Archive for September, 2013

Enabling CUDA for Premiere Pro and After Effects in the MacBook Pro Retina


Premiere Pro Project Settings

Just the other day, I became the lucky recipient of a brand new MacBook Pro Retina as my new work laptop. Nice! I’m sure many of you know what I was thinking–Mercury Playback Engine support! The GPU is also supported for hardware acceleration when creating ray-traced 3D compositions in After Effects, as well. More on that a bit later.

Premiere Pro
Upon launching Premiere Pro CC (lightning fast, by the way!), I noticed that only OpenCL processing was available in Project Settings > Video Rendering and Playback > Renderer. With the NVIDIA 650M GPU, I expected to see CUDA processing available, as well, as this video card supports both OpenCL and CUDA processing. I did not.

Note: Having access to both CUDA and OpenCL processing in Premiere Pro is only available in Mac OS X. The NVIDIA 650M will only support CUDA in Windows.

This is not a Premiere Pro issue, it is because CUDA drivers are not natively installed in your shiny new MacBook Pro. You need to do that in order for CUDA processing to work with the Mercury Playback Engine. For these drivers, go to the NVIDIA site:

I found the most current driver, along with an archive of earlier drivers, here:


CUDA System Preferences – Mac OS X


Premiere Pro Project Settings

Download the driver and install it. After installation, check Apple > System Preferences for the CUDA control panel. Click on the control panel to access the controls. You can update the CUDA driver  here, if there is one available. All CUDA updates can be accessed from the control panel, so it’s a good habit to check it periodically.

To enable CUDA processing for the Mercury Playback Engine, first restart Premiere Pro. Then, head to File > Project Settings (note: for CS6 users, Project Settings are in the Project menu) to see if you have installed it.

You should now have access to CUDA processing for the Mercury Playback Engine, as shown (left).

If you are still having trouble enabling CUDA, the MacBook Pro is not seeing your NVIDIA card. You have two video cards in a MacBook Pro Retina, the NVIDIA 650M and the Intel HD Graphics 4000 built in card. I feel it is important to force the MacBook Pro Retina to use the NVIDIA 650M at all times so that it does not switch to the Intel card unnecessarily.

To do this, choose the Apple menu > System Preferences > Energy Saver and disable the Automatic Graphics Switching checkbox. That will ensure you are using the NVIDIA card at all times.

After Effects

The NVIDIA 650M in the MacBook Pro Retina is supported to accelerate ray-traced 3D compositions in After Effects, however, this is not recommended. Unfortunately, the NVIDIA 650M has barely enough VRAM to support acceleration for ray-traced 3D compositions. See this forum post by Todd Kopriva for details:

That said, users will probably try to enable acceleration in their MacBook Pro Retina anyway.

If you still want to enable CUDA processing despite potential problems you may run into, launch After Effects to make sure that the application is seeing your NVIDIA 650M. If you launch After Effects and get a Warning dialog box, the application is not seeing your GPU. The reason is that the video card may have too many other resources trying to use the VRAM (like other applications, web browsers, or connected hardware), therefore, After Effects will not enable the card because there is not enough VRAM available.


After Effects Warning dialog box

If this happens, click OK in the dialog box, and close After Effects. Close other applications, web browsers, and disconnect any hardware device reliant upon the GPU. Then, restart After Effects. Note if you get the Warning dialog box when inspecting Preferences.

If CUDA is still disabled, reboot the MacBook Pro Retina, and then relaunch the application. CUDA should now be enabled.

You can ensure that CUDA is enabled by checking the GPU Information dialog box.

To view the GPU information dialog box, choose Preferences > Preview, and then press the GPU Information button to launch the dialog box.


After Effects GPU Information

If CUDA information is available, then you will now have access to the benefits of CUDA.

For best performance, choose System Preferences > Energy Saver from the Apple menu. Click the Power Adapter button and disable Automatic Graphics Switching, and then close System Preferences.

If you continually are running out of VRAM when using hardware acceleration for ray-traced 3D rendering, it may be a better idea to do this on a computer with a NVIDIA card that has more VRAM.

Adobe Media Encoder
Adobe Media Encoder also utilizes GPU acceleration for encoding certain items. After launching the application, look in the Queue panel and inspect the menu at the bottom of the panel. There you should see some familiar choices for GPU acceleration. If CUDA processing is not available, try closing other applications and any web browsers which take up GPU resources. If that does not work, restart the MacBook Pro and CUDA processing should again be available.

I hope this article helps you troubleshoot problems you may be having enabling the NVIDIA 650M for CUDA processing in Adobe video applications.

Marking posts as correct or helpful on the Adobe forums

markascorrectHopefully, most of you have already used the Adobe forums for help in troubleshooting issues with Adobe software. If you haven’t yet checked them out, here’s a link:

After posting your question on the forums, other users try to help you solve your issue. If you have found that another user has answered your question, please mark the answer as “Correct” by clicking the link marked “Correct” at the bottom of the post. If a user has provided a helpful piece of information but did not answer your question, please mark the post as “Helpful” by clicking the “Helpful” link at the bottom of the post.

This greatly aids users trying to find correct answers to their issues. Users also get “points” for correct and helpful answers, so it’s nice to reward them, as well.

Thanks so much for marking posts as “Correct” or “Helpful.”

Saving an effect or multiple effects as a preset in Premiere Pro

About presets

Are you an effects junkie? I am. One thing I often do is create preset effects to help speed up my workflow. You create an effects preset with an effect or group of effects to create a specific visual treatment to a video clip. In the Effects panel, open the Presets bin and note the stock presets that come with the program.

Sure, you can save a single effect as a preset, I do it all the time. However, I often use combinations of multiple effects to achieve a certain result. Can combinations of effects be saved as a single preset in Premiere Pro? The answer is, “yes, you can.” Let’s first see how to create a simple effects preset, then work into making a preset containing multiple effects.

Saving a preset

Screen Shot 2013-09-03 at 3.01.38 PMTo save a single effect as a preset, do the following:

  1. Add any effect to a clip in the Timeline by doing one of the following.
    • Drag and drop an effect from the Effects panel to a clip.
    • Select the clip and then double-click an effect in the Effects panel.
  2. Open the clip in the Effect Controls panel by double-clicking the clip.
  3. Adjust any controls to achieve the desired results viewed in the Program Monitor.
  4. Right-click (Windows) or Ctrl-click (Mac OS) directly on the effect.
  5. Choose > Save Preset.
  6. In the Save Preset dialog box, name the preset. Add a description, if desired.
  7. Click OK.
  8. The preset is now available in the Presets bin in the Effects panel.

Screen Shot 2013-09-03 at 3.01.55 PMTo save multiple effects as a preset, do the following:

  1. Add effects to a clip in the Timeline, as outlined previously.
  2. Open the clip in the Effect Controls panel by double-clicking the clip.
  3. Adjust controls for each effect to achieve the desired results viewed in the Program Monitor.
    • Drag the effect to a different place in the stack of effects, if necessary.
    • Readjust controls, if necessary.
  4. Right-click (Windows) or Ctrl-click (Mac OS) on any of the effects.
  5. Choose > Save Preset.
  6. In the Save Preset dialog box, name the preset. Add a description, if desired.
  7. Click OK.
  8. The preset is now available in the Presets bin in the Effects panel.

Now, you have a preset that you can apply to any clip or group of clips you like.

Drag and drop the effects preset, or select the clip and then double click the preset to apply it.

More about presets

Note that you do not need to worry about the alpha-numeric order of multiple effects, they remain in the same order that you saved them. Also keep in mind that this preset will be saved in the Presets bin for every project you do in Premiere Pro, not just the current project.

Details about effect presets are found here in the help documentation.

Here is a video tutorial about presets:

Enjoy creating your collection of preset effects!