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Forums Adobe After Effects Hi res images used in complex 3D poly model slowing computer down. Any way to replace with proxies?

  • Hi res images used in complex 3D poly model slowing computer down. Any way to replace with proxies?

  • alex ezorsky

    July 2, 2017 at 4:34 am

    I’ve been building a “3D” bed out of masked and 3D oriented images of plants for a surreal music video. The images are apx 5k and at first building it was fairly easy, lots of precomposing, masking, and 3D orienting flat planes. But as I added more and more of these images things slowed down more and more until now with only 17 layers (maybe 24 including those in nests) my imac with 20GB of RAM and a 3.4Ghz CPU (a bit old but generally pretty strong) is now taking about 3 minutes for a still frame in full res.

    This has gotten unusably slow and I’ve put a ton of work into designing this 3D object of planes. Is there any way I can replace these files with lower res versions without everything falling apart? I imagine the basic replace method would have all anchor points, masks, mesh warps and relative distances completely off and I’d have to start over.

    If that turns out to be my only option, is there any rule of thumb for how many image files of what size a computer of my specs should be able to handle? I just don’t want to keep accidentally slipping into this situation where all seems fine until it comes to a gradual halt.


  • Mark Whitney

    July 2, 2017 at 5:25 pm

    Unless you have a specific file that needs layers, alphas, etc., I’d think simply converting to PNG format would get you a long way with memory conservation and w/o a spec of image quality loss. I’ve never used the APX format, but the little research I did says it can convert to png. Might be a slow process so set up a batch process if you can. I don’t believe Photoshop supports APX though. Keep the same file name & size of course; you’re just changing format.

    I ran a test on a project I’m currently working on where one of the PSD’s is just under 500 Megs. Converting to png knocked it down to under 1/10th. Checking them in AE on my HD monitor in an A B comparison showed no difference at all.

    In your project window, you’ll have to do them one at a time but simply do a Replace Footage … and select the appropriate png file for the same named apx. All of you comps will update accordingly.

    Don’t know if there’s any rule of thumb on amount of files & sizes. Perhaps someone else will chime in along those lines.

  • alex ezorsky

    July 4, 2017 at 1:50 am

    Hey thanks for your suggestion Mark. I tried converting from PSD to PNG and it didn’t help. BUT!!!!…..

    With some tests I found out the very interesting fact that it’s not the resolution of the source media that’s necessarily the problem, its the size of the composition it’s in.

    THE TEST: I made a fairly complex 3D animation of 28 duplicates of a 5K image around the Y axis and pre-comped them, collapsed transformations and animated it rotating. It took about 1 second per frame to render.

    Then just as a test I pre-comped the base .psd layer (with leave attributes) and replaced all the base layers with this pre-comp. No surprise, it didn’t change the render time.

    BUT! when I reduced the size of this base layer pre-comp down to just the area of the image with alpha (mind you I am cutting out invisible pixels but only via comp size, NOT replacing the image file) then went back to the top comp, cleared the media and disk cache, and rendered again, render times were cut in half!


    LESSON LEARNED: Use base layer comps to crop your footage/images in order to reduce render times!

    It would be great to hear if others get the same results.

  • Mark Whitney

    July 4, 2017 at 2:42 am

    Definitely good to know Alex.

    Seems like one learns (or remembers) something new about AE every day.

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