You might be surprised if you benchmark your various Memory & Multiprocessing settings.

Oct. × ’13

It’s been far too long since my last update on this site, so I thought I’d share some interesting findings regarding Memory & Multiprocessing settings in After Effects.

I’m currently working on a fairly intense project and decided to play with some of the preferences to determine what settings were best for my machine. One would think that allocating a large amount of RAM per background CPU would result in the best overall performance but I was wrong.

Machine Specs

  • 2009 Mac Pro model 4,1
  • 8 cores
  • 24GB RAM
  • Crucial 512GB M4 SSD for the OS
  • Hitachi 2TB 7200RPM drive for cache
  • nVidia GTX 570 GPU


For this benchmark I’m working at 1080p 29.97 and the total RAM Preview duration is approximately 60secs long. I’m also working at 1/4 resolution. Here are the results:

Render Multiple Frames RAM allocation Actual CPUs used Render Time
On 1.5GB 8 9:16
On 2GB 6 2:38
On 3GB 4 1:44
On 4GB 2 2:09
On 6GB 0 3:00
Off n/a 16 2:59

So, I’d love for someone to explain the results above. The magic number for my machine is 3GB. Before this test I had my machine set to use 1.5GB of RAM which allowed 8 CPUs according to the settings dialog window. For whatever reason, that seemed like the logical choice. I now have it obviously set to 3GB and can tell a difference in the speed of my RAM previews already.

I’d love to hear your comments below.

Posted in After Effects | Leave a comment

2016: Obama’s America

Aug. × ’12

I was fortunate enough to work on the 2016: Obama’s America movie recently, supplying motion graphics for the intro and a number of other scenes in the movie.

Disclaimer: I voted for Obama and do not necessarily agree with any of the views or opinions expressed in the movie. That said I’m still proud of the work I produced and hope you enjoy that aspect of the movie.

Check out the trailer here:


Posted in After Effects, Motion Graphics, Work | Leave a comment

Yousendit Desktop App. How to switch user account / logout and login as a different user.

Jun. × ’12

I recently used the Yousendit Desktop App to sync some files for a video I was working on. While I still prefer Dropbox, it’s nice to see Yousendit adding syncing capabilities with the desktop app.

I quickly found out however that 1) I had two Yousendit accounts 2) There was no way to switch my account once the app was installed.

I’m using OS 10.6.8 on a Mac Pro and version of Yousendit’s Desktop app.

How to for Mac:

  • Quit the Yousendit Desktop application first.
  • On your mac, open a finder window and navigate to the following folder.
    • Macintosh HD/Users/Username/Library/Preferences/
    • Note: Replace “Macintosh HD” and “Username” with your hard drive name and user account name.
  • Find the file named com.yousendit.YouSendIt.plist , simply delete it and relaunch the Yousendit Desktop app.
Posted in Mac Stuff | Leave a comment

Unable to set maximum number of files to be opened.

Jun. × ’12

Launched CS6 today and was greeted with the following error: Unable to set maximum number of files to be opened.

Yeah! Awesome. So after searching for a long while it seems running a script will allow Illustrator to launch properly. There are other possible conflicts listed on the Adobe Forum link below.


creative_nick wrote:

I also encountered this issue on MAC OSX 10.7. I tried many hit and trials and finally found a way to launch Ai, though it is just a workaround. I followed these steps:

1. I created shell script which can launch Ai. You can download this shell script from the location:

2. Unzip the folder and drag the launchAI.command file into your dock area. (Please verify the application path, since I have installed AICS6 on default location)

3. Click launchAI.command icon in the dock.

4. A terminal will appear asking your user password, enter your password to see if AI launches successfully.

5. If you don’t like typing password  for each run, you can edit /etc/sudoers file to add a line “%staff ALL=(ALL) NOPASSWD: ALL” . (Replace staff with your user’s group name).

Please see if this workaround also works for you.

All the best!

Posted in Adobe Illustrator | 5 Responses

Maya batch render slowness? Welcome IK Render View Batch Render

Dec. × ’11
IK Render View Renderer

IK Render View Renderer

I’m using Maya 2012 64-bit on Mac OS X, and there are often times when I can not figure out why the batch renderer is taking so damn long to render my frames. One project for example was taking on average 1.5 minutes per frame in Maya’s native Render View, yet that same frame took almost 11 minutes PER FRAME when I rendered via the Batch Renderer. What’s up with that Autodesk?!

After many hours of trying to troubleshoot it I gave in and found Mr. Irakli Kublashvili’s IK Render View Batch Renderer. It is a simple MEL file that you copy to your scripts folder, then in Maya you type “IK_renderViewBr;” to launch a nice dialog box that allows you to pick the folder, start and end frames, frame size and other relevant options for your IK Render View Batch Render. Once you click on the Render button it renders each frame in Maya’s Render View window, when the frame is complete it saves it to the folder you specify, and automatically starts the next frame continuing until it reaches the end frame.

Major props to Irakli for creating this. A project that would have taken roughly 36 hours to render with Maya’s Batch Renderer finished in the more appropriate 5-6 hours I originally had expected. I hope this helps some of you!

Visit Irakli’s site here

Download the plugin from Creative Crash here

Posted in Maya | 4 Responses

After Effects warning: Unable to create font

May. × ’11

UPDATE: The After Effects 12.2 Update fixes this bug. Find more information here

I noticed a strange error while trying to open a project I created on OS X 10.6.6, right after upgrading to 10.6.7 and applying the Snow Leopard Font Update. When launching After Effects CS5 it popped up a dialog error message stating After Effects warning: Unable to create font. I searched Google and found that After Effects will error out if it does not find the Verdana font installed on your system. I also use Suitcase Fusion and opened that up to find that Verdana was in fact not activated. So I reactivated Verdana, closed and relaunched After Effects CS5, and to my surprise it worked fine again.

I suspect that after the Snow Leopard Font Update, it somehow deactivated Verdana. I wish After Effects CS5 would pop up a more descriptive window stating something like, “After Effects Warning: Verdana font not installed. Please re-install.”, but at this point I’m just happy to have it working again.

I hope this helps someone out there.

Posted in After Effects | 46 Responses

After Effects CS5 Update / 10.0.2

Apr. × ’11

Finally Adobe has fixed a few annoying issues with After Effects CS5 with their newest 10.0.2 update. I recently imported a CS3 project that used Trapcode’s Particular plugin version 2.0. I did not have that plugin installed in CS5 and it popped up a persistent “unexpected data type” error message. Instead of it nicely popping up a “missing plugin” message or something similar, it completely failed to open the project and I had to force quit the application.

10.0.2 supposedly fixes this annoying little glitch. Here are a few other fixes taken from Adobe’s readme.

Notable Fixes

  • Issue where users may encounter a persistent “unexpected data type” error message when opening projects containing missing effects with layer parameters at non-default values. (54666)
  • Crashing condition when importing compositions created with Automatic Duck’s Pro Import AE plug-in. (W2796549)
  • Crashing condition when using the Directional Blur effect with Mthread.plugin enabled. (55603)


Known Issues

  • Possible hang on startup if firewall software (such as ZoneAlarm) previously blocked the After Effects application (AfterFX.exe), Adobe QT32 Server.exe, or dynamiclinkmanager.exe. For more information, see (2644373)
  • Blocky artifacts in RGB color channels using Canon 5D MKII footage. (2618756)
  • BMP footage in a CS4 project opens as missing footage. Workaround: Relink footage
    after opening. (2620346)
  • RED: CS4 and CS5 (version 10.0) projects that use the existing color science will use the
    new color science (version 2) when opened in 10.0.2. Also, RED settings are not retained if a 10.0.2-saved project is opened in 10.0 (which has the older color science). If you are using R3D footage in a multiple-machine environment, make sure all machines are using the same version of After Effects. (2645416)
  • RED: If another application acquires the ROCKET card before After Effects does, After Effects does not display a message at launch that it will fall back to software (non- ROCKET) rendering. (2673949)
Posted in After Effects | 1 Response

After Effects error: making file specification – no such volume (-35)

Mar. × ’10

Have you come across this error before in After Effects?

After Effects error: making file specification – no such volume (-35)

Yeah, it sucks.  Well, today was my first time experiencing this error.  I was opening an archived After Effects project, and as soon as it started to open I saw the error message.  I racked my brain trying to figure out why it was missing media because I was opening the project from a collected files folder.  I kept saying to myself,”This is what collected files is for…I shouldn’t be missing ANYTHING!”.  To top it all off, I had to continuously click the button as it tried to open the project because it was missing every single asset.  Finally it opened in After Effects and all assets were missing so I relinked everything and saved the project.  Fast forward 10 minutes later, AE crashed on me and I had to restart the program only to be welcomed by that annoying error message AGAIN!  So I got smart and googled the error message.

Well it turns out that the HFS file system on Mac has a 32 character limit on any Volume Name.  My external drive was exactly 32 characters.  I simply closed After Effects, renamed the external drive by shaving off a few characters of the Volume Name and TADA…Everything was fine!

So lesson of the day: Don’t make your Volume Names longer than 32 characters!

Posted in After Effects, Mac Stuff | Tagged , , , , | 7 Responses

Opening Maya projects from a newer version in older versions.

Jan. × ’10

Often times I find that clients or co-workers are using older versions of Maya software which can create a headache at time of delivery.  Here’s a quick tip to “downgrade” the Maya scene file.

For example:  I have a Maya 2009 project that needs to work in Maya 2008.  It uses nCloth which was available in 2008 so we are golden there.

  • Save the Maya 2009 scene file as a .MA (Maya Ascii file format)
  • Open it in any text editor and make sure it’s in plain text format.
  • Find the lines of code that reference the Maya version number like this:

//Maya ASCII 2009 scene
//Name: name of maya
//Last modified: Sat, Jan 16, 2010 1:12:40 PM
//Codeset: UTF-8
requires maya "2009";

  • And simply comment out the lines at the beginning of the file by adding two slashes “//”:

//Maya ASCII 2009 scene
//Name: name of maya
//Last modified: Sat, Jan 16, 2010 1:12:40 PM
//Codeset: UTF-8
//requires maya "2009";

There is a new method since the Maya 2008 release (I think that’s when they started this). If you click on File > Open Scene > Option Box, you’ll see a little checkbox to “ignore version“. Much easier this way.

NOTE: If you are using nodes that are exclusive to a new release, this will not work or at least the exclusive nodes will not import.  That will require a little trial and error.

Posted in Maya | 1 Response

Gmail Notifier for Mac not checking mail as often?

Jan. × ’10

I noticed that on my Mac Pro running 10.5.8, with Google Notifier version I was experiencing long delays between checks.  It seems the moment I updated to this version it was waiting for long periods of time to check my email.  Sometimes I would have to manually force it to check, or go to Firefox and check it manually.

Well I found a page with a tip from Johnnygozy:

I think I’ve figured out a solution for this problem. If you click on the mail icon, then hold down command and option keys while clicking on preferences in the drop down box, you will be prompted with a box that has a key and value prompt. Type “AutocheckInterval” under key (this seems to be case-sensitive) and then under value type in the number in minutes of how often you want it checked. You will need to quit out of the notifier (again found in the drop down box under the mail icon) and then run the app again for your change to take effect.  I typed in 1 and it is checking every minute or so now for me. I hope this works for everyone else too.

This worked perfectly for me, but some users are experiencing trouble.  Give it a try.

Posted in Gmail | Tagged , , | Leave a comment