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Pushing the Limits of After Effects

Posted by Jon Geddes
11:21 pm on June 8th, 2009

You know you are pushing the limits of After Effects when you get this message:

ae_too_complex_error

I received this error while creating our upcoming Theater themed
Pro Motion Menu Kit: 03.

It occurred while just trying to preview a single frame. I tried disabling every single layer, and the message still appeared. After doing a little research, I came across this post which states the error is caused by too many footage source codecs (not applicable for our project), or a damaged project file.

Well it seemed as if the project was damaged, since disabling every single layer in the composition still resulted in an error when just trying to preview a single frame. I spent an entire day reconstructing what I had previously created in a new project (making some improvements along the way), only to discover when I got to a certain point… the error happened all over again. At least this time, I knew exactly what I had done to produce the error and it wasn’t a corrupt project file:

I had created an expression which used the sampleImage() command to extract the average color of a precomposition, and apply it to the color of a spot light. I tried many different parameters for the expression, sampling small to large areas… all resulting in error. Disabling multiprocessing did cause the error not to appear, but that was not an acceptable solution for a product release. I also learned that restarting After Effects was the only way to get rid of the error message after removing the expression. Simply closing the project didn’t even work.

It appears to be a bug with After Effects, so I decided to go with a different effect that didn’t produce any errors, and it actually reduced render times and looks just as good.

This menu is shaping up to be one of our most impressive yet. We should have a sneak peek ready for you guys within days!

2 Responses to “Pushing the Limits of After Effects”

  1. Todd Kopriva says:

    Please file a bug by sending a message to aebugs@adobe.com. If you could include the offending project, that would be great.

  2. Jon Geddes says:

    The error message does not seem to occur when the project is opened in AE CS4. It appears Adobe has already directly or indirectly addressed this issue.

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