Adobe has updated the experimental multi-frame rendering system in After Effects, its compositing software.
The system, currently available to existing users via a separate beta build, enables After Effects to render frames in parallel on multi-core CPUs, speeding up processing.
New features include the option to use multi-frame rendering for composition previews as well as final-quality output, support for background rendering via Media Encoder, and automated render queue notifications.
Divide frames between CPU cores to speed up rendering
First released as a beta build in parallel with After Effects 18.0 earlier this year, multi-frame rendering enables users to take advantage of modern multi-core CPUs to render frames in parallel.
The performance increase depends on the number of CPU cores and amount of system RAM available.
On a four- or six-core processor, Adobe predicts a 1.2-1.4x increase in render speed, rising to up to 3x on CPUs with 16 or more cores in systems with over 48GB of RAM.
The system supports most, but not all, of After Effects’ native effects: at the time of writing, 205 out of 290 effects are available. You can find a breakdown table here.
Now supports composition previews and final-quality output via Media Encoder
In the original release, multi-frame rendering was limited to final-quality output, but the latest beta extends support to composition previews.
A new Speculative Preview option renders the current composition in the background whenever a user’s machine is idle, automatically generating a playable preview during down time.
Users can also now render final frames via Adobe Media Encoder, as well as After Effects’ render queue.
The render queue itself has been redesigned to highlight key information, and can also now automatically send notifications to a user’s Creative Cloud desktop or email account when render jobs are completed.
Pricing and system requirements
Multi-frame rendering is available to existing After Effects users via a separate beta build of the software. You can find instructions for installing beta builds in this video.
The current stable release, After Effects 18.4, is available for Windows 10 and macOS 10.14+ on a rental-only basis. In the online documentation, the release is also referred to as the March 2021 update.
Subscriptions to After Effects alone cost $31.49/month or $239.88/year, while All Apps subscriptions, which provide access to over 20 of Adobe’s creative tools, cost $79.49/month or $599.88/year.
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