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> some of the effects I am using only support 8 or 16 bit per channel color....
Just so that you're clear on what it means that some effects work in certain color depths:
The effects that don't work in 32-bpc can still work on a layer in a 32-bpc project. The effects just don't preserve the precision and over-range values that it is possible to have in a 32-bpc project. If you were already working in 8-bpc and only switched to 32-bpc to fix certain problems, then this limitation might not be an issue for you. For more information about color depths, see this page: "Color depth and high dynamic range color"
If you do want to preserve as much of the over-range information in a 32-bpc HDR (high-dynami-range) image as possible while using a low-dynamic-range effect, you can use the HDR Compander effect.
8bpc/16bpc vs. 32bpc may have something to do with it. Usually it is safe to intermingle effects, but you may just accidentally use an unfavorable combination of things. If not OpenGL is at play, the artifacts appearing at what would be tile seams of SmartFX (=32bpc) effects would be a indication of that. I would definitely look into that. Also check layer styles and their blending options. Also try to add light to your 3D environment. This sometimes makes the renderer behave to to enforcing additional checks....
Thanks very much for the help guys, it's very useful to learn about these things. The issues seem to be resolved in most projects and I think I'll just have to hunt through blending options/layer styles in the other projects to see if that fixes everything.