- GridIron Nucleo Pro for Adobe After Effects 7.0
- GridIron Nucleo Pro for Adobe After Effects 7.0
Systems with multiple CPUs, multi-core CPUs Nucleo Pro supports
Mac OS X
and all Windows operating systems running Adobe After Effects
7.0 and above.
Ram-2 GB per CPU/Core is recommended
20MB of available hard-disk space for installation
Review by Steve
not an editor around who isn't somewhat familiar with the formidable
power of Adobe After Effects. Over the years Adobe After Effects
has become the industry standard for the creation of motion graphics
and visual effects. Of course, as with many great applications,
there is a price to pay and with After Effects the amount of
time spent waiting for even preview renders could be costly to
one's workflow and creative groove. Part of the problem, especially
for those editors using multi-processor or mult-core computers
is that the full power of the computer was not utilized to its
full potential. That is where GridIron's new GridIron Nucleo
Pro comes into play. Nucleo Pro is specifically designed to maximize
CPU usage that results in both faster previews and renders. It
has been designed strictly for this purpose for those on multi-processor
computers and what a benefit you will reap when you see what
it can do.
Installation was fairly simply
and went without a hitch. Once installed and After Effects is
opened, a window will pop up asking you for your serial number.
This enables GridIron's Nucleo Pro to initialize and your home
free. During the entire course of time I was experimenting with
Nucleo Pro, I had but one crash and that was surely because I
was running Final Cut Pro, Word, Grab and QuickTime at the same
time. After Effects is pretty demanding of ram and my 2 gigs
on a 2Ghz G5 was being taxed.
Utilizing Nucleo Pro's Fast Render
or Fast Preview you will truly be surprised at the speed differences
between using Nucleo Pro and After Effects alone. This is accomplished
by adding six features to AE7. The first is by choosing either
the Fast Preview or Fast Render options found under the Nucleo
Pro Logo Icon in the top dock menu. While I am no technician,
according to the folks at GridIron, additional CPUs may be significantly
under utilized thereby preventing you from getting the speedy
renders you thought your new computer would rip through. Both
the Fast Preview and Fast Render features of Nucleo Pro divides
the work ordinarily performed on a single processor by Adobe
After Effects and allows it to run in parallel on multiple cores.
This ensures that you are utilizing the power of your dual or
quad processors when rendering with After Effects. Utilizing
the Fast Render for a simple three layer, 10 second clip, my
rendering for preview barely gave me time to fix myself a nice
Dagwood sandwich. Darn, I used to be able to watch all of Survivor
on the tube while waiting. No more.
A simple 3 layer
clip using a couple of matted sharks, one layer with the Magic
and the background layer a plain animation. Never the less, rendering
was surprisingly quick.
For more complex clips, multiple layers and animations are often
the factor slowing things up. Digital Anarchy's Psunami reviewed
here back in 2002 http://www.kenstone.net/fcp_homepage/review_psunami.html
is an excellent plug in for After Effects or Final Cut Pro and
I have used it many times. However, it does make demands on your
editing system and rendering can seem to be an over night affair.
Without utilizing GridIron's Nucleo Pro and going with a regular
AfterEffects preview render, a 5 second clip of one of Psunami's
many presets took 15 minutes. After changing just a couple of
the parameters for elevation and pan and switching over to the
Nucleo Pro Fast Render, the same clip took off one third of my
render time and came in at exactly 10 minutes at high resolution.
That's a pretty good reduction.
After Effects was
able to render this 5 second clip in 15 minutes
With only a couple
of small parameter changes, Nucleo Pro's Fast Render took the
race by a large margin.
For much more complex projects it has always been a formidable
task when making changes in After Effects because you needed
to re render or wait until your render was complete. While your
project was in the Render Queue you would be locked out of AE
though you had more to do. However, Nucleo Pro has been able
to speed up that process as well by applying its Background Render
tool. Its easy to use Nucleo Pro's own Background Render Queue
by clicking on Composition-Nucleo Pro-Background Render. Now
you no longer need to sit idly by waiting and can continue working
while initial rendering takes place. Nucleo Pro will move the
queued items on the AE Render Queue to its Background Render
Queue and continue to render those items while you add additional
ones. When those are completed you just need just to add them
to the After Effects Render Queue and click on the Nucleo Pro
Background Render menu again. These new render queue items will
be then rendered in turn without the need to re render what has
already been done. A pretty good time saving feature just by
With the Nucleo Pro
Background Render Queue work doesn't have to stop just because
With the Spec-Preview enabled your composition will continuously
and automatically render filling your After Effects Ram Cache.
When you finish for the day and then re open the project, Nucleo
Pro will automatically fill in the AE Ram Cache with the pre-rendered
frames from your last session using the disk cached version of
the frame enabling you to return to your project in the same
state as when you closed it. No longer do you need to start the
day's work with a long wait to get back to where you were. Any
changes made to your composition will be detected and a re-rendering
of any modified frames will be done.
Nucleo Pros Spec-Render allows you to
continuously render your project as you are working on it. Spec-Render,
instead of filling in the Ram Cache will render your composition
to your final output format. Any changes made to the composition
are automatically detected and, like Spec-Preview, modified frames
window lets me know just how much time my composition will take
and how much there is to be done. I found this to read quite
The Cache Manager
is there to keep you abreast of just what you have stored and
what you may want to easily delete.
While in the course of working with Nucleo Pro I did not utilize
their Commit to Disk Feature but it is there for you. If you
have layers that are complete but seem to cost you time when
previewing, you may select and commit those layers to disk simply
by selecting them and having Nucleo Pro render only those layers
out in the background. When the render is done those layers are
non-destructively replaced with the rendered footage item.
GridIron's Nucleo Pro is not just a simple
plug in. It is an entire package and there is much to utilize,
or not, depending upon your editing needs and workflow habits.
As much as I used Nucleo Pro for this review, there remains much
for me to learn about.
And how about tech support? The Nucleo
Pro manual runs to 76 pages. I hate manuals but I found this
one to be clear and concise, much better than so many others
I have looked at. The GridIron website does its job by providing
manual phobes like myself several tutorials for free downloading.
This is what I think all software makers should provide on a
regular basis to help the new purchaser get a running start in
the use of their software.
Bottom line, while not entirely inexpensive,
for the regular user of Adobe After Effects 7, GridIron's Nucleo
Pro will certainly pay for itself in time saved, and probably
on that first project. Clients will be pleased not having their
patience tested as they wait to see the changes they requested.
You, the editor, will be duly impressed with how easy Nucleo
Pro is used and wonder as to why this wasn't available years
Steve Douglas is an underwater videographer
and contributor to numerous film festivals around the world.
A winner of the 1999 Pacific Coast Underwater Film Competition,
2003 IVIE competition, 2004 Los Angeles Underwater Photographic
competition, and the prestigious 2005 International Beneath the
Sea Film Competition, Steve has also worked on the feature film
"The Deep Blue Sea", contributed footage to the Seaworld
Park's Atlantis production, as well as for recent History channel
shows and is one of the principal organizers of the San Diego
UnderSea Film Exhibition. Steve leads both underwater filming
expeditions and African safaris with upcoming filming excursions
to Kenya, Bali &Komodo in 2007, and Costa Rica and Palau
in 2008. Feel free to contact him if you are interested in joining
Steve on any of these trips. www.worldfilmsandtravel.com