Adobe After Effects CC Doesn't Load Plugins

 Adobe After Effects - The following plugins failed to load fixed.

Adobe After Effects - The following plugins failed to load fixed.

Your plugins installed prior to upgrading no longer load when launching After Effects projects?

Aside from templates, plugins are one of the things we spend a lot of money, time and effort on in order to speed up our workflow both for us, as well as to be conscientious spenders of our clients hard earned profit-dollars. So, when we recently upgraded from Adobe After Effects CC 2015 to Adobe After Effects CC 2015.1, we were a little miffed when we saw the plugins would not load. As always, our conundrum, is your gain.

We were in the middle of a project so we did not grab screen shots of the error message, but it says something like,

"After Effects warning: The following plugins have failed to load. Please reinstall these plugins:"

We went through a lot to debug the issue.

Unable to find our solution via Google and Bing, we checked to see that the plugins were in the right location. In this case, the project was leveraging some Universe plugins by Red Giant (Universe is an amazing deal). We work on Windows-based PCs now after switching from OSX several years ago, so our path to verify was:

C:/Program Files/Adobe/Common/Plugins/7.0/MediaCore

Unfortunately, they were there. That would have been simple. We were in a hurry this time so I reached out to Red Giant chat support (damn those people are smart), and they told me of a little-used keyboard shortcut and also reminded me of one of my least favorite Adobe suite "features".

First, Adobe uses Cache. Not just for Media Encoder, and preview files, apparently. It uses cache for plugin loading too! So, the classic shortcut for clearing cache is to hold down the shift key. Specifically, not just when launching the application, but when loading the project. The simple, two-step process worked for us without re-installation.

  1. Hold down the shift key while launching the application. 
  2. Keep the shift key held down while you load your project file.

Viola, and done. There are other reasons why plugins won't load, but this is the most common and simplest fix.