Adobe After Effects is a venerable compositing and effects software package that first saw the light of day in 1993. Today it is a popular tool in both the film- and television- industries for keying, tracking, compositing as well as animation. Although After Effect can be used for basic editing of video and audio, it is usually paired with a full-blown editing package such as Adobe Premiere Pro.
After Effects has been used as part of the suite of tools in many high-budget feature where compositing is needed. Notable films include The Aviator, The Talented Mr Ripley and Van Helsing. Even Star Trek:Into Darkness made use of the software, especially to support the 3D-filming process.
Adobes minimum system requirements are quite modest for After Effect, which has made it popular even with amateur editors on YouTube and for home video. However, After Effects can really take advantage of the computing power in a professional grade workstation. It all depends on the level of effects that you want to produce.
RECOMMENDED HARDWARE FOR AFTER EFFECTS:
Let us have a look at what you should be shopping for, when building your After Effect workstation. Remember that if you are going to run another package such as Premiere Pro on the same machine, you will have to take the requirements of both into account when choosing a specification.
Adobes software always leaves us to make the difficult choice between core count and CPU frequency. Since Adobe removed a major rendering feature from the 2015 version of the software, there is no longer a reason to chase large numbers of cores or multi-socket systems. Should Adobe but the parallel rendering feature back in place this will no longer be true.Adobe have stated that they will reintroduce a better multiprocessing feature in the future, but with no timeline. Therefore the choice is to choose a CPU that will be sub-optimal now, but may be better at some undefined point in the future or vice versa. We can however only work on what the latest software needs today and so, regardless of how many cores the CPU has, we cannot recommend the use of a CPU that has a frequency of less than 3.5Ghz in single-thread performance.
What Adobe has taken away from CPU rendering, it seems to have compensated for in GPU rendering. The trend to harness the massive parallel processing power of modern GPUs continues in the case of After Effects. The best all-around choice taking both performance and price into account is the latest Geforce line from Nvidia. However, if you want to use 30-bit color or have a display that supports 10-bit input, you will have to opt for a more expensive Quadro card.
After Effects can be a RAM-hungry application and while Adobe recommends between 4-8GB of RAM, the truth is that even moderate professional work will need an amount of 32GB as a working minimum. For truly high-end work with many high-resolution elements we move solidly into the realm of 128GB and up.
Secondary storage transfer speeds have stagnated many years, but in recent times the move to semiconductor-based solid state hard drives has put storage speed improvements on the same track that CPUs and RAM enjoy. Therefore, regardless of the total specification level of the workstation, we recommend an SSD both for the OS and application drive and (if possible) the larger secondary drive where active project files are kept. A large mechanical drive can still be used for archival purposes. For the primary drive on high end systems we strongly recommend an NVMe add-in card SSD.
Titan Computers recommended configuration for Adobe After Effects
Our affordable Titan C161 is the minimum machine we recommend for a good After Effects experience. Our midrange recommendation is the Titan A399, which is also a more versatile workstation and is recommended if you are a sole professional doing more than just After Effects.
For high-end, high-resolution projects or where the cost of time far outweighs the cost of the hardware, we recommend our popular X299 Vulcan. An overclocked beast of a machine to handle all you can throw at it.
Operating systems supported by 3DS Max
Windows 10 Professional 64-bit
Windows 8.1 64-bit (pro)
Windows 7 64-bit (Professional and Ultimate)
LIST OF COMPATIBLE WORKSTATIONS