Adobe Premiere Pro CC: When to Use Maximum Render Quality

Posted on by Larry

In the beginning, before GPUs existed, all video scaling and rendering was done by the CPU. And, as you can imagine, that took a long time.

(I still clearly remember adding a Gaussian Blur to a clip in Premiere 4, back in 1998, that took 30 seconds to blur a single frame of video. And, at the time, I thought that was amazingly fast!)

Since then, as GPUs took over the rendering load from CPUs, editing has gotten much, MUCH faster! A GPU is optimized for rendering digital images quickly in a way that a CPU just can’t.

However, converting Premiere from CPU-based effects to GPU-based effects is neither simple or fast. Because of this, these two render options appeared many years ago and have been confusing editors ever since.

These settings can be applied to individual sequences or an entire export. But, what do they do and when do you use them?

The short answer is: As Adobe migrates toward more GPU-based effects both of these options are quickly becoming unnecessary.


In Adobe Media Encoder, which handles all exports from Premiere, make sure that the Video Renderer is set to Metal (or the soon to ship Metal 2).

When creating a new sequence in Premiere Pro CC, make sure both options are turned off.

When exporting from Premiere, leave both these options off unless you are scaling images larger and seeing jagged lines on the edges of your images. In that case, turn Maximum Render Quality on.

Given the number of effects that are now GPU accelerated, there is no benefit to using Maximum Bit Depth, because that is used by the GPU automatically.

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4 Responses to Adobe Premiere Pro CC: When to Use Maximum Render Quality

  1. Jason Wynn says:

    Hello Larry,
    I’ve read this information hundreds of times, written 100 different ways…but you’re outline is by far the most simple to comprehend. Thank you for taking the time to write this. I’m sure I’ll come back and read it several more times (hitting that export button always makes me reconsider all those little check boxes).
    One quick question: Do you have a post on using Adobe Media Encoder vs Premiere for export? Just wondering your take on the two.
    Thanks again.

  2. Daniel Haworth says:

    Hello Larry, thank you for all your work over the years helping us editors!

    I’ve found that if I don’t check “Use Maximum Render Quality” in export settings when exporting, that SOME of my graphics/images end up pixelated. I’m not sure why some and not others (I’m sure it’s connected to scaling of some sort, but strangely it doesn’t seem to be determined by the resolution of graphic, as some that are HIGHER res than sequence get pixelated sometimes, while some others that are lowered and being scaled up do not), but it happens.

    I should mention that I’m on a “maxxed-out” Mac Pro 5,1 (cheesegrater) with an Nvidia GTX 770 card using CUDA (which means I’m still in High Sierra & Premiere 2019, to keep CUDA support), so maybe newer machines/premiere 2020/Metal have made this checkbox obsolete, like you said.

    Or, maybe I’m doing something incorrectly elsewhere in my settings/workflow? I always use “Set to Frame Size”, not “Scale to Frame Size” on graphics, btw. Also, checking “Use Maximum Render Quality” in sequence settings doesn’t seem to make any difference with this phenomenon, btw….only when exporting. AND checking the box in the AME preset doesn’t seem to help either…I HAVE to check it from the initial export window in premiere, or some gfx end up pixelated. This is a bit annoying, as premiere likes to “randomly” change my default export settings from time to time, so I have to always confirm that “Use Maximum Render Quality” box is checked.

    Just thought I’d append this, for any of your users that have experienced this phenomenon.

    • Larry says:


      Thanks for sharing your comments. I think the issue is the age of your system and the graphics card you are using, which is too old for Metal to work.


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