How to Resolve Adobe After Effects Crashes and Improve Stability

When Adobe After Effects crashes, it typically suggests that the system is running out of resources. This problem often stems from insufficient memory and VRAM. To address this, we have compiled a guide that focuses on methods to decrease VRAM and memory usage.

Certain features in After Effects are specifically designed to shorten rendering times by maximally leveraging system resources. One key feature is the Hardware Accelerate Composition, which boosts performance through the use of specialized hardware, like the GPU (Graphical Processing Unit).

Activating hardware acceleration increases the demand on computing power, as it aims to speed up the rendering process. While it is generally acceptable to enable this feature on high-end machines, doing so on less powerful computers may result in crashes.

1. Edit on a lower resolution

Operating at a lower resolution exerts less strain on the system, which might prevent crashes. This is a straightforward tactic; reduce your project’s resolution to determine if it alleviates the crashing issues. Apply this method only if editing at a lower resolution is feasible for you; if not, proceed to the primary solutions.

  1. Launch After Effects and select New Composition.
  2. Set the resolution to 1280 x 720 and click OK.
  3. After adjusting the resolution, check if the crashing has stopped.

2. Disable Hardware Accelerate Composition

As mentioned, the Hardware Accelerate Composition feature utilizes the GPU to maximize performance, which can consume more resources and potentially lead to crashes. Disabling it might help, especially if you have 8GB or 16GB of RAM.

  1. Open After Effects, navigate to Edit > Preferences > Display.
  2. Uncheck Hardware Accelerate Composition, Layer, and Footage Panels.
  3. Test to see if After Effects still crashes after disabling this option.

3. Reduce the Preview Quality

High-resolution previews can increase memory usage and cause crashes. To address this, reduce the preview quality.

  1. In the preview panel, choose the Quarter resolution option.
  2. If your system is older, select Custom and enter 9 for both horizontal and vertical resolution.
  3. Click OK. With a lower preview quality, the risk of crashing should diminish.

4. Increase the Disk Cache Size

After Effects suggests assigning as much space as possible to the Disk Cache to improve performance. Additionally, placing the disk cache on an SSD or NVMe can further enhance performance.

  1. In After Effects, go to Edit > Preferences > Media & Disk Cache.
  2. Increase the Disk Cache Size as much as your system allows.
  3. After changes, check if the crashing persists.

5. Clean Cache Media Database

The Cache Media Database contains links to cached audio and video files imported into Adobe Media Encoder. A large cache can hinder After Effects’ performance.

  1. Navigate to Edit > Preferences > Media & Disk Cache in After Effects.
  2. Click Clean Database & Cache.
  3. Crashing should no longer occur after this cleanup. If the problem continues, try the next solution.

6. Disable GPU acceleration

GPU acceleration, similarly to Hardware Accelerate Composition, is used to make rendering faster. Many recommend enabling GPU acceleration because it is supported by numerous After Effects features.

If your system has limited resources, consider deactivating GPU acceleration to prevent crashes.

  1. Go to File > Project Settings. Here, find the Video Rendering and Effects option.
  2. Select Mercury Software Only.
  3. Check if After Effects continues to crash after this change.

7. Update the GPU driver

To ensure smooth editing, you need an updated GPU driver. Updated drivers are crucial for preventing crashes.

  1. Open the software for your GPU, such as AMD Radeon Software or Nvidia Geforce Experience.
  2. Navigate to the Drivers section and click Check for updates.
  3. If an update is available, download and install it.
  4. After updating, reopen After Effects to see if the issue has been resolved.

If the crashes persist after trying the solutions above, a reinstallation of After Effects may be necessary to correct any corrupt application files.


Hamza Mohammad Anwar

Hamza Mohammad Anwar is an intermediate JavaScript web developer with a focus on developing high-performance applications using MERN technologies. His skill set includes expertise in ReactJS, MongoDB, Express NodeJS, and other related technologies. Hamza is also a Google IT Certified professional, which highlights his competence in IT support. As an avid problem-solver, he recreates errors on his computer to troubleshoot and find solutions to various technical issues.