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labs: AERender (AE render droplet for OS X). . .


Just like the MayaRender app, but for After Effects. A quick and easy way to launch AE renders without using the resources necessary to load up the After Effects UI and load each preview frame into memory. Plus this gives you the ability to launch multiple renders at once if you so choose.

Essentially just another way to render in the background (inspired by Lloyd Alvarez’s great BG Render script on, but without ever having to open AE. Render speeds should also be slightly quicker this way as well since no resources are used by the app and only the render engine.

AEae_v1.1 download page. . .


Here is a quick demo of the AERender & AEae apps (both available in the “labs” section of this site.

QuickTime Version 960×600 (27MB)

iPhone Version

Enjoy! If there are any issues or concerns please contact:


130 Responses

  1. Great stuff man!

    Is it safe to have the AEP file open and continue working in it while you drag it onto AERender to start the queue? I presume every time you drag it, the app just looks for whatever isn’t rendered and begins without affecting and/or saving over the AEP file itself.

    • andrew says:

      It should work like that, but I have not tested. If you would like to render the project you are currently working on and continue to work on it while rendering you should also check out BG Render by Lloyd Alvarez on

    • Benjamin Markus says:

      When is the CS6 version coming?

  2. julien says:

    I m gonna try that.

  3. Noel says:

    I get this error. Any idea why? Great app by the way. 🙂 PROGRESS: Launching After Effects…
    aerender ERROR -609: AESend failed to send apple event at line 751

    • andrew says:

      Can you give me some info on your system an OS version?   Using any non standard characters in naming projects?   I will take a closer look at it later today to see if I can help you out.  

  4. Noel says:

    I use a MBP 13 inch with SL 10.6 installed. As for the naming of projects, just standard characters.

    • andrew says:

      Hmm. Try rendering in Terminal manually like this:

      ‘/Applications/Adobe After Effects CS4/aerender’ -project “path of project file here”

      (Just drag and drop your file in between the quotes right into terminal and it will fill out the path info for you).

      Let me know what you get with that, and please send me an email with everything that is being output to Terminal when you drop a file on the app, and if you setup a render manually as mentioned above.

  5. Ben says:

    Does it still take advantage of the multi-processor settings in AE?

  6. butler says:

    How would I go about trying to get this to work on CS3?

    • andrew says:

      If you look at the NukeRender app also posted on my site, there are some basic instructions on how to edit the app.

      But basically, on any mac on 10.5 or later, in your /Applications/Utilities folder, there is an app called AppleScript Editor, just open the “AERender” app in AppleScript editor, and change the path to reflect CS3 instead of CS4.

      If you would like, I could put together a CS3 version as well.

      And it is done. CS3 version available in the post above. Let me know if it actually works, haha.

      I will definitely be updating this whenever CS5 is available 😀

  7. Hannes says:

    i nearly fell from the chair as i’ve heard your whisling while Ae is starting up 😀
    I do the same every time Ae starts up and i’m thinking: “when the hell these guys would improve startup time?”…

    Anyways, Great Stuff!

  8. henry says:

    Hi, i have the same problem, (aerender ERROR -609: AESend failed to send apple event at line 751). I’m using MAc Os 10.6.2, if you could give me any possible solution would be great. Thanks!! By the way, great application!

  9. JC says:

    Any chance on a PC version? Great work and much needed!

    • Khai says:

      Hey there, PC version is possible but not using this app. And it’s using Command Prompt, the Windows version of terminal. But If I’m not wrong you have to create a script for it. Try google it out. =)

  10. andrew says:

    Uhh probably not from me. Check out BG Render by Lloyd Alvarez on as he has developed a PC version.

    I will see if I can get the ERROR -609 resolved later today.

  11. […] con estas aplicaciones creadas por Andrew Hake lo tenemos más fácil. Se trata de Aeae y  Aerender. La primera de estas utilidades nos permite abrir varias instancias de After Effects a la vez y […]

  12. manny says:

    I downloadewd aerender. when i unzipped the file, there are 2 files: aerender and aerender flags. What does aerender flags do? should i also use it to render ae projects just like aerender does?

  13. andrew says:

    AErender will ask if you would like to use any additional render flags for your render:

    For a lits of all the flags available check out the docs here:

    I will try to update the video to show what these different flags can do.

  14. Noel says:

    Got the same error. Strange.

    • andrew says:

      Hmm. If you are getting that same error it may be possible something is going on with the “aerender” app in the After Effects CS4 folder. Have you moved the After Effects folder out of the Applications folder? I haven’t been able to determine what is causing that error unfortunately, but will make sure to contact you if I can help you out. You might try emailing Adobe to see if they might have any answers.

  15. Hello
    I’ve got a 404! error on the AErender CS4 link … 🙂
    Can’t try it so…

  16. Edited the CS3 scipt for CS4… now it work… rendering in progress 🙂

  17. Works fine, that’s cool !

    But when i use the flag version for multi proc i get :

    PROGRESS: …After Effects successfully launched
    aerender SYNTAX ERROR: Illegal argument flag: 1
    aerender version 9.0.2×42

    i just past : -mp 1

    i also tried -mp1

    and mp1

    dam synthaxe 🙂

  18. Max Powder says:

    Link is down. Changed the name to and now it works…
    Great tool!

  19. Ok, so i used -mp 1 with ( corrected for CS4 )

    and get that

    Last login: Sat Mar 20 15:36:41 on ttys001
    ‘/Applications/Adobe After Effects CS4/aerender’ -sound ON -project ‘/Users/Starsk/Desktop/Dropbox/FNTP/AFX/generalCQFD 4.aep’-mp 1
    Mac-Pro-de-Olivier-Blaecke:~ Starsk$ ‘/Applications/Adobe After Effects CS4/aerender’ -sound ON -project ‘/Users/Starsk/Desktop/Dropbox/FNTP/AFX/generalCQFD 4.aep’-mp 1
    aerender version 9.0.2×42
    PROGRESS: Launching After Effects…
    PROGRESS: …After Effects successfully launched
    aerender SYNTAX ERROR: Illegal argument flag: 1
    aerender version 9.0.2×42

    • andrew says:

      It looks the the space that needs to go before the “-mp 1” flag was missing. I updated all of the apps to reflect this.

      Please Re-Download and give it a try. What you want to type into the flags dialogue box is:

      -mp 1


      Sorry about that. Let me know if it works for you, I don’t have a machine to test it on but it should be fine now.

  20. Nick says:

    Any fix on this??

    aerender ERROR -609: AESend failed to send apple event at line 751

    • andrew says:

      Lloyd Alvarez ( also addressed this on the comments on his site:

      This is an error with aerender which you should report to Adobe at BG Renderer simply passes the project over to aerender in the console, any errors after that have to do with aerender.

      Unfortunately I have not been able to find anything referencing this error. My best troubleshooting advice I can give is to create a new test User Account, try using THE LATEST version, redownload to make sure you have the latest, remove the old version first, and test it out.

      If it works your main user account may have a preference or cache file somewhere that has become corrupt, or there could be other issues.

      Definitely take the time to contact Adobe if you have it as I would imagine they should be able to give you more info on what causes this error.

  21. Hi, i just dowload the update and try with -mp 1

    and get this

    Last login: Sun Mar 21 01:40:55 on ttys000
    MacBook-Pro-de-Olivier-Blaecke:~ starsk$ ‘/Applications/Adobe After Effects CS4/aerender’ -sound ON -mp 1 -project’/Users/starsk/Desktop/Dropbox/FNTP/AFX/generalCQFD 6.aep’
    aerender version 9.0.2×42
    PROGRESS: Launching After Effects…
    PROGRESS: …After Effects successfully launched
    aerender SYNTAX ERROR: Illegal argument flag: 1
    aerender version 9.0.2×42

    Mac book pro 2,4ghz core 2 duo

    • andrew says:

      Alright I think I got it Olivier.

      The PROPER flag for multi-processing is simply:


      No numbers, spaces, etc. Sorry about the bad info I had given you, but I swear that is what the AE docs are getting at.

      In your Terminal log you posted up there is also a space missing after the -project flag, which I have also addressed. I never got a chance to properly test the AERenderFlag droplets myself until now.

      The latest versions of CS3 and CS4 should work properly now, fingers crossed. Let me know.

  22. Yes, it works perfect ! thanks, it’s a great work Andrew 🙂
    Besides the fact that it looks very nice and pro to have a render in a terminal window, it can save some time to lunch render like that… very practical.

    It also works with plug ins… so it is perfect.

    And what about that flag : –mem_usage image_cache_percentmax_mem_percent

    I would like this after rendering thing, to use all the available power and ram from the computer…

    Thanks again

    Last login: Sun Mar 21 13:04:50 on ttys000
    MacBook-Pro-de-Olivier-Blaecke:~ starsk$ ‘/Applications/Adobe After Effects CS4/aerender’ -sound ON -mp -project ‘/Users/starsk/Desktop/Dropbox/FNTP/AFX/generalCQFD 6.aep’
    aerender version 9.0.2×42
    PROGRESS: Launching After Effects…
    PROGRESS: …After Effects successfully launched
    PROGRESS: 21/03/10 13:05:05: Starting composition generalCQFD TOTAL.

    PROGRESS: Render Settings: Best Settings
    PROGRESS: Quality: Best
    PROGRESS: Resolution: Full
    PROGRESS: Size: 1280 x 720
    PROGRESS: Proxy Use: Use No Proxies
    PROGRESS: Effects: Current Settings
    PROGRESS: Disk Cache: Read Only
    PROGRESS: Color Depth: Current Settings
    PROGRESS: Frame Blending: On for Checked Layers
    PROGRESS: Field Render: Off
    PROGRESS: Pulldown: Off
    PROGRESS: Motion Blur: On for Checked Layers
    PROGRESS: Use OpenGL: Off
    PROGRESS: Solos: Current Settings
    PROGRESS: Time Span: Work Area
    PROGRESS: Start: 0:00:00:00
    PROGRESS: End: 0:00:26:11
    PROGRESS: Duration: 0:00:26:12
    PROGRESS: Frame Rate: 25,00 (comp)
    PROGRESS: Guide Layers: All Off
    PROGRESS: Storage Overflow: On
    PROGRESS: Skip Existing Files: Off
    PROGRESS: Output Module: Lossless
    PROGRESS: Output To: MacBookHd:REndus:generalCQFD
    PROGRESS: Format: QuickTime Movie
    PROGRESS: Output Info: Animation
    PROGRESS: Output Info: Spatial Quality = Most (100)
    PROGRESS: Include: Project Link & Source XMP Metadata
    PROGRESS: Output Audio: 48.000 kHz / 16 bit / Stereo
    PROGRESS: Channels: RGB
    PROGRESS: Depth: Millions of Colors
    PROGRESS: Color: Premultiplied
    PROGRESS: Stretch: –
    PROGRESS: Crop: –
    PROGRESS: Final Size: 1280 x 720
    PROGRESS: Profile: –
    PROGRESS: Embed Profile:
    PROGRESS: Post-Render Action: None
    PROGRESS: 0:00:00:00 (1): 27 Seconds
    PROGRESS: 0:00:00:01 (2): 3 Seconds
    PROGRESS: 0:00:26:11 (662): 2 Seconds
    PROGRESS: 21/03/10 13:23:43: Finished composition generalCQFD TOTAL.

    PROGRESS: Total Time Elapsed: 18 Min, 38 Sec
    MacBook-Pro-de-Olivier-Blaecke:~ starsk$

    • andrew says:

      Oliver, thanks for providing good info to help get it working correctly. Greatly appreciated. Thanks for the kind words!

      The mem_usage flag can definitely be implemented as well with the AERenderFlags version, I believe the correct syntax for that is (based on the BG Render script and AE docs):

      -mem_usage 60 120

      Where 60 = RAM cache % and 120 = Max Memory use percentage.

  23. Thanks…
    How to use many flags ?
    Like this in the captation box :

    -mp -mem_usage 60 120 ?

    • andrew says:

      Yep just put a space in between them and it should work OK. Let me know if it does not.

      • What are the best settings with mem_usage ?

        • andrew says:

          Really I would only use that flag if you would like to lower the amount of memory used for the render. As the defaults should be fine for most renders. 60 120 is what Lloyd Alvarez has set by default in BG Render so it may be good to ask him why he chose that. I’m not sure 120 would make any difference over 100 but maybe there is good reason to use a value like that.

          I haven’t seen a large difference in performance using or not using that flag.

          Sometimes using multiprocessing can actually be quite a bit slower depending on the render and the machine, so it is good to test to see how to get the best results. I would say the general rule is the longer and longer a single frame takes to render, the less advantage you will see in multi-processing. There is a threshold of what a single core is capable of on every machine so you have to determine if it is worth it on a project to project basis.

          Keep in mind that if you don’t use additional flags the AE settings and Render Queue setup will be used. And also keep in mind that multi-machine image sequence renders work really well in AE, so when possible, with tough renders, that is always the best way to go.

  24. Ikem says:

    This is an awesome and very useful app. Thanks very much for making this.


  25. Mark says:

    Sweet! Thanks man!

  26. Nikita says:


    I had the same errors like 609 and 1751 (or something like that). So I launched “aerender” app from its folder, then in Terminal manually entered the command to render. And that worked.

    Since then no errors with your AERender as well.

    Thanks for the app.

    • andrew says:

      Hmm that is pretty odd but very good to know. Hopefully it will help others that are getting those errors.

      Thanks for posting up the info!

      • Nikita says:

        I also noticed, that it only worked during the session I kept my computer on. After sleep or restart I had to do this trick again. And I don’t need to type anything manually, it starts working on the 2nd or 3rd try anyway.

        I wish I could tell why it acts this way, but I can only share my observations 🙂
        Hope this helps somehow.

  27. skakala says:

    I just downloaded it and I can not run the application 🙁
    The comp asks if I want to open the application and then nothing happens 🙁
    Any clue what’s wrong?

    I’ve already tried the AEae and that’s awesome.
    Thanks many times.

    • andrew says:

      Well, AERender is a droplet application, so you just drop an After Effects project file (with something ready to go in the Render Queue) onto the droplet and it will render. Check out the demo videos. Let me know if you are having another problem though.

  28. gustavo says:

    wow Andrew, i just came here and i cant believe how useful is this!!
    i have to say you are saving me a lot of pain and wasted time! it works perfectly by the way.
    thank you very much for this.
    cheers from Argentina,

  29. andrew says:

    Its amazing how useful something so simple can be. I guess that is really the point with all the apps on my site. Making day to day workflow a little less frustrating.

    All the wasted time adds up fast! ^_^

  30. Awly514 says:

    So useful… Now I’m only making PNG Sequence and launching 3 or 4 time the same AEP… Rendering 3 times faster…

    Thank you dude Thank You so much

    • andrew says:

      It is pretty amazing how much faster it can be really. The render queue in AE works perfectly fine, there just seems to be a lot of overhead for having the app running while rendering with it though.

      For me it is the workflow improvement that really changes everything. Just so much more efficient.

  31. […] AERender is a nice little “dropplet” app to launch AE renders in the background by just dragging a project file to its icon. No need to launch After Effects. It’s a nice complement to the BG Renderer script. It comes in both CS4 & CS3 flavors. Posted 1 week ago Tagged: after effects, ae, script, dropplet, cs3, cs4, time-saver, . I'm finding myself in more and more places on the web. This is yet another one of those places. Portfolio Blog Twitter […]

  32. Hi Andrew.

    Since… today, AERender doesn’t show the PROGRESS : any more … any idear ?

    Do you think you can put Remaining Time in your next version ? 🙂 ^^



    • andrew says:

      Actually the droplets don’t do anything at all after
      the render has started. Ifnyou are no longer getting prog. messages then maybe you added the flag to disable them.

      It would be up to adobe to add some sort of time remaining indicator on their aerender app to do that. You could also use Qmaster to get more of an indicator of how long a render will take.

      Would be nice to see time remaining though that is worth mentioning to Adobe.

  33. I’ve got an XMP error with this project… so that maybee i don’t have the PROGRESS showed …
    Thanks for your answer Andrew.

    Can’t wit now for CS5 🙂

  34. […] . . and AERender have both been updated for After Effects CS5. I worked night and day to make this happen, changing […]

  35. […] AEaeCS5 (165KB .zip) For older versions go to AERender […]

  36. Scott says:

    Thanks so much! Amazing time saver.

  37. clayton douglas says:

    Hey man…first of all this is very helpful…thanks for putting this out there in the community.
    I havent tested the “aerenderflag” version yet, but its next on my list.

    I have a question for you about memory. When i set a render off traditionally, I get 8 processes that pop up in my activity monitor. “aesflink” I assume these are the render processes that attach to each of my cores. When a render is finish…these processes drop in priority, and my RAM purges.

    After my first test with the droplet, the RAM never purged….the stock activity monitor remained fully blue. Is there a way to purge memory after wards….or do I have to use -aerenderflag, and then use some flag to make it happen.
    Thanks in advance!

  38. andrew says:

    Hmm not exactly sure on that one. Here is Adobe’s documentation on RAM management:

    You could also try looking at the “aerender” section of the docs to see if there is a flag that can be added that but I don’t believe there is. You could contact Adobe about this but I don’t think there is anything I could do with my app to make that happen unfortunately.

    Something new is coming soon as far as Render apps go though 🙂 Definitely check back soon.

  39. Jlpeacock says:

    Perfect! Just what I was after. Thanks Andrew!

    I was literally just attempting to write a script, which would delay the renders of each ae instance I had open by x amount of time, but found this in the process, which is exactly what I really wanted to do!

  40. Jeff Morgan says:

    Hehe I am literally the first reply to this awesome read?!

  41. Nikita says:

    edited your script a bit to make it both droplet and applet as well. plus, no extra terminal window is opened if it’s not necessary. put a terminal part in a separate block. hope you don’t mind posting it here.

    on open {droppedFile}

    –Set the project file path
    set projectfile_path to the quoted form of (POSIX path of (droppedFile as text))


    end open

    on run
    –Get the project file path
    set projectfile_path to quoted form of POSIX path of (choose file with prompt “Choose a file to render” default location path to desktop)


    end run

    –Launch Render in Terminal
    on process_file(projectfile_path)

    –Set the Render Command
    set render_cmd to “‘/Applications/Adobe After Effects CS4/aerender’ -sound ON -project ” & projectfile_path

    tell application “System Events”
    if (count (processes whose name is “Terminal”)) is 0 then
    tell application “Terminal”
    do script with command render_cmd in window 1
    end tell
    tell application “Terminal”
    do script with command render_cmd
    end tell
    end if
    end tell
    end process_file

    • andrew says:

      Nice one! I have actually started using a method similar to this in my latest RenderQ apps and other apps to make the workflow a little more robust. RenderQ will actually always open and fire off renders in Terminal window1 as that is the best workflow I found for it.

      I have another app I finished awhile ago that actually either opens a new terminal window if terminal isn’t running, or if there is currently a window open it will just open a new tab.

      ALWAYS feel free to post up your own edits of these apps. That is the whole idea. Make them fit your own workflow, that is what they are for in the first place.

      Good Stuff.

  42. Hello,

    Pardon if I’m a little crass. I have used your your plugin for nearly 6 months now. About 2 months ago I updated to CS5 and Snow Leopard. AE CS5 was working fine until tonight. It’s 11:05 PM, I have a sundance project render due tomorrow, and your AErender has failed about 20 times.

    The project I built is 16 bit, full HD 1920 x 1080, 12 seconds long, 314 frames, 29.97fps.

    It has rendered out with AERender until tonight.

    I get the following errors:

    With Multiprocessing off:
    “aerender ERROR -609: AESend failed to send apple event at line 766”

    With Multiprocessing on:
    aerender Error: After Effects error: Rendering error while writing to file /Users/carloflores/Desktop/Barber/FINAL RENDERS/Memorial Card An output module failed. The file may be damaged or corrupted. (-1610153464)

    Switched over to 8 bit, nothing seems to make a difference.

    I do have the Video Copilot Flares installed, I found out about the bug. I installed the fix, around 4 times:

    to no avail. I even went as far as to reinstall AE CS5, and that did nothing. I even have the AE Secret on: checkmarked Disable Layer Cache and to Purge Ever 2 Frames During Make Movie.

    My machine specs are:

    Mac OS X version 10.6.5
    Processor: 2 x 3.2 GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon
    Memory: 18 GB 800 MHZ DDR2 FB-Dimm

    AE CS5 version 10.0

    Please help me, I’m desperate for an answer, something.

  43. Andrew says:


    I’m trying to get AErenderer working over a network,
    all my source files are on a computer attached to this computer via ethernet,
    connecting to the computer locally, AErenderer says that it is unable to call openFast because of the parameter 1. Path is not valid

    I was just wondering if there was a work around for this

    Help is greatly appreciated ^^

    • andrew says:

      If you are seeing Terminal open up and After Effects launch in the command line, it is likely an AE project issue, AERender just automates the process of submitting a render to the command line, AE is what sorts out where your source files are.

      Usually what I do if I want to render a project (that is on my main workstation) on another machine on my network is going to that machine, connecting back to my main workstation using built-in File Sharing in OS X (AFP) navigating to the project, and INSTEAD OF copying the project to the other machine you can just drag the project file (that is still located on main workstation) onto AERender and it should render just fine. AE sorts paths out pretty well over a network, but if you duplicate the project it is up to you in some cases.

      (AERender is no longer developed as all of its functionality has been moved into RenderQ, so make sure to check that one out too)

  44. Hey Andrew!

    WIll you update aerender for CS5.5?

    It would be fantastic 😀


    • andrew says:

      I probably won’t be updating the individual render apps like AERender, as RenderQ now supports all of these apps, and allows you to simply select the location of your newly installed version when a new one is released. The current version of RenderQ (v1.2.1) should support CS5.5 just fine.

  45. david says:

    andrew, thanks for all your great apps! i’ve been using several of them for a long time now.
    i can see the previous posts and replies on this topic, but please please please, if any chance to see a CS5.5 AERender, it would be absolute amazing!
    launching multiple instances of this simple little app on the same machine is still the absolute best way for me to finish speedy killer-deadline-renders.
    hoping for good news 😉
    thanks so much for all your work!
    cheers .david

  46. […] AERender is a nice little “dropplet” app to launch AE renders in the background by just dragging a project file to its icon. No need to launch After Effects. It’s a nice complement to the BG Renderer script. It comes in both CS4 & CS3 flavors. Tweet […]

  47. ignacio says:

    i’ve post several comment and send you emails talking about aerender cs5.5
    EXCUSE me for it, because i´ve proved that RenderQ mekaes the same job i was asking you for.

    just reading your posts i should solve all my doubts.

    Thank you so much for your really great and impressive job

  48. […] check out the rest of the site. You can also donate to help keep awesome stuff like this coming!: Related posts:Inflating Text Like a Balloon Until it Pops Using Cinema 4DThe Light Dome […]

  49. Steve says:

    Thank you so much for this app! I was wondering, if there is a way to adjust how much CPU AE Render uses?

    • andrew says:

      No problem. Check out RenderQ in the Labs section of my site as well as it has replaced AERender that supports other apps as well. If you are only using AE I would recommend checking out BG Renderer ( It has basic control to limit CPU usage before launching a render.

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