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Chris and Trish Meyer have been using After Effects since version 1.0 and have written ten books about the program, and they are always among the first to dive into each new version and discover what it offers to their fellow motion graphics artists. Chris takes you under the hood and explains how each new feature works in After Effects CS5. This course covers both the technical and creative implications of this latest release, including tutorials on the new Roto Brush tool and mocha version 2, blending modes, text options, and new and improved user interface elements in Adobe After Effects CS5. Numerous examples show the most efficient ways to use the new features and avoid potential pitfalls when applying techniques. Chris ends with a discussion of which users will get them most out of upgrading to After Effects CS5.
- Reviewing After Effects' 64-bit system requirements
- Mastering the new Roto Brush tool plus Refine Matte
- Warping with FreeForm
- Motion tracking with mocha version 2
- Matting with mocha shape, including adding motion blur
- Extruding in 3D with Repoussé
- Importing RED footage
- Using Color Finesse and updated blending modes
Skill Level Intermediate
So why go through all this trouble to go 64-bit native? Well, 64-bit programs do have better performance. After Effects is faster in several areas. A little later on when I show you RAM previewing you'll see even reading material off a disc is faster. However, the most important reason is to get rid of the "unable to allocate image buffer" errors. Have you ever had that when you're working on a complex project or you're working at a deep render or you have a really big source, you're trying to get work done, you're trying to get render done and you're just hit with this auto memory error and you don't know how to solve it? Well, going 64-bit will get rid of those errors and that was the main motivation to going there.
That alone is going to be worth a lot of people work on large media sizes. But in addition to that you can stuff more into a project. You can preview more, you can cache more, you can keep more constant memory while you work. Let's just get an example of what that means. Here I am in After Effects CS4 and even though this computer has 16 gig of memory inside of it, After Effects is only using 3 gigs of it and that's typical of a 32-bit application.
They'll only use about 2 to 4 gig per application. My project is set to 16 bit per channel color depth. What I have here is a high-def comp, 1920, 1080, 23,976 frame rate, I am set at full resolution, and let's just go ahead queue up a RAM Preview. Hit zero on the numeric keypad and it's chewing right along. Oay, nearly 4 seconds to handle. The actor is finally starting to crouch and move and I'm already out of RAM.
I only got 4 seconds and 9 frames into my RAM Preview. I didn't even get to the action where the explosion starts and the fun stuff starts to happen. This requires things like going down say Half Resolution and other tricks to be able to view more preview inside CS4. Well, let's go look at the same footage inside After Effects CS5. Now I'm in After Effects CS5, same computer. About This Mac, 16 gig, but now when I look at After Effects' Memory Preferences, I see out of that 16 I've reserved 3 for other applications including the system and 13, all of the left -over RAM, is available for After Effects.
Now After Effects is going to use some of that to load up its tools, its modules, its effects, etcetera. The significant percentage of that is going to be available for RAM previews. Click OK. I have the same comp as I did before, 1920 by 1080, 23,976 frame rate. As before I'm at 16-bit per channel color depth. Let's RAM Preview. I'll press zero on the numeric keypad. You might notice that the frames are loading faster than they were before. 64-bit does bring a performance improvement.
I'm already past the 4 second mark where I was in CS4. There is the explosion and the RAM Preview just keeps loading. Let's see how much we can fit in here. And I know this gets into really geeky territory when you start getting excited about green bars going across your screen, but I'm getting excited here. Because I'm past 14 seconds, 15. Keeps loading it off the disc. This is cool because I'm already past all the action in this section.
So I already have basically the whole scene loaded and there, I've got the entire 30 second clip, high-def 1920x1080, 16-bit per channel, loaded into RAM. And on a computer running 16 gig, which is not an unreasonable amount of RAM for desktop computer these days. So this is but one scenario. This chart shows just a few other ideas of amount of RAM installed, frame size, frame rate, bit depth and what sort of RAM Preview durations you can expect if you're running just After Effects and you're not using up the RAM with a bunch of other applications.
Now as you can see, basically the more RAM you have in your computer and the larger the frame size you're working with, the bigger the advantage of working in After Effects CS5 versus the 32-bit native CS4. So in short, when you upgrade to After Effects CS5, not only do you need a 64-bit operating system, you want as much of RAM as you can load in there. You'll avoid unable to allocate image buffer messages, you'll be able to preview more including more compositions, things for seeing the cache longer, and you'll also be able to allocate more memory to multiprocessors when you're doing multiprocessor rendering.
We will talk about that next.