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GPU changes (for CUDA and OpenGL) in After Effects CC (12.1)

[For complete details of the After Effects CC (12.1) update, due for release in October, see this page.]

A big area of focus for After Effects CC (12.1) is improvements in GPU processing, both for CUDA processing for the GPU acceleration of the ray-traced 3D renderer and for OpenGL features. For details of how After Effects uses CUDA and OpenGL, see this page.

OpenGL features enabled for all Intel GPUs

In previous versions of After Effects, the OpenGL features were enabled on Intel GPUs only if those GPUs were listed in a “whitelist” file (intel_ogl_supported_cards.txt). This was because early generations of Intel GPUs and their drivers had problems with OpenGL features, so we needed to test each individually and only allow specific known-good configurations to work. Recent Intel GPUs and drivers have been of high enough quality that we have removed this check, and there is no longer an intel_ogl_supported_cards.txt file.

For details of the OpenGL features relevant to this change, see this page: GPU (CUDA, OpenGL) features in After Effects

OptiX 3.0 library for GPU-accelerated ray-traced 3D renderer

After Effects CC (12.0) used the OptiX 2 library from Nvidia for the GPU acceleration of the ray-traced 3D renderer. After Effects CC (12.1) uses the new OptiX 3 library.

The new OptiX library has many advantages, with the most important being the following:

  • fixes a crash on Mac OSX v10.9 (Mavericks)
  • improved performance, including improvements with multiple GPUs

The new OptiX library requires CUDA 5.0 or higher.

preference for bypassing whitelist for GPU acceleration of ray-traced 3D renderer

In After Effects CS6 (11.0) and CC (12.0), the GPU Information dialog box has a Ray-tracing menu from which the user can choose GPU or CPU. If the installed hardware is not on the list of tested and supported GPUs, the GPU menu item is disabled (grayed out) and below the menu is this text: “GPU not available – incompatible device or display driver”.

In After Effects CC (12.1), we have added a checkbox: “Enable untested, unsupported GPU for CUDA acceleration of ray-traced 3D renderer.”

Enabling this checkbox will do a couple of things:

  • After Effects will use the GPU-accelerated ray-traced 3D renderer with any GPU that meets minimum requirements (which include 1GB of VRAM and CUDA 5.0).
  • The text “GPU not available – incompatible device or display driver” will change to “Unsupported GPU enabled for CUDA acceleration” if the GPU meets the minimum requirements but is not on the whitelist. If the GPU doesn’t meet the minimum requirements, the text remains as the original.
  • In the CUDA section at the bottom of the GPU Information dialog box, “(unsupported)” is added to the Devices entry if the installed hardware isn’t on the whitelist but is enabled.

When the user enables this preference, a dialog box appears that tells the user that using an untested and unsupported GPU is something that they do at their own risk and that technical support is only provided for supported configurations.

cards added to CUDA whitelist for Optix (for GPU acceleration of ray-traced 3D renderer)

  • GTX TITAN (Windows)
  • GTX 780 (Windows)
  • GTX 770 (Windows)
  • GTX 760 (Windows)
  • GTX 680MX (Mac OS and Windows)
  • GTX 680 (added for Mac OS; was already on Windows list)
  • GTX 675MX (Mac OS and Windows)
  • GT 650M (added for Windows; was already on Mac OS list)
  • GTX 590 (Windows)
  • Quadro K6000 (Windows)
  • Quadro K4000 (Windows)
  • Quadro K2000 (Windows)
  • Quadro K5000M (Windows)
  • Quadro K4000M (Windows)
  • Quadro K3000M (Windows)
  • Quadro K5100M (Windows)
  • Quadro K4100M (Windows)
  • Quadro K3100M (Windows)
  • Quadro K2100M (Windows)

Let us know what other GPUs you want us to test and support with a feature request here.

You can see the complete list of GPUs supported for this feature with each version of After Effects on the system requirements page.

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