Posts tagged "After Effects"

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.

Controlling Time Webinar with Richard Harrington

Creating a reflective floor using After Effects

A common task in After Effects is to create a reflective floor in After Effects. Rob Garrott shows you how to create one with this video tutorial from This is part of a series called, “Design in Motion.” Check it out!

Other videos in the series:
Creating motion blur in After Effects
Depth of field in C4D and After Effects
Glowing “sci-fi” text in C4D and After Effects

Design in Motion is a series of creative techniques featuring short projects using After Effects and CINEMA 4D. Taught by motion graphics expert Rob Garrott, the course covers how color correction, expressions, rendering type, lighting, and animation are used in each program, and the topics are updated weekly. Using these tips and tricks, motion graphics designers will find designing to be a more efficient process.

New After Effects Compositing Course from Jeff Foster and video2brain

New After Effects Course by Jeff Foster

Jeff Foster, and video2brain, have just released a new video tutorial series, “Fundamentals of Compositing, Tracking, and Roto Techniques with After Effects.”

In this workshop Jeff Foster — video producer, compositor, visual effects artist, and author of “The Green Screen Handbook” — teaches you the basics of green screen compositing and setting up a streamlined roto workflow with After Effects and a Wacom tablet.

You’ll get real-world tips on getting the best mattes and keys from your green screen shots, stabilizing and tracking footage in After Effects, and using the Roto Brush feature to create quick and accurate mattes of anything that moves in the frame. You’ll also learn how to create more believable composites by matching your foreground and background plates, using roto-spline masks, and applying match-moving techniques.

Here are some free video tutorials from the series:

Best Practices in Software Keying
Related topics in Help:
Keying introduction and resources
Keying effects

Stabilizing with the Warp Stabilizer in After Effects 5.5
Related topics in Help:
Motion tracking overview and resources
Stabilize motion with the Warp Stabilizer effect (CS5.5 and later)
Track or stabilize motion with the point tracker

Roto Brush Basics
Related topics in Help:
Rotoscoping introduction and resources
Roto Brush and Refine Matte

Free After Effects CS5.5 Tutorials from

Recently, After Effects CS5.5 was released with a bunch of new features you’ll want to know more about. has commissioned After Effects whiz Mark Christiansen to create helpful tutorials describing these features. Here, you’ll find two free sample movies that will help you learn about the Warp Stabilizer and creating lens blur with the After Effects camera. The course delves into most of the main features of After Effects CS5.5 including Light Falloff, Stereoscopic 3D, and workflow improvements.

In this blog, I’ve provided links to the videos and some related links below each one.


Performing a basic stabilization with the Warp Stabilizer
Help: Stabilize Motion (CS5.5)
Adobe TV: Warp Stabilizer Instant Gratification

Creating lens blur with the After Effects camera
Help: Camera Settings
Adobe TV: 3D Camera Depth of Field Parameters

Thanks to Mark and for creating the tutorials. Here is a link to all the tutorials and the courseware: After Effects CS5.5 New Features. Enjoy!

Adobe Creative Suite CS5.5 Information: Articles and Tutorials

It’s finally out! Adobe Creative Suite CS5.5 was announced recently, and there is already a good deal of articles and videos that were released in support it. Take a look at each of these links for more info on your favorite Creative Suite Application.

Adobe Blogs
After Effects Region of Interest: After Effects CS5.5: What’s New and Changed
After Effects Region of Interest: Warp Stabilizer in After Effects CS5.5
After Effects Region of Interest: After Effects CS5.5 Integration with Audition CS5.5
After Effects Region of Interest: Source Timecode and other Timecode Features in After Effects CS5.5
After Effects Region of Interest: Improved Trial Version for After Effects CS5.5
After Effects Region of Interest: Stereoscopic 3D in After Effects CS5.5
After Effects Region of Interest: Camera Lens Blur Effect and Camera Depth of Field Properties in After Effects CS5.5
After Effects Region of Interest: Save a Project from After Effects CS5.5 for After Effects
After Effects Region of Interest: Light Falloff in After Effects CS5.5

Premiere Pro Work Area: Premiere Pro CS5.5: What’s New and Changed
Premiere Pro Work Area: Media Encoder CS5.5: What’s New and Changed
Premiere Pro Work Area: Merge Clips and Dual-System Sound in Adobe Premiere Pro CS5.5
Premiere Pro Work Area: Adobe Premiere Pro CS5.5 Integration with Audition CS5.5
Premiere Pro Work Area: Closed Captions in Adobe Premiere Pro CS5.5
Premiere Pro Work Area: Improved Trial Version for Adobe Premiere Pro CS5.5
Premiere Pro Work Area: Unified Audio Effects in Adobe Premiere Pro CS5.5
Premiere Pro Work Area: Adobe Premiere Pro CS5.5 Improvements in CUDA processing and the Mercury Playback Engine
Premiere Pro Work Area: Adobe Premiere Pro CS5.5 Integration with Adobe Story

Adobe TV
Adobe Creative Suite 5.5 Production Premium Feature Tour Overview
Greater Performance Gains with the Mercury Playback Engine in Adobe Premiere Pro CS5.5
A Smoother Editing Workflow with Dual-System Sound Support in Adobe Premiere Pro CS5.5
Control Light Intensity Falloff with the Light Falloff Effect in After Effects CS5.5
Stabilize Shaky Footage with the Warp Stabilizer in After Effects CS5.5
Create Soft-Focus Effects with the Camera Lens Blur Feature in After Effects CS5.5
What’s New in Audition CS5.5
Experience an Integrated Audio-For-Video Workflow
Get Direct Integration with Adobe Story and Adobe Premiere Pro CS5.5
Improved 64-Bit Adobe Media Encoder in Premiere Pro CS5.5
CS Subscription Overview
Camera Lens Blur in AE CS5.5
Dude, Where’s My Task? Soundbooth vs. Audition
Premiere Pro to Audition
Nested Mercury CUDA
Media Encoder 5.5 on the Z800
Adobe Story: An Introduction
Adobe Story: Collaborating with Co-Authors
CS Review: Integration with Adobe Premiere Pro
Production Workflow Using Metadata
Adobe and Gareth Edwards (Warp Stabilizer)
AE CS5.5: New Creative Techniques Introduction
AE CS5.5: Warp Stabilizer Instant Gratification
AE CS5.5: Warp Stabilizer Basic Parameters
AE CS5.5: Warp Stabilizer Advanced Parameters
AE CS5.5: Outsmarting the Warp Stabilizer
AE CS5.5: Enhancements including Light Falloff
AE CS5.5: Camera Depth of Field Parameters
AE CS5.5: Camera Depth of Field Utilities
AE CS5.5: Orbit Camera Rigs
AE CS5.5: Camera Lens Blur Effect
AE CS5.5: The New Stereoscopic 3D Camera Rig
AE CS5.5: Stereo 3D Controls
AE CS5.5: Stereo 3D Glasses Effect
AE CS5.5: 3D Focus and Stereoscopic Convergence
AE CS5.5: The After Effects/Audition Workflow
AE CS5.5: Advanced Audition for After Effects
AE CS5.5: Edit This/Look at That
AE CS5.5: Searching and Sorting
AE CS5.5: Source Timecode
AE CS5.5: Enhanced Caching
AE CS5.5: Expression Enhancements
AE CS5.5: Save Project as After Effects CS5
AE CS5.5: New Creative Techniques Conclusion
Adobe Creative Suite CS5.5 Production Premium
Adobe Creative Suite CS5.5 Features
Adobe Creative Suite CS5.5 System Requirements
Adobe Creative Suite CS5.5 Reviews
Adobe Creative Suite CS5.5 FAQ
Adobe Creative Suite CS5.5 Showcase
Adobe Creative Suite CS5.5 Extensibility (RED + plug-ins)
Adobe Creative Suite CS5.5 Buying Guide + Subscriptions

Pro Video Coalition
After Effects CS5.5 by Trish and Chris Meyer
Updated: Adobe Warp Stabilizer (P)review by Chris Meyer
After Effects CS5.5 In Production by Mark Christiansen
Adobe Premiere Pro Hits 5.5 by Scott Simmons
AE CS5.5: New Creative Techniques Introduction by Rich Young
What’s New in Adobe Audition by Rich Young
Creative Suite 5.5 Production Premium by Rich Young
Camera Lens Blur in CS5.5 by Rich Young
Production Premium CS5.5 Storms Onto the Scene by Adobe

Studio Daily
Adobe Announces Creative Suite CS5.5 by Bryant Frazier

Warp Stabilizer Effect, New in After Effects CS5.5 by Richard Harrington

RED User
Some Details about RED Improvements in CS5.5

Free After Effects CS5 Tutorials from

Ian Robinson

Recently, the venerable tutorial site,, released several free tutorials for creating motion graphics with After Effects CS5. Presented by Ian Robinson, these high quality tutorials should help you learn about such subjects including workflow, using animators with type, and creating storyboards. In this blog, I’ve embedded the videos and provided some related links below each one.

Welcome Video

Workflow for creating motion graphics
Help: Planning your work

Converting type from Photoshop
Help: Convert text from Photoshop to editable text

Using Animators with Type
Help: Examples and resources for text animation
Help: Text animation presets

Creating storyboards in After Effects
Adobe TV: Making Storyboards

Applying the final effects
Help: Keyframe Interpolation
Help: Add randomness to a property with the Wiggler

Thanks to Ian and for creating the tutorials. Don’t forget to check ’em out. Here is a link to all the tutorials and the courseware: After Effects CS5: Creating Motion Graphics. Enjoy!

Tutorials for After Effects in Arabic at

Cairo, Egypt: the home of

Cairo, Egypt: the home of

After Effects Help is translated into a number of languages for our foreign customers. Unfortunately, it is not possible for us to support every language on the planet. That’s why when we come upon a new resource for foreign language users of After Effects, we like to tell you about it.

Recently, I happened upon a cool After Effects resource for Arabic speakers. It’s a tutorial based website called, located in Cairo, Egypt. The site is run by Essam and Heba Hawas. Heba is the voice behind all the tutorials and she does a wonderful job (check out Heba’s tutorial about the Roto Brush here). They also do tutorials for the cartoon creation program, Toon Boom.

In addition to the Qtab website, you can also reach out to Qtab on both Facebook and Twitter (@qtabdotnet). Heba Hawas also has some videos uploaded to Vimeo here. Be sure to connect with them if you are interested in learning more about After Effects in the Arabic world.

Not an Arabic speaker but looking for resources for After Effects in your native language? There’s already a fine blog post called, “Getting Started and Help and Support Pages in Several Languages” that addresses foreign language support on Todd Kopriva’s “After Effects Region of Interest” blog.

The folks at can also be found helping folks out with After Effects on the new Arabic language forum here at Adobe.

After Effects Leftovers, Secrets You May Have Forgotten

If you’ve been using After Effects for a long time, you may have forgotten some of the more useful features over time. If this sounds like you, then have I got an article for you!

Over at Pro Video Coalition’s “Motion Graphics and Visual Effects” section, Chris Zwar has written up a 5 part series called, “After Effects Leftovers”, which features over 40 tips, tricks, workflow suggestions and general reminders about topics like layout, masking, painting, rendering and even the After Effects interface. Along with the articles are helpful videos. Click the links for those at the end of each article. There are corresponding project files that are available from Chris Zwar’s website, as well.

Sounds good? Then hop right over to the series and read all about it in the following locations.

Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5

If you have any questions, keep in mind that you can always find info at the After Effects Help Forums or the Manual.