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AE Workflow between Desktop and Laptop

Participant ,
Apr 20, 2020

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Hi. I've been using AE on my 2018 MacMini. But when Apple updates the 13" (or 14"?) Macbook Pro, I would like to get one. So my question is how those of you who have both a desktop and a laptop work on the same AE project when alternating between machines (eg, on your desktop at work, and then at home on your laptop).

Also, do you need to pay for AE plugins twice, or can the same license work on both your desktop and laptop? 

Thanks so very much for any advice you can offer. --Paul

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AE Workflow between Desktop and Laptop

Participant ,
Apr 20, 2020

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Hi. I've been using AE on my 2018 MacMini. But when Apple updates the 13" (or 14"?) Macbook Pro, I would like to get one. So my question is how those of you who have both a desktop and a laptop work on the same AE project when alternating between machines (eg, on your desktop at work, and then at home on your laptop).

Also, do you need to pay for AE plugins twice, or can the same license work on both your desktop and laptop? 

Thanks so very much for any advice you can offer. --Paul

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Apr 20, 2020

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Regarding to the plug-ins, it depends upon EULA and the license type. Let's say Video Copilot, you are allowed to install both. The license type is a nodelocked. You can not transfer the license to another PC. You need to activate the license one by one.

 

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Participant ,
Apr 21, 2020

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Thanks!

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Apr 22, 2020

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Every plugin manufacturer I use allows you to at least install on the same two systems your CC subscription allows.  If you have two systems you should be good. If you have 3, like I do - actually 4, then I have to deactivate one machine to use my CC apps on another one.

 

Regarding the next generation of MacBook Pros, you really need a bigger screen. The minimum system requirements for screen resolution is 1440x90. That's the default for the current 13" MacBook Pro. You also need at least 16GB ram. The other drawback to the 13" MacBook Pro is that you are stuck with Intel Iris Plus Graphics. The 16" has the Intel + the AMD Radon Pro so GPU accelerated rendering is supported. It is NOT supported on the 12" MBPro. Even though it barely meets the minimum system requirements, if you spend just a little more you are going to be a lot happier with your laptop. 

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Participant ,
Apr 22, 2020

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Thanks so much, Rick! 

Regarding the 13" inch MacBook Pro--Apple is supposed to update it by June. All kinds of rumors--in addition to fixing the keyboard, some say they'll narrow the bezels and replace the 13" display with a 14" display. Also, they might also have an actual GPU option--who knows--and a 32 GB RAM option. So I'm waiting for the update before making any decisions.

My concern about the 16" is that it's not particularly mobile compared to the 13," and it would be $3000+ by the time I get 32 GB RAM, up the SSD a bit, etc. But if that's what I need to do, then that's what I'll do. 

Thanks again.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Apr 23, 2020

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I pack my 15" MBPro everywhere, but when I'm home or at the office, it is often hooked up to my LG UltraFine 5K Display because I'm about 30% more productive with more screen space. The laptop is OK when you have to be on the go, but you can't beat a big display for productivity. If my laptop screen was a couple of inches smaller with a few hundred fewer pixels my productivity would go way down. 

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Participant ,
Apr 23, 2020

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I've been using a beautiful 27" 4K display for the past year, totally forgetting what life was like before that on my 13" MacBook Pro--whose brains I fried with a spilled cup of coffee. So I will definitely take your warnings about trying to work on a small display to heart.

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Participant ,
Apr 23, 2020

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One final question: When you are working on an AE project, do you keep it on your laptop and just plug your laptop into your LG 5K display when you are at home? I'm wondering how to handle the same AE project when I'm alternating between a desktop and a laptop. 

I suppose I could keep the AE project on an external SSD and just plug it into my laptop or desktop, depending on whichever I'm using at the time. But I'm wondering what are the best practices when it comes to this type of situation.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Apr 23, 2020

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When I need to work remotely I put the source footage for the shot or proxies in a dedicated Dropbox folder. I'm not usually worried about getting all the footage for the project, just the shots I'm going to work on while I am out of the office. I also have a Thunderbolt 2 drive array (TouchDeck Duo) that has 2 1TB SSD's in it that I can carry if I need to work remotely on larger projects. I don't usually collect files and build completely separate folders. Today, for example, when I opened up a project on my MBPro I got a warning that 70 files were missing, but it didn't matter.

Screenshot_2020-04-23 10.25.42_cDxjFj.png

Screenshot_2020-04-23 10.27.11_wYbyEW.png

When I get back to the workstation I can just open up the AEP and work on the other 44 scene comps in this project that use different portions of the seven very long shots I got from the editor because the drive array for the original footage will be connected. I can simply relink any footage that I delete from dropbox so I can work remotely.  Until I am ready to archive a project I keep all the AEP project files in the appropriate client folder in Dropbox so everything is always in sync, no matter what machine I am using or where I am working.

 

I also keep all of my custom animation presets in dropbox and link them to the normal animation presets folder (Documents/After Effects (version)/User Presets/Custom Presets) folder using an alias that points to my AE Custom Presets folder in Dropbox. That way I always have access to any preset that I have saved. I only have about 1 Comp out of 100 that doesn't use one of my presets because they save so much time. There are about 20 layers in the nested Scene 3-11 Repair Comp 1 and 18 of them are using animation presets that take a couple of keystrokes and one-click to apply instead of 20 or 30 minutes writing expressions or setting keyframes. 

 

I hope these suggestions help. It takes a long time, and it is a lot of work to set up an efficient workflow, but it is worth it. I can basically work on just about anything from just about anywhere, even somebody else's machine, and have full access to all of my tools if I have a connection to the internet.

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Participant ,
Apr 23, 2020

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Thanks, Rick. That is very helpful!  

Unfortuantely, we live in a rural part of the coast of Oregon. Our DSL isn't that much faster than dial up! (We have only one internet service provider--through our local phone co-op. If we lived 3 miles closer to the highway, we could get Comsat and connection speeds that could make using the Cloud and Dropbox less frustrating.)

But it's very helpful to hear how you do this. I suspect my best option at this point will be to use an external SSD. My projects are nowhere near as complex as yours. My videos are used in college courses, and I find myself spending way more time finding the right images and tweaking them in Photoshop than I do working in AE. Sadly, too much AE magic gets in the way of the information--so I need to strike a balance that makes the videos fun to watch but each image needs to keep their attention and reinforce the information.

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