Top 5 After Effects Template Errors Plus New After Effects CC Solutions

  • By: Craig Lillard
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Top 5 After Effects Template Errors Plus After Effects CC Solutions


The AE Errors Are Falling!When opening an After Effects Template, users are often taunted with baffling "error" messages that can make new users feel like their After Effects Template journey will be a rocky road of turmoil!  However, these messages are for the most part benign and informative. 

This article will hopefully give you the information you need to weather these introductory messages and own that template the way you were meant to.  These errors are common to all versions of After Effects, but the newest version called After Effects CC (Creative Cloud) has added some new features to help you dominate a few of these errors in new and exciting ways!  Ok, maybe not exciting, but NEW!

1.  "After Effects Warning: 3 Files are Missing Since you Last Saved the Project."

Of all of the errors, this one is the most commonly misunderstood causing one to exclaim, "Those rascals!  Why would they sell me a template with missing files!?!?"  At first glance it would appear that items are actually missing from the purchased template.  However, this is almost never the case.

Let's just say that After Effects Templates and their "missing" assets are like me when I lose my keys.  It isn't that my keys are really missing... It's just that I don't know where they are! 

All you have to do is "re-unite" After Effects with those missing files. 

If you type "missing" into the project window search bar, all of your missing files will appear.  Right click on one and choose "Replace Footage" and then "File."  Then, browse to the template folder to find that particular missing file and select it.  At this point, After Effects exclaims, "Eureka!" and generally will locate all of your missing files at which point you should sing, "Reunited and it feels so gooooood!!!"

After Effects CC: After Effects CC has added the "Missing Footage" search term allowing you to pinpoint footage/media only that is missing.


2.  "After Effects: this project must be converted from version 8.0.2 (Windows) and will open as an untitled project. Standard Definition pixel aspect ratios will be updated for compatibility and improved accuracy. The original file will be unchanged."

This is the most benign message you will receive when opening a template and is not really an error at all, but rather an informational message.  It simply means that the template was originally created in a different version of After Effects and there are some things AE needs to do to bring the template up to date so it will work fine with your newer version of After Effects.  

After Effects CC:  No changes here.

3. "The following layer dependencies are missing: Text Layer: Font Family:'Papyrus' Font style: 'Regular'"

If After Effects is telling you that "Comic Sans" or "Papyrus" is missing... rejoice!  However, if any other font is missing, you need to know how to deal with it.  In truth, this is also more of a notice than an error.  Due to copyright issues, template creators are seldom able to include any custom fonts used in their template.

When After Effects realizes that there are fonts used in the template, and these fonts do not exist on your computer, this message will appear.  Thankfully, when After Effects realizes this, it will let you know exactly which font is missing. 

In almost all of the cases, the fonts that are used are freeware and available on the web, so a simple search will generally get you to the font you need.  Once you find the font, install it on your computer.  You might need to re-start After Effects and in some cases, you might even need to re-start your computer before the change takes place and this error goes away.

Alternatively, you don't even need to locate the font, if you would like to use your own font instead.  Simply click OK when the font warning appears and after the template loads, AE will select a default font to use in place of the missing font.  If the default font selected is not to your liking, then you can change the fonts used to another font you prefer.  Just go through each text layer, select it and choose a different font from the character menu.  Note:  This could be easier said than done depending on the font differences and the layout of the font vs. composition. 

After Effects CC: CC adds the command "Find Missing Fonts" which will show you all of the comps that have missing fonts.  In templates where there are a lof of layers and comps this can save a reasonable amount of time, allowing you to pinpoint only those layers that need font replacement.

4. "This project contains 975 references to missing effects.  Please install the following effects to restore these references. ("Light Factory EZ", "Particular")

After Effects is arguably the most powerful motions graphics software created and part of this power comes from the ability to integrate 3rd Party Plugins.  Plugins like "Trapcode Form", "Trapcode Particular" and "Optical Flares" allow power users to take their animations to another level not possible with the standard After Effects effect bundle.

However, if you try to open a template or project that uses these plugins and you do not have them on your own computer, you will receive the error above letting you know which plugins are used and therefore required for the template to work properly.

Many templates include a version of the template where the effects have been pre-rendered.  Pre-rendering happens when the template creator turns each plugin design element into a video. In this case, the end-user does not have to have the plugins in order to use the template.

Generally, some templates require plug-ins, some are pre-rendered and some are a mixture of both.

So, the solution to this error is either to purchase the needed plugins, or only purchase templates that do not require plugins (or have a pre-rendered version).

After Effects CC: CC adds the "Missing Effects" command which will show you all layers with missing effects.  While you would generally want to either purchase the effects or make sure you use a pre-rendered version of a template, sometimes you might want to just turn off or remove the non-working effect.  This is also quite useful for designers who are creating pre-rendered versions of templates and need to find and remove the plugins that are used.

Finding Missing Effects in After Effects CC

5.  Expression errors in non-english After Effects versions.

You might produce many different types of facial expressions when using AE, especially when you see the estimated render time for your template.  However, the expressions we are talking about are a completely different kind.

Expressions are After Effects programming scripts that can be created and used within After Effects to speed up and enhance certain processes or functions.  Because expressions are scripts, or pieces of code, they are language dependent.  If you are using a version of After Effects that is not the English version, and the template you purchased was created using the English version, you will receive an error related to the expression along the lines of "expression deactivated."  

There is a very simple way to solve this problem and "force" After Effects to use the English version for as long as you want it to.  Simply create an empty text file (.txt) using a text editor like Notepad on Windows or TextEdit on Mac.  Name the empty file: ae_force_english.txt.  Then place this file into your general "Documents" folder (i.e. My Documents on Windows.)  Restart AE and it will open in the English version and the expressions should then work.  Easy peasy swissa cheezy.

After Effects CC: No Changes here

So, there you go!  The top 5 errors and their solutions!  If I missed any errors or solutions, comment away!  Thanks for reading!