Mailing List ? Message #52205
From: Roland Kahlenberg (RoRK) <>
Subject: Re: [AE] guessing game: Sidebar: Ae Ray Tracing
Date: Fri, 20 Dec 2013 22:33:29 -0700 (MST)
To: After Effects Mail List <>
Hi Jim

You have FIVE sets of preview options/settings when Ray-tracing in AE -
A) Ray-tracing (RT) options (Ray-tracing Renderer Options Window)
B) Fast Previews Options (Timeline)
C) Draft 3D (Timeline)
D) Render Previews with/without user-selected MP settings
E) Rendering in PPro via Dynamic Linking (DL)

Previews -
A) 1-5 for quality and Box for anti-aliasing should be sufficient for you to ascertain aesthetics. A good tip is that you can switch between RT and Classic Renderers at any time without AE losing your RT (extrusion related settings) when you go from RT to Classic and then back to RT - all your RT settings will be retained.

B) Don't bother with Adaptive Resolution. Use either Fast Draft or Draft when animating. Draft is of course better Q and allows for Ray-tracing reflections - which Fast Draft doesn't. So, choose Draft if it accords you a speedy UI. Only switch on Final Quality as and when required and where feasible, use Region of Interest when in Final QUality preview mode.

C) Switch on Draft 3D to preview without Lights/Shadows. You can still have reflections (ie any Fast Previews option other than Fast Draft) when Draft 3D is switched on.

D) If you have an OptiX-capable card then rendering with be handled by the GPU, so not much to do here with the settings. HOWEVER, I always switch on Render Multiple Frames Simultaneously for RAM Previews. The issue with this setting is its slow-ness in getting the procs up and running. However, when RT is on, there is no such issue. Hence, any effect that you have in the comp, that takes advantage of RMFS, will be overcome this known bottleneck

E) Amazingly, I've found PPro renders of RT comps (via DL) to be much faster than AE. It's perhaps due to the slight quality degradation but it can be up to 10 times faster! Not only are RT previews faster but you have the added advantage of leveraging on PPro's cache system which allows you to splice, split, slip etc without having to re-render the clip/sequence. For a final sequence that uses multiple RT precomps, the productivity gains is insane. Another + is that PPro renders RT comps as though Fast Previews was set to Final Quality. So, you get speed + quality (but see Final Render in PPro caveat below).

This multi-cam seequence -> - Ray-tracing Multicam 01 FINAL_01.mp4 was created in four separate comps and then edited in PPro. In PPro, I could time-stretch, slip and slide, edit etc until I was happy with the edit in PPro and the animation in AE. Once, confirmed in PPro, I would then jump into AE and manually conform the KFs to suit the speed ramp changes in PPro. Then it's back into PPro for a final preview render. I then copy all the comps/clips in PPro and paste them into a new comp in AE. Then it's a matter of replacing the pasted clips with their respective AE pre-comps.

Final Renders -
Set the Ray-tracing options to a suitable value. 7-15 for Ray-tracing Quality and Cubic for anti-aliasing are what I normally use. You should expect final renders to be long but certainly acceptable for me. This is where a CUDA/OptiX card comes in handy. You can expect up to 40 times faster renders with an OptiX-capable GPU over CPU renders.

DO NOT render RT comps from PPro. From the few CODEC tests that I've done, PPro's renders are not as pristine as AE's for identical render settings.

I'm certain your mileage will differ but working with RT in AE can be quite a productive endeavor.

- Roland Kahlenberg
Intensive mocha & AE Training in Singapore and Other Dangerous Locations
Imagineer Systems (mocha) Certified Instructor & Adobe After Effects ACE/ACI CS6

----- Original Message -----
From: "Jim Curtis" <>
To: "After Effects Mail List" <>
Sent: Saturday, December 21, 2013 11:29:46 AM
Subject: Re: [AE] guessing game: Sidebar: Ae Ray Tracing

On Dec 20, 2013, at 7:31 PM, Roland Kahlenberg (RoRK) <> wrote:

> I actually find AE's Ray-tracing to be awesome! It's usually the case that folks who dislike it have issues related to knowing how to work with the various preview options. It also works well with Dynamic Linking with Pr which opens up a lot of creative options.

I'm ready to be enlightened.  Please tell us more.  What's the trick to the preview options, then?  

The slowness is my main complaint.  

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