February, 2011 Archives
There are a few entangled issues relating to QuickTime and After Effects, so I thought that it might be a good idea to clarify some of them and suggest some solutions.
Covered here are some causes of the following:
- “QuickTime is not installed on this system…” warning message
- “You have at least one output module template that refers to a missing output plug-in…” warning message
- some causes of crashes or hangs when initializing MediaCore
making sure that QuickTime is installed
First, the most basic thing: Make sure that QuickTime is installed. As you can see in the After Effects system requirements, QuickTime 7.6.2 or later is required for After Effects CS5.
Don’t be fooled by so-called “QuickTime X”. That doesn’t count.
If you have QuickTime 7.6.2 or later installed and you get an error that says that “QuickTime is not installed on this system…” or “You have at least one output module template that refers to a missing output plug-in…”, then the real troubleshooting begins.
blockage of TCP communication with QuickTime
One possible cause of After Effects reporting that QuickTime is not installed is a blockage in the communication between After Effects and the Adobe QT32 Server, which is a component that After Effects uses to communicate with QuickTime. (This is necessary because there is not yet a 64-bit version of QuickTime.) After Effects uses TCP to communicate with QuickTime, but some aggressive firewall software and other security software can block the TCP communication.
I’ve even seen non-security software such as FileMaker (as well as some malware, as mentioned here) block this communication by taking up the port that is needed. This is one more reason to not run software other than that required by your work while you’re using professional post-production software.
failure of QuickTime to load because of a bad importer component
Another reason that After Effects can fail to recognize QuickTime is that QuickTime can fail to initialize fully because it gets stuck loading a badly written importer component. If you have any AVI importers/codecs on your Mac, this could be the issue. Here’s a forum thread that goes into some detail about that.
permissions problem with preferences folder or corrupt preferences
Yet another cause of After Effects and QuickTime failing to communicate is a problem with permissions for files in the After Effects preferences directory. To force After Effects to rebuild the preferences directory and set the permissions correctly (as well as reset any corrupt preferences), quit After Effects, remove the following folder, and then restart After Effects:
- (Mac OS) [drive]/Users/[username]/Library/Preferences/Adobe/After Effects/10.0
- (Windows) [drive]Users[username]AppDataRoamingAdobeAfter Effects10.0
QuickTime failure because of its inability to work with large number of processes
QuickTime will often fail on computers with a large number of processors (CPUs), including computers with a large number of virtual processors created through hyperthreading. This is especially a problem with Apple’s H.264 exporter component within QuickTime.
To get around this problem, disable hyperthreading or reduce the number of processor cores available to QuickTime.
This document on the Adobe website describes how to do this.
If none of these solutions helps with errors that you’re getting related to QuickTime and After Effects, come to the After Effects user-to-user forum, and we’ll help you there—and I can add more information to this page as we come up with other solutions.
Do not ask for troubleshooting help in the comments of this blog post. It’s much harder to have a useful conversation in the comments of a blog post than on a discussion forum.
This post collects resources relating to optimizing your computer system and After Effects and Premiere Pro so that you can get the most done in the least time with these applications.
The most comprehensive place to find information on improving performance in After Effects is the “Improving performance” page in After Effects Help. Another good starting point is “FAQ: What are the optimum memory settings for best performance in After Effects?”.
I recently recorded a series of videos for video2brain that you can get for free on their website:
After Effects & Premiere Pro performance workshop. This series, which was recorded for Premiere Pro CS5.5 and After Effects CS5.5, consists of the following free video tutorials:
- The Components of Performance
- Planning Your Work, Updating, and Auto-Saving
- Learning and Customizing Keyboard Shortcuts
- Overview of Data Flow and Common Bottlenecks
- Overview of System Requirements
- Optimizing Hard Disks
- Optimizing CPUs
- GPU: CUDA
- GPU: OpenGL
- Stopping Software Not Relevant To Your Work
- Using Render Multiple Frames Simultaneously Multiprocessing
- Pre-Rendering and Proxies in After Effects
- Lowering Resolution for Previews
- Isolating What You’re Working On
I recorded additional videos for After Effects CS6 to update the information given in the above videos:
- global performance cache and persistent disk cache in After Effects CS6
- using fast previews in After Effects CS6
The area that we get the most questions about is how the GPU contributes to performance. Here are a few resources that deal directly with that question:
- GPU (CUDA, OpenGL) features in After Effects CS6
- “CUDA, Mercury Playback Engine, and Adobe Premiere Pro”
- “Adobe Premiere Pro CS5.5 improvements in CUDA processing and the Mercury Playback Engine”
- OpenCL and Premiere Pro CS6
- “Resources for choosing a graphics card for Adobe Premiere Pro”
Early in 2011, we hosted a one-hour session about optimizing for performance of both Adobe Premiere Pro and After Effects. Here’s the recording.
In the videos listed above, I make reference to many online resources. Here are those resources for your convenience:
- Auto-save in Premiere Pro and Auto-save in After Effects
- planning your work
- keyboard shortcuts in After Effects and keyboard shortcuts in Premiere Pro
- system requirements for Premiere Pro
- system requirements for After Effects
- CS5: advantages of a 64-bit application and 64-bit operating system
- CS4: Production Premium on 64-bit operating systems
- 32-bit kernel versus 64-bit kernel for Mac OSX
- “What PC to build?” (Premiere Pro Hardware forum thread hosted by Harm Millaard)
- “Generic Guideline for Disk Setup” (Premiere Pro Hardware forum thread hosted by Harm Millaard)
- “To RAID or not to RAID” (Premiere Pro Hardware forum thread hosted by Harm Millaard)
- “Mercury, CUDA, and what it all means” (Premiere Pro forum thread hosted by Todd Kopriva)
- Premiere Pro CS5 Benchmark test and performance reference materials
- Black Viper recommendations for shutting down software unnecessary for your work
- recommended Memory & Multiprocessing settings for After Effects
- setting playback and paused resolution in Premiere Pro and setting preview resolution in After Effects
- setting color depth in After Effects and setting Maximum Bit Depth and Maximum Render Quality in Premiere Pro
- trimming a project with the Project Manager in Premiere Pro and using Reduce Project in After Effects
- OpenGL in After Effects
- disk cache and conformed media cache in After Effects and scratch disks in Premiere Pro
The most comprehensive place to find information on improving performance in After Effects is the “Improving performance” page in After Effects Help. Much of what is listed above can also be found there, plus much more.