How to Work Faster in After Effects

June 10, 2009

Tutorial Focus:  ,

  • it wasn´t very quick, but the Tips where great 😉

  • Hey Nick, I just recently discovered your site and I’m really enjoying it. I like how you go into multiple design disciplines and programs to make a sort of all in one place to learn things and tips. I think this is very important since we as designers, photographers, motion designers, artists of today are finding ourselves having to use more and more programs to get the final polished result for a project and to keep up with the industry.

    I personally would like to see a video tutorial that basically moves through different programs as you would in a real life project. I’m not saying start in photoshop/illustrater to mock things out, but maybe if you could go through the process of having something created in Cinema 4D, quick model, then animate it, export, bring it into After Effects for post process or whatever. I know every project is different, but I basically want to see the work flow people have to create a commercial spot or some broadcast graphics like Troika. Even the stuff is your reel is great. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not asking you to deconstruct all your projects and give away all your secrets, but tutorials these days tend to give you snippets of a project phase and really dont connect everything together as you would on a real project. I know you work so posting video tutorials and things to help the art/design community grow/mature probably takes a lot out of your day, but I really appreciate what you are doing. At the very least, please make more Cinema 4D tutorials that deal with animation, lighting, materials, camera moves, and generally the type of stuff you see on television like and I know these studios have a lot of people creating a final project, but anything you can do to help would be great. Thanks, you’re awesome.

  • Great tutorial, everyone forgets about this very basic/essential stuff. One on how to optimize Memory and Cache would be nice 🙂

    I used to have a lousy ATI video card, I just bought a NVIDIA GTS 250 video card but the Open GL option is disabled in After Effects… any idea on how to solve it? I’m using CS3 (and with my old card Open GL did show up).

  • good thing to point out is that in AE CS3 and under, the resolution does not automatically adapt to the preview window size. so if you’re working a 1080HD comp and the preview window is only quarter size, it’s still going to render full res unless you select quarter res from the drop-down. for some reason this goes over the heads of a lot of beginners.

  • Some more tips:

    1) If parts in you comp are heavy to render, precomp them. Precomps, once RAM previewed and not changed will stay in the RAM, changes to other layers will be the only extra things to compute.

    2) When rendering, hit the caps-lock button, you won’t see screen refreshes and therefore the render will be (mildly) faster.

  • Nice tips Nick, thanks!

    I especially liked that hidden gem you put in there- panning your voice when ‘panning around the scene’. Pretty f’n creative. I’m a motion designer, but have been a musician/audiophile for way longer!

  • Very helpful. Nick what graphics card do you recommend for a 2x 2.8 Quad Core for video, motion, animation etc? Thanks

  • hey david,

    i watched this video twice already and i don’t know what you’re referring too about the panning of the voice…

    where on the timeline is it?


  • Keep on the good work Nick!

    My 2 cents:
    Shift + 0 renders every other frame (use it a lot with form & particular!)

    In the time controls tab you can find more preview options.
    (skip every other frame, lower frame rate, …) Exploring is your best teacher!

    To Zavorio: Go to AE/Preferences/Previews and click Open GL info (shows you what functions are supported)

  • I definitely agree with the post Pixelbinge made here (a few posts up). While it’s nice to get tutorials with bits and pieces here and there it would really be something extraordinary if you’d make tutorals that were project-based.

    Even though the Internet is full of tutorials these day – it’s still very rare to see real world project scenarios.

  • Great tutorial! Thanks nick!

  • Dirk, I did check that. The thing is that with my old (supposedly inferior) video card I did have Open GL but with this NVIDIA GTS 250 (Which is brand new) I don’t have Open GL support 😛

    • I have the same problem, my Open GL options are disabled.

      I have a NVIDIA GeForce 7600 GS, which in theory is supported by AE.

  • Hey Nick, some great tricks of the trade here. However, you may want to mention that Open GL can also be touch and go. Put too much pressure on it, and After Effects is more likely to crash.

    Although they’ve improved open GL stability in CS4, it still isn’t flawless. And while most people who use After Effects save early and often, its still a neuscence to have to fire it back up if your comp is layer heavy.

  • You’re a bloody hero Nick…

    I check in here just about 7 days a week…keep up the kick ass work dude.

  • hi can you talk about how to import photoshop cs4 automate photo galleries into a web desing layout/website?

  • What about toggling the layer’s quality?
    There is a layer switch which refers to quality with 3 options; wire, draft & best. Although I can only seem to toggle between 2 settings (I assume this is draft and best). Either way, this seems to help.

  • Wicked helpful tips Nick. Just wondering if you had any tips on increasing the final render speed. I’ve been trying to get my hands on a copy of Grid Iron’s Nucleo Pro, but until then the best thing I’ve found to speed things up is under preferences, memory handling, and then multiprocessing. Thnx!

  • Great stuff, I would love to hear about proxies, such as when and how to use them. Perhaps also something about working with multiple animators on different computers working on the same project.

    Thanks for taking the time to do these tutorials!

  • Great Tips for the open GL! Thanks!

  • your tuts are really good, the best out there for me as i too use after effects and cinema 4D. maybe u can do one on mutl passes telling us the best way to do that.

    Overlord X

  • Hi Nick!, well, i just have a question, what parammeters you use to convert your video podcasts? i’ve seen in this post that the quality its not like the others videos, however, my question its about these others that have a very nice quality in flash player, did you just use the vimeo upload to convert it?.

    amazing work!

  • Thanks for the tip, you make my learning faster. Cheers

  • Nick,
    same tip for C4D?

  • Very nice and informative video, that stuff is kinda like what Render Istances is in Cinema.
    Thanks for sharing!

  • Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.