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Multi-threaded shape layer rendering, now in beta!

Adobe Employee ,
Jan 26, 2023 Jan 26, 2023

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Greetings After Effects users! We’re accelerating shape layer rendering with multi-threading, and we’d like to hear how it's working for your projects. In our testing, many shape layers now render at least twice as fast.

 

In your Creative Cloud app, update to After Effects Beta 23.3x9 or later. You don’t need to do anything special to enable the updated rendering.

 

Give things a try with some of your more shape-heavy compositions, especially ones with more complex shapes and gradients. You can use the Composition Profiler to compare performance with the release version. Projects are compatible across beta and release. If you have compositions where your shape layers aren’t seeing a speedup or have unexpected behavior, please let us know.

 

Looking forward to your feedback!

 

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Feature request

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Enthusiast ,
Jan 31, 2023 Jan 31, 2023

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Does this apply to other vectors (i.e. continously rasterized .ai and .pdf files) or just shape layers? Will be doing some testing! 

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Adobe Employee ,
Feb 01, 2023 Feb 01, 2023

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Currently this is only implemented for shape layers.

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Enthusiast ,
Feb 02, 2023 Feb 02, 2023

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Hello! Shape layers are an important part of many of my workflows so I thought I would give this new optimization a few tests. 

 

I created a sort of shape layer torture test but didn't see any meaningful improvement on render speed. Definitely no improvments on interactivity with these types of projects, once you turn on layer controls it turns AE into a slideshow. It's not that the render speed is bad just not seeing a difference. 

 

This file is basically not interactive due to AEs handling of shapes of this nature. If you try to move the layer in the comp viewer will basically not respond. Turning off layer controls at least lets you scrub the timeline, but this file is meant to push AE to see if optimizations have taken place. I would typically avoid working with a file like this because of how AE doesn't allow you to meaningfully interact once you reach a certain level of complexity. 

 

Setup:

 

Imported a CAD file of a with thousands and thousands tiny shapes.

Converted to vector to shapes for as long as I felt like:

  • For extremly complicated vectors, this part seems like it could use some multi-threading as well as the program doesn't use much CPU but can take a very long time to generate shape elements or layers
  • Would be great to have the ability to split vector layers into individual shapes instead of one big shape layer here as well. 

Added a trim paths keyfame to the whole shape. 

Added some random position keyframes to as many shapes as I could select. 

  • Another note AEs timeline still has this weird limitation where you hit the max number of items it will scroll to somewhere around 1900 items even though more exist. 
  • Selecting over ~300+ layers incurs about a 3-5 second lag between clicking and selecting. 

Results averaged over a few tests runs:

 

AE Beta

Frame times :

Best (no shapes on screen) ~40ms

Worst ~ 140-150ms

Average ~100ms 

 

AE Stable 

Frame times :

Best (no shapes on screen) ~40ms

Worst ~ 130-140ms 

Average ~100 ms

 

Again the render times are more than accetable but not seeing any real speedup!

 

Rig:

 

3960x Threadripper 24core

2080ti 11gb

128gb ram

SSD cache etc. 

Windows 11

Latest studio drivers. 

 

Attached is my shape layer test. 

 

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Adobe Employee ,
Feb 02, 2023 Feb 02, 2023

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Hi scrozier,

 

Thanks for testing and providing the project!

 

The current optimization is per shape, so the test with the many small shapes unfortunately won't benefit here and likely isn't even engaging any more than one thread since the shape(s) are so small, but this is definitely a good feature request. I looked at Comp 1 in your test project as well with the single larger shape and that does consistently render twice as fast in my testing although that already renders pretty fast so it's likely not very noticeable. 

 

Complex single shapes with more vertices, with larger dimensions should benefit the most here from what we have seen. We've also seen cases where the performance improvements for a single shape layer may get overridden by an extra transform like an export to a different frame size or setting preview to a different scale and we are currently looking into that.

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Enthusiast ,
Feb 02, 2023 Feb 02, 2023

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Interesting. Yeah I tried to throw something that I would consider "worst case scnario" at it which would be a single shape layer with thousands of pieces. The comp 1 was my initial test and you're right I wasn't really seeing a big difference so I tried to come up with a more complicated shape to see what would happen. 

 

Just so I understand, if you had multiple shape layers that would be more optimized vs. one shape layer with many smaller pieces? I guess does it make more sense to break apart shapes into multiple shape layers or is it better if you have a complicated "shape" that it be kept all on one layer.

 

 

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Adobe Employee ,
Feb 03, 2023 Feb 03, 2023

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whether you have a single shape on a single layer or multiple shapes on one layer doesn't matter. the size of the shape and the complexity of the shape is most important, as those increase you should see more performance gains.

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