Join Todd Kopriva for an in-depth discussion in this video System requirements for GPU acceleration (OpenGL, CUDA), part of After Effects CS6 New Features Overview.
Previous versions of After Effects didn't use the GPU, or the Graphics Processing Unit, very much, and the features that did use the GPU were considered unreliable, and of low-quality by many. In After Effects CS6, the GPU is used for much more. And the GPU related features should be much more reliable, and have much greater quality. In this video, we'll take a quick overview of the hardware and software requirements. For various features that rely on the GPU. One of the processes that can take a surprisingly long time is transferring pixels to the screen. This transferring of pixels which happens in blocks is sometimes referred to as block transfers or Blitting.
After Effects CS6 makes efficient use of the GPU to do this block transfer of pixels to the screen. It's functionality, referred to as Open GL swap buffer, relies simply on Open GL version 1.5 or higher. With Shader Model 3.0 or higher. Most GPUs from the last several years meet these requirements. If you want to see if your card meets these requirements go to Edit, Preferences, Previews and click GPU information.
And here, you can see what the Open GL capabilities are of your card. Here I have version 3.0 Open GL, which definitely meets the 1.5 requirement. And I have Shader Model 4.0, which definitely meets the 3.0 requirement. I'll click Cancel. Notice that the Open GL Renderer from previous versions of After Effects is gone. In previous versions of After Effects, the Open GL Renderer, which could be used for previews or final export, was a low-quality but high-speed preview renderer.
Many people misunderstood, and thought that the Open GL Renderer should be used for full quality final output. And we're disappointed at the results. Keep in mind, that though there are some features in After Effects CS6 that make use of Open GL. These are not the same as the old Open GL Renderer. There is however, a new preview render that does make use of Open GL. I'll click Cancel to get out of the Preferences Dialog Box, and here, under Fast Previews, a preview mode known as Fast Draft makes use of Open GL.
Notice when I click that, I got a different appearance here on the composition panel for my 3-D scene. That's because the Fast Draft Preview Renderer is just that, it's a renderer for previews. It's very fast, so manipulating objects or scrubbing is considerably faster than using the final quality Ray-traced 3-D Renderer. I can manipulate images and they update in real time or very near it. I'll press control z to undo that. But just be aware that because the Fast Draft Renderer is a preview renderer, it will not give the same appearance.
To use the Fast Draft Renderer, your computer needs to have Open GL2.0 or higher, with Shader Model 4.0 or higher on Windows. And 256 megabits or greater of texture memory. These same requirements also apply to a couple of other features. Let's apply the cartoon effect by going to the Effects and Presets panel and type in cartoon. Drag that onto this layer, just so that we can see this option here in advanced performance.
Use Open GL when available. If your card does not meet the requirements of Open GL2.0 or higher and Shader Model 4.0 or higher this option will be unavailable. Another feature that has the same hardware requirements is hardware acceleration of the viewer panels. Go to Edit, Preferences, Display, it's this option here. Hardware Accelerate, Composition, Layer, and Footage panels.
I'll go ahead and turn this on. This option uses the GPU to accelerate the drawing of the contents of these panels to the screen. Click Ok. And finally, the set of the features with the highest requirements are those for the Ray-traced 3-D Renderer. The Ray-traced 3-D Renderer requires an NVIDIA graphics card with CUDA. Only a specific set of NVDIA cards will provide the Ray-traced 3-D features. See the After Effects system requirements for an exact list.
Again, let's go to Edit, Preferences, Previews. And click GPU information. And here we can see that the device that I'm using is using Cuda Driver, version 4.1. You must be using 4.0.50 or higher. And it's telling me how much video ram I have on this card. The Ray-traced 3-D Renderer requires at least 512 megabytes of video ram. Be sure to install the latest driver for your card which you can get from the NVDIA website.
Users on Mac OS may need to install the CUDA driver separately. If you don't have a GPU that meets these requirements, the Ray-traced 3-D Renderer will run on the CPU instead, which can be quite a bit slower. If you'd like to force the Ray-traced 3-D Renderer to run on the CPU, you can select CPU here from Ray-tracing. Note, that if you have more than one CUDA device installed in your system, they will both appear here. But the current usable memory and maximum usable memory will only reflect the memory on one of the cards. But rendering can occur on both.
So that's a quick overview of the GPU requirements for various features in After Effects CS6, Open GL1.5 or greater, for the basic block transferring features. Open GL2.0 or higher, for the more advanced Open GL features, including fast draft mode, and the hardware acceleration of panels, and the cartoon effect. And CUDA version 4.0, and a specific NVIDIA card for the Ray-traced 3-D rendering on the GPU.
- 3D animation
- User interface changes and removed features