Mercury Playback Engine; Why Does It Still Exist?

Explorer ,
Dec 21, 2018 Dec 21, 2018

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Adobe is constantly adding new features to their suite of CC applications.

Why do we still have the same buggy, under-performing, non-adaptive rendering engine in Adobe Media Encoder / Premiere Pro?

I have 3d rendering engines that use GPUs for rendering that literally blaze through renders that are magnitudes of orders of complexity beyond what I generally throw at Adobe Media Encoder.

And yet, on a system with dual Xeon processors, dual Quadro M6000 GPUS, and 128gb of RAM, I am still stuck on Mercury Playback Engine Software Only and waiting nearly an hour to render a 30 second MP4.

Someone needs to tell my twin Quadro M6000s that they just aren't GPUs; they aren't up to par or worthy to be noticed by the Mercury Playback Engine.

Or maybe... just maybe... someone needs to re-write that antique from the ground up.

Yes... I think that might be the actual solution. Perhaps grit your teeth, admit that this render engine is unwieldy, broken, and outdated and simply RE-WRITE IT; as opposed to constantly making excuses to your customers, or even worse; telling them that the reason it isn't working is THEIR FAULT, as so many "solutions" seem to do.

I mean, honestly... isn't that what we are paying for?

Don't get me wrong; I am excited by every innovation Adobe brings out in CC, especially in After Effects and Premiere Pro. Content-Aware fill in After Effects? Amazing!

But if the render pipeline is broken, it really doesn't matter how easy it is for me to create my video; I am losing all the time I saved editing when I go to render.

It's time to retire Mercury, folks. It's time build a new, more robust rendering engine that is adaptive to a variety of GPUs and involves more tools for your creators to eke out every erg of rendering power from whatever configuration they are trying to use.

Please and Thank you.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Dec 21, 2018 Dec 21, 2018

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Dec 28, 2018 Dec 28, 2018

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Why do I get the feeling that someone just dropped by the Adobe forums to brag about having spent $6,000 on their workstation GPUs?

Being ahead of the curve isn't a broken pipeline.  It's just buying the hardware before software companies have time to implement support for it.

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Explorer ,
Dec 28, 2018 Dec 28, 2018

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It's not bragging... It is sheer frustration.

It feels as though in this specific area, there is practically nothing that can be done to improve the rendering pipeline on the hardware side; and it is enormously frustrating to spend that much on hardware and realize no particular gains from it in this final step of the development process.

The GPUs I am using were produced three years ago; Adobe Creative Cloud released two years before that; 3d rendering engines have been taking advantage of the parallel GPU rendering pipeline for at least four years now. I don't think it's outrageous to expect that a product line that has seen five major updates since release while simultaneously releasing four additional applications could dedicate resources to this crucial area in the development pipeline.

Just taking a minute or so to peruse the Premiere Pro forums illustrates that the current Mercury Engine is in dire need of redesign.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Dec 28, 2018 Dec 28, 2018

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Video, for whatever reason, is CPU intensive.  Of course, Adobe has been expanding GPU enabled Effects on both the Premiere Pro and AE side.

Sounds like you've built the perfect box for Cinema 4D, Maya, Softimage, 3D Studio Max, etc.

Other than expanding support for display cards, how would you change the Mercury Playback Engine?

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Explorer ,
Dec 28, 2018 Dec 28, 2018

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Well, that's rather the point; the Mercury Engine is CPU-intensive because when it was developed, the CPU was still faster and more powerful than the GPUs commonly used at the time.


That's no longer the case; while an individual GPU core is slower than an individual CPU core, today's video cards have thousands more cores. They are generally parallel processors focused on a single task, while CPUs are designed to handle multiple task

While GPU calculations are less exact, they can run through hundreds of iterations far faster than a CPU and make corrections on each iteration, still rendering faster than a CPU.

And, you can buy multiple cards for the price of a single high-end processor.

3d rendering engines like VRay, Redshift, Octane Render, and even Blender Cycles takes advantage of the power of GPU rendering.

AME partly uses GPU acceleration (seems like more of a hybrid GPU - CPU solution) but recognizes so few cards and is so finicky with drivers that it feels like a dice roll. One day you have hardware acceleration, the next day none.

Certainly, expanding the range of supported cards would be a welcome step; but designing dedicated GPU rendering into AME would also improve it's utility and speed across the board.

I just feel that given how much work they've put into all of the Adobe CC apps, AME is still largely unchanged from the CS6 version.

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