What plugins are you using in the scene? What version of AE are you using? (Not just 9 or 10, but the point numbers after it too, for example: if you're using CS5, your version would be 10.0.0, 10.0.1, or 10.0.2)
Also, most importantly, have you tried turned your computer off and back on again?
More info indeed is needed. Sounds like an OpenGL issue where you eitehr are using OpenGL and have forgotten about it or for some reason a project got "tainted" by a plug-in using hardware acceleration and now it can't recover....
Thanks for your response. I was using Open GL. I turned it off and it still crashes.
Here's the full story.
AE Version 10.0.0.45b
Windows Vista 64 bit
Intel processors, quad core 2.2 Ghz, Geoforce 8500 GT with 512 MB DDR video ram
After encountering some additional problems, I reinstalled the entire CS5 suite.
This fixed the problem with crashing -- for a few days. Today when I tried to render a small piece of my movie, it crashed with the same crash as before, on the Ramp plugin.
I removed the reference to the Ramp plugin, and the next try it crashed on the Drop Shadow plugin.
I removed the Drop Shadow plugin, and the next try it crashed on the Fill plugin.
I removed that one and it crashed next on the Puppet plugin.
At this point, I gave up. I can't work around not using the puppet, and there's obviously something systemic going on.
These are the only plugins I'm using in the area I'm trying to render. Later on in the piece (outside the work area) I use Trapcode Particular II.
Any help would be greately appreciated.
Since you mention the Puppet tool - can we assume you have everything properly pre-composed? Distortion effects are generally sensitive to things not being in the correct order. Also there may be situations where the effect is unable to calculate its "folding" if pins move in certain ways and cause the triangles to overlap oddly. Maybe you can look into that. i get the distinct impression that the problem is here rather than in the effects you mentioned....
This may be the reason for the puppet tool not working. I made the mistake of altering a photoshop source file that a lot of my images are linked to. Which caused a few puppet points to be on empty pixels. Could this cause a crash? Yikes! This doesn't explain the ramp or the drop shadow, though.
I guess I'll do the update and hope that takes me in the right direction....
Since no one has mentioned it yet, I will: 8 gigs isn't exactly a boatload of memory any more. I recommend turning of multiprocessing, too.
At work I have a dual quad core machine with 8 gigs, and I don't even think about multiprocessing; I don't have enough memory to make its use very effective.
At home I have a dual quad-core machine with 24 gigs; multiprocessing works fine.
I think I've figured out what causes this crash. If I apply ANY after effects effects to any of my castmembers that are Photoshop imports (with editable layers), it causes this rendering problem. If I remove all effects, or convert the photoshop file to a standard bitmap or shape layer, then it doesn't crash.
Has anyone else had this sort of problem? Does this seem to be a realistic bug, or am I misreading it?
By the way, I have installed all the upgrades, to no avail.