The Promise of Performance

While I was at the movies, apparently this little post made the rounds and caused a wave of comments everywhere. Translating the somewhat ominous post it essentially boils down to a completely new rendering pipeline which probably has been kinda in the works for the last 3 years, but never reached a level of actually making it into the product. Cool? I’m not quite sure.

Most people seem to be riding on realtime playback for everything, which, no offense to anyone, is a bit short-sighted in my opinion. Personally in fact it is a rather low priority for me. When I work I often spend a lot of time only jumping between very specific frames without ever RAM previewing, be it masking tasks, creating animated diagrams and charts or just constructing the layering for my 3D renders and tweaking colors and mattes. And that is the point where things get interesting for me. Rather than the program chewing through thousands of frames, my focus would be on things like masks becoming more intuitive, motion paths drawing quicker, 3D views updating much faster or that damned EXR loader extracting my channels without having to wait 10 seconds for each layer. That’s the kind of performance enhancements I’m looking for. Of course, and I’ve said that like a thousand times already, brutally fast expression evaluation would be high on my list as well and scripting people no doubt would love to see their stuff running much faster and without screen refresh glitches as well.

And where’s the flaw in those whole golden picture of a bright future? Exactly! We will have to sacrifice other things just to get it. The thought of not seeing a decent keyboard editor and a better color picker system already makes me itch in places that are too personal to mention here. Also one thing you might want to consider is that despite everyone’s good intentions such things have a way to take longer than one may think. There is bound to be some issues and setbacks along the way and ironing out the kinks may mean you could have to wait just that much longer before seeing everything in full effect. So to me it’s a kind of “Be careful what you wish for!” thing. There’s just too many loose ends in After Effects everywhere and while performance is one of them, on my lists other things come before that because in the end things like manually untwirling properties in the timeline because there is no shortcut to expose them or that annoying thing that you have to deselect mask points first before selecting other ones affect my productivity more. That is to say that such tiny enhancements would make me happier than scrubbing through 4k footage in realtime…

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