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How to Make After Effects Faster With Proxies


Looking to kick your After Effects speed up a notch? Try these different approaches to working with proxies to get your workflow humming.

Cover image via Adobe Creative Cloud

Adobe’s After Effects is a powerful program. Its capabilities to work with 3D motion, hundreds of layers, and 4K footage means that it needs a powerful computer to process the data for everything it’s trying to do. Not everyone has the luxury of working on the most recent top-of-the-line machines. However, there are ways to work within the program to make it faster and more efficient.

Introducing Proxies

How to Make After Effects Faster With Proxies

Using proxies in your project is a great way to streamline your workflow. Proxies, by their definition, are a smaller file replacement which you can put in your project in place of your larger actual file. These are often lower resolution and easier to work with. You make your adjustments accordingly, and then, when it’s time to do your final export, replace the proxies with the actual files.

The concept is not anything new for many experienced editors in After Effects or other programs. There are several different variations and “hacks” to use for this process, but the most efficient ones are the same. Here are a couple of tutorials and techniques for you to make your After Effects workflow more efficient with proxies.

Create Proxy Movie

One of the straightforward ways to work with proxies in After Effects is through the “Create Proxy Movie” option. This is the most straightforward, as it will create a new movie file of your larger file for you to work with — giving you the options to make it whatever size and format you’d like. Learn more in this video from Surfaced Studio.

Create Proxy Still

If you’re looking for even more speed and less rendering, you also have the option to create a proxy still in After Effects. This might not work for every project (depending on what you’re trying to edit), but working with a still image when possible is even more efficient. Tommy Dimmel explains in the video below.

Create Proxies in Media Encoder

Outside of working directly in After Effects, you can also always manually create proxies by using Adobe Media Encoder to combine or split files together and change from HD to SD. This process also allows you to use your proxies in other programs like Adobe Premiere Pro. Here’s Fashion One with more.

Bonus: Creating Proxies in Premiere Pro

If you do want to move into Premiere Pro, you can also make use of proxies in Adobe’s other programs. Here’s a two-part workflow breakdown that takes you through using proxies to make your Premiere project more efficient as well. These videos come from NYC-based Premiere Pro trainer/editor/filmmaker Dylan Osborn. His website is chocked full of useful information, so be sure to check it out.