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After Effects scrubbing through timeline is lagging, playback is fine. What's causing it?

Community Beginner ,
Sep 07, 2018

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Hey everyone,

I just downloaded the Adobe CC and I'm trying to compose a simple 10 second GIF with motion text in After Effects (latest version), but find it painfully hard to work with keyframes since the playhead is always a second behind my cursor when I try to move it. My laptop is supposed to be good for small video editing, does anyone know what the problem might be that's causing the laggy scrubbing?

My specs:

Dell XPS 15, 4k screen

Ram: 16 GB

Storage: 512 GB SSD

Processor: Intel Core i7 7700HQ 2.8 GHz

Graphics Card: dedicated NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050

Novabench scores:

Overall: 1790

Disk: 106 (Write speed: 279 MB/s, Read speed: 1019 MB/s)

Ram: 246 (RAM speed: 19537 MB/s)

CPU: 858 (Float Ops: 196299690, Integer Ops: 1187756840, Hash Ops: 1304070) whatever this means...

GPU: 580 (Direct3D11: 65 FPS, OpenCL: 0 GFLOPS)

I'm using AVI files for editing. Was using mp4 before and switched hoping it would make a difference and it didn't. I tried switching to the 2017 version of AE and it was doing the same thing so I don't thing it's a problem with the current version. Any help is appreciated, let me know if I left out important info.

Thanks in advance,

Gus

Adobe Community Professional
Correct answer by Roland Kahlenberg | Adobe Community Professional

Here are a few tips that should help you experience a more responsive AE. However, there will always come a time, very often actually, when you drop in lots of footage/effects and you will just have to learn to live with a MoGraph app such as AE.

1) purge your cache often. when the cache gets filled and you continue working, AE has to delete as well as write new data into the cache. this slows down an already heavy-compute app. I have my purge cache command set to a shortcut - you will want to do the same

2) work at 1/3 or 1/2 rez more often than at full rez - a lot more often.

3) as Dave has pointed out, the type of video files you use will affect your productivity while using AE. Transcode poorly encoded files into a more AE-friendly format such as Cineform or DNxHD

4) get a second SSD. with only one drive, AE has to read (source media) and write (cache files) onto the same disc. this duality on the same drive slows down any app. With a second drive, place your assets onto the fastest drive and your cache onto the second slowest drive. I am assuming your cache drive, while being the slower of the two, will still be fast enough for AE to read cached files quickly, to the extent where cached regions in your timeline will begin playing back quickly after initiating a Preview with a cached region (blue line at the top of the timeline).

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After Effects scrubbing through timeline is lagging, playback is fine. What's causing it?

Community Beginner ,
Sep 07, 2018

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Hey everyone,

I just downloaded the Adobe CC and I'm trying to compose a simple 10 second GIF with motion text in After Effects (latest version), but find it painfully hard to work with keyframes since the playhead is always a second behind my cursor when I try to move it. My laptop is supposed to be good for small video editing, does anyone know what the problem might be that's causing the laggy scrubbing?

My specs:

Dell XPS 15, 4k screen

Ram: 16 GB

Storage: 512 GB SSD

Processor: Intel Core i7 7700HQ 2.8 GHz

Graphics Card: dedicated NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050

Novabench scores:

Overall: 1790

Disk: 106 (Write speed: 279 MB/s, Read speed: 1019 MB/s)

Ram: 246 (RAM speed: 19537 MB/s)

CPU: 858 (Float Ops: 196299690, Integer Ops: 1187756840, Hash Ops: 1304070) whatever this means...

GPU: 580 (Direct3D11: 65 FPS, OpenCL: 0 GFLOPS)

I'm using AVI files for editing. Was using mp4 before and switched hoping it would make a difference and it didn't. I tried switching to the 2017 version of AE and it was doing the same thing so I don't thing it's a problem with the current version. Any help is appreciated, let me know if I left out important info.

Thanks in advance,

Gus

Adobe Community Professional
Correct answer by Roland Kahlenberg | Adobe Community Professional

Here are a few tips that should help you experience a more responsive AE. However, there will always come a time, very often actually, when you drop in lots of footage/effects and you will just have to learn to live with a MoGraph app such as AE.

1) purge your cache often. when the cache gets filled and you continue working, AE has to delete as well as write new data into the cache. this slows down an already heavy-compute app. I have my purge cache command set to a shortcut - you will want to do the same

2) work at 1/3 or 1/2 rez more often than at full rez - a lot more often.

3) as Dave has pointed out, the type of video files you use will affect your productivity while using AE. Transcode poorly encoded files into a more AE-friendly format such as Cineform or DNxHD

4) get a second SSD. with only one drive, AE has to read (source media) and write (cache files) onto the same disc. this duality on the same drive slows down any app. With a second drive, place your assets onto the fastest drive and your cache onto the second slowest drive. I am assuming your cache drive, while being the slower of the two, will still be fast enough for AE to read cached files quickly, to the extent where cached regions in your timeline will begin playing back quickly after initiating a Preview with a cached region (blue line at the top of the timeline).

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Sep 07, 2018 0
Community Beginner ,
Sep 07, 2018

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I'd also like to point out that I don't run into the same problem with Premiere Pro. My timeline scrubs really smooth in Pro.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Sep 08, 2018

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AE does many more calculations, on a per pixel level, than PPro. AE will definitely not exhibit smooth timeline scrubs than PPro. How responsive your timeline is is largely dependent on your system resources, AE settings and what you have in your timeline. Try working with a basic Solid and animating that plainly; moving from one end of the composition to the other. Do you experience sluggishness? What happens with a more elaborate timeline with multiple layers with effects applied?

You will also want to include screen grabs of your Timeline; showing any animating properties and a screengrab of your Composition panel. Then, let us know more info on your cache settings and the different types of harddisks you have installed and where your assets and cache are stored.

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Sep 08, 2018 1
Community Beginner ,
Sep 08, 2018

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It was noticeably smoother in the content panel scrubbing with just the text, without the video, but the playhead was still a little behind. I duplicated the text layers a couple times and added some glow to it and scrubbing became more sluggish, although the preview was still loading frames faster than with a video file. My SSD is a Toshiba NVMe 512 GB drive.

This was what I used as a text-only test:

https://thumbs.gfycat.com/WebbedPleasingHorsefly-size_restricted.gif

Screenshot (7).png

This was my original simple GIF timeline:

https://thumbs.gfycat.com/CheapCoordinatedIndianpangolin-size_restricted.gif

Screenshot (8).png

My cache settings:

Screenshot (9).png

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Sep 08, 2018 0
LEGEND ,
Sep 08, 2018

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It's too bad we don't know your comp's horizontal & vertical dimensions nor  the comp viewer's Zoom (100%, 50%, etc.) or its resolution (Full, Half, etc.)

I DO see some footage with an off-the-wall frame rate of about 23.885.... which leads me to believe that it's variable frame rate video shot on a phone.  That's a VERY BAD idea -- AE hates variable frame rate footage.  So do most of the applications used professionally.

In a word, variable frame rate footage sucks.  Get yourself one of the pricier apps for your phone that force it to shoot like a real video camera -- an app that lets you choose the codec and the frame rate of the footage.

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Sep 08, 2018 0
Community Beginner ,
Sep 08, 2018

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Well on the second screenshot it shows the comp zoom as 100% and playing at Full resolution, but maybe I'm misunderstanding your response. Anyways, the footage is actually a 1080p rip from a Twin Peaks DVD originally in H.264. I'll look for a way to make the frame rate consistent if I can. Thanks for your help

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Sep 08, 2018

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Here are a few tips that should help you experience a more responsive AE. However, there will always come a time, very often actually, when you drop in lots of footage/effects and you will just have to learn to live with a MoGraph app such as AE.

1) purge your cache often. when the cache gets filled and you continue working, AE has to delete as well as write new data into the cache. this slows down an already heavy-compute app. I have my purge cache command set to a shortcut - you will want to do the same

2) work at 1/3 or 1/2 rez more often than at full rez - a lot more often.

3) as Dave has pointed out, the type of video files you use will affect your productivity while using AE. Transcode poorly encoded files into a more AE-friendly format such as Cineform or DNxHD

4) get a second SSD. with only one drive, AE has to read (source media) and write (cache files) onto the same disc. this duality on the same drive slows down any app. With a second drive, place your assets onto the fastest drive and your cache onto the second slowest drive. I am assuming your cache drive, while being the slower of the two, will still be fast enough for AE to read cached files quickly, to the extent where cached regions in your timeline will begin playing back quickly after initiating a Preview with a cached region (blue line at the top of the timeline).

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Sep 08, 2018 1
Community Beginner ,
Sep 08, 2018

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Thanks a lot! I'll start working on all of these

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Sep 08, 2018 0
LEGEND ,
Sep 08, 2018

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You're thinking like an AE Rookie, which is just what you are. 

AE is NOT a video editing application like PP, and it doesn't work like one.  You'll get used to previewing rather than playing, and learn that scrubbing isn't very useful.

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Sep 08, 2018 0
Community Beginner ,
Sep 14, 2019

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Dave, why do you always have to be so impolite?

I have the same problem, and it's not only during scrubbing, but also when I'm merely scrolling around in the timeline.

When I open a comp with a lot of keyframes (and I mean A LOT of keyframes), the timeline gets really laggy. When I zoom in so that the timeline shows only a few keyframes, it's not lagging at all. 

This problem is also present with Refresh Disabled, so this has nothing to do with the visual output; it's After Effects having trouble with displaying many keyframes.

I guess it's just how the software is put together, but it's really slowing down my workflow.; constantly have to zoom in or collapse other layers to prevent having to animate in sloth mode.

Also; scrubbing is very useful in many circumstances! Especially after Adobe chose to remove the pingpong loop option in the Preview Panel.

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Sep 14, 2019 0
ANTEUPtv LATEST
New Here ,
Nov 26, 2020

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"scurbbing isn't very useful" where's the laugh emoji?

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Nov 26, 2020 0
Explorer ,
Nov 13, 2020

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I've found out that unchecking "Show layer controls" under View speeds things up a quite bit. Sorry for replaying on the ancient post, but might help someone.

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Nov 13, 2020 1
Adobe Community Professional ,
Nov 13, 2020

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This is a good addition. And it comes with a shortcut too - CTRL + SHIFT + H.

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Nov 13, 2020 1