How to Fix After Effects Not Rendering

Can’t complete your project since After Effects is not rendering correctly?

One of the most frustrating issues you might face on Adobe After Effects is your project refusing to render correctly. When this occurs, you won’t be able to export your final output, and you’ll be stuck with an almost finished project. 

If you’re a professional who needs to meet an upcoming deadline, this can affect your productivity. 

Whenever you add effects, images, videos, or filers, After Effects render them for you to preview or export the results. However, this process is done automatically in the background, without your knowledge. 

Unfortunately, there are instances when you’ll be greeted with a render error message during your final export. 

Just when you think you’re finished with your project, After Effects will give you additional problems to deal with. 

To help you out, we’ve decided to make a guide on how to fix After Effects if it’s not rendering your projects correctly. 

Let’s dive right in! 

1. Use the Render Panel. 

This is the most common method to render and export projects in After Effects. If you’re new to the software, you might want to use this procedure whenever you export your output. However, if you’re an AE veteran, skip to the next method, as you probably know this already. 

  1. After completing your project, click on the Composition tab at the top of the window and click on Add to Render Queue
Add Render Queue
  1. After that, the Render Queue Panel should show up at the bottom of your screen. Click on Best Settings next to the Render Settings tab to modify your preference. 
after effects not rendering
  1. Once done, save the changes and move over to the Output Module tab right below Render Settings. For short compositions, choosing the Lossless preset is your best bet. However, you might want to use the Media Encoder option for longer video files to reduce file size. 
after effects not rendering
  1. Finally, click on Output To and select a destination folder for your video. Hit the Render button to start.

Once done, After Effects should start rendering your project without issues. 

2. Switch to CPU Render Only. 

After Effects is known to take advantage of your GPU, which speeds up the rendering process. However, you must have a high-performance video card for this feature to work correctly. If you can’t render properly on After Effects, it’s best to disable the feature. 

See the steps below to switch to CPU rendering on After Effects: 

  1. On Adobe After Effects, navigate to File > Project Settings
  2. Now, under Video Rendering and Effects, change the option to Software Only
  3. Finally, click OK to save the changes. 
after effects not rendering

Render your project again to check if the problem is solved. 

3. Check If You Have Enough Storage. 

Render issues on Adobe After Effects can also occur if you run out of storage space to save your final output. Since graphics-intensive projects can take up a lot of space, try to check your storage drive first if it can still accommodate the video you’re trying to export. 

If not, delete some of your previous projects, uninstall unused applications, or expand your storage if possible. 

4. Purge Your Cache. 

Too much memory and disk cache can slow down After Effects and negatively affect its performance. Due to this, you need to make it a habit to clear your memory and disk cache once in a while. 

Here’s how you can do this: 

  1. First, launch Adobe After Effects on your computer. 
  2. After that, click on Edit and hover over your cursor to the Purge tab. 
  3. Lastly, choose the All Memory and Disk Cache option. 
after effects not rendering

Restart After Effects afterward and check if the problem is solved. 

5. Update Your System. 

Being a resource-hungry software, you want your system to be at its best state when running After Effects and other video processing tools. To do this, we suggest updating your operating system to the latest version. 

On Windows, here’s what you need to do: 

  1. First, access the Start Menu and go to Windows Settings
  2. After that, scroll down on the side menu and click on Windows Update
  3. If there’s an available update, hit the Download & Install option. 
after effects not rendering

For Mac users, follow the guide below to update your system: 

  1. On your Mac, click on the Apple Menu in the upper left corner of your display. 
  2. Next, click on System Preferences and access the Software Update tab. 
  3. Finally, hit the Update Now button to install the latest version of macOS
Update Mac

Restart your system after the update to apply the changes. Go back to Adobe After Effects afterward to check if the problem is solved. 

That ends our guide on how to fix After Effects if it’s not rendering your projects correctly. If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below, and we’ll do our best to answer them. 

If this guide helped you, please share it. 🙂


  • John Sixto

    John is a staff writer at Saint and comes from a SAP ABAP development background. He has a Bachelors in IT and has been writing since 2018, with over 500 posts published. He loves to build PCs and has a deep curiosity in understanding how different components and configurations work. John spends hundreds of hours at a time, researching and testing the software and apps, before he proceeds to write about it. LinkedIn X (Twitter) Website

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