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Because antivirus software operates by monitoring every read and write operation, such software can decrease rendering speed, especially with the Render Multiple Frames Simultaneously preference selected.
If the rendering of a single frame requires more RAM than is available to the individual background processes, then After Effects will not render multiple frames simultaneously and will instead use only the main foreground process to render all frames for that composition. If After Effects can’t use background processes to render multiple frames simultaneously, a message appears in the Info panel.
Note: After Effects can also use multiple processes to accelerate rendering of a single frame. This form of multiprocessing can take advantage of hyper-threading. The number of CPUs that After Effects reports in the Multiprocessing Preferences dialog box for accelerating rendering within a single frame counts the virtual (logical) CPUs available due to hyperthreading.
Improve performance You can improve performance by optimizing your computer system, After Effects, your project, and your workflow.
GridIron Software provides Nucleo Pro 2, which improves rendering performance in After Effects in several ways:
• Adjust the size of the virtual memory paging file (Windows only). Virtual memory enables the system to use harddisk space to store information normally stored in RAM. Windows manages virtual memory using a paging file.
To improve performance in After Effects, adjust the size of the paging file to a maximum of twice the amount of installed RAM—the default in Windows XP. (See Windows Help.)
• Defragment all hard disks regularly. See the documentation for your operating system for details.
• Make sure that your system has enough RAM. See the documentation for your operating system and computer for details on how to check the amount of installed RAM and how to install RAM.
• Stop or pause resource-intensive operations in other applications, such as video previews in Adobe Bridge.
Improve performance by optimizing memory, cache, and multiprocessing settings
• Use multiple processors to render multiple frames simultaneously by selecting the Render Multiple Frames Simultaneously preference. See “Render multiple frames simultaneously” on page 40.
• Enable caching frames to disk by selecting the Enable Disk Cache preference.
• Set the Maximum RAM Cache Size preference to an optimum value. See “Memory & Cache preferences” on page 39.
• Purge RAM and disk caches (choose Edit Purge Image Caches).
Improve performance by simplifying your project By simplifying and dividing your project, you can prevent After Effects from using memory and other resources to process elements that you are not currently working with. Also, by controlling when After Effects performs certain processing, you can greatly improve overall performance. For example, you can avoid repeating an action that needs to happen only once, or you can postpone an action until it is more convenient for you.
• Delete unused elements from your project. See “Remove items from a project” on page 60.
• Divide complex projects into simpler projects, and then recombine them before you render the finished movie. To recombine projects, import all of the projects into a single project by choosing File Import File.
• Before rendering, put all of your source footage files on a local disk—not the one that the application runs from.
A good way to do this is with the Collect Files command. See “Collect files in one location” on page 594.
• Prerender nested compositions. Render a completed composition as a movie so that After Effects doesn’t rerender the composition every time it is displayed. See “Pre-render a nested composition” on page 114.
• Restrict the influence of layer switches by choosing Edit Preferences General (Windows) or After Effects Preferences General (Mac OS), and deselecting Switches Affect Nested Comps. (Remember to select this option again before you render the composition for final output.)
• Collapse transformations for nested compositions. See “Render order and collapsing transformations” on page 115.
• Substitute a low-resolution or still-image proxy for a source item when not working directly with that item. See “Work with placeholders and proxies” on page 61.
• Lower the composition’s resolution. See “Resolution” on page 128.
Note: To increase the rendering speed of RAM previews, set the resolution of the Composition panel to match the magnification. For example, if the magnification is 50%, choose Half from the Resolution menu.
• Isolate the layer you’re working on by using the Solo switch. See “Solo a layer” on page 149.
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• Deselect the Continuously Rasterize switch for a vector layer until you need to view or render it in detail. This prevents After Effects from rasterizing the entire layer after each change. See “Continuously rasterize a layer containing vector graphics” on page 151.
Improve performance by modifying screen output You can improve performance in many ways that don’t affect how After Effects treats your project data, only how output is drawn to the screen as you work. Although it is often useful to see certain items and information as you work, After Effects uses memory and processor resources to update this information, so be selective in what you choose to display as you work. You will likely need to see different aspects of your project at different points in your workflow, so you may apply the following suggestions in various combinations at various stages.
• Turn off display color management and output simulation when not needed. See “Simulate how colors will appear on a different output device” on page 248.
• Enable hardware acceleration of previews, which uses the GPU to assist in drawing previews to the screen. Choose Edit Preferences Display (Windows) or After Effects Preferences Display (Mac OS), and select Hardware Accelerate Composition, Layer, And Footage Panels.
• Close unneeded panels. After Effects must use memory and processor resources to update open panels, which may slow the work that you are doing in another panel.
• Create a region of interest. If you are working on a small part of your composition, limit which portion of the composition is rendered to the screen during previews. See “Work with the region of interest” on page 111.
• Deselect Show Cache Indicators in the Timeline panel menu to prevent After Effects from displaying green and blue bars in the time ruler to indicate cached frames.
• Deselect the Show Rendering Progress In Info Panel & Flowchart preference (in Display preferences) to prevent the details of each render operation for each frame from being written to the screen.
• Hide Current Render Details in the Render Queue panel by clicking the triangle beside Current Render Details in the Render Queue panel.
• Press the Caps Lock key to prevent After Effects from updating Footage, Layer, or Composition panels. When you make a change that would otherwise appear in a panel, After Effects adds a red bar with a text reminder at the bottom of the panel. After Effects continues to update panel controls such as motion paths, anchor points, and mask outlines as you move them. To resume panel updates and display all changes, press Caps Lock again.
Note: Pressing the Caps Lock key suspends updates (disables refresh) of previews in viewers during rendering for final output, too, although no red reminder bar appears.
• Lower a layer’s display quality to Draft or Wireframe. See “Layer image quality” on page 150.
• Select Draft 3D in the Timeline panel menu, which disables all lights and shadows that fall on 3D layers. It also disables the camera’s depth-of-field blur.
• Deselect Live Update in the Timeline panel menu to prevent After Effects from updating compositions dynamically.
• Display audio waveforms in the Timeline panel only when necessary.
• Disable pixel aspect ratio correction by clicking the Toggle Pixel Aspect Ratio Correction button at the bottom of a Composition, Layer, or Footage panel.
• Deselect Mirror On Computer Monitor when previewing video on an external video monitor. See “Preview on an external video monitor” on page 126.
• Hide layer controls, such as masks, 3D reference axes, and layer handles. See “Show or hide layer controls in the Composition panel” on page 127.
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• Lower the composition’s magnification. When After Effects displays the Composition, Layer, and Footage panels at magnifications of 100% or greater, screen redraw speed decreases.
Improve performance when using effects Some effects, such as blurs and distortions, require large amounts of memory and processor resources. By being selective about when and how you apply these effects, you can greatly improve overall performance.
• Apply memory-intensive and processor-intensive effects later. Animate your layers and do other work that requires real-time previews before you apply memory-intensive or processor-intensive effects (such as glows and blurs), which may make previews slower than real time.
• Temporarily turn off effects to increase the speed of previews. See “Delete or disable effects and animation presets” on page 352.
• Limit the number of particles generated by the Particle Playground effect.
• Choose Stiff Elasticity for the Mesh Warp, Reshape, and Smear effects in the Distort effects category.
• Turn off linear blending. See “Linearize working space and enable linear blending” on page 244.
Plug-ins and scripts About plug-ins Plug-ins are small software modules—with file-name extensions such as.aex and.8bi—that add functionality to an application. After Effects effects are implemented as plug-ins, as are some features for working with certain file formats. The Photoshop Camera Raw plug-in, for example, provides After Effects with its ability to work with camera raw files.
When After Effects starts, it loads plug-ins from the Plug-ins folder, which is in the Adobe After Effects CS3\Support Files (Windows) or Adobe After Effects CS3 (Mac OS) folder by default. Several plug-ins come with After Effects and are automatically installed in this folder. You can obtain other plug-ins for After Effects and other Adobe products from Adobe or other vendors. For specific instructions for installing a plug-in, refer to its documentation.
Note: (Mac OS) Some third-party plug-in installers incorrectly install their plug-ins into the Mac OS X Package for After Effects. To reveal these plug-ins, Control-click the After Effects application icon in the Finder and choose Show Package Contents. You can then move the plug-ins into the After Effects Plug-ins folder.
After Effects comes with several third-party plug-ins, including Foundry Keylight, Synthetic Aperture Color Finesse, and the Cycore FX plug-ins. Some plug-in installers—including those for Keylight and Color Finesse—install documentation for the plug-ins in their subfolders in the Plug-ins folder. Documentation for Cycore FX plug-ins is available on the Cycore website: www.adobe.com/go/learn_ae_cycorefxdocumentation.
When exchanging After Effects projects between computer systems, make sure that the plug-ins that the project depends on are installed on both systems.
For information on plug-ins available for After Effects, visit the Adobe website at www.adobe.com/go/learn_ae_plugins. Other resources for purchasing and learning to use plug-ins for After Effects include the Toolfarm website (www.adobe.com/go/learn_ae_toolfarmhome) and Lutz Albrecht’s Mylenium website (www.adobe.com/go/learn_ae_lutzplugins).
For information on developing plug-ins for After Effects, visit the Adobe website at www.adobe.com/go/learn_ae_devcenter.
AFTER EFFECTS CS3 45 User Guide Plug-ins compiled for the Macintosh PowerPC processor architecture do not run natively on Macintosh computers that use Intel processors. To use plug-ins compiled for the PowerPC processor architecture, you can run After Effects CS3 under Rosetta. Rosetta is a software translator for Mac OS X that runs applications for PowerPC processors on Intel processors. As with any application running in an emulation environment, performance is not as good as it would be in the native environment.
See also“Introduction to Camera Raw” on page 86“About effects” on page 348
Work with scripts A script is a series of commands that tells an application to perform a series of operations. You can use scripts in most Adobe applications to automate repetitive tasks, perform complex calculations, and even access some functionality not directly exposed through the graphical user interface. For example, you can direct After Effects to reorder the layers in a composition, find and replace source text in text layers, or send an e-mail message when rendering is complete.
When After Effects starts, it searches the Scripts folder for scripts to load. Loaded scripts are available from the File Scripts menu. If you edit a script while After Effects is running, you must save your changes for the changes to be applied. If you place a script in the Scripts folder while After Effects is running, you must restart After Effects for the script to appear in the Scripts menu, though you can immediately run the new script using the Run Script File command.
After Effects provides several prewritten scripts to assist you in performing common tasks, and to provide a basis for you to modify and create your own scripts.
Run the sample script DemoPalette.jsx to get an idea of what sorts of things you can do with scripts. For example, the Reverse Layer Order script makes reversing the stacking order of layers in the Timeline panel much easier than reordering the layers manually.