Where is a jumping off point to decipher what is breaking?
Render settings, comp settings, exact output paths, effects used. The long and short obvious answer is probably that
a) they use GPU accelerated effects that don't work properly on different machines due to hardware limitations
b) they do not have proper licenses in place for commercial third-party effects and they therefore fail
c) they use source materials whose respective CoDecs and file format handlers are not properly updated on each system
Pick one (or all) or provide more info.
You need service pack 1 for windows. If you don't have it, get it.
And to be extra-safe in your AE work, neither import footage in h.264 nor render to h.264. Transcode footage to an intermediaste codec before importing, and render to an intermediate codec. Use Adobe Media Encoder to transcode the rendered file to h.264.
- Systems are fully patched
- Instructor reported render failure with AME CC 2014 (8.0.1) as well
Update: Systems Fully patched
There are no references to the Sysprep Account used in the HKey_Current_User hive due to the use of <copyProfile>. The Adobe CC apps are installed post operating system deploy.
But from your initial query, it's difficult to know whether this person is importing h.264 footage or trying to render h.264 footage. H.264 footage used in AE can cause problems with certain effects, and it is NEVER a good idea to render to h.264.
So this could be an operator error rather than a system error.
So I tell you what, Mr. IT Guy -- go buttonhole this person, put your heads together, and answer the litany of diagnostic questions you'll find here:
Between the two of you, you'll have a much better chance of coming to the root of the problem... but separately? That's a crap shoot.
If you are exporting to .mov files using Apple's QuickTime H.264 codec, be warned: That is a very buggy codec, and it is especially known to fail when used on computer systems with a large number of CPU cores; if I recall correctly, the codec keels over when 20 or more threads are used, so---for example---a dual-hexacore system with hyperthreading turned on would have this problem.
I don't know that this is your specific issue, since we're still missing quite a few details. Please answer the questions on the page that Dave linked to.
Also, try exporting to some other format and codec as a diagnostic step.
I found the issue ... preferences in the default user profile and default user registry that were causing render to break.
They were a result of our old OS deployment methods of using <CopyProfile> in the sysprep answer file.
Clearing all default prefereces and allowing them to be recreated did not address the issue.
Per your request:
Version: After Effects CC 2014 13.2.0
Updates: Patched as of mid March 2015. Due to Adobe's rapid updates and random incompatibility issues we update only at the request of the instructors.
OS: Windows 7 x64 Sp1
Hardware: Dell Precision T7610
Dual Intel(R) Xeon(R) CPU E5-2630 v2 @ 2.60GHz, 6 cores, 12 logical processors
32GB Memory, NVIDIA Quadro v188.8.131.5221, 1x500GB SSD, 1x1TB SATA disk (OS on SSD)
Source Footage: unsure. I'd have to have the gather the info from a sample of students.
Quicktime: 7.7.6 Pro
Other Software: Variety of drawing and animation software