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PugetBench for AERender (After Effects Render Node)

UNLISTED on December 11, 2019 by Matt Bach

At Puget Systems, one of our primary goals is to make sure that our customers end up with a fast, reliable workstation that is perfectly tailored to their unique workflow. The main way we do this is by benchmarking a wide range of hardware in After Effects (and numerous other software packages) that we then publish in our ongoing series of hardware articles.

While most motion graphics artists use After Effects in a fairly traditional manner, many are starting to leverage multiprocessing plugins or homemade scripts like BG Renderer Max or RenderGarden to improve rendering performance. These typically leverage an application called "aerender" that is installed alongside After Effects that lets you divide up your render across multiple threads in order to fully utilize the performance of your CPU and GPU. In fact, the limiting factor is often the amount of RAM and VRAM you have available since each thread requires its own share of memory.

However, while our testing ensures that we are selling the right hardware, it does not give our customers a great idea of how much faster a new workstation might be compared to their existing system. In addition, with the amount of hardware that is currently available, it is impossible for us to test everything on our own, so we want to provide tools for other hardware reviewers to perform real world benchmarking in professional applications like After Effects.

To address both of these issues, we are making our After Effects benchmark available for download so that anyone can can perform the same testing we do in our hardware articles. Even better, this benchmark is compatible with both Windows and Mac-based systems which allows for cross-platform performance comparisons.

Download PugetBench for AERender

PugetBench for AERender free edition

Free Edition

Download V0.92 BETA

Suitable for personal use.
Results upload to the PugetBench online database.

PugetBench for AERender commercial edition

Commercial Edition

More Information

For commercial use.
Includes optional uploading of results, email support, automation, and logging.

Be sure to check out the full list of benchmarks we have available!

PugetBench for AERender

System Requirements

  • Adobe After Effects 2020 version 17.1.4 (or older) or Adobe After Effects CC 2019
  • 16GB of memory
  • Windows 10 (no MacOS support currently)

Note that since spawning multiple render threads quickly increases the RAM/VRAM usage, having more system resources generally means you will be able to spawn more render threads which often results in faster performance. In addition, plug-ins and customized preferences in particular may prevent the benchmark from running properly. If you run into any issues, we recommend resetting your preferences either by following Adobe's guide or by using our Adobe CC Preference Backup/Restore/Clear utility (Windows only).

How to run the benchmark

  1. Download and unzip the benchmark from the link above.
  2. Download a ZXP (Adobe plugin) installer and use it to install the plugin. We recommend using aescripts ZXP installer to install the .zxp file
  3. Launch After Effects
  4. Configure the necessary After Effects settings:
    • Enable "Allow Scripts to Write Files and Access Network" in "Edit -> Preferences -> Scripts & Expressions"
  5. Start the plugin from "Window->Extensions->PugetBench for AERender"
  6. Configure any settings you want to change (especially if you have a commercial license)
  7. Run the benchmark!

When the benchmark is complete, it will give you an "Overall Score" and upload the results to to our online database (unless told not to with the commercial version). From the uploaded results, you can view the sub-scores and individual test results.


If you have any issues with the benchmark not properly running, firs verify that your system meets the System Requirements and that the version of After Effects or AERender you are using is supports. If there are no issues with your system or software, there are a number of troubleshooting steps you can try:

  • Make sure you are following each step listed in the How to run the benchmark section
  • Clear the After Effects application preferences and reset them to default by following ​​​​​Adobe's guide or our Adobe CC Preference Backup/Restore/Clear utility (Windows only).
  • If you are on MacOS and have renamed your drive, the benchmark will not be able to get your system specs. The only work-around at the moment is to rename your drive back to "Macintosh HD", or you can continue to run the benchmark without it being able to pull specs.
  • Ensure that your OS and After Effects is set to English and that the path to the benchmark script does not have any special or non-English characters.
  • The benchmark does not work over an unmapped network drive (I.E. // Mapped drives should work, but we highly recommend having the benchmark on a local drive as storage performance can affect the results.

Lower than expected performance can be caused by a number of factors, but the most common are:

  • Outdated BIOS/drivers/software
  • Running background processes (Antivirus, Windows Updates, etc.)
  • Windows power profile (High Performance is recommended for the best results)
  • Adobe application settings are not correct (GPU acceleration not enabled, etc.)

If you continue to have issues, we recommend posting in the comment section below - ideally with a screenshot of the problem and a copy of any log files that are generated by the benchmark.

How does the scoring work?

The scoring system used in our benchmark is based on the performance relative to a reference system with the following specifications with a single render thread:

  • Intel Core i9 9900K 8 Core
  • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 8GB
  • 64GB of RAM
  • Samsung 960 Pro 1TB
  • Windows 10 (1809)
  • Adobe After Effects CC 2019 (ver. 16.1.2)

The Overall Score is simply the average of the tested compositions and multiplied by 10 since bigger score = more important.

Update Log

Version 0.92 BETA

  • Moved to using node-wmi to gather system specs on Windows systems. This should be significantly faster and more reliable than the previous command line method
  • Added GPU driver and motherboard BIOS to the system specs for Windows systems
  • Misc bug fixes

Version 0.91 BETA

  • Improved system spec gathering reliability

Version 0.9 BETA (Major Update)

  • Results are now uploaded to our online database. This is required for the free version, but opt-in if you have a commercial license.
  • Removed the result screen at the end of the benchmark run now that the full results can be viewed on our benchmark listing page.
  • Moved from a stand-alone .exe to a full After Effects plug-in. This was required for the result uploading, but also allows us much more flexibility for configurable settings and increases consistency between our various Adobe benchmarks. This will slightly increase the amount of RAM/VRAM required, but shouldn't be by a significant degree.
  • Added the ability to do a "Custom" test which does the same tests as normal, only on whatever compositions are on the root-level of the currently opened project.
  • License validation moved from the CLI utility to the plugin itself.
  • Added ability to set the location for any disk-based tests (rendering).
  • Added tooltips for the various settings that can now be configured.
  • Status logs and configuration settings moved to "~Documents⧵PugetBench⧵AERender⧵TIMESTAMP" since we cannot log directly to the plugin folder.
  • General bug fixes and stability improvements.

Version 0.8 BETA

  • Added support for After Effects 2020
  • Renamed benchmark to "PugetBench for AERender"
  • Removed initial benchmark GUI (all it did was make you press another button)
  • There is now a "Benchmark Results" screen that comes up at the end of the benchmark that displays a bunch of useful information including: benchmark version, cores, results for each individual test, and system information like CPU, RAM, OS, GPU, and Photoshop version
  • The benchmark now also makes a PNG of the "Benchmark Results" screen for easy sharing
  • Removed .csv log file support in the free edition (log files will be a feature in the commercial use version)
  • Removed Mac support (hoping to add back in later)
  • Miscellaneous bug fixes and improvements

Version .51 BETA

  • Fixed individual score display bug (log file scores not affected)

Version .5 BETA

  • First release.
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Tags: After Effects, Benchmark, Public, Render Node, Download