I actually had a pretty frustrating experience last week with After Effects while I was trying to finish up some animation just in time for drupa 2012. There I was with all my beautifully rendered OpenEXR files from Cinema 4D and then the program showed me its ugly teeth. Working with EXRs has always been slower than with other file formats by a factor of 3 to 5, but when it told me that it wanted to render this simple comp for 3 hours, my heart just sunk. Even working with those files in the comp was like dragging through molasses. Luckily I also had rendered out 16bit PSDs and know what – the whole thing rendered in 20 minutes and from my RAID setup it played without the slightest hitch almost realtime. Go, figure! Of course all this meant that I had to compromise on the look, but luckily I’m of the oldschool 3D artist kind that try to balance settings in the program itself to a point that the "Beauty Pass", meaning the normal RGBA output, rather than relying on reconstructing everything with passes later, so it still looked quite okay. Would have been nice to use ambient occlusion and an extra shadow pass to make things a tiny bit more contrasty here and there, but it’s not the end of the world. Who else than me should ever notice, anyway? Still, it seems my frustrated cries have been heard and FNord have updated the EXR plug-ins, including ProEXR. If they really have doubled the speed, this might make it feasible to use them, after all – next time. For now I’m gonna test this a bit when I’m back at work now that I have the files floating around…

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