Puget Systems print logo
https://www.pugetsystems.com
Read this article at https://www.pugetsystems.com/guides/2096
Article Thumbnail

How Fast is the new Multi-Frame Rendering in After Effects 18.1 BETA?

Written on March 10, 2021 by Matt Bach
Share:

TL;DR: How well does Multi-Frame Rendering work in After Effects BETA?

Overall, we are very impressed with the upcoming Multi-Frame Rendering feature in After Effects. It is still in BETA with many features yet to come, but in our early testing, performance improvements of 1.5-2x are not uncommon, and in certain situations, we saw more than a 3x improvement in render times. There are certainly still kinks for Adobe to work out (hence why it is in beta), but as the first iteration of this feature, it is very, very good.

Introduction

In the After Effects BETA that became available this morning (3/10/2021), Adobe has added a new feature called "Multi-Frame Rendering". This feature is still very much in development but dramatically increases After Effect's ability to utilize processors with higher core counts. At the moment, it is just for rendering (exporting), although Adobe has noted that support will expand to composition preview in the coming months.

If you want more information on how this feature works, Adobe has a terrific Blog Post and FAQ that we highly recommend checking out. They are touting performance gains of 1.2x to 3x depending on the specs of your system - which is what we want to examine in this post. Adobe is helpfully providing a test project to use as a benchmark, but we will also use our normal PugetBench for After Effects benchmark as the test project is likely a "best-case scenario" in order to show off this new feature.

Multi-Frame rendering in After Effects 18.1 BETA

We ended up over-doing our testing a bit and ended up looking at 9 different CPUs with 11 different After Effects compositions. If you don't want to look through all the data, feel free to jump right to the conclusion for our final thoughts.

Looking for an After Effects Workstation?

Puget Systems offers a range of powerful and reliable systems that are tailor-made for your unique workflow.

Configure a System!

Labs Consultation Service

Our Labs team is available to provide in-depth hardware recommendations based on your workflow.

Find Out More!

Test Setup

Listed below are the specifications of the systems we will be using for our testing:

AMD Ryzen Test Platform
CPU AMD Ryzen 9 5950X
AMD Ryzen 9 5900X
AMD Ryzen 7 5800X
CPU Cooler Noctua NH-U12S
Motherboard Gigabyte X570 AORUS ULTRA
RAM 4x DDR4-3200 16GB (64GB total)
Intel 10th Gen Test Platform
CPU Intel Core i9 10900K
Intel Core i5 10600K
CPU Cooler Noctua NH-U12S
Motherboard Gigabyte Z490 Vision D
RAM 4x DDR4-3200 16GB (64GB total)
AMD Threadripper 3rd Gen Test Platform
CPU AMD TR 3990X
AMD TR 3970X
AMD TR 3960X
CPU Cooler Noctua NH-U14S TR4-SP3
Motherboard Gigabyte TRX40 AORUS PRO WIFI
RAM 4x DDR4-3200 16GB (64GB total)
Intel X-10000 Series Test Platform
CPU Intel Core i9 10980XE
CPU Cooler Noctua NH-U12DX i4
Motherboard Gigabyte X299 Designare EX
RAM 4x DDR4-2933 16GB (64GB total)
AMD Threadripper Pro 3000 Series Test Platform
CPU AMD TR Pro 3975WX 32 Core
CPU Cooler Noctua NH-U14S TR4-SP3
Motherboard Asus Pro WS WRX80E-SAGE SE WIFI
RAM 8x DDR4-3200 16GB Reg. ECC (128GB total)
Shared PC Hardware/Software
Video Card NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 10GB
Hard Drive Samsung 970 Pro 1TB
Software Windows 10 Pro 64-bit (Ver. 2009)
After Effects 2021 (Ver. 18.1 BETA)

*All the latest drivers, OS updates, BIOS, and firmware applied as of March 10, 2021

In order to see how each of these configurations performs with the new Multi-Frame Rendering feature in After Effects, we will be using our PugetBench for After Effects V0.93 benchmark as well as the test project provided by Adobe in their Blog Post. One thing to note is that since this feature currently only supports rendering (exporting), we will not worry about presenting the RAM Preview or Tracking results.

Starting off with the good!

In most of our testing, we saw anywhere from decent to excellent performance increases with Multi-Frame Rendering. We will touch on the few times where we did not see a benefit with this feature in the next section, but first, let's take a look at these "good" test cases:

By far, the "AE Pulse Benchmark" test project provided by Adobe shows the most impressive gains with this new feature. This makes sense, as to why would Adobe use a project that wasn't a best-case situation as an example? We wouldn't call this project a synthetic test by any means, however, and is well within what you might see in your own workflow.

With this composition, the smallest performance gain was around 1.4x on the lower core count CPUs like the Intel Core i5 10600K 6 Core and AMD Ryzen 7 5800X 8 Core. This steadily rose to about a 2x improvement with the 10-16 core CPUs, and peaked at a 3.25x (!) increase in performance with the AMD Threadripper Pro 3975WX 32 Core. Interestingly, even though the Threadripper 3990X has double the cores of the Threadripper 3970X (64 vs 32), it was not any faster with Multi-Frame Rendering. This suggests that at a certain point, more cores won't help as the system is bottlenecked by other parts of the computer like the RAM, GPU, or I/O bandwidth.

The next best compositions for this feature were the "Expressions", "Motion Blur", and "Cloud Lightning Project" portions of our After Effects benchmark. Interestingly, the performance gain was fairly similar across all the CPUs for these tests - coming in at an average of 1.7-1.9x faster.

From there, the performance gains get less impressive with the "Phone Composite" and "Realistic Rain" projects averaging anywhere from 1.1x to 1.2x faster with Multi-Frame Rendering. This is still a nice bump in performance, but nothing like the other compositions.

Still a few rough spots to work out...

As a reminder, Multi-Frame Rendering is in BETA and very much still in development. We would frankly be astonished if we did not encounter any issues with it! Through the course of our testing, we actually didn't have any stability issues, but there were a few instances where performance was a bit worse with it enabled:

The first rough spot we found was with the "Glitch" composition in our PugetBench for After Effects benchmark. We did still see some decent performance gains (primarily with the Intel Core i5 10600K), but on many of the higher-end CPUs, we saw about a 10% drop in performance with Multi-Frame Rendering.

The two compositions that look at performance with the Cinema4D rendering engine are where Multi-Frame Rendering had the biggest issues. It makes sense that this would be problematic since it is not only using After Effects, but also an external rendering engine. With these two compositions, we saw on average a 15% drop in performance with Multi-Frame Rendering, with a 30% drop on the Intel Core i9 10980XE being the most severe.

Will this change what CPU is best for After Effects?

One of the biggest things we wanted to find out with this early testing was whether it is likely to change what CPUs we recommend for After Effects. In previous versions, the AMD Ryzen line was best in terms of pure performance even though they have significantly fewer cores than the AMD Threadripper and Threadripper Pro line. With improved multi-core capabilities, however, this very well may change.

After Effects 18.1 BETA CPU performance with Multi-Frame Rendering verses previews versions

To get a broad look at how performance may change once this feature hits release, we grabbed the "Render Score" from our PugetBench for After Effects benchmark runs for each CPU. We also went ahead and ran our benchmark on the 17.7 and 18.0 versions of After Effects so we could see how the relative performance changes across the three versions.

Overall, it doesn't look like the relative performance for each CPU is going to change all that much. The absolute performance is of course higher with 18.1 BETA using Multi-Frame Rendering, but it looks like the AMD Ryzen line will still be the one to use for maximum performance, while Threadripper sacrifices a bit of performance in order to dramatically increase how much RAM you can install in your system (which in many workflows is well worth the small performance hit).

This would change a bit if we included the AE Pulse Benchmark from Adobe, but even there, the AMD Threadripper CPUs only match the AMD Ryzen 5950X 16 Core. Threadripper Pro, however, does manage to take a slight lead in that test.

How well does Multi-Frame Rendering work in After Effects BETA?

Overall, we are very impressed with the upcoming Multi-Frame Rendering feature in After Effects. It is still in BETA with many features yet to come, but in our early testing, performance improvements of 1.5-2x are not uncommon, and in certain situations, we saw more than a 3x improvement in render times. There are certainly still kinks for Adobe to work out (hence why it is in beta), but as the first iteration of this feature, it is very, very good.

After Effects BETA Multi-Frame Rendering relative CPU performance

As you might have guessed by the number of CPUs and compositions we included for a feature that is still in beta, we are very excited about Multi-Frame Rendering. It doesn't appear that it will dramatically change what kinds of workstations we sell and recommend for After Effects, but in many ways that is a good thing. If it were to suddenly change what kinds of CPUs are best, we would be left with a huge number of users that suddenly have systems that are not optimized for After Effects. Instead, this is looking like something that will simply be a boon for everyone.

We look forward to seeing this feature developing in the coming months - especially when composition preview support is added! Keep an eye on our articles, as we will likely post follow-up articles as this feature is expanded and improved.

Looking for an After Effects Workstation?

Puget Systems offers a range of poweful and reliable systems that are tailor-made for your unique workflow.

Configure a System!

Labs Consultation Service

Our Labs team is available to provide in-depth hardware recommendations based on your workflow.

Find Out More!
Tags: Intel X-series, Intel X-10000, AMD Threadripper 3rd Gen, Intel 10th Gen, i9 10900K, i5 10600K, AMD Ryzen 5000-series, 5800X, 5900X, 5950X, After Effects, i9 10980XE, 3970X, Threadripper 3990X, 3975WX
ericmlevy

What GPU(s) and VRAM amount(s) did you use for these tests?

Posted on 2021-03-14 05:34:28

That is all in the test setup section: https://www.pugetsystems.co... . But it was an RTX 3080 10GB. We never got close to using all the VRAM (or RAM for that matter), so that shouldn't affect performance much.

Posted on 2021-03-15 17:44:44
ericmlevy

Thanks for the update. Of course, now I see it on the bottom right!

We have been doing tests with multiple instances of aerender on our current job, and 3rd party plugins taking up the VRAM has been the limiting factor. Jumping from an 8GB 3070 to a 24GB 3090 has made a massive difference in the amount of threads that can be effectively used.

Posted on 2021-03-15 20:13:10

Yea, with AERender you basically have to double the RAM/VRAM requirements for every doubling of render threads. I believe you do need more RAM/VRAM with MFR, but I believe it should be substantially less than using AERender.

Of course, there is nothing stopping you from combining MFR and AERender once everything is fully supported. I don't know if it will be any better, however, since at some point you will be hitting I/O bandwidth limits and things like that.

Posted on 2021-03-15 22:16:33
lordtux

Man, these results are crazy, finally, very good to see this, I always check a lot of benchs and is sad of how bad a lot of them not scalling well, now with a lot of cores that AMD provides this can become a very good trend.

Posted on 2021-03-15 21:12:38
randomquartz

GPU performance is negligable with MFR? That's a surprise. Thanks for all the testing & publishing. Always very informative!

Posted on 2021-03-23 12:26:17
randomquartz

For those curious: the AE-Pulse project comes with GPU acceleration disabled by default.

Posted on 2021-03-26 19:53:01