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Activity Forums Adobe After Effects Multiprocessing Settings

  • Multiprocessing Settings

    Posted by Mark Walczak on November 17, 2009 at 6:03 pm

    Hi everyone,

    So, I am a gigantic fan of multiprocessing in AE, but I know a lot of people who simply enable it and then experience poor system performance and responsiveness. With the abundance of new settings in CS4, has anyone out there found a “magical” formula of RAM to CPU usage? Let’s say you were on a Mac Pro with 8GB of RAM – what would your settings be for high-performance rendering with enough system resources left over for productivity usage (web, etc)?

    Any and all help would be greatly appreciated!


    What makes you explode?

    Erik Lindahl replied 14 years, 6 months ago 5 Members · 5 Replies
  • 5 Replies
  • Mark Walczak

    November 17, 2009 at 6:14 pm

    I suppose, however, I do not anticipate all of my projects being RAM-intensive. Should I then just “ride” the multiprocessing values in order to optimize them per scene? For instance, if my AE comp only takes up 1GB of RAM, should I enable all cores?

    What makes you explode?

  • Kevin Camp

    November 17, 2009 at 6:19 pm

    it depends a lot on the projects and what else you want to run with ae rendering, but i guess a starter formula would be something like this:

    (total installed ram – minimum ram for other processes) / around 2 min or 4 max (3.5 max for osx) = number of cpus.

    in your example, maybe: 8gb – 1gb (maybe 2gb) / 2 gb = about 3 cpus.

    3.5gb per core would recommended for hd and 16 or 32bpc prpjects, but many sd projects can get by with less than 2gb, it just depends how complex (number of layers, effects and nested comps) the comps are.

    you also need to determine the amount of ram to run the other processes, 1gb seems about average, 2gb would be fairly safe (fyi, safari is a ram hog as far as browsers go), but if you wanted to run something like photoshop, you might need to either give more ram to other processes or decrease the amount of ram to that ps will take hold of (setting in ps preferences).

    Kevin Camp
    Senior Designer

  • Brian Charles

    November 17, 2009 at 7:09 pm

    I not sure that I have more to contribute than what’s already been said. I work on a dual quad core Mac with 16 GB of RAM and often turn MP off. For some projects its a real boon for other not so much.
    Any performance boost depends on the nature of the work and effects being applied. Some effects stop MP in its tracks (lens blur) others play well with it.

    I use Lloyd Alvarez’s great script Throttle to turn MP on and off when needed.

    I’ve also got Nucleo Pro which can really help with rendering by utilizing all cores.

    Still depending on the work you do YMMV.

  • Raymond Tuquero

    November 17, 2009 at 7:14 pm

    I enjoy the Multi-Processing … I noticed a huge difference from AE 7 to CS3 on our MacPro 8Core …

    I also work alot with XDCAM (Sony EX3) footage … and still runs smoothly.

    My settings on my system I am using 75% of 4gb on a 6gb Machine … (Installed)
    So far … no issues.

    I usually though only run AE and close Safari and Mail and the Office Programs. I also tap Caps Lock on so that FCP doesn’t try to generate a video preview as well and seems to speed up the renders for AE slightly.

    Now this works for me.

    -Raymond Tuquero-
    Houston Based Freelancer

  • Erik Lindahl

    November 18, 2009 at 11:41 am

    I’d say it’s hard or impossible to say “setting A or B is the best and most optimal” since this is very dependent on the scene and how well AE internally can spread it across multiple cores with one instance of AE. I guess if you had infinate RAM, more cores would always be better with this setting. But, realtiy is most of us are sitting with 8 or 16GB of RAM, hence we’re bound around 1-2 GB per core on an 8-core machine.

    I just did some tests to show the above. This is a relativly simple scene where we’ve replaced a filmed paper-card with graphics. The scene is very standard in this type of regard and uses amongst other things:

    – Pre Comps
    – EPS footage (using AE’s rasterizer)
    – QuickTime Animation Footage (SD PAL)
    – Uncompressed Audio (AIFF-file)
    – Text layers in AE
    – Filters in AE (Fast Blur, Directional Blur, Noise, Reel Smart Motion Blur, Corner Pin)
    – 8-bit project


    Mutliprocessing OFF
    Render time: 57 sec
    CPU usage: 350%

    Multiprocessing ON
    Use 8 cores, min 0.5GB / core, medium setting Longer vs Faster Rendering
    Render time: 31 sec
    CPU usage: 800%

    Multiprocessing ON
    Use 4 cores, min 0.5GB / core, Faster Rendering
    Render time: 31 sec
    CPU usage: 800%

    The above was done on a 8-core, 2.8 Ghz MacPro with 16GB of RAM with an externa 8-drive RAID 5, but it shows a rule I reckon one can follow:

    Render a scene with no multi-processing on. See how much CPU is used and figure out how many more instances will be needed to maximize your system.

    100% useage would need 8 instances
    200% useage would need 4 instances
    400% useage would need 2 instances

    The “mulitprocessing” setting is a bit vage since it’s not correct in saying “actual CPU’s that will be used”. What it is actually saying is “auditional instances of AE that will be used”. The degree one instance of AE can tax a system varies a lot as does the RAM requirements. In the end the wins of using multi-instance rendering will also vary a lot, in some cases you might be i/o or RAM limited. I would however say the above is the only way to “optimize” your settings and that will then be on a per project basis.

    If you want a general “max my machine” setting I’d go with something in lines with 4 cores and up the RAM a bit. I would also say this is an area where Adobe could improve AE a lot.

    Erik Lindahl
    Freecloud Post Production Services

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