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Old February 7th, 2009, 01:21 PM   #1
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Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Malta
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Full HD animation - Render TOO LONG :(

Hello world of movie makers!

I have a rendering prtoblem and would like you to help me out.

I made a 30 second animation using Adobe after effects Cs3. So far so good. The real issue is that the composition is FULL HD, i.e 1920x1080.

When i start rendering out, (MPEG - Blue ray) it shows that it will last more than 7 hours!! Gosh, its too long.... I can understand this, because the compositon contains quite a lot of features, camera movements and so on....but I think that 7 hours are too much!

Now, My PC has the following specs:

-windowsXP 32bit

Am I really using it at full potential? Is 7 hours the best that it can do?? How can I use my PC with the Best settings in order to get less rendering times?

Is multiprocessing a good idea in my case? I heard of it but i dont know what it does and how it works.

Therefore, what I need to know is that, in my case of a full HD composition, what are the best settings for after effects that I can use, in order to make rendering times as minimum as possible? - in other words, BEST OPTIONS TO RENDER FULL HD WORK

Just to give you a basic background, I have a full HDTV connected to a sony PS3 and sooon will invest in a blue ray Disc burner, so you can immagine why I want my work to be Full HD.

Many thanks for your help!!

Clayton Galea is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 7th, 2009, 08:10 PM   #2
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7 hours doesn't seem like that big of a deal, depending on what you're doing. I do a lot of work in After Effects creating 30-second TV commercials in SD, and there have been times when I've had 5 hour renders or longer.

Are you using a lot of plugins and effects? Do you have a complicated project with tons of layers, nested comps, etc.? If you do a lot of 3D layer work, use lights or lighting effects, or motion blur, you'll be increasing your render time. Add a 1920X1080 comp size on top of that, and that's a LOT of pixels to crunch.

If you're not very experienced in dealing with After Effects, you'll definitely want to start thinking about factoring in render time to important projects. There are a few things you can do that might help to give you an extra boost, but you're not going to go from 7 hours down to 15 minutes, so don't start getting unrealistic expectations. Your PC is fine. Just understand that HD is very demanding.

First, don't render directly out of AE as a Blu-Ray MPEG. You're using processor cycles to encode the MPEG file when it could be focusing more on rendering your project. Also, don't render to an MPEG or AVI or MOV at all. Render a TIFF sequence instead. Why a TIFF sequence? Well, imagine you get 6 hours into your 7 hour render when After Effects crashes or the render fails for whatever reason. You just burned up 6 hours with nothing to show for it. But- if you rendered out a TIFF sequence, in the event of a crash, you'll have good frames up until the crash. Once you're finished, you can re-import those frames into After Effects or your editing program and render out from there. Another bonus to using a TIFF sequence is that you can use that sequence over and over and convert it other formats without losing quality. MPEG compression throws away a great deal of data to conserve disk space.

Next, multi-processing means you'll be utilizing all the cores of your CPU. You'll want to turn it on to give AE as much computing power as possible.

What kind of video card do you have? If you have a card that supports OpenGL, you can check on the OpenGL box in the Settings window in the render settings to utilize your video card's GPU in addition to your CPU. This can help speed things up a little bit.

Another thing you can do is pre-render chunks of your comp as you go along. Say you have 5 layers with a bunch of effects and animation to serve as a background. Render out those 5 layers, and then import the render as your background layer. Chances are it won't take very long to render out the background by itself, and then you've freed up your CPU so it can focus on the new layers you'll be adding to your comp.

Are there ways to render even faster? Yes, but its going to cost you. If you have multiple computers on a network and multiple licenses of After Effects, you can distribute the render over the network in a renderfarm fashion. The more machines/processors you have, the faster you'll be able to render your projects.

High Definition has a lot more pixels than Standard Definition, and because of this, it requires more power and takes longer. Another way to deal with the longer render time is to work through the day and set up the render to work over night. That way, the machine works while you sleep, and if all goes well, you have a completed job in the morning.
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