Without proper system information, exact comp and render settings, screenshots and so on nobody can tell you anything. we don't even know your version of AE.
Sorry! This is my first time using this form so had no idea.
Here is a screenshot of the issue:
LEFT - how it looks in AE
RIGHT - how it looks in PS
I have tried all different kinds of settings and rendering a still frame in Photoshop Sequence, TIFF Sequence, JPEG Sequence. The shadows just aren't appearing the same. It kept the correct light source on each of the items but the shadows just appear solid instead of blended.
Toshiba Qosmio X505
Intel(R) Core(TM) i7CPU Q 740 @ 1.73 GHz
64-bit Oporating System
Adobe Photoshop CC Version: 2014.2.2 20141204.r.310 CL 994532 x64
Operating System: Windows 7 64-bit
Adobe After Effects CC 2014.2 Release Version: 126.96.36.199
Now sure what other information need to help out.
Well, your comp preview is clearly at a reduced size, which could easily mean that at full res you exhaust all resources, leaving no room for soft shadow maps. Check the Copm Settings --> Advanced for shadow map size and use a lower, fixed value, not the default comp size. Also check your render settings and use "Best Settings" and no OpenGL...
A screenshot of the render settings and output module might help.
I'm not sure where to figure out the "OpenGL" part but I understood the rest of it. Trying it out now. *fingers crossed*
Now when you say "at full res you exhausted all resources..." does that mean my computer is being slow and it's an issue with that (not enough ram, overheating, etc) or is it something in my programs?
Thanks! I went into the CompSetting and changed the shadow map resolution. I have no idea what this shadow map thing is but it worked. Thanks again.