Fuel Tips (After Effects) – Render and RAM Preview Faster

Here are some tips for rendering faster, RAM Previewing faster, and efficiently using your RAM Previews to speed up your workflow in After Effects.


Rendering Tips:

Turn on the “caps lock” button before hitting “render”. This is one of the most easy and effective way to render compositions faster. Before rendering, simply press the “caps lock” button. This disables refresh and stops After Effects from redrawing and showing every frame it renders. You will no longer see your video frame by frame as it renders.

Close other programs while renderingThis is another a fairly easy concept to reduce render times. Running multiple programs takes more processing power and RAM. If you want to render a composition as quickly as possible, shut down all other programs outside of After Effects. If you need to multitask while rending, this will slow you down.

Trim footage that is off screen, set to 0% opacity, a scale of 0%, and any other setting where the footage is not being used/seen. Despite a layer appearing to not be in use, if the layer is not trimmed, After Effects has to calculate its properties. This then makes for longer renders. By making sure that layers are trimmed after they are no longer in use you can make rendering and RAM Previewing faster.


RAM Preview Tips

While working at a video size (1920×1080) that is impossible to fit in your workspace at 100%, make sure your resolution and RAM Preview resolution are set to match the zoom. If your zoom is set to 50%, make sure both resolutions are set to “half” (same goes for any other zoom percentage). Working at 50% zoom and having your resolution set to “full” makes After Effects do unnecessary work, which in turn makes RAM Previews and scrubbing through the timeline take longer.

You can save RAM Previews for later viewing. If you like to bookmark progress, show boss/clients progress, or want to go back and view your RAM Previews later for any reason, there is a way to save them. First, complete a RAM Preview, then select “Composition” in the tool bar and then select “Save RAM Preview”. This will allow you to save your RAM Preview in a desired location. Disclaimer: After Effects automatically adds saved RAM Previews to your project bin.

A composition that is nested/placed in another composition can be rendered out and replaced with a movie. If you have a composition that is nested into another composition, you can save out a RAM Preview or render the composition and replace the nested composition with the rendered movie. This will allow for faster renders since After Effects will only calculate one video versus an entire composition. In case you want to go back and change the original nested composition, make sure you duplicate and hide the nested composition before replacing it with the rendered movie. This will allow for easy updates and fixes to the composition.


Hopefully these tips helped out! If you have any questions or comments just post them below and we’ll get back to them as soon as we can. We will be posting a video later that will explain and show these steps along with showing how much time can be saved by implementing them.