Where are the AE render settings in Media Encoder?

Contributor ,
Jun 14, 2012 Jun 14, 2012

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I'd like to use Adobe Media Encoder for background rendering, but how do you set the render settings (like bit depth, motion blur, solo switches, guide layers, ect)?

Also, how do you select the output color profile from AME?

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correct answers 1 Correct Answer

Adobe Employee , Oct 31, 2013 Oct 31, 2013
June or July, what's the diff when it's almost November? (Thx for pointing out my typo. Edited my last post to the correct month for the benefit of future readers.)Netcommercial wrote: I was not sure what headless version spins in the BG meant?  In regards to #4. So by checking off my switches for Blur, Blend, etc and change the BPC to 16 in my comp then save it. that is what AME uses to render?  Also to disregard Rick's post on this one then?  Thanks for your input on this.When AME renders an A...

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jun 15, 2012 Jun 15, 2012

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If the presets are not going to be sufficient, or you want to edit them simply click on the preset to edit the settings. When you've got what you want you can save the preset so you only have to create it once. The layout is a little different but you'll find everything you need there as long as you pick the right preset format to start.

Screen Shot 2012-06-15 at 7.27.00 AM.png

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Contributor ,
Jun 15, 2012 Jun 15, 2012

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Where do you set these render settings in Media Encoder?
render-settings.gif

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New Here ,
Jun 15, 2012 Jun 15, 2012

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Its not on that screen. 

You do it in Premiere.  Choose Menu Edit/Preferences/Memory & MultiProcessing.

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Contributor ,
Jun 15, 2012 Jun 15, 2012

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Was your comment meant for a different thread? This one is about setting After Effects composition render settings in Adobe Media Encoder instead of the AE Render Queue, so you can take advantage of background rendering.

Adobe has frequently encouraged us to try AME instead of the Render Queue, but I'm confused about how AME is handling the AE Render Settings and I can't find the corresponding controls in AME.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jun 15, 2012 Jun 15, 2012

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You set the bit depth in the project settings in After Effects. Your project is brought into AME with the default Render Settings you see in the Render Cue. If you want to change them edit the Render Settings and set a new Movie Default:

(Edit>Templates>Render Settings)

Screen Shot 2012-06-15 at 9.38.27 AM.png

In AME you can only change the Source Range from Whole Composition, Work Area, or Custom.

The output settings are adjusted using the interface in AME. It's pretty straight forward.

Screen Shot 2012-06-15 at 9.32.46 AM.png

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Contributor ,
Jun 15, 2012 Jun 15, 2012

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Thanks for your time. This is apparently false, though:

test.png

This is a bright ball moving quickly with motion blur on. The project is 32bit. (There's a 3D camera a little out of focus to help make the highlights distinct) I created a new default setting at 8bt with motion blur off for all layers. I then sent the comp to the render queue and rendered it without touching any settings.


I then rendered the exact same comp in AME and got a completely different result. It looks like AME produces something more like what you might get if you set all of AE's render settings to "Current Settings". But who really knows?

I think this helps explain why more people don't use AME to do all of their After Effects rendering. I mean, why wouldn't you want to render in the background? But we just don't know (or we have mistaken ideas about) how AME is handling our comp.

What about anyone else reading this out there? Why do YOU use the render queue?

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Adobe Employee ,
Jun 15, 2012 Jun 15, 2012

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Hi Clint,

I can address your technical questions about the differences between rendering via AE and AME.

The short version of the answer is that no, AME can not access the Render Settings that are available in AE's Render Queue.

AME reads AE comps via Dynamic Link, the same technology used for Premiere Pro to read live AE comps. The sequence of events goes something like this:

  1. You tell AME which AE comp you want to render.
  2. A headless version of AE spins up in the background. (Regardless of whether or not you have the project open in an active version of AE.)
  3. The headless version of AE renders each frame and hands it to AME.
  4. AME encodes the frames to the settings you defined.

Dynamic Link can not currently access the AE Render Settings to affect intrinsic comp properties like bit depth, resolution, or frame rate. WYSIWYG.

So, in a nutshell, what AME can render will look exactly like the frames you see in the comp window in AE. Or, as you put it:

It looks like AME produces something more like what you might get if you set all of AE's render settings to "Current Settings". But who really knows?

As a matter of fact, I know.

Here's the good news: in AME CS6 we put some effort into allowing AME to access AE's Render Settings. If you add an AE comp to the AME queue, right-click on it and choose Source Settings. You'll get the cleverly named After Effects Composition Render Settings dialog, which has a whopping ONE control in it for setting the visibility of Guide Layers.

It's clear that we have some work to do here. This feature was added very late in CS6 development, and hooking up the rest of the Render Settings controls requires significant under-the-hood plumbing. Guide Layers were easy; the rest are hard. But it's a start.

Mind that it won't make sense for us to completely replicate the AE Render Settings dialog within AME. As Rick pointed out, some of those controls like Time Span are handled elsewhere in AME.

I am interested to hear which of the Render Settings controls are most important to you; which you change on a regular basis, and which you don't use at all. And of course, always feel free to file a feature request. They actually do get looked at (if you file one against AE, it is looked at by the person in the office next to me, so if you put a secret message in your request he can pass it to me).

-=TimK

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Contributor ,
Jun 15, 2012 Jun 15, 2012

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Tim,

It's responses like yours that are the reason I switched from Apple to Adobe and never looked back. Seriously. Thank you!

This was a great technical article. It really needs to be part of the Media Encoder help (I realize the revamp isn't out yet).

You asked which features are important; I think it's best to think of it in terms of peace of mind. That's partly what the Render Settings in AE offer right now. After Effects gives us a bevy of tools for speeding up our previewing process, like lowering resolution, bit depth, solos, motion blur, draft, effect toggles, ect. We could be using any number of those in our normal workflow to get the edit done, and those settings are strewn all over the application. It's way too easy to miss something when getting ready to render. That's why it's awesome that Render Settings pulls most of it together so you don't have to hunt everything down before AND after you render. Renders can be a big time investment, and we need to know everything is happening the way we expect it to happen. I know AME is WYSIWYG, but after you stare at a comp for hours, you stop seeing some things.

Actually, there's a few more things I'd like to have in the render panel, like raytracing quality and maybe shadow resolution. I don't use the Solo switch in Render Settings too often, but I use pretty much everything else quite a bit.

This is why it's so important for the Adobe Help and Adobe TV videos to explain everything you just wrote. AME requires a significantly different way of setting up your render, but it's good to know that if you do, you can count on the results. Most people don't know that. The main thing is giving designers peace of mind than when they start that 36 hour render, the right file will come out the other side.

Regarding the difficulty of the internal plumbing, would it be easier to make it so you send something from the Render Queue to AME? (Like the way Premiere's Export vs. Queue options work) I think that would be fine with most people, and would also be a nice way to ease people over to AME. Though I suppose it's inelegant to make it a two-step process for awhile.

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Contributor ,
Aug 08, 2012 Aug 08, 2012

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Thanks for the time you all take to respond on these threads. I'd like to ask a few more questions about AME/AE encoding. I could not find adequate clarity on this anywhere in the help documentation.

1) AE renders compositions at a bit depth of 8, 16, and 32 (float). AME can encode frames at 24, 32, 48, and 64 (for ProRes 4444, for example). How do these things relate to each other, and how/why should you use a particular AME bit depth setting for an AE comp?

2) What effects does "Use Maximum Render Quality" have on a comp? Does it only come into play if your are encoding to a different resolution to the source comp? Will it change the color processing?

3) Does AME always render at "Full" resolution or does it look at the resolution setting in the AE comp window? What if it's set to "auto"?

4) Does AME pay attention to the comp window Region of Interest?

5) Does AME care about the composition motion blur button or does it just look at the layer motion blur settings?

6) How does AME decide whether to interlace the render?

7) How does AME handle color management? Does it always output in the working space?

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Contributor ,
Aug 08, 2012 Aug 08, 2012

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Another question.

As a test, I just tried rendering something out of AE using AME, and it didn't have an alpha channel. It just rendered on black. I'm using ProRes 4444, and I just successfully rendered out a ProRes 4444 movie with straight alpha using the render queue.

How do you render with an alpha channel using Media Encoder? How do you select straight vs. premultiplied?

Thanks,

Clint

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Advocate ,
Aug 08, 2012 Aug 08, 2012

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I think the folks on the Adobe Media Encoder Forum might also be helpful.

http://forums.adobe.com/community/ame?view=overview

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Contributor ,
Aug 08, 2012 Aug 08, 2012

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Thanks. Should I go ahead and double post? Also, which forum is the right one for future AE+AME integration questions?

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Advocate ,
Aug 10, 2012 Aug 10, 2012

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The AE+AME integration questions are probably fine for the AE forum, but you just had a lot of questions specific to AME so I thought the post might fit in better over there.

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Adobe Employee ,
Aug 27, 2012 Aug 27, 2012

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Hi Clint,

Sorry for the long delay on replying, I've been busy. Doesn't look like you've cross-posted this to the AME forum, so I'll take a crack at the answers:

1) AE renders compositions at a bit depth of 8, 16, and 32 (float). AME can encode frames at 24, 32, 48, and 64 (for ProRes 4444, for example). How do these things relate to each other, and how/why should you use a particular AME bit depth setting for an AE comp?

These numbers all represent bit depth.  AE states bit depth in terms of bits per channel (bpc). AME usually states bit depth in total bits per pixel (bpp = bpc multiplied by the number of channels). It's one of those little inconsistencies that comes from the two apps growing up under different development teams.

RGB has three channels. RGB + Alpha has four channels. Doing the math:

  • RGB 8 bpc = 24 bpp
  • RGBA 8 bpc = 32 bpp
  • RGB 16 bpc = 48 bpp
  • RGBA 16 bpc = 64 bpp

So if you want 8-bit output with an alpha channel, you'd set the bit depth in AME to 32. If you don't need an alpha channel, set it to 24. Note that AME doesn't have equivalent options for 32 bpc formats. (If it did, the bpp equivalents would be 96 and 128 bpp!) There are very few such codecs anyway.

2) What effects does "Use Maximum Render Quality" have on a comp? Does it only come into play if your are encoding to a different resolution to the source comp? Will it change the color processing?

IIRC, the "Use Maximum Render Quality" switch doesn't affect AE comps. It only has an effect when the source is a Premiere Pro sequence. This article has some detail about how the switch affects Premiere Pro sequences:

http://blogs.adobe.com/premiereprotraining/2010/10/scaling-in-premiere-pro-cs5.html

3) Does AME always render at "Full" resolution or does it look at the resolution setting in the AE comp window? What if it's set to "auto"?

4) Does AME pay attention to the comp window Region of Interest?

5) Does AME care about the composition motion blur button or does it just look at the layer motion blur settings?

7) How does AME handle color management? Does it always output in the working space?

These questions all have the same basic answer. When the AE comp is loaded via Dynamic Link, it will be processed using the state of the comp at the time the AE project was saved. Any switches available in the Timeline panel like Motion Blur will be used in their current state, and there is no control over them from the AME side.

Keep in mind that comp viewer switches like Region Of Interest and preview resolution aren't a function of the comp itself, and thus aren't seen by AME. They are a function of the Comp viewer panel. (The difference being the same as between a piece of artwork and the glass of the frame. If the glass is warped then the art looks warped. AME only looks at the artwork without the glass.) Color Management, similarly, while controlled at the project level is interpreted via the Comp viewer panel or by AE's Render Queue; AE's color management is not in the chain of processing used by AME. But you can acheive the same color management transforms via AME by using the Color Profile Converter effect and setting the input and output profiles specifically.

So, what AME sees in an AE comp will be identical to what you see in the Comp panel in AE at full resolution when ROI and any other viewer switches (like the Transparency Grid or guides or color channel selection) are turned off, and without a project working color space being set. From this point the pixels could be affected by AME via scaling or if there is a color space transform inherent to the chosen output format (ex., RGB to YUV).

6) How does AME decide whether to interlace the render?

This is defined by the Field Order setting in the AME Output Settings. That seems pretty straightforward to me, so if I'm missing something about your question please clarify.

-=TimK

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Explorer ,
Oct 20, 2012 Oct 20, 2012

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Thanks for the replies.

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Participant ,
Dec 02, 2012 Dec 02, 2012

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Hi, Tim, I just wanted to post the same question as Clint, when I came across this thread.

First, thank you so much for your elaborate information. This is highly valuable for us Adobe users.

Now for your question about what render settings controls are of most value: My answer would be exactly the same like Clint's post No. 8. The most satisfying solution for a user would be something like the "Export/Queue" choice in Premiere. Another great solution would be the ability to call upon your AE Render Settings presets from within AME. In the end, like Clint said, predictability is of extreme importance when kicking of renders that take days to complete.

Please keep the development going.

Kind regards,

Andreas

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Participant ,
Oct 30, 2013 Oct 30, 2013

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Question in regards to this thread please.

Rick stated that Encoder uses AE's Render Que settings.... Does this mean if I were to have one of these two choices (see pic) in Ae's render que when saving the file, whatever is in the Render Que and it's settings is what the Encoder will use? What if there is two in there by mistake?

render set.GIF

I right cllicked on a setting in AME to create my own preset. Where I had the choice of Max Render and Frame Blend on, were my only options. I really was after what most are. Where my Motion blur is on, I want in my output and while working in 8bpc I want to render in 16bpc for delivery. One of my main outs would be Youtube HD 720

I did the (Edit>Templates>Render Settings) made a preset for 16bpc....But I am still a bit unclear on this. Thanks for any help

Regards

NC

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Adobe Employee ,
Oct 30, 2013 Oct 30, 2013

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Netcommercial wrote:

Does this mean if I were to have one of these two choices (see pic) in Ae's render que when saving the file, whatever is in the Render Que and it's settings is what the Encoder will use?

No. There is no direct relationship between the After Effects Render Queue and AME.

In a nutshell: you have your choice of rendering the comp in either AE's Render Queue or AME, or both, but what one application does is independent of the other.

Please read my June 15, 2012 post in this thread for more detail.

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Participant ,
Oct 30, 2013 Oct 30, 2013

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I know you meant June. I did read it. Thank you.

  1. You tell AME which AE comp you want to render.
  2. A headless version of AE spins up in the background. (Regardless of whether or not you have the project open in an active version of AE.)
  3. The headless version of AE renders each frame and hands it to AME.
  4. AME encodes the frames to the settings you defined.

I was not sure what headless version spins in the BG meant?  In regards to #4. So by checking off my switches for Blur, Blend, etc and change the BPC to 16 in my comp then save it. that is what AME uses to render?  Also to disregard Rick's post on this one then?  Thanks for your input on this.

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Adobe Employee ,
Oct 31, 2013 Oct 31, 2013

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June or July, what's the diff when it's almost November? (Thx for pointing out my typo. Edited my last post to the correct month for the benefit of future readers.)

Netcommercial wrote:

I was not sure what headless version spins in the BG meant?  In regards to #4. So by checking off my switches for Blur, Blend, etc and change the BPC to 16 in my comp then save it. that is what AME uses to render?  Also to disregard Rick's post on this one then?  Thanks for your input on this.

When AME renders an AE comp, it launches a version of AE that runs without showing any UI, aka "headless". This happens silently, "in the background", invisible to you unless you're watching what processes are active on your computer with Task Manager/Activity Monitor. The headless background version is launched even if you have AE launched already (this way you can keep working in AE while AME renders).

To make the difference between AE and AME's capabilities clear for you, I think we need to be more specific about the difference between Rendering and Encoding. We often use those terms interchangably as umbrella language for getting your frames out of an application and into a file, but we should put them into proper context for this particluar pipeline.

Rendering is the calculation of the pixels in each frame of your comp. AE will always be the application rendering the frames in your comp, even if it's just a headless background version of AE.

Encoding is taking the series of frames in your comp and writing them into a file, using an algorithm (codec) that you choose. Both AE and AME can encode frames from your comp into a file.

The big difference, and where I think you're getting hung up, is this: in AE's Render Queue, the Render Settings options allow you to change how AE renders the frames before they're encoded but only for when AE does the encoding. AME does not have this option, nor does it read Render Settings from AE's Render Queue.

Further, to clarify: AME does not know anything about what is in the Render Queue in your AE project. You don't need to put your comp in the Render Queue in order to render it with AME, and any settings you make in the Render Queue are ignored by AME.

Clear?

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Participant ,
Oct 31, 2013 Oct 31, 2013

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Tim, Thank you for the clarity on the Render, Encode. Headless,  Yes November and a year later... Just trying to keep it straight. Not being aggressive.

(for clarity) #4 AME encodes the frames to the settings you defined.  "Being the way I saved my comp?"

So by checking off my switches for Blur, Blend, etc and changing the BPC to 16 in my comp and then saving it.

AME will or will not encode it that way?

Or must I first render out as an uncompressed AVI, with the settings desired the way I want it to be rendered. THEN use AME to encode for delivery.... 

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Adobe Employee ,
Oct 31, 2013 Oct 31, 2013

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We need to distinguish between:

A. Settings you make to the comp in the Timeline panel, Composition Settings dialog, or Project panel (bit depth).

B. Settings you make in the Render Settings dialog from the Render Queue.

I have been assuming you meant #B.

AME does use #A. Those are the inherent, "always on" properties of the comp. #B are modifications of those properties made at render time from AE's Render Queue. As previously noted, AME ignores #B.

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Participant ,
Oct 31, 2013 Oct 31, 2013

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Thanks Tim, so that is AME Will encode AE the way I save my AEcomp.

IE: Blur Blend on, Switch it from 8bpc from edit to 16bpc if desired for delivery, etc. Explains why my last files were a bit flat after encoding. 

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Most Valuable Participant ,
Dec 26, 2015 Dec 26, 2015

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For users that are watching this thread from 2016 here's a recap: since CC 2014 and the H.264 option for encoding in Ae was finally gone. although you can use H.264 under Quicktime format in Ae - this is a poor solution and gives bad quality. here's a tutorial that demonstrates the poor quality you get when you use H.264 under Quicktime format in After Effects:

CC 2014 and CC 2015 do not enable you to get the render settings from Ae. this sometime can lead to a confusing results when rendering straight from AE to AME. ("Add to AME Queue, drag and drop, or importing to AME through AME) because Ae's default render settings is to "Best Settings" whereas Ae to AME defaults to "Current Settings". here's a tutorial that covers the differences and what to watch out for:

as of CC2015.3 you can get almost all the render settings from Ae to AME by using the Queue in AME feature that's available in the render queue. here's a tutorial that examines the differences between "Add to AME Queue,drag and drop, import through AME vs, Queue in AME - watch from 02:54

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