AE Quick Tips

Sometimes during my work in AE, I solve little problems and add them to memory without telling anyone. Well before I forget, I want to make a short list. You’ll probably see more posts like this now that I have an outlet. These may be simple but I found them to be quite useful and allowed me to break certain routines.

1. Fade in Fade out Adjustments:
So you have a video element that has 2 keyframes in the beginning that fade the clip in and 2 more at the end to fade it out. Now you want to lower the opacity but you normally have to adjust both keyframes. Instead I just add an expression by alt clicking the stopwatch and typing value*.5 this cuts all values by 50 percent.

2. Helping Failed Renders due to image buffer errors:
Often times HD projects will fail on render due to image buffer errors or all sorts of things. Here are a couple things to try during clutch situations.

  • Change the AE secret preference to purge after 1-4 frames. (hold down SHIFT while accessing the edit menu/preferences. The “Secret” menu appears.
  • Another thing to try is render to an image sequence like PNG or TIFF, this way if the render fails when going to a QuickTime, you still have good frames that you can add to by rendering the incomplete portion.
  • Another thing to try (if you have access) is loading your project into a 64bit machine since it can handle more memory and actually allowed me to finish a render when my 32bit machine couldn’t.

3. Working Late
Order a pizza before they close so that you can have a late snack after most places close. Be considerate of toppings that will still taste good after refrigeration. When you have rendering problems they can last all night but then you pull out a cheesy friend and somehow it’s not so bad.

December 5th, 2008 @ 1:56 am
Oh yeah, I have to agree with the Pizza tip, in fact, where is the phone book?
December 5th, 2008 @ 1:58 am
Nice tips :)
Daaaamn... you're up late!
December 5th, 2008 @ 2:02 am
1:56 a.m........andrew you sad lonely man , i never stay up pass 1:55 a.m...thanks for the always
Mark Dean
December 5th, 2008 @ 2:07 am
Wow, great tips. I find pepperoni to be a good choice.
December 5th, 2008 @ 2:10 am
I have to try that last tip :-D
December 5th, 2008 @ 2:30 am
Haha Andrew, you mind giving me a slice of pizza while your at it?
Jack Daniel Jenkins
December 5th, 2008 @ 2:33 am
Most meat toppings keep.. and sometimes it's even better when you don't reheat it.

And what's with this "secret" shift menu business? How do you find all these little treasures?

Thanks for the tips. You should publish a book.. on post-it notes.

December 5th, 2008 @ 2:39 am
bizzar tip#3 AK, I just ordered a pizza for a long night of work ahead... trippy timing! Now, if wee can only get the n00bs to rad this before posting all over the forum???? yeah right, like that'll happen... pft!
De Huzz
December 5th, 2008 @ 3:02 am
sweet.. i'll just have to work more on fade in/fade outs, render long hours.. then eat more pizza! oh and post in the early mornings.. way to go, i'm the next VCP champ ;)

sweet tips thanks :)
December 5th, 2008 @ 3:11 am
For your tip "2.3"...I thought Adobe doesn't support the 64bits yet...When I start one of the Adobe's software, I can only use 3 of my 4 MB...Am I wrong ???
Thanks a lot for these tips ! :o)
December 5th, 2008 @ 3:21 am
Secret menu cool :D
December 5th, 2008 @ 3:24 am
December 5th, 2008 @ 3:37 am
That memory purge tip is great... but I can't find it under MAC OS X... Do you also know the settings under MAC OS X?
December 5th, 2008 @ 3:42 am
December 5th, 2008 @ 3:48 am
Lovin' the secret menu tip.
December 5th, 2008 @ 3:51 am
thnx Andrew - nice ones
Ben Wotton
December 5th, 2008 @ 4:10 am
Great tips...

mmmm...Meatlovers pizza with jalapenos...bliss
December 5th, 2008 @ 4:11 am
Pizza...I love pizza...italian pizza!!!

WOW...a secret menu!!!
You're great!
December 5th, 2008 @ 4:59 am
Yeah! great Andrew....
December 5th, 2008 @ 5:06 am
Thanks man. It's the little things that make all the difference. Have a good weekend. I hope the kiddo is doing well.

December 5th, 2008 @ 5:16 am
The pizza tip is pure gold.
December 5th, 2008 @ 5:22 am
best tip ever... I mean about Pizza :)
December 5th, 2008 @ 6:27 am
Wow thanks for the tips andrew, they are really helpful.
December 5th, 2008 @ 6:39 am
NO seriously, I have pulled all nighters to prepare video, and the pizza tip is excellent with the toppings that taste good after the initial baking. Wow Andrew, you are fantastic.
December 5th, 2008 @ 6:50 am
Thanks Andrew. I always forget about the "Secret" mode....maybe because it's so secret, my mind forgets it is there...or maybe it's the anchovies on the refrigerated pizza...YUCK...Thanks Andrew. These tips are going in my archives....and yes, I will start reading the archives instead of just putting them on my desktop.
December 5th, 2008 @ 7:14 am
wow, I never would have thought of that! Thanks for your extremely helpful tip. I'm talking about that third tip of course.
Thorsten Miess
December 5th, 2008 @ 7:22 am
thanks helpful! PIZZA!
December 5th, 2008 @ 7:26 am
Having a futon and an alarm clock in the edit suite, if there's enough room, can also be a very efficient way to cut down on some render times - sleep through them.
December 5th, 2008 @ 7:31 am
The secret pallet is great.

If you turn on scripts then load the pallet you can have After Effects send an email to a set address when the render is finished! Great if your heading out of the office for lunch, you know when to go back!

Thanks for the tips Andrew
December 5th, 2008 @ 7:52 am
I just want to say that i like your work and also im one of your students. Thanks xD
December 5th, 2008 @ 7:53 am
Tip 3 is what I would call perfect. Pizza does seem to make all things better, even cold pizza. Next time do a list of tips like the pizza tip!
December 5th, 2008 @ 9:29 am
Thanks for the tips
December 5th, 2008 @ 9:45 am
cs3 and cs4 are 32bit programs however AE is the only one that can be tweeked to use all your ram. you need 1 or more multicore processors and you can allocate 3 gigs to each thread i.e. if you have a dual core processor thats like having 2 processors in one and each can use 3 gigs. if you are like me i have two quad cores and 16 gigs of ram. i have ae tweeked to use 14 gigs leaving me 2 gigs left for other stuff. now cs4 does use more ram within premiere etc. but AE is still the only program that has the menus to tweek it. and in cs4 the "secret" menu is no longer secret lol.
December 5th, 2008 @ 9:46 am
Tip number 2 was really helpful. Thanks for the instructions
December 5th, 2008 @ 9:54 am
Secret menu for OSX:

Hold down control+alt+shift, go to the preferences and select memory & cache

Once you are there select from the drop down menu

In there you'll see the other preferences - the secret menu.
    August 3rd, 2011 @ 7:03 am
    But i didn't find this "secret" menu, even if i m accessing edit-preference-media and disc cache holding ctrl+alt+shift key.

December 5th, 2008 @ 9:56 am
Hey thanks for the opacity help :D And i think a good peperoni would do the job :D
December 5th, 2008 @ 10:00 am
Sometimes I solve buffer erros just disabling the preview when I render the comps, pressing BloqMaj key... Renders go more fast and no more problems...

pd: sorry of my english...
pdd: allllways vegetable pizza. More digestive at night!!
December 5th, 2008 @ 9:26 am
Almost any project I try to render always has this buffer problem, It's always a pain in the but to try to work around it. I can't thank you enough for these tips.
Pouyan Fard
December 5th, 2008 @ 10:39 am

I have the render buffer issue all the time. I dont seem to be able to get to the secret menu. What exactly should i do? Hole Shit while I go to AE Preferences?

Thanks a bunch in advance
December 5th, 2008 @ 11:02 am

"Hold shift"

What you're suggesting sounds like a camping tradition.

December 5th, 2008 @ 11:21 am
I know this sounds weird, but i don't like pizza. lol, everyone thinks i'm not human cause i dont like pizza.

so i'll just get some sub-way and work all night.
Julian Springer
December 5th, 2008 @ 11:26 am
Thanks for the Secret menu tip. I feel like a kid again!!! Christmas has come early. Thanks Andrew.
December 5th, 2008 @ 12:38 pm
thnx andrew for the tip ^^
December 5th, 2008 @ 12:48 pm
December 5th, 2008 @ 2:40 pm
ok, ANDY CASTRO, I do speculate on the possibility of you being of non-human origin for not liking pizza, however you are forgiven as subway is just as awesome if you ask me hehe =P (wow that was a run on sentence)

hehe Peace
December 5th, 2008 @ 7:25 pm
Plain is always great. I love Peperoni too.
December 5th, 2008 @ 7:57 pm
are you kidding? Subway stinks!!! good old-fashioned cheese pizza is the way to go.

this seems to have turned into a food discussion, who would have guessed that this is a VFX website? lol!
December 5th, 2008 @ 8:57 pm
i think working late - a cappuccino would serve a greater deal....
December 5th, 2008 @ 8:58 pm
and AK any info abt - "THE LOST SAM"
December 5th, 2008 @ 9:05 pm
It is nice to see that you are using PNG files for your image sequence renders as well.
December 6th, 2008 @ 12:17 am
Refrigerate your pizza?!?! C'mon Andrew... I thought you were brilliant? :)
Menelaos Artilussion
December 6th, 2008 @ 6:22 am
You are speaking the truth man...
Your TIPS are one step ahead of the problem
Like A prophesy lol
December 6th, 2008 @ 12:39 pm
Priceless advice. The secret setting has saved me many times. On the snack front I find the nearest CVS at the start of the week and load up on my planters peanuts and goldfish snacks.
PLus a granola bar for a touch of sweet. I have gained too much weight watching renders and visiting the vending machine. ha
December 7th, 2008 @ 12:54 am
i luvd tips.
December 7th, 2008 @ 12:56 am
i could not get "secret" menu, sir!
December 7th, 2008 @ 1:03 am
hi, im not getting tips
December 7th, 2008 @ 2:17 am
It´s good to hear, that sometimes you have the same render problems that I have...
And you do the Pizza trick like i´ve done it many times!
December 7th, 2008 @ 2:58 am
i often get open gl-errors if i don't deactivate it for preview... so i suppose my graphics card isn't the best for AE.

however, thanks for those helpful tips!
December 7th, 2008 @ 2:22 pm
when are you going to give us the promo? If you give it to us sooner, we'll have longer to think about buying... :*
December 7th, 2008 @ 10:28 pm
Another secret - hold down Alt, click on Help and then "About after effects"....check it out ;)
December 8th, 2008 @ 4:43 pm
how much do you pay for the electric bill, lol!
December 8th, 2008 @ 8:16 pm
Great tips, and I appreciate all the additional tips here in the comment area.
December 8th, 2008 @ 8:20 pm
Sorry, people... what's the key combination to order a pizza?
Ah... I work with CS3 yet.;)

PD: If I'm not so hungry, can I use the tip #1?
December 8th, 2008 @ 11:01 pm
lol... @ key combination to order pizza
hey Andrew, thanks for the AE secret preference tip
December 9th, 2008 @ 9:08 am
here is a great link for stopping the image buffer crash!!
March 25th, 2009 @ 3:13 pm
I agree wholeheartedly; extra cheesy pizza keeps you going at night! Cheese inside the crust has saved my soul more than once :-)
Lar Byrne
September 5th, 2009 @ 4:02 pm
ha ha ha gottalove the pizza tip, Says it real serious and stuff ha brilliant.
October 20th, 2009 @ 10:47 am
I don't want to sound stupid but 64 bit machine???
I just bought snow leopard and that went from 32 to 64 bit (Mac).
Or do I see them come flying of the wall now?
April 3rd, 2011 @ 5:29 am
Pepperoni dude, cant go wrong with that. Its a great idea too, sticking post it notes on your blog.
August 4th, 2011 @ 3:46 pm
is there a substitute effect for the 3d stroke add-on? something to simulate the same effect?
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