I have read a lot of discussions lately about Media Encoder slowing the PC down. I have the similar issue. As I could see, people have trouble answering the topic because of lack of information. I have gathered all evidences I could. Hope this will help and will be glad to hear an answer from you.
First of all, my specs.
AME CC 2017 update from April 2017
After Effects CC 2017 update from April 2017
Motherboard: MSI Z170-A PRO (MS-7971)
CPU: Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-6700K CPU @ 4.00GHz
Video: Gigabyte G1 NVidia GeForce GTX 1080 8GB
RAM: Team Group 16GB (8x2) 2400 GHZ
1 HDD split in 3 disks and 1 SSD where Windows and Adobe installed
Project used: https://bit.ly/2n4wtIy (not mine), free, found on YouTube.
Project Name (from folder): Unknown geometry.
Now the issue.
As I could see, AME, when started, starts to use "Handles" process.
As the project is running, "Handles" process is starting to increase in size (mine in standby is around 40k, in picture you can see already over 156k).
As this number increases, the PC starts to slow down. and at one point (in my case 2+ million) PC starts to lag like windows 95 when lunching Overwatch.
In this situation I used 2 projects (same original project, but with 2 different modification and file name saves) and as you can see, after one project (approximate 1 hour) the handles still where increasing but did not reset by logic.
As I found out, this "Handles" number was working because of a background process of After Effects as in picture below (this is not the Application but a background process!!!), which is bound to the AME.
As a workaround of this, I kill the background process. This is not harming the Encoding, the AME starts another Adobe After Effects process and starts over from the beginning. As you can see, my "handles" number decreases to the lowest point and starts again. As you can see, the second projects still runs.
And the last picture is the RAM allocated to the AME.
Anyway, as I saw, that if the process is killed after 2 million "Handles" (in my case), the project Fails with the message "Stopped by user".
I am relatively new to the After effects hard rendering and I cannot confirm this issue on earliest Version (had CC 2015 before).
I can confirm no issue on Premiere Pro tho (up to 20 projects left to render at night in queue almost for 1 year).
These are my finding and you have the access to the folder and all data I could gather.
I would really appreciate an answer as it is really disturbing killing the background process every 2 hours.
As the end point, and because we are professionals here, I would really appreciate skipping the parts involving: clear cache from after effects, save the project to one disk but export to another, export to SSD, reinstall the application and other things as they were already done several times.
Thanks to all and hope I could help.
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How render heavy is the Comp that's being sent to Media Encoder? For example, is it a 1920x1080 Comp with just a few layers that have keyframes for Transform properties only or is it a 3840x2160 Comp with Roto Brush & Refine Edge applied, or a complex Particle Playground applied, or some heavy color correction applied, or with a 3rd party plug-in like Neat Video applied, or are lots of 3D layers enabled with ray-tracing? You know, anything that slows render times down?
Thanks for reply,
If you look at the begging of the article, you can see the link for download the project. It is free and you can use it. In the Archive there is a project called "unknown geometry", that's the one I am using.
It is basically a visualizer, you can look into it and see specifically what it does. I also cut almost a half of the effects there (middle line, timestamps, particles light).
My project includes a picture, a music file in mp3 and this visualizer, nothing more.
I am exporting in mp4.
Export is made in 1920x1080 with h.264 codec at 60FPS.
Bitrate (Target 12, Max 15). VBR 1 pass.
- maybe I am exporting in "not the best" format for output (mp4). Maybe you can advise me how to export properly the project from AE and then reincode it in AME tp mp4.
- maybe the picture if too big (i am using up to 8k photos for the background in jpeg)
- maybe I should not use the mp3 format
- maybe the project itself is not very optimized and it needs to be cut in some parts.
And of course I am concerned about Media Encoder using the After Effects background app increasing the CPU load as shown in the pictures above. Or maybe this is the way it should be.
Looks normal to me, rendering is a very heavy process. Although I don't know why you're rendering at 60 fps, drop that down to 25 or whatever the standard is for your country (Europe - 24/25, America - 23.97/29.97) 60 fps is for high detailed cinema, unless you're working on Avatar 2 there is no reason for you to go as high as 48 or 60.
When exporting videos the best default is a YouTube 1080p H.264, unless you want it in a different format.
You made my day.
Rendering is at 60 fps because it looks smoother (I mean the lines in the visualizer).
What to say, I am an unforgivable perfectionist.
I will try exporting in 29.97 FPS as an option.
My questions was less about my knowing what you're asking After Effects and Media Encoder to do, but more about if you know what you're asking it to do. Part of building that awareness is benchmarking your system based on how you use it.
High resolution source footage, like 8K images, should take longer than 4K or 2K images for AE or Media Encoder to process.
Part of the reason H264 takes so long to encode is that the file size is really small with very good picture quality and it compresses between the frames as well as within the frame.
While export format will affect system performance, one usually picks the export format based on what's required for delivery. If you're publishing to social media, H264 is the way to go right now. If you were generating an edited master for broadcast TV, you'd export a file at broadcast settings (probably an MOV, MXF or MPEG). If you were generating a file for DVD-Video authoring, you'd export a NTSC MPEG2 stream or PAL MPEG2 stream. If you were generating Windows Media files, you'd export to WMV. If you were a video DJ, you might encode to the HAP codec. I'm pretty sure you're getting the idea.
There are some good articles on optimizing your AE system. Have you had a chance to read any of them?
Thank you a lot,
Pretty much understand and still reading to fully understand AE.
I have done the same with PP until learned it fully.
Also, I would like an advice about file locations.
I have Main SSD (disc C:) where Adobe suite is installed.
One Internal SSD (disc D:) where I keep the main project and also where the exporting/rendering is done.
HDD split in 2 (F: and W:) where my music files and pictures and all other files are stored which are imported into the project.
It is the best to have this order or I have to change the files, exporting location, etc for the best result?
Your setup sounds pretty good.
Maybe double-check that the AE Disk Cache is set to the C drive (Preferences > Media & Disk Cache). You want a fast hard drive or SSD that's separate from your footage. With your setup, C should be good.
If I were to shuffle anything around, I'd put still images on the faster SSD as well, especially if you're using Image Sequences.
You might be able to gain a little more performance by expanding Current Render in the AE Render Queue (unfortunately, Media Encoder doesn't have this). If you notice a particular stage of the render process slowing things down, you can look into what you might do to speed that up. Also, check what percentage of RAM is being used (this shows across the bottom of the Render Queue panel. If that's close to 100% based on how you're using AE, consider more RAM.