Troubleshooting tips for After Effects


Are you having trouble with an After Effects template? Maybe your software is crashing, failing to render, or your project simply doesn’t look the same as in the preview screen. Whatever trouble you're having, here are some tips to help you get your workflow back in order. 


1. Update Your Software and drivers

It’s always a good idea to make sure your software, computer and graphics drivers are kept up-to-date before digging into any more complex solutions. Updates are important to keep software in good working order and free of bugs or issues.

To update your software:

  • Go to your Creative Cloud Application Manager.
  • In the After Effects section, select Update. 

To update your operating system on Windows: 


Start  > Settings  > Windows Update 


And for Mac: 


Apple menu > System Preferences > Software Update 


And finally, to update your drivers: 


If you’re on a Mac:

Go to Apple > About This Mac

Under Graphics, you should see your setup. But any updates should be included in your Software Update as a whole.


To do this on Windows:

Go to the Task Manager > Performance > GPU.

It’ll say what your brand of GPU is at the top of the window.

Let’s say you have an Nvidia graphics card. To update the drivers:

  • Head to the Nvidia website.
  • Go to the Drivers section.
  • Use your GPU information to search for that specific GPU on the website downloads section.
  • Download the most recent set of drivers.
  • Double-click on them.
  • Click Next, and your computer will handle the rest.


2. Media and Disk Cache

If your media and disk cache is located on a slow drive with less than 10GB of space, you’ll probably encounter some problems. One recommendation is to get a cheap SSD to hold the scratch disk materials. If you don’t have one, go into After Effects to make your system more stable.

  • In Adobe After Effects, go to Edit > Preferences > Media Cache.
  • Under Disk Cache, select Choose Folder and select a location on your fastest possible drive with more than 30GB spare.

Sometimes the scratch disk files can be corrupted, or there isn’t enough space to read or write to your drive. With this in mind, try deleting all of the scratch disk files.

In the Media Cache window, hit Empty Disk Cache.

While you’re here, try also purging your RAM.

  • Go to Edit > Purge > All Memory & Disk Cache
  • Hit OK.

This clears the memory and any corrupted disk cache files. Don’t worry—purging memory isn’t dangerous at all. The worst case is that After Effects will need to re-process your timeline. Think of it as a refresh.


3. Reserve RAM

Try programming your computer to push more resources towards After Effects. After Effects is a pretty intensive, hungry program, and it needs all the processing power it can get.

  • Go to Edit > Preferences > Memory
  • Reduce the number beside RAM reserved for other applications

You want this number as low as possible, so the computer prioritizes After Effects when allocating RAM.

Even if this doesn’t fix any root problems, it will still boost the performance of After Effects overall.


4. Video Card Problems

This is where a lot of errors can occur when rendering, exporting, and overall system crashes. Depending on your system, you can actually use the video card to take the load off the CPU for some pretty hard-working tasks. But disabling some of these features lets you test whether or not that’s the root cause of any errors and crashes. 

  • Go to Preferences > Display.
  • Deselect Hardware Accelerate Composition Layer.
  • Go to File > Project Settings.
  • Under Video Rendering and Effects, select a non-GPU acceleration option.

This will slow down the overall speed of the system, but it might also prevent crashes.


5. Change Preview And Render Settings

If you are experiencing render issues using an After Effects Template, try the following:




6. Reconnecting Missing Files

If you open up your project and all of a sudden get an error message that files are missing, you just need to remind After Effects where to find them. 

  1. In the Project Search, search "missing"
  2. Select And Right Click On the Missing File
  3. Select Replace Footage > Select File...