28 Replies Latest reply on Apr 24, 2018 11:51 AM by kungfooking

    Expressions Not Updating?

    Marc Trzepla Level 1

      Currently running After Effects and this is on both Macintosh and Windows.


      There will be expressions that do not visually update to what the value says it is.


      Example ... layer Opacity without an expression is 0%, layer is not visible. 


      Add an expression (if/else toggle) for either 100% or 0% ... the expression will be enabled (no syntax errors) and the value colored in 'red' showing it has an expression on it ... of 0% ... but the layer will be 100% visible.   Stunner is that if I temporarily turn off the expression the layer disappears because the Opacity without an expression is 0%.  Toggle back on the expression-driven value of 0% and the layer is visible again.


      Same with position.  I have Position expressions placing items in random locations.  If I dial in new seed values I can watch the 'red' expression-enabled position value change... but the layer itself doesn't move to the new position.


      Edit -> Purge -> All Memory / All Memory & Disk Cache / Image Cache Memory has no effect.


      Many times quitting AE and opening it back up refreshes to the correct value.


      Any thoughts what's causing this?     Expressions are expressions are expressions... they return a value and the value 'should' visually reflect the numbers that correctly update in the 'red' text value field.     But don't.       





        • 1. Re: Expressions Not Updating?
          Rick Gerard Adobe Community Professional & MVP

          I can't reproduce any of the problems you are talking about. We don't have any idea what is going on in your comp. Try this. Select the layer or layers that are giving you problems and press the U key twice to reveal all modified properties. Make sure the composition is selected in the Project Panel so we can see the comp details. Print screen and then paste to the reply field on the forum. On a Mac press Shift + Ctrl/Cmnd + 3 to take a screenshot and drag it to the reply field from the desktop. Then give us workflow details so we can see what's going on. If the expressions take up more than one line then it would also be a good idea to copy and paste them to the forum. Without details I don't know what to suggest.

          • 2. Re: Expressions Not Updating?
            tristansummers Level 1

            We know that an expression value is not being displayed in the Composition viewer.

            An expression that usually works.

            We know that emptying the cache does not correct it.

            We know that sometimes restarting after effects makes the viewer refresh properly.

            That in itself is a great finding and a great mystery.

            The image is still stored in RAM somewhere?

            We know that both expressions and previews have been re-coded recently.

            As a user it is hard because we can't see behind the curtain to troubleshoot the inconsistency.

            It seems clear this is an image cache issue.

            I am trawling the forums for tips to solving this myself.

            I'm wondering about all the different cahce points in a computer, processor, RAM, where could the ghosts be hiding?

            • 3. Re: Expressions Not Updating?
              Gutterfish Adobe Community Professional

              For anyone who saw my posts about this in their notification disregard them.  I'm a complete moron.

              • 4. Re: Expressions Not Updating?

                I use Dan Ebberts marker sync expression all the time.

                Dan Ebberts's Expressioneering Design Guide

                Long story short, its an expression that controls the time remap value of a nested composition.

                What's weird is that I can see time remap value stop changing while scrubbing through the timeline (as it should), but the layer continues to animate as though time remap is still changing. This is not a user error, its a bug. And the sooner it gets fixed the better. Thanks.

                • 5. Re: Expressions Not Updating?
                  Marc Trzepla Level 1

                  Sorry for the radio silence - my original post was the day before vacation... I was busy trying to crank out everything that was due before I left.  Didn't have time to reply.


                  Rick or anyone interested - here are screen captures of two sample expressions that don't update, the comp settings for one, and some effect sliders I used 'in' the expressions to dial in some values.


                  I did find that UN-checking the option in Preferences -> Display -> "Hardware Accelerate...Panels" helped 'a little' which makes me wonder if this is a display issue.  Bummer it didn't resolve this 100% ... stinks when things only end up a 'little' fixed, you know?


                  I'll make sure to post this to the Bug Report.


                  Expression Problem 1.jpg


                  Expression Problem 2.jpg


                  Expression Problem 3.jpg


                  Expression Problem 4.jpg

                  • 6. Re: Expressions Not Updating?
                    Szalam Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                    https://forums.adobe.com/people/Marc+Trzepla  wrote


                    Currently running After Effects and this is on both Macintosh and Windows.

                    Have you tried the 14.2.1.x update?

                    • 7. Re: Expressions Not Updating?
                      Kevin-Monahan Adobe Employee

                      Hi Marc Trzepla,

                      Sorry for this issue. Did you ever find a solution? Please let us know if our experts’ advice helped you or if you still need help.




                      • 8. Re: Expressions Not Updating?
                        Marc Trzepla Level 1

                        Kevin,Szalam -


                        No, this issue still persists.


                        However, it's a tough target to aim for since we're working under peculiar conditions.   As I understand it - the Engineering department gets some kind of pre-packaged, enterprise-level distribution of Creative Cloud that's then checked and blessed internally (by whom, I have no idea, it's a big company) and then dished out throughout the network's offices for consistency.  So unlike Home, where my personal CC subscription is up-to-date as soon as the new releases come out, I'm at the mercy of this packaging process when it comes to getting the latest and greatest dot releases.      Which may fix the issue.   I had not considered taking the projects home to test them.  Perhaps I will.


                        Thank you,



                        • 9. Re: Expressions Not Updating?
                          Kevin-Monahan Adobe Employee

                          Sounds frustrating, Marc. I know that IT admins are notoriously slow at updating creative software. That's a problem in companies everywhere, unfortunately. All you can do is continue to ask for the update as soon as it comes out. I hope that the issue has been fixed in current versions. Please let us know what you come up with in your tests, that is, if you have time.



                          • 10. Re: Expressions Not Updating?

                            I'm, also having this issue. In my case, I just have expressions linking opacity to checkboxes in a control null, which was working fine yesterday, but for some reason the values in the timeline are updating but the preview is not. Also, when I add the composition to the render queue it renders whatever was visible before the opacity values were modified when the checkboxes were toggled.


                            Restarting AE refreshes the preview to the correct values, and clearing image cache does not help.


                            Running 14.2.134. Creative Cloud says no updates for AE are available




                            • 11. Re: Expressions Not Updating?
                              tristansummers Level 1

                              I'm pretty sure it is cache not updating. Maybe a RAM issue, maybe a SSD/nvme flash refresh issue? Maybe a GPU VRAM issue?

                              What is more weird is that I have had this issue on every machine I work on, and I am feelance in a different shop each week, yet nobody at Adobe has the issue or can replicate it. Could it be a Europe 50hz only issue?!!! Could it be a CPU cache issue?


                              I have had unreliable preview on all sorts of machines. PC/MAC... SSD/HD/ioFX cache...

                              But I will say that it is SO SO worth it to get realtime playback. bring it on. iron out the bugs and keep up the good work out there on planet Adobe.

                              ps I wish you kept the old effects named and referenced the same and called the new one NEW Gaussian blur so as not to break a thousand delivered templates but hey! 

                              • 12. Re: Expressions Not Updating?
                                tipsyfreelancer Level 1

                                The workaround that works for me is to Save and the Re-open the project.

                                • 13. Re: Expressions Not Updating?
                                  tristansummers Level 1


                                  That is only useful when you notice it.

                                  But not being able to trust what you see in the comp window is kind of a big deal!


                                  It is weird how nobody seems to have spotted it, as I see it all over the place. Mac/PC latest version AE etc.


                                  The egeneral issue is that there seems to be something that means the persistant cache doesn't update. Sometimes this is flushed by restarting AE, or emptying cache, but it would be good to know some other troubleshooting tips for when this doesn't happen, or how to prevent it happening.

                                  I guess next thing is when you notice it, empty cache turn cache OFF, restart AE and see if that is what it is.

                                  • 14. Re: Expressions Not Updating?
                                    tipsyfreelancer Level 1

                                    Yeah, its a workaround, not a solution.

                                    Re-opening the project fixes it without needing to restart AE.

                                    • 15. Re: Expressions Not Updating?
                                      pegeseus Level 1

                                      FWIW I have the exact same issue and came here looking for a fix.  My code is almost identical to yours but I'm on the most recent AE version.  I have a master null that has a few checkbox controls on it controlling the visibility of a number of layers.


                                      My expression:

                                      temp = comp("EoG_brackets16_Finals_win").layer("master_null").effect("blue")("Checkbox");

                                      if (temp == 0) 0 else 100;


                                      The expression gives no errors and I can see the values updating but the composition window does not reflect the opacity changes.  It's making life difficult as I specifically coded this up to save time and it's just causing headaches.

                                      1 person found this helpful
                                      • 16. Re: Expressions Not Updating?
                                        pegeseus Level 1

                                        This issue appears to also be found in this thread: Expressions stop working after rendering CC2017

                                        I can confirm that running the Render Queue appears to make this happen.  I open a comp- expressions work fine.  I render a PNG and my expressions stop updating in the composition window.  All expressions continue to work as intended but there's no visual update.

                                        • 17. Re: Expressions Not Updating?
                                          Clement Picon

                                          Has anyone found a fix yet?

                                          I'm experiencing the same problems here : Simple expressions like linking a source text to another layer in a different comp won't work after a render. Same for the opacity of a layer linked to a checkbox : the expression work, I can see the opacity value changing when checking / unchecking the box, but nothing happens in the display...

                                          I've experienced the problem on CC 2018 an tried to revert to CC 2017 and 2015, it didn't solve the problem.


                                          I'm using after effects on Windows 7 64 bits with 32Go of ram and a Intel Xeon CPU E5-2620 v3  2.40GHz.


                                          If anyone has a clue on how to fix this, I will be very thankful!

                                          • 18. Re: Expressions Not Updating?
                                            kungfooking Level 1

                                            FWIW, I've been having the same issue since updating to CC2017....After rendering, expressions no longer update the comp preview, but they do update in the timeline. I posted the thread that pegeseus referred to: Expressions stop working after rendering CC2017. I just wanted to add my voice as someone else that is experiencing this bug.


                                            I don't know what's going on in the background, but I do agree that it seems like AE is having issues with the cache. I can confirm that purging the cache does nothing. Although saving, closing and then reopening the project seams to remedy the problem...But it's a work around, not a solution. I create a lot of toolkits for people that are not that savvy with AE, so it's especially frustrating for them as they don't really understand what's going on.


                                            Hopefully some from Adobe can figure out a solution soon.


                                            Thanks for everyones input and suggestions!



                                            • 19. Re: Expressions Not Updating?
                                              Szalam Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                              Can those of you experiencing this issue please try it in the January 2018 update? There were a lot of bug changes and fixes in this version.

                                              • 20. Re: Expressions Not Updating?
                                                kungfooking Level 1

                                                I just tried it in the latest version of CC 2018, version 15.0.1 (Build 73). Unfortunately it's still not working, the expressions do not update after rendering.


                                                Is that the most current version? I did not see any updates in the CC application.


                                                Thanks for you help!



                                                • 21. Re: Expressions Not Updating?
                                                  tristansummers Level 1

                                                  In case you're are unable to recreate the problem, It may only happen when you have "a few" expressions in the comp. Something gets overloaded. I have a grid expression that used to be fine but now with over 20 or so layers it just chokes.

                                                  • 22. Re: Expressions Not Updating?
                                                    tristansummers Level 1

                                                    If expression changes do not trigger a re render/update of cached frames, have you tried, say, adding an adjustment layer with an effect to trigger it. If this works then it maybe that helps with the hunt?

                                                    • 23. Re: Expressions Not Updating?
                                                      Szalam Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                                      kungfooking  wrote


                                                      I just tried it in the latest version of CC 2018, version 15.0.1 (Build 73). Unfortunately it's still not working, the expressions do not update after rendering.


                                                      Is that the most current version? I did not see any updates in the CC application.


                                                      That is the most recent release, yes. Do all of the expressions not update or is there a certain type that's exhibiting the bad behavior?

                                                      • 24. Re: Expressions Not Updating?
                                                        kungfooking Level 1

                                                        Nothing with an expression seems to update in the comp view.


                                                        When I started to notice this issue, I experimented with trying to create some basic projects to see if I could replicate the issue. Here's what I found:

                                                        • When there are only a handful of expressions, maybe 10-20 or so, the issue still occurs. But it seems like AE can snap itself out of whatever the cause of the issue is after changing the value of whatever is driving the expression, such as text or an expression control. After changing those values a few times, the comp window will start to update. It was never consistent, and there seemed to be no set number of times the value needed to be changed to get things working again.
                                                        • When the project is expression heavy...Once I render the expressions no longer work properly and the comp window does not update.


                                                        I could never figure out what the tipping point is...how many expressions does it take, or what type of functions the expressions are performing, that cause AE to not recover properly after rendering.


                                                        All of these projects worked fine in CC 2014. We only started having these issues once we updated to CC 2017 and 2018.


                                                        Thanks again for all of your help!



                                                        • 25. Re: Expressions Not Updating?
                                                          tristansummers Level 1

                                                          Not sure if it is relevant, but I have been having problems with expressions within PreComps that crash the program completely.


                                                          Sounds like as long as the calculation fits in RAM it is fine, but once it gets put to disc cache it is not.


                                                          Can I ask those who know what it is, if you can still change the proclivity multiplier. This would change when the app asks for things to be cached or not. Basically, can you disable either the cache or the ram to see where the error is? But this might be out of date now.


                                                          As in the ioFX settings for CS6:

                                                          "Proclivity Multiplier 2" = "1.000000"

                                                          and modify the value from "1.000000" to "0.000001"

                                                          Like this: "Proclivity Multiplier 2" = "0.000001"


                                                          I think this was to force writing to the ioFX cache instead of RAM...

                                                          • 26. Re: Expressions Not Updating?
                                                            Szalam Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                                            That sounds really frustrating. I haven't experienced the issue on my end or I'd probably be frustrated with you! Thank you for doing some testing. It could prove useful.

                                                            I'd suggest filing a bug report with all of that information (plus as much information as you can about your hardware, OS, etc.). Let them know if you are willing to share project files so they can test it on their end.

                                                            1 person found this helpful
                                                            • 27. Re: Expressions Not Updating?
                                                              justinleung Level 1

                                                              I've just been using an adjustment layer with checkbox control to turn things on/off and I can confirm that everything breaks after rendering.


                                                              I did realize 2 possible work arounds if you guys are trying to use your toolkits/templates


                                                              If you delete the checkbox control (adjustment layer) scrub around and ctrl+z, the expressions work again.




                                                              Create another adjustment layer and rename it the exact same way as your checkbox control adjustment layer. Delete the new adjustment layer and this should refresh your expressions.


                                                              Seems a whole lot faster than re-opening AE


                                                              Hope this helps you guys fix the issue!

                                                              1 person found this helpful
                                                              • 28. Re: Expressions Not Updating?
                                                                kungfooking Level 1

                                                                Hello All,


                                                                I just wanted to provide a status update.


                                                                This morning, I upgraded to the newest version of After Effects CC, Version 15.1.0 (Build 166), which I believe was released on April 8th. I am happy to report that, so far, it's looking like Adobe has resolved the issue. I haven't fully run it through it's paces yet, but I have tested it out on a few expression heavy projects. I was successfully able to render and then make changes within the project, which were accurately updated in the comp view...without having to use the work around of closing and then reopening the project after the render completed.


                                                                Does anyone else that has been experiencing the issue have the time/resources to upgrade and to run a few tests? It would be great to have someone else confirm these results.


                                                                Thanks in advance and hopefully this bug has finally been fixed!



                                                                1 person found this helpful