After Effects Showdown: Mac vs. PC
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Green Screen composite test, mac vs pcVideo Composite
Here's a project that's commonplace for After Effects users. It's a composite that uses a number of effects in one shot. This comp uses a green screen layer, a CGI layer and then an element that was shot on film. The background layer is the castle hall behind the actors. The two men were shot against a green screen, and a QuickTime movie of moving smoke was also layered into the shot. All three layers are combined to result in a realistic final composite. This rendered into a 55MB QuickTime movie on the Mac and a 57 MB .avi on the PC even though the shot was only two seconds long. As you can see, in this test the Mac came close to matching the PC, taking only 12 seconds longer to render the composite.

Click graphic for QuickTime movie.
Click graphic for QuickTime movie

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Mac vs. PC AE data project Data Project
This test concentrates on animating layers from Photoshop and Illustrator. It animates randomly sequenced 1s and 0s traveling across the screen at different rates. Green lights were also added, making this the kind of graphic that might be used as a background for statistics in a production. The text elements were imported into After Effects as a three-layered Illustrator file. Since these are vector graphics, they could be scaled to any resolution within After Effects without diminishing their resolution. After the text layers were skewed using 3D effects, lighting effects were added to give the numbers a green cast. This kind of project is indicative of many text animation sequences that are commonly created in compositing software.

Click graphic for QuickTime movie
Click for QuickTime movie


compositeGambler
In the book After Effects 5.5 Magic, this project was originally intended to be exported to the SWF (Shockwave Flash) format, but we processed it in 720x486 (QuickTime and AVI) pixels to see how our contestants could render this composite of Illustrator files in a more broadcast-bound situation. It's a good example of a 2D graphic composite that originated in Illustrator, which is many compositors' bread-and-butter. The Mac lost this one by nearly 33%.

Click for QuickTime movie
Click graphic for QuickTime movie


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