of video, the zipped file size may shrink a lot, sometimes less than QuickTime.

Hey Pixart, (and anyone else). I can render it in PhotoJpeg, to do a matte pass later, but the problem is - the PhotoJpeg codec can’t handle it:

Rendering a large 4K video with high frame rate to a 2160p video in photojpeg produces jittery stuttering results.

I’ve even tried reducing the quality …but still jittery.

Any other suggestions?
Or would you advocate rendering in as high a quality as possible Pro Res 4444 with alpha bur in 1080p. Then jsut scaling that up to my 3840x2160p comp size?

Gota still maintain quality better than a photo jpeg in full 4K ?

Why are you rendering in pro res 4444. That’s raw quality, you don’t need that. 422 is more than fine. + as guys said, render matte separately in codec of your choice (doesn’t have to be too good).

How’s you’re graphics card and general specs? Unless you’ve got a pretty decent setup, then 4K can often be a bit on the stuttery side. May work fine with Blu-Rays etc, but they’ve been heavily compressed.

Hi EFEKT and SpaceStock.

Fortunately, I have a fast setup - 2015 New Mac Pro Xeon E5 6-core 16GB Ram and 2TB SSD. It really makes blistering speed light work out of 4K stuff. It’s just normal for me to render out large 4K stuff in seconds or mInutes.

But this does mean sometimes i go a bit crazy!.

But i now have a solution which works fine - i can still reender in 4444 but at 1080p dimensions, and when scaled to 4K comp size, there is no visible loss of quality, no artifacts and no compression. That’s why i use 4444.
Plus, i get an alpha - means only 1 pass - No Matte needed, so i don’t need to render a 444 ort Photo JPG file and then a matte pass.

It’s future proofing i guess because in a year or two’s time, most people will expect 4K as the norm. I don’t see anyone using HD720p now and it’s practically obsolute… soon this will happen with 1080p.

But yeah, really useful info though. Thanks guys. Really much appreciated.

P.S - Does anyone know what the maximum file size for AE Projects is?

I believe 3GB is the max if I remember correctly.

1 Like

Thanks Butlerm… Great to see you again!

I guess any well-rendered AE Project that’s efficiently maintained doesn’t need to be so much over 3GB.

I’ll try and keep the file size down.