OpenGL is a set of standards for high-performance processing of 2D and 3D graphics on the graphics processing unit (GPU) for a wide variety of applications. OpenGL provides fast rendering for previews (Fast Draft mode). After Effects also provides acceleration to display certain interface elements, and for ray-traced 3D rendering. Unlike previous versions of After Effects, the GPU plays a major role.
OpenGL accelerates workflow by offering a faster graphics pipeline. One process that was slower in previous versions of After Effects was transferring pixels to the screen in a process called block transfer, or "blitting." The GPU now handles this functionality (in a process referred to as OpenGL Swap Buffer) much more efficiently. For system requirements for OpenGL Swap Buffer, see Features Support Levels. For more information, see the following video.