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Open GL on After Effects Mac

This news is a bit old, but in the spirit of providing it, I’ll use the cliche, "Better late than never." 😉

The latest update from Apple in conjunction with our After Effects CS3 update now gives OpenGl preview capabilities to Mac customers. PC users, you can read on as well in case you’ve never turned it on (because you’ve had it for a while), but Mac users rejoice because you’ve got another way to potentially speed up After Effects.

I’m a big fan of tapping into any resource that will speed up tasks and next to the CPU, the graphics card (or GPU) is the most powerful processing component in your computer.  The question then becomes, why not take advantage of it? 

If you access your After Effects preferences, go to the preview section

You want to choose OpenGL (when possible) if your card supports it.  To find that questions out, click on the OpenGL info button.  Hopefully, you’ll see something like this:

You’ll find that almost all recent computers and graphics cards will support these items and it’s great to see that some serious things are supported like Antialiasing and Motion Blur – things you’re likely to use all of the time.

So, take a minute to look at this and if you’ve found that it’s not turned on, well, I’ve hopefully just given you an early holiday present.

Cheers, Dennis


When you say, “The latest update from Apple”, what exactly do you mean? I assume you mean their latest OS update, but I’m not seeing any mention of anything OpenGL related in Apple’s description of this update, so I want to make sure you’re referring to that update and not something else. And, does this apply to both PowerPCs and Intel Macs?


[DR – Good question and one that I am not completely in the know about. some times I just pass on what I’ve heard from engineers and product managers. 😉 However, what I am 99% sure t that the QuickTime 7.2 update fixed some issues that we had reported to Apple sometime ago. The bottom line is that we now have OpenGL support whereas we didn’t. Good news in the end.]

For those of us not technically savvy, could you tell us what exactly is OpenGL? Thanks for the post!

[DR – my pleasure.

Basically, OpenGL is a standard that is published to allow applications and operating systems take advantage of the graphics cards. For After Effects, it allows us to accelerate previews. There is a strong move to adopt more OpenGL support within Adobe and I’m hopeful that we’ll continue to look to the GPU to assist us in various tasks. You can visit http://www.opengl.org for more information.]

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