How To Purge Unused Memory Cache in After Effects?

After Effects, a cornerstone in the motion graphics world, empowers you to bring your animation projects to life. However, as you work on complex compositions and effects, After Effects accumulates cache data to improve performance. While this caching can be beneficial, over time, unused cache files can clutter your system and potentially hinder performance. This comprehensive guide will equip you with the knowledge to purge unused memory cache in After Effects, allowing you to reclaim valuable resources and optimize your workflow.

Understanding Cache in After Effects:

After Effects utilizes two primary types of cache:

  • Memory Cache (RAM Cache): This cache stores frequently accessed project data in your computer's RAM for faster retrieval. This cache is volatile, meaning it's cleared automatically when you quit After Effects.
  • Disk Cache: This cache stores project data like previews, thumbnails, and intermediate rendering results on your storage drive. This cache persists even after closing After Effects, allowing for faster loading and playback when you revisit project elements.

Why Purge Unused Cache?

Here's why purging unused cache in After Effects can be beneficial:

  • Reclaim System Resources: Over time, the disk cache can accumulate unused data. Purging this data frees up storage space on your drive.
  • Improved Performance (Potentially): While the memory cache improves performance, a bloated disk cache might lead to performance inconsistencies in some scenarios. Purging can help mitigate this.
  • Maintain Project Organization: Regularly purging the cache helps maintain a clean and organized project environment.

Techniques to Purge Cache:

Here are various methods to purge unused memory cache in After Effects:

1. Purging Memory Cache:

  • Edit Menu: Navigate to the "Edit" menu at the top of the After Effects interface.
  • Purge Option: Select the "Purge" submenu and choose "All Memory." This will clear the memory cache immediately.

2. Purging Disk Cache:

  • Two Methods: There are two ways to purge the disk cache:
    • Edit Menu: Similar to purging memory cache, navigate to "Edit" > "Purge" and choose "All Memory & Disk Cache." This is a one-stop solution for clearing both caches.
    • Preferences: Alternatively, you can access the "Preferences" window. Here's how to get there:
      • Windows: Navigate to Edit > Preferences.
      • Mac: Navigate to After Effects menu > Preferences...
    • Media & Disk Cache: Within the Preferences window, locate the "Media & Disk Cache" section.
    • Empty Disk Cache: Click the "Empty Disk Cache" button. This will initiate the process of purging the disk cache.

Additional Tips and Considerations:

  • Selective Purging (Optional): While the "All Memory & Disk Cache" option is convenient, After Effects allows for more selective purging within the Preferences window. You can choose to purge specific cache categories like previews, thumbnails, or project data.
  • Auto-Purge Settings (Optional): The Preferences window also offers settings for "Automatic Disk Cache Management." These options allow you to configure After Effects to automatically purge the disk cache when it reaches a specific size threshold.
  • Understanding Cache Benefits: Remember, the cache exists to improve performance. Purging too frequently might negate its benefits. Develop a purging strategy that balances performance optimization with efficient project workflow management.

The Future of Cache Management:

The ability to manage cache effectively is crucial for animators working with complex After Effects projects. The future might hold advancements in cache management within After Effects:

  • AI-Powered Cache Optimization: Future versions of After Effects could leverage artificial intelligence to analyze project requirements and automatically optimize cache usage. This could involve intelligently purging unused cache or prioritizing cache allocation based on editing needs.
  • Cloud-Based Cache Management: Cloud storage integration could be explored. Imagine a future where cache data is stored and managed in the cloud, freeing up local storage space and potentially allowing for faster cache access across different devices.
  • Smarter Cache Presets: Improved cache management presets could be implemented. This might involve user-configurable presets for different project types, allowing for one-click cache optimization based on project complexity.


By understanding how to purge unused memory cache in After Effects, you've gained a valuable tool to maintain a healthy project environment and potentially improve performance. Remember, employ a balanced purging strategy, consider future advancements in cache management, and stay updated on the latest After Effects functionalities. Now go forth, conquer project clutter with a strategic approach to cache management, and keep your creative workflow smooth and efficient!

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