I got about 80% through my first major After Effects project. I'm very happy with what I've been able to achieve being such a novice--mostly due to investing in great plugins :P--and I hate to give up on my work, but AE is throwing up all over itself.
I'm sure it isn't AE's fault. For instance, I'm on a Vista machine, and I know that's a no-no. I'm also only feeding it 2 gigs of RAM. I plan to rectify both problems, but for now, can you let me know of any other major causes of AE crashes at render time, or of any techniques to prevent said crashes?
On an unrelated note, are there sites specifically for AE where we can upload our work for critique? (Think Zbrush Central for Zbrush, if you're familiar with that site)
Low RAM could definitely be partly responsible for this, but it's impossible to know what software of hardware conflicts might exist on your system. Try turning off all Open GL acceleration. Kill all unnecessary processes before starting the render.
There are a few workarounds you can try. First is rendering as an image sequence. Even if After Effects crashes halfway through, whatever was already rendered won't be lost. Then you just need to render the parts you're missing.
Also, try pre-rendering parts of your composition, and reinserting that into a copy of the final composition.
Oddly, I did get everything to render on its own, but now I have a composition made up of only pre-rendered clips and 2 adjustment layers and it crashes about halfway through. All clips are the same frame rate and resolution.
One clip in particular seems to be causing it, so I'll remove that and see what happens.
Rendering as a TIFF sequence looks interesting, I'll look into that.