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I'm still rather new to after effects so forgive me if I sound rather dumb in this post. But I've recently run into an issue where nearly 80% of the time that i press 'play' or spacebar to preview my composition, after effects will just freeze for about 10 seconds. The rainbow pointer on mac will appear to show that it's loading during this and I can't interact with anything. Usually this wouldn't be a problem as I know there are whole processes of cache that happen in the background that can slow my progress, but this happens enough times that it has started to become increasingly frustrating and interruptive to my work productivity, the green cache bar is full and mind you, I'm working with rather simple footage too.
My macbook pro meets all the minimum requirements and I've been working with after effects for about a month now on numerous projects and etc and not once have I had this issue until I started my latest project.
Hopefully someone can give me some tips or advice on how to fix this !!
No offense, but this is not really useful if you don't tell us the exact specs of your Mac, preview settings, types of footage used, comp settings, cache settings and so on. Regardless, from the sound of it those are simply the same boring "Macs are terrible with GPU acceleration" problems, so as a start, check your system updates and display settings on whether there may be a better driver. Other than that reign in excessive disk cache sizes and try to use conventional RAM previews, possibly with all GPU rendering turned off even. At the end of the day a tiny disk cache not taking forever to build and check as well as just having everything rendered on the CPU could be a lot faster than waiting for the wonky hardware acceleration to do its thing.
It sounds like you are running out of system resources. AE is not a video editing app and it's not designed to support real-time playback of the entire timeline. You have to adopt a kind of a Pencil Test - Ink and Paint workflow to be efficient. This involves running previews at reduces comp panel resolution, skipping frames, turning off motion blur and effects, and only counting on previews to show you how the action and the animation are working. Then you turn everything on and check a few critical, or as I like to call them "hero frames" to make sure that everything looks like it should. Then you render and check the render.
Most of my comps are under 7 seconds and only one shot because I mostly do visual effects. My animation comps are usually no longer than a phrase of music or dialogue. Some of my more complex effects shots have hundreds of elements and take more than a minute a frame to render at full resolution so running full rez full effects ram previews is an incredible time productivity killer. You just have to learn to work around the limitations.
To figure out what is killing your performance I suggest that you select all layers, press 'uu' to reveal all modified properties, and then start turning off any effects you have added to the timeline that you think might be slowing things down. The problem could also be related to footage that takes a lot of time to decode. This includes some specific formats including MP4 video. When you find the culprit let us know and we can probably help you figure out a way around the problem.
Unfortunately at this moment in time, I've not yet started even adding any sort of effects or motion blur, I am still simply cutting down the footage to my desired lengths. I like to press play frequently to ensure I am hitting the right beats according to the audio. My resolution I always enure to put on quarter for quick playback. As for my footage, I'm working with 1080p MP4 files so what you're saying about footage may have some weight there.
Thank you for your reply though! Like I said, I'm still sort of new to the whole adobe community so thank you for getting back to me. It's just become rather frustrating recently, in my previous projects, ones that were filled to the brim with effects on 1080p video and transitions and the like, I have never had this problem. So it's becoming worrying that this problem has already occured in such an early step of my my work production.