How To Solve The 'Unknown Exception' Error In After Effects

Facing the "After Effects Warning Unknown Exception" error? Address it by updating your graphics driver, checking for corrupted footage files, and resetting After Effects preferences. If unresolved, consider reinstalling the software or reaching out to Adobe Support for assistance. Discover more solutions and keep your projects on track.

October 8, 2023
How To Solve The 'Unknown Exception' Error In After Effects
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Adobe After Effects 'Warning Unknown Exception'

This isn't the first time that After Effects users have encountered the "Unknown Exception" warning. Such errors can disrupt workflows, lead to potential data loss, and hinder the creative process.

Breakdown Of This Post:

  • Key Causes: Pinpointing the primary triggers behind this error.
  • Effective Solutions: Steps to resolve the issue and prevent its recurrence.
  • Importance of Timely Action: Why addressing this error is vital for your projects.

Checking for Corrupted Footage Files

One of the common reasons for this is a corrupted footage file. If you've recently imported new footage into your project and started facing this issue, there's a good chance that the footage might be the culprit.

Step-by-Step Procedure to Check for Corrupted Footage:

  1. Open After Effects: Launch the application and open the project where you're facing the issue.
  2. Locate the Problematic Footage: Navigate to the Project panel, usually located on the left side of the screen. Here, you'll see a list of all the assets you've imported into your project.
  3. Create a New Composition: Right-click on the suspected footage file and select 'New Comp from Selection'. This will create a new composition with just that footage.
  4. Preview the Footage: Hit the spacebar to play the footage in the new composition. If you encounter the error at a specific time location, it's a clear indication that the footage is corrupted.
  5. Replace or Re-encode the Footage: If you've identified the footage as corrupted, consider replacing it with a new copy or re-encoding it using software like Adobe Media Encoder.

Updating Your Graphics Driver

An outdated graphics driver can also lead to the "Unknown Exception" error. Graphics drivers are essential for After Effects to run smoothly, especially when rendering complex animations.

Step-by-Step Procedure to Update Graphics Driver:

  1. Determine Your Graphics Card: Right-click on your desktop and select 'Display settings' or 'Screen resolution'. Navigate to 'Advanced settings', and under the 'Adapter' tab, you'll see the details of your graphics card.
  2. Visit the Manufacturer's Website: Based on whether you have NVIDIA, AMD, or Intel, go to their official website.
  3. Search for Drivers: There's usually a 'Drivers' or 'Support' section on the website. Enter your graphics card details to find the latest driver.
  4. Download and Install: Once you've located the right driver, download it. After downloading, run the installer and follow the on-screen instructions.
  5. Restart After Effects: After updating the driver, relaunch After Effects to see if the error is resolved.

Resetting After Effects Preferences

Preferences in After Effects store your customized settings. However, sometimes these can get corrupted and lead to errors. Resetting them to default can often resolve such issues.

Step-by-Step Procedure to Reset Preferences:

  1. Close After Effects: Ensure that After Effects is completely closed.
  2. Locate the Preferences Folder: Navigate to your user folder. On most systems, it's Users/<YourUsername>/Library/Preferences/Adobe/After Effects/.
  3. Delete the Preferences: Inside the After Effects folder, you'll find a folder with a version number (e.g., "16.0" for After Effects CC 2019). Delete this folder.
  4. Relaunch After Effects: Open After Effects again. It will create a new preferences folder with default settings.

When All Else Fails: Contact Adobe Support

If you've tried the above solutions and are still facing the error, it's time to get in touch with the experts. Adobe Technical Support is equipped to handle such issues and can provide guidance tailored to your specific situation.

Step-by-Step Procedure to Contact Adobe Support:

  1. Visit Adobe's Support Page: Go to Adobe's Support Contact page.
  2. Choose After Effects: From the list of Adobe products, select After Effects.
  3. Describe Your Issue: Provide a detailed description of the problem you're facing.
  4. Follow the On-Screen Instructions: Adobe will guide you through the process, which might include live chat or a call with a technical expert.