When you begin to use new editing software, you will find a few After Effects issues that you need to resolve. Hell, even if you’ve used the software for years, you’ll find an unwanted problem appearing out of nowhere. It’s the same for After Effects too – whether it’s “why is After Effects slow?’ or if it’s a simple display preference issue, sometimes you need a push in the right direction. 

Most common After Effects issues and how to fix them immediately

In today’s article, we will look at the most common After Effects issues and how you can fix them in no time!

Most common After Effects issues and how to fix them immediately

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After Effects still playing up? Let’s troubleshoot it today with the most common After Effects issues and how you can fix them immediately. Here’s the overview: 

  • After Effects is too slow
  • I can’t find H.264 when exporting
  • My effects look cut off
  • After Effects keeps crashing
  • I can’t find my layer in the project panel?

Right, let’s dig into them a little further down below!

After Effects is too slow.

This is actually a common problem. However, there can be many different causes. So let’s look at what’s making After Effects slow, and how to fix it. 

Not enough RAM

Not having enough RAM (Random Access Memory)  in your PC can slow After Effects considerably. Why? Well, most computers only have 8GB of RAM and active applications use this. 

8GB isn’t always enough to keep up with the speed of your applications, especially something as big as After Effects. This will cause After Effects to slow, making every action take a lot longer than it should. 

To resolve this, you should shut down all of your other applications and considering upping the amount of RAM you have. We recommend looking at 32GB or even upping it as high as 64G; you’ll see instant improvements. 

You may also be interested in: 6 ways to optimise Premiere Pro’s performance

Redirect your cache

Redirecting your cache to an external drive will speed up After Effects in no time. The cache is where your After Effects will store previously edited footage in a cache; this slowly builds up. The cache is stored on your hard drive in your PC or Mac, and if it’s relatively slow, it will slow the rest of your computer down. 

We highly recommend you store the cache on an external hard drive. To redirect your cache to an external drive or a USB, simply click Preferences > Media and Disk Cache. Then under the “Disk Cache” option, redirect to the external drive.

Previewing your clip in full resolution

Such a simple fix to speed up After Effects, but one that isn’t as obvious in the first place, but is one of the most common After Effects issues. When previewing your current edit in After Effects, the standard-setting means you will preview your video at full resolution. 

You don’t need to preview it in full resolution, especially if you’re looking at the transition points. Previewing in full resolution will slow it down considerably and even make the preview shudder as it powers through. 

We recommend halving or even cutting it down to a ¼ of the resolution. To cut down the resolution of your playback, you’ll find it in the bottom corner of the preview screen. Simply click the tab and select the level of resolution you desire. This will immediately speed up After Effects. 

You may also be interested in: Speed up the performance of Final Cut Pro X in Minutes

Your video card

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Your video card can make a key contribution to the speed of After Effects on your computer. A quick video card can alleviate some of the strain that After Effects puts on your computer to help speed things up. 

The better the video card, the better the speed of rendering and real-time playback. This will help the overall efficiency of running After Effects and prevent it from slowing down.

Slow hard drive

A slow or an old hard drive can slow down After Effects performance considerably. Therefore, SSD’s are the best hard drives to use for running editing programs like After Effects. 

It’s important to run After Effects on 7200RPM or more, and a standard SSD will allow you to achieve this. In addition, it will ensure Adobe After Effects runs to its best ability and doesn’t crash or slow too much. 

It’s also important to look at the computer as a whole. Running the lathe test Adobe After Effects isn’t recommended. If you have an old computer, we strongly recommend you revert to an older version of After Effects. 

These will enable you to run After Effects smoothly and edit to your optimum efficiency, removing any outstanding After Effects issues.

I can’t find H.264 when exporting

I can’t find H.264 when exporting

Another common issue After Effects users will incur is that they cannot find the H.264 (a common output file) when exporting their file.

There are two essential ways to export from After Effects, these are: 

  • “Add to Adobe Media Encoder Queue” – this will export your file using the Adobe Media Encoder to export your clip. 
  • “Add to render queue” – this directly exports your clip from After Effects.

Add to render queue gives you a limited list of resolutions, and that’s why you probably can’t find the preferred H.264 to export with. But, don’t worry, though; simply use the other option, “Add to Adobe Media Encoder Queue”. 

This will give you the option to export with the H.264 output file, and you’ll have a clip ready for all social platforms. 

You may also be interested in reading about: What’s the best export settings in Premiere Pro CC for YouTube?

My effects look cut off

We get this quite a lot. People come across this issue where it looks as if the effects have been cut off or messed around. 

The usual cause of this is that After Effects excludes the Alpha (Transparency of the layer) – the effect will only show the visible piece of the layer and not outside the bounding box. 

The solution for this is to “Right-click” on the layer before adding your effects, and you will then need to choose “Precompose”. Then do the following, “Move ALL Attributes” > “New Composition”. 

You will now see the effect, and it will become visible as part of the layer in After Effects. 

After Effects keeps crashing

“My After Effects keeps crashing; what do I do?”. This is a question we get asked quite often in our forum; After Effects crashing is a common issue users experience. 

After Effects keeps crashing, there are multiple reasons why After Effects keeps crashing; let’s have a look at a few examples and how to fix it below. 

Plugin corruption

Plugins typically cause After Effects to crash; this is usually due to the age of the plugin. For example, the plugin could be made for a later version of After Effects, and you’ve just updated After Effects to the latest edition. 

This incompatibility will cause After Effects to crash. Double-check to ensure that the plugin can run on your latest edition and if not, look to download the newest version. 

If it’s still causing issues, the best thing to do is contact the plugin’s third-party owner and uninstall it immediately. This will solve the issue of After Effects crashing. 

Corrupt codecs

Plenty of corruption at the start of the “After Effects keeps crashing” statement. But it’s true; if your codecs aren’t installed correctly, it will cause After Effects to crash and stop working correctly. 

To resolve this, either delete the codecs causing the issue or simply reinstall them and check for the latest edition of that specific codec. 

GPU and card issues

Another way After Effects crashes, the OpenGL and GPU acceleration is used using the video card and the playback engines built by Adobe. It’s usually an efficient process. However, some hardware combination will fall foul of the setup. 

This will cause After Effects to crash hard. However, if it keeps happening, you can look to disable the OpenGL and GPU acceleration by simply doing the following: 

  • Preferences > Display – then deselect the Hardware Accelerate Composition layer
  • Now got to Preferences > Previews, then select the GPU information and change it to CPU. 

Hopefully, this should sort out the issue with After Effects crashing and allow you to continue editing on your project smoothly without any glitches.

Hard drive issues

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Another cause of crashing is your hard drive. If the crashing persists, it’s worth health checking your hard drive. As if it’s not up to scratch and there’s damage to it in terms of bad data or corruption, this can lead to other programs, including After Effects, to crash and run unstably. 

Video card drivers

Another simple cause for Adobe to crash is the video card driver. You may have to revert the driver to an older version to ensure Adobe After Effects will work smoothly and stop crashing. 

It also could be the other issue that the video card driver is too old and needs to be updated to work with After Effects correctly. So again, simply go to your video card driver and select it to update and restart After Effects and check if this resolves your continuous crashing.

I can’t find my layer in the project panel?

I can’t find my layer in the project panel?

Losing track of where your layers are in Adobe After Effects is an issue that pops up often. But don’t worry, there is an easy fix to this. 

Here’s how to locate layers in different scenarios: 

  • Locate your layer in the Project panel: Right-click any layer in the timeline and click “Reveal layer source in the project”.
  • Find your composition in the Project panel: Right-click on the timeline and select “Reveal composition in the panel”.
  • Locate your layer on your computer: Reveal the layer on your computer or Mac. For PC, simply click “Reveal in Explorer,” and for Mac, click “Reveal in finder”.

Each of these methods will help you locate your different layers. 

The aftermath

We hope this article on “Most common After Effects issues and how to fix them immediately” was helpful to you. Make sure you always troubleshoot before giving up. After Effects can throw up different issues, but you can resolve these easily with a bit of time. 

Let us know your thought down in the comments below, and for more editing articles, simply scroll a little further. 

Happy editing!