5 Most Common After Effects Mistakes & Easy Ways to Fix Them

You can be a confident user in After Effects and still make mistakes that can cost you time, project's quality or nerves. We've picked some really common ones and decided to fix them with you. Welcome to the 5 Most Common After Effects Mistakes & Easy Ways to Fix Them!

After Effects works slow

Nothing unusual, actually. After Effects is heavy professional software, so it requires to be treated like one. There can be many reasons of it's slow work or lagging renders, but the most specific ways to speed up After Effects are:

  • Use the latest version of software
  • Clean the cache
  • Increase the RAM
  • Use suitable SSD drivers - 7200 rpm and higher

Clean the cache in After Effects

Jumping animation

Placing the keys is not always easy for beginners - for the reason you can't understand, the animation is jumping instead of going smoothly. However, it's quite easy to fix - select “Keyframe Interpolation”. Change “Continuous Bezier” mode to the “Linear”. The Bezier is the default option.

Change Bezier to Linear mode

Next, you can set Linear Interpolation as default in general settings.

Choose Linear as the default option

Done! Now your animation will move smoothly.

Masks, not shapes

Shapes seem to be easier to put on your video, but masks are the option you should choose. 

Creating mask layer

To create a mask, simply select the layer you need, press q to call a panel and apply the mask to your layer. An important thing to know, if you won't choose the layer before creating the mask, you'll create shape.

By working with masks you'll save a lot of time and will conveniently cut&combine elements in your project.

Expression error

Expressions are essential and save a lot of time. But when they're lagging or giving errors, it's not always easy to understand why. 

For instance, You create an expression and it's not working. You click on the yellow warning sign and see this:

Expression error

How will you fix this? Go to Project Settings>Expressions. All you need to do is to switch the expression engine from JavaScript to Legacy ExtendScript. Restart your After Effects too.

Switching expression engine

Export settings

Finally, your project is ready and it's time to render. How do you do that? When exporting your video, choose H.264 codec. It keeps the weight of your video fine, without hurting it's quality. Click maximum render quality, but before that choose 5Mbps as the bitrate. Besides, it is recommended to set for the best quality/size balance. 

Export settings in After Effects

Outro

After Effects is heavy professional software, which makes a lot of calculations and can force your PC work slower or cause a lot of bugs. By following the instructions above, you can avoid many hours of trying to find the reason of it, while you solely had to clean the cache :)Learn more of After Effects using this guide.Most useful expressions for After Effects are here.