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Putting Together the Perfect After Effects Workstation

Updated: May 8

Putting Together the Perfect After Effects Workstation

After Effects is designed for use in Motion Design, Compositing, and Video Editing. 2D Character Animation, Tracking, Typography Animation, and Footage Stabilization are some of the prominent sub-categories.

There are two major types of After Effects workload:

Active work: When you sit at your desk and use your workstation actively, you are doing active After Effects work. This might include animating layers, editing film, generating masks, applying effects, scrolling the timeline, or navigating the user interface via menus and buttons.

Passive Work: Passive After Effects Work is completed when the program accomplishes tasks on its own without your intervention. Workloads like rendering out your projects and effect processing tasks like footage stabilization are examples of such workloads.

Processor (CPU):

One of the most crucial components of an After Effects workstation is the processor (or CPU). While GPU acceleration is gaining popularity, your CPU choice currently has a considerably greater influence on total system performance. CPU clock speeds of 3.2 GHz or above are beneficial to After Effects.

GPU (Video Card):

It is critical to have a supported GPU for After Effects, although the impact of a more capable GPU depends on how many GPU-accelerated effects you use. The newest NVIDIA GeForce series GPUs deliver excellent performance, although the difference in raw performance across cards is rather minor. However, with the introduction of multi-frame rendering, the quantity of VRAM on the graphics card has become more essential than in the past. After Effects is designed to make use of the GPU. As a result, a GPU with at least 8GB of VRAM is advised.

Memory (RAM):

After Effects may frequently benefit from having extremely high amounts of RAM available, depending on the duration, resolution, and intricacy of your projects. With additional RAM, AE may keep more previews in RAM rather than on a cache disk, resulting in speedier playback. Using a fast SSD as your cache drive can help to alleviate some of the performance losses, but no hard disk or SSD can match RAM in terms of speed. Recommended RAM for After Effects is starting with 64GB of RAM. Include 4GB of RAM for each CPU core, add 20GB, and round up to the nearest normal RAM configuration for Multi-Frame Rendering.

Storage (Hard Drives):

Storage is an important feature of a video editing and motion graphics workstation that is sometimes underestimated. While the CPU or video card may conduct all of the work, it doesn’t matter how fast those components are if your storage can’t keep up. What complicates storage is that you not only have to deal with the numerous sorts of drives available today, but you also want to have them set in a way that maximizes speed in After Effects.

You may utilize one of two types of SSDs for an After Effects workstation: SSD or NVMe.

► SATA SSDs are far quicker than platter drives. These drives are ideal for a variety of activities, including storing your operating system and apps, storing media and ongoing projects, and serving as a cache/scratch disk.

► NVMe drives are available in two sizes (M.2 and U.2), although both are much quicker than even an SSD drive. However, in most circumstances, an NVMe drive will not provide a significant speed boost because a current regular SSD is already fast enough that it is rarely a performance constraint. The most common application for these drives is a disc cache because a drive with greater write rates means you’ll be able to write frames from RAM Preview to the drive before that frame is overwritten.

Audio Device:

While audio is not the major issue for motion graphics, it is an essential component of any video editing workstation. There are several audio solutions available, including onboard audio incorporated into the motherboard, a standalone PCI-E sound card, or a USB DAC.

After Effects Workstation should be prioritized as follows:

► A CPU with 32 cores will reap the most benefits from Multi-Frame Rendering.

► Increase the RAM to 128GB or more, depending on the use case.

► Include faster SSD or NVMe drives, as well as a quicker network connection, for shared storage.

► A more powerful GPU with more than 8GB of VRAM.

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