I’ve spoken here several times about how running After Effects on a 64-bit OS with plenty of RAM offers the best performance available today. In fact, it’s been several years since After Effects and other Adobe video and audio software started supporting 64-bit operating systems. Along the way, it has been an incremental process to take advantage of what the 64-bit computers have to offer.
At the same time, we’ve seen a huge increase in what you’re asking from your software. These days HD is the norm and SD is just a legacy delivery format. And you’re not likely to stop there. You are probably wondering how to build efficient workflows with 4K images like those from the Red camera. 4K is 35 times the resolution of SD. Yes, you will need more from your software in order to answer this call.
Today we are announcing that the next version of Adobe After Effects will be a native 64-bit application. This news represents a huge step forward and will provide unprecedented advantages to just about anyone who uses After Effects today. It’s going to be a must-have release.
Let’s back up a bit because the term “64-bit” is a bit of a tech buzzword. What does 64-bit really mean to After Effects users? In a nutshell, After Effects will be able to take advantage of all the RAM that your operating system allows.
RAM, shmam. Why do you really care about a native 64-bit After Effects?
First, you get the ability to render heavier comps. I’m talking about high resolutions and tons of layers. These are the projects that put the hurt on previous versions of After Effects. If you currently get out-of-memory and errors, this one is for you.
Second, you’ll be able to have longer ram previews. Imagine being able to fit a full HD 30-second spot into your RAM preview cache. Your green bars will be much much longer.
Third, you’ll be able to work more efficiently with floating point color. Floating point color (aka 32-bit color) requires 4 times the RAM compared to 8-bit color, so working with over-range or HDR imagery will be improved.
Fourth, the green bars you see on the timeline are the visible part of our sophisticated RAM caching technology. With access to larger amounts of RAM, After Effects can store more intermediate renders in its caching system. This means that items re-render or load from disk less often.
It’s way too early for rendering speed benchmarks, but I’m thrilled with the possibilities of a 64-bit native After Effects.
So why am I telling you this today?
In order to bring you these advancements, we’ve had to focus on 64-bit conversion in lieu of continuing to invest in 32-bit support. This means that after 3 versions of supporting both 64- and 32-bit, the next version of After Effects will only support 64-bit operating systems.
Virtually all of Apple’s Intel-based Mac systems support 64-bit applications, and Windows users should choose a 64-bit version of Windows to take advantage of the hardware capabilities. You’ll probably want to toss some extra RAM in your machine, too. With prices dipping below $25 per GB, it’s getting pretty cheap to max out your system RAM.
We realize that new system requirements may require some preparation on your part. We want you to be ready and so we’ve taken the extraordinary step of announcing this news much earlier than usual.
We’re not announcing a ship date yet, and there is more on this subject on Adobe’s blog at Pro Video Coalition. We have also posted an official FAQ is available on the Adobe web.
Oh, and by the way, 64-bit native is coming to Premiere Pro, too!
I would love to tell you about the other cool things in the release, but I don’t want to ruin all the fun! Besides, you’ll just hate me because you can’t have it today. 🙂