Quick tip – Regain control of your RAM – Purge All Shortcut

After Effects is a very RAM hungry application that uses as much of your RAM as it can get to preview your footage and compositions when you press the ‘0’ on the numeric keypad. The green bar is displayed in your timeline any time you RAM preview your composition. The one thing you will notice when you go to open your editing program or another RAM hungry app is that your computer will start running very slow or it may lock up and crash, this is especially true if you are running a Windows machine. After Effects will keep hogging your RAM until you purge your cache. You will notice that there are five options under the purge menu, All, Undo, Image Caches, Snapshot and Video Memory. If you select ‘All’ everything in the list will be purged. This includes all of your Undos, so to clarify once you select ‘All’ your Undos will no longer be available. The ‘Undo’ selection will just clear all the Undos. The ‘Snapshot’ and ‘Video Memory’ will only purge these items in the RAM, but the ‘Image Caches’ is the most important one to remember to clear out in order to release the maximum amount of RAM. Just make sure if you select ‘All’ you do not need to use the Undo feature.
Sometimes when the system is all bogged up, you need a shortcut to get you out of trouble and working as soon as possible again. The shortcut for ‘Purge All’ is CTRL (Control / Command) ALT (Alt / Option) followed by / (forward slash, but only using the numeric keypad).

This one has saved my sanity in the past, and also stopped me destroying my machine in frustration. It’s a good one to remember.

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  • Anthony

    Thanks for the tip! I’ve found footage layers revert to displaying just a freeze-frame if I scrub through the comp too much, and Purge was the only thing that sorted it.

    Are there any ways to prevent the footage freezing issue? I’ve just started using 1080 footage, I’ve not come across this before. Using CS3 on an ancient PowerMac G5 probably doesn’t help.

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