I am new to AE and following a Lynda.com essentials course. In the course, the video in the composition panel stays sharp during scrubbing, as below:

But in my AE application, it shows as pixelated during scrubbing, as below:

My AE CC 2014.0 installation is brand new, without any configuration tweaks. I am on Windows 8.1, using an Acer V5-571 laptop (i5).

2 Answers 2


It's because you're using Adaptive Resolution, where AE will attempt to let you scrub through quickly, by reducing the resolution it shows in the viewer. Higher powered computers will be able to show higher resolution in the viewer more quickly.

There's an explanation in Adobe's help here: https://helpx.adobe.com/after-effects/using/previewing.html

There are also many things you can do to adjust the quality of your preview, depending upon what you're working on.. For example, if you're checking the movement of something, maybe you don't need as high resolution an image but full frame rate... Whereas if you're checking the pixel-perfect quality of a matte, maybe you don't need as high frame rate during preview.

Also bear in mind that there are different render engines in AE now - if you're using the 3D raytrace renderer for 3D work, previews will be very slow unless using a super-fast machine.

  • Thank you, your answer led me to Preferences -> Previews -> Fast Previews, where I set the Adaptive Resolution Limit to 1/2 (was 1/8). Now the rendering is much, much better. I was disappointed to learn that my video card does not qualify for the GPU requirements, but there seems to be a widely used tweak for that, which I am going to try next.
    – Sabuncu
    Commented Mar 11, 2015 at 15:36
  • By the way, I have no idea what 1/2 or 1/8 means and why the former is faster!
    – Sabuncu
    Commented Mar 11, 2015 at 15:39
  • @Sabuncu For preview purposes you can set the resolution to 1/2 (half resolution), 1/4 (quarter resolution) and so on...
    – p2or
    Commented Mar 11, 2015 at 15:50
  • @poor Thanks. So half resolution yields faster results but better video? I am confused.
    – Sabuncu
    Commented Mar 11, 2015 at 15:53
  • @Sabuncu Half resolution means faster caching to the ram (because of the lower image size) to faster preview the result of the animation with the ram preview.
    – p2or
    Commented Mar 11, 2015 at 16:02

Just found it, might help someone else.

In the panel there are dropdowns in the bottom bar. Change the drop down that says "quarter" (see 2nd images) to full (see first image).

That's it.

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