Delay, Delay

While I myself probably am the master of endless delays because I all too often inflate my projects to a level of complexity so it takes forever to finish them, I still find it acceptable, since, after all, I’m giving most of it away for free. On the other hand there are delays that are not acceptable like missing deadlines or – as in this case – menus and commands having a lazy day. The one and only Kopriva-Man® posted this on mograph.net regarding the severe menu delays some users experience, an issue which not only beleaguers After Effects, but also Photoshop and the other programs :

Because of a change for After Effects CC (12.0) that shows the activated user in the menus, After Effects is checking a file on disk each time that menus are accessed. Because of the way that we implement keyboard shortcuts, this also means that the file is checked each time a keyboard shortcut is used.

On computers where disk access is slow (e.g., because the disk is slow, the bus is slow, or something else is reading from the disk at the same time), this simple check of a file can add a noticeable amount of time—maybe half a second or even a couple of seconds in some cases.

We are in the process of fixing this. It is my hope (but not a promise) that we’ll be able to have a good fix in place for the next update, which we’re targeting for September.

In the meantime, here’s how you should be able to mitigate the problem:

Make sure that your software is installed on the fastest disk that you have, preferably an SSD. If you don’t have an SSD, then at least make sure that your software (applications and OS) are not stored on the same drive from which you’re reading footage or to which you’re writing output files. And certainly don’t run applications with high disk access (like WinZip or anti-virus software that intervenes at every disk access, just for a couple of examples) while you are working with After Effects. (BTW, this is all good advice for high performance even without this bug.)

If you make these changes and notice an improvement, let us know. Actually, let us know either way so that we can collect more information.

So, how did this get past us? I think that it’s because we tend to test on computers that are set up as I describe above, including tending to use SSDs and having our disk access spread across multiple disks. That said, we do apologize for letting this get out and inconvenience you.

Do we accept that apology? Nope, because the answer is already in that post: If you only test in idealized environments, inevitably you are missing those bugs/ performance issues.  Not everyone has the latest HP workstations or Macs (in fact I’m sure there’s already some new Mac Pro prototypes in  their labs) stuffed to the brim with SSDs, so Todd‘s recommendation may actually go nowhere. At one point I also had an argument over a similar issue with another tester on one of the Adobe Betas – having your machines run on “clean” disk images does not represent a production state. There’s a million tiny tools out there that people use every day as there are different hardware configurations and if you want to avoid such glaring oversights, you have to let people test on dirty systems with crooked configurations, incompatible drivers and legacy apps, poorly maintained hard drives (tips on how to do better here), odd user and network configurations and so on. But then I guess everybody had thrown sand in his eyes and got carried away with testing Cineware. That free Cinema 4D Studio license from Maxon as reward sure must have been tempting….


2 comments on “Delay, Delay

  1. That’s an issue that has always made mad, they expect every user to have a workstation and work the way the think they should be working…

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