10 Replies Latest reply on May 23, 2012 10:09 AM by kenackr

    Black screen & all menu items grayed out -help!


      Sorry folks, total AE nube here, in over my head already. Having just purchased AE CS3 I'm completely adrift.


      I was in the process of looking at & changing preferences when shortly thereafter my screen went All black. A friend suggested it may have something to do with the output display, which may be the problem, however, I have gievn up searching after 4 days trying different searches in the program help function with no joy.


      Apparently, I don't know "Adobe Speak" well enough to phrase the seach to get meaningful results. I did finally find that If I put the cursor at the very top of the screen & click I can then see the menu. Every dropdown list in the menu, is grayed out and no amount of pounding on the keys, gnashing of teeth, pulling hair, etc will allow me back in to the preferences where I suspect I misunderstood what the selection of "Cinema display" would do. Unfortunate that FCP 7 allows one to select that for a higher resolution view that I have in fact used before.


      If that was indeed my error, since even the preferences are grayed out, how does one reset preferences to factory default?




      Is this a problem of a different nature? The monitor works just fine in all other programs, so I don't bevieve that is the problem.


      Any help would be greatly appreciated.



        • 1. Re: Black screen & all menu items grayed out -help!
          Mylenium Most Valuable Participant

          how does one reset preferences to factory default?


          By deleting the pertinent files in Users:Ken:Preferences:Adobe:After Effects:8.0. Also make sure you are launching the correct full version of AE, not the render-only version, which looks just the same, but has all items but the ones in teh File menu disabled.



          • 2. Re: Black screen & all menu items grayed out -help!
            kenackr Level 1



            Thanks much for the reply. Sorry for the delay in response, I could not find the prefs along the path you described. Here is a screen grab showing the prefs finally found under library:

            Adobe AE Prefs.jpg


            This is is the file to delete? When he file is deleted& I then restart the AE program WIll I have the ability to straighten out the display?



            • 3. Re: Black screen & all menu items grayed out -help!
              Rick Gerard Adobe Community Professional & MVP

              Just hold down the option and ctrl keys then click on the app to open it. You'll get a popup that asks if you want to delete the prefs file.

              • 4. Re: Black screen & all menu items grayed out -help!
                kenackr Level 1



                Thanks for the reply. I have done that but I never get to see the popup because the screen is all black.



                • 5. Re: Black screen & all menu items grayed out -help!
                  kenackr Level 1



                  I just don't know why I keep buying this Adobe crap. Apparently, they must outsource all the programming to China, because it sure isn't written in a way that I can understand as an American. Like most of the big software companies, they do not provide either a clear path to or a coherent explanation of how to use the arcane & obtuse programming that makes up their fare. Of course, you never really know what you are getting into, because they don't make it clear just how difficult it is to learn or use.


                  In their rush to make gobs of money, they seem to have forgotten that not everyone who purchases their crap has had enough prior experience to undestand the little known secrets of how to find out what to do when all goes wrong.


                  It is the same mistake that many programmers the world over make day in & day out, they can't concieve that those who have no familiarity with the way they see how to make their software work, find their software unfathomable. THE NEWS FLASH IS THAT NOT EVERY ONE KNOWS WHAT YOU KNOW ABOUT HOW TO MAKE SOFTWARE WORK. The attitude seems to be: "Anyone who doesn't know the secrets of the brotherhood shouldn't be using it!"


                  As one who once went through the rigors of obtaining a CS degree (and actually considered starting a software company), it became obvious (20 years ago) that the future was not how many tricks you could make the pony do, but rather how intuitive you could make the software to allow the intended user to operate it without having to know it's arcane secrets AND to make it fault tolerant and self healing as much as possible. The telephone is a reasonable analogy, very few people know how it works, but they sure can use it until the cows come home with very few operator errors. In short, the technology is virtually transparent to the user.


                  I realize that company cultures rarely change unless an outsider is brought in to clean house and start afresh and that the likelyhood of that happening at Adobe is about the same as winning the Powerball lotto Jackpot 3 times in your life. I guess that makes me a modern day Don Quixote, but so be it. I also know that EVERY organization that does not change it's approach to the marketplace will eventually be replaced by some upstart who figures out a way to do it better.


                  So, ladies & germs, I did what anyone who uses a telephone would do when you aren't making any progress, I hung up the phone (un-installed the program) and stopped trying to figure out the technology that keeps my screen black AND does not allow me to undo the prefs quickly, and with a new dialtone, I redialed the number (re-installed). A clever little monkey am I.


                  If it happens again (or something similar) I'll bring my disk and man's best friend to the park for a stress bustin game of frisbee!


                  Adobe, it really is the 21st century, and you have failed miserably at meeting the future of making software more transparent to the user !




                  P.S. - For the record, I've been in an altered state (call frustration) for 20 years worth of Adobe products, and the light at the end of their tunnel, IMO is an oncoming train.

                  • 6. Re: Black screen & all menu items grayed out -help!
                    Rick Gerard Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                    Sorry you're having so much trouble. I've been using After Effects since COSA. Never had a serious problem wasn't related to a driver, a corrupt file, or some third-party software.


                    Tens of thousands of Mac users Ron AE every day. I'd suggest hey double check of all your drivers and third-party software. I run a reinstall. It's not that the software is perfect, it's just that there's something really fouled up with your system configuration.

                    • 7. Re: Black screen & all menu items grayed out -help!
                      Rick Gerard Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                      Sorry about the spelling errors. Posting to the form on iPhone is not easy.

                      • 8. Re: Black screen & all menu items grayed out -help!
                        kenackr Level 1



                        Thanks for hanging with me. It's certainly not your fault that I'm having problems. I ran a reinstall of AE and am now among the sighted again with the black screen bannished (hopefully never to return).


                        I don't doubt for a minute that something might be amiss with the system configuration, but what makes you conclude that? the fact that the popup didn't come up OR the fact that the screen grab above that shows where the prefs file is located? It took awhile to find it.


                        For the record, I'm running an: 8 core Mac Pro with Snow Leopard 10 .6. 8 with 14 gig of ram & 4 sata II drives with the 2 of those @ 1TB which includes the OSX mounted drive @ 7200 rpm where all the applications are also mounted.


                        The other day I tried to find if Snow Leopard has a repair function just in case there is something wrong. There was no conclusive statement to that effect in any of the writtem material that came with the Apple install discs. The setup screen didn't indicate anything of that either.

                        I did do a repair disk permissions that had some problems and then a defrag (with Drive Genius) followed by a re install of AE CS3.


                        I admit to not being anything close to up to speed on the ins & outs of OSX. LIke the average bear, now, I'd just as soon actually make something with the expensive software I've purchased than trying to be the "tech guru".


                        Silly me for thinking any of the software companies would spend an extra nickel to make it easier for the poor consumer they blindfold before the sale.



                        • 9. Re: Black screen & all menu items grayed out -help!
                          RocketMan Media Group

                          Hi Guys,

                          I want to thank all of you. This blog helped me to not panic when my screen went black. When in the preferences panel, you and I both must have clicked on the "Digital Cinema Desktop" option under video preview without clicking on any of the other options below it which tell After Effects exactly what it is you want to view full screen, therefore, it shows just a black screen. The greyed out menus is still a mystery to me. But, by opening After Effects from a project file that was not open when I made this grave error, I was able to get the menus to reappear. I still had a black screen though. I opened the preferences panel and I changed the option back to "Computer Monitor Only" on the Output Device option. Voila! My screen came back. No harm done. Unfortunately for you, I'm a bit late. Just remember not to select that option without selecting the source options below it or catastrophe will happen again.



                          Message was edited by: jlbrooksmtg

                          • 10. Re: Black screen & all menu items grayed out -help!
                            kenackr Level 1



                            As you can see in my post above, I got tired of trying to figure it out but suspected that it was the Cinema display option that put me in the dog house, and just reloaded AE to be able to move forward. Admittedly, that's not a very good fix from a technical savvy view point, but it got the job done.


                            Glad to be of help!