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There's one another cache-related feature in After Effects CS6 I want to show you. If you want to play along, you can have opened any project file that has some compositions you haven't RAM Previewed yet. I am going to choose one of these per-character 3D comps because I know they take a little while to render. Previously, you might hit 0 on the numeric keypad to queue up a RAM preview and you'd sit here and wait till it's done. Well, there's a new feature in After Effects CS6 called Composition > Cache Work Area in Background. What that means is is I can go ahead and initiate this preview--Command+Return or Ctrl+Return is the shortcut.
After Effects will start calculating the RAM Preview. You notice it's using a background renderer to do so. It's doing everything it can not to steal the resources from you working. And then I'll go back to another of my projects and make some changes. Maybe I decide to go ahead and play with light in this scene, to change how my shadows fall. Let's put that up there, take my text, move it a little bit higher, get that shadow falling the way that I like. Now, I notice that After Effects is still working on that other composition in the background, and now it's done.
When I return to that composition, you'll see that its frames have been saved to the disk cache. Remember, blue line is disk cache; green line is RAM Cache. The reason After Effects did that is again it's trying not to take any resources from you working in the foreground, like when I was playing around inside this composition, and that includes not taking any of your RAM to RAM Previews, etc. But since it has been saved to disk now, I just pressed 0 on numeric keypad and now I get a very quick loading from the disk cache into RAM cache and near- immediate playback in my preview.
Again, that shortcut is Command on Mac, Ctrl on windows and the Return key to cache in the background, and then you may continue working on other projects as you see fit. Pretty nice, huh?
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