21+ BEST Plugins For After Effects In 2024 👉(4 Are FREE)

Here are the most downloaded and BEST After Effects Plugins of 2024! Each with unique functionality, these affordable AE plugins will help you to create the visuals you've dreamed of. The best part is, these plugins for After Effects are easy to use, even if you're a beginner!

March 6, 2024
21+ BEST Plugins For After Effects In 2024 👉(4 Are FREE)
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If you're considering third party tools to help your After Effects workflow, this list is what you're looking for! We've featured some of the most popular plugins used by 1000s of video editors, motion designers and VFX artists in 2024! Ranging from simple text effects to help editors design typography, to fully fledged themed transition packs. These essential After Effects plugins will help you to create unique effects and visuals in no time! Best of all, they're easy to use, even if you're just a beginner.

2024 Adobe After Effects Plugins List

While After Effects comes with a wide range of built-in effects and tools, there are also thousands of plugins available from third-party developers. Whether you're looking for special effects, transitions, or something else entirely, there's likely a plugin that can help you get the job done. And best of all, many of these plugins are available for an extremely low price. So if you're looking to take your videos to the next level, be sure to check out some of these best free After Effects plugins.

What Are After Effects Plugins?

What is an After Effects Plugin? After Effects Plugins (or plugins in general) are small pieces of software that add new features, functionality and tools to After Effects. They can also be used to add text, create animations, perform color correction, and much more. Experienced users of After Effects consider plugins to be an important tool in video creation, as they offer increased versatility and ease of use. In 2024, there will be several new plugins providing more functionality that was previously unavailable in 2022.

Best Plugins For Adobe After Effects (We Mean It!)

These top plugins for After Effects are designed to help you edit better quality videos even faster. If you're having trouble progressing in video editing, try using plugins for after effects and see if it makes a difference. You'll probably notice that you edit your videos a lot faster and the final result looks better too. That's because cheap plugins for after effects can really help to accentuate your creativity by allowing you to apply and form new effects with ease.

1. 4200+ Element Pack - Best After Effects Extensions

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This plugin by RoyalPixles let's you drag and drop custom transitions, text elements and titles onto any layer in After Effects! Another bonus of using this plugin is that these presets frequently update, so you'll never run out of new effects to use.

Category Details
Description After Effects project file by RoyalPixels
Amount and Types of Assets 4200+ Transition Presets in 20 unique categories
Price $59 for Regular License
User Reviews 4.89 stars based on 169 reviews
Benefits Easy to use, supports any resolution up to 4K, full customization
Customer Support Email: royalpixelsenvato@gmail.com
Additional Information Last Update: 5 October 2022, File Size: 3.4GB

Features:

  • Contains 300 unique and dynamic transitions
  • 2 different speeds: regular and fast
  • Easily customizable with any resolution and aspect ratio
  • Compatible with all major video editing software, not just After Effects
  • Smooth and seamless animations
  • Includes video tutorials for easy installation and use
  • Works with both images and videos
  • Multiple color options to choose from

2. "I Want It All Bundle" - BEST Plugin For After Effects 2024

AEjuice i want it all bundle
DOWNLOAD (Includes After Effects Easing Plugin & MORE!)

The I want it all bundle includes absolutely EVERYTHING created by AEJuice. This includes every single plugin featured on this list. Before you say this isn't cheap, keep in mind that this pack includes over $8000 worth of plugins for just $299!

Adobe After Effects Plugins Free

A 100% FREE version of this plugin is also available on the AEJuice website. It includes a collection of 3D devices, sci-fi HUD elements, sound tracking tools and a few other handy add-ons. Find it under the "free plugins" tab on their navbar. If you're interested in more free plugins for After Effects, you should also check out our recent article where you can browse and download some of the BEST plugins by AEJuice. Best part is, they work on almost any computer regardless of low RAM.

Feature Details
Product Name I Want It All Bundle Lifetime
Amount of Assets 1000+
Types of Assets Drag and drop templates
Price $79 (Discounted from $8412, 99% off)
User Reviews 4.8 Rating (Single user, unlimited videos, unlimited clients)
Benefits Lifetime license, limited-time offer
Customer Support Information not available

Features:

  • Over 2,500 motion graphics elements including animations, transitions, icons, backgrounds, and more
  • 13 comprehensive courses on After Effects, Premiere Pro, animation, and motion graphics
  • 300+ sound effects for various types of motion graphics
  • 50+ LUTs to add stunning color grading to your videos
  • 120+ character animations to create engaging explainer videos
  • 50+ script snippets for After Effects to streamline your workflow
  • Free lifetime updates and access to future products added to the bundle
  • Commercial license included for all assets, meaning you can use them in any project without any additional fees

3. 3D Motion Photo Animator - 3rd Best Plugin For After Effects

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Similar to Volumax or Photomotion, but a little easier to use and less resource consuming for your computer. This easy to use photo animator for After Effects can be downloaded entirely for free with your Motion Array subscription. To use this toolkit, simply use the masking tool to separate the foreground, background and other layers, then use the 3D map tool to animate your own motion into the scene. You also have the option to add additional overlay elements that will embed themselves into the scene so they move correspondingly to camera motion.

Attribute Information
Creator salnicoff
Types of Assets 3D Photo Tool, Loop/Boomerang Tool, Freeze Frame Tool
Amount of Assets 3 Tools
Compatibility After Effects CS5.5+
Resolution 4096x2160 (4K)
File Size 122.23MB
Plug-Ins Required No
Benefits Easy to use, step-by-step video tutorials included, creative freedom
Customer Support Not specified
User Reviews Not available
Price Not specified

Features:

  • Easy to use and customize
  • Works with any photo or video
  • No plugins required
  • Includes 100+ modular templates
  • 4K resolution
  • Step-by-step video tutorials included
  • Fast rendering times
  • Dynamic animation with 3D perspective
  • Add depth and motion to static photos
  • Customize camera movements and lighting

4. SonduckFilms Template Pack (FREE)

After Effects Plugins Free Download Zip File

The 42 FREE template pack by SonduckFilms has helped 100s of filmmakers and video editors worldwide with creating cool motion graphic animations for their videos. These templates by Sonduckfilms lets you create eye-catching graphic animations with a combination of 3D perspective transform animations. Take a look at the demo video to see what it can do and how it works.

Features:

  • The Sonduck Film freebie pack for After Effects is an excellent resource for video editors and motion designers alike.
  • It includes 30+ high-quality assets, such as transitions, animations, and overlays, that can be easily incorporated into your projects to add visual interest and polish.
  • The assets are compatible with both Windows and Mac operating systems and are designed to work with After Effects CC 2018 or newer.
  • All of the assets are easy to use, and many come with customizable settings to ensure that you get the perfect look and feel for your project.
  • Plus, because they're completely free, you can experiment with the assets and try out different styles and effects without having to worry about cost.

5. NFT Constructor - Best After Effects plugins 2024 Winner!

NFT Constructor - Best After Effects plugins 2022 Winner!
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One of the most popular after effects plugins, the NFT Constructor lets you convert any pre-existing media file into an NFT! This plugin also provides a comprehensive set of tools for creating cool graphics inside of After Effects. It includes a wide range of features such as text animations, particle emitters, and shape generators.

Features:

  • Create stunning NFTs easily with AEJuice NFT Constructor
  • Customize your NFT with a variety of styles, colors, and animations
  • Choose from different backgrounds and pre-made designs to get started quickly
  • No coding skills required - simple drag and drop interface
  • Create high-quality GIFs and videos of your NFTs to share on social media
  • Get access to helpful video tutorials to guide you through the process
  • Includes lifetime updates and customer support for a worry-free experience.

6. Broken Glass Lens FX

broken glass after effects plugin
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This plugin by AEJuice allows you to quickly create realistic broken glass effects. It includes a variety of options for controlling the appearance of your glass shatter, and it supports export to a variety of popular formats.

Features:

  • Create stunning visual effects with shattered glass.
  • Comes with 4K resolution options for high-quality output.
  • Contains over 100 glass shards, with customizable shapes and movement options.
  • Works seamlessly with After Effects, Premiere Pro, and Final Cut Pro X.
  • Easily add to any project with drag and drop functionality.
  • Compatible with both Mac and Windows operating systems.
  • Detailed tutorials and support available to assist with installation and usage.
  • Perfect for adding an extra touch of drama and excitement to any video project.

7. Audio To Markers

after effects audio plugin
DOWNLOAD

Some of the best AE plugins improve the workflow, rather than enable new effect creation. Audio To Markers is a helpful plugin that allows you to automatically convert your audio waveform into markers. It helps you to sync on-screen effects and elements to the beat of the music, making it perfect for gaming montages or edits. This plugin provides a host of useful features for creating sound-synced animations. It includes an interface which allows you to quickly and easily sync music.

Features:

  • Converts audio beats to markers in After Effects
  • Easy and intuitive user interface
  • Supports a wide range of audio file formats
  • Allows customization of markers' color and duration
  • Compatible with both Mac and PC
  • Saves time by automating the process of adding markers to a composition
  • Helps synchronize animation and visual effects with the music or sound effects

8. Add Glow

after effects glow plugin
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Similar to the After Effects real shadow plugin, Add Glow is a simple 1-function plugin that lets you add a fully customizable glow effect to your videos. This plugin provides a huge set of effect controls consisting of intensity, threshold and more.

Features:

  • Makes it easy to add a beautiful and customizable glow effect to your footage or motion graphics
  • Includes a variety of presets to get you started quickly, or create your own custom glow from scratch
  • Offers advanced control over the look and feel of the glow, with options for brightness, saturation, color, falloff, and more
  • Provides intuitive and user-friendly controls for adjusting the glow effect, including the ability to animate it over time
  • Compatible with Adobe After Effects, Premiere Pro, and other popular video editing software
  • Saves you time and effort compared to manually creating a glow effect from scratch, so you can focus on other aspects of your project

9. Volumax 7

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Here's another Adobe After Effects template bestseller on VideoHive. With over 24,000 downloads, VoluMax 7 is a far more advanced version of the 3D photo animator mentioned at point 3 on this list. VoluMax 7 has plenty of essential tools and features to create the most aesthetically pleasing photo animations possible. Priced at only $69, VoluMax is also significantly less expensive than Photomotion 3D; another photo animation toolkit with similar capabilities.

Features:

  • Creates a 3D photo animation from a still image with realistic parallax effect
  • Offers 3D camera movements with depth of field and lens blur options
  • Includes 150+ ready-made scenes with editable color schemes and styles
  • Provides advanced layer depth control and adjustment options
  • Allows users to add their own texts, logos, and graphics to the scene
  • Compatible with After Effects CC 2018 and later versions.

10. Graphics Pack

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Motioncan's mega graphic element pack contains 2250 elements designed to make your videos look more interesting. This pack is fully compatible with the free Motion Bro plugin which is included in the download. With over 24,000 users worldwide, this plugin is one of the most popular and versatile for all After Effects users. It doesn't matter what type of videos you create, this pack will definitely have something you'll find useful.

Attribute Information
Creator motioncan
Types of Assets Typography, Transitions, Social Media, Titles, Lower Thirds, Sound FX, etc.
Amount of Assets 2250+ Ready For Use Graphics Elements
Compatibility CC 2018 and Above
Resolution Resizable up to 4K
File Size 3.2GB
Plug-Ins Required No
Benefits Fast Render, Color Control, 600 Sound FX Included, Free Handy Extension
Customer Support Contact Envato Support
User Reviews 4.86 stars (549 ratings)
Price $69 (Extended License)

Features:

  • Over 1700 elements including transitions, typography, backgrounds, icons, and more
  • Easy-to-use and customizable design templates
  • Supports a wide range of video editing software
  • High-resolution files for crisp and clear visuals
  • Regular updates with new content and features
  • Royalty-free license for commercial use

11. Prerender & Unprecomp

prerender after effects plugin
DOWNLOAD PRERENDER
DOWNLOAD UNPRECOMP

While there are thousands of different plugins available for After Effects, here is an essential plugin that every video editor or VFX artist should have. Prerender is a helpful tool which let's you replace existing clips with rendered clips in just one click. Unprecomp is another helpful tool which unfolds pre-comps in just one click. Un-precomp works great with other plugins such as 'flow' made by AEjuice. The flow plugin for After Effects is another greta plugin by AEjuice which didn't make this list, however it is another one of their popular single-function tools that they have available on their site. If you're looking for cheap after effects plugins, these two for you. Priced at only $9, they provide a lot of value for this low price.

Features:

  • Save time: With Prerender, you can export your project with pre-rendered elements, saving you time and reducing the need to re-render your project.
  • Easy setup: Prerender is easy to set up and use, with a simple interface that lets you quickly specify which layers you want to pre-render.
  • Full control: You have full control over the pre-rendering process, with options to specify the output format, frame rate, and quality of your pre-rendered elements.
  • Compatibility: Prerender is compatible with After Effects CC 2014 and later, and works on both Mac and Windows operating systems.
  • Fast rendering: Prerender uses the power of your graphics card to render your pre-rendered elements quickly and efficiently, giving you fast results.

12. Liquid Matte Transitions & Glitch Transitions

liquid glitch transition after effects plugin
DOWNLOAD LIQUID TRANSITIONS
DOWNLOAD GLITCH TRANSITIONS

The Liquid Matte transition plugin is perfect for creating realistic drag and drop matte transitions. This plugin is essential for creating liquid motion graphic effects with cartoon styling and/or with set matte. Similarly, the glitch transition bundle includes several uniquely crafted glitch effects which can be used on their own, or to introduce/transition between two or more clips in your frame.

Features:

  • 100 hand-drawn liquid transitions in 4K resolution
  • Customizable duration, colors, and direction of each transition
  • Works with any type of media: video, images, graphics, etc.
  • No plugins required, works with Adobe After Effects CC2018 and newer
  • Video tutorial included to guide you through the installation and customization process
  • Fast rendering time and easy to use, even for beginners
  • Perfect for adding smooth and fluid transitions to your videos, especially in fashion, beauty, and lifestyle niches.

13. Digital Screen Constructor

digital screen plugin after effects
DOWNLOAD

Useful for so many different applications, the digital screen constructor plugin for After Effects let's you create and simulate realistic screens for all types of devices. If you want to make a scene where

App developers use this plugin to create promo videos for their apps by creating a video where their app is being used on a screen created by this plugin.

14. Radical Retro Elements

after effects retro elements plugin
DOWNLOAD Top After Effects Plugins 2024

The Radical retro elements pack and the VHS packs work hand in hand with each other. Using both packs, you can easily create 70s, 80s and 90s inspired retro themed videos for anything you like.

Features:

  • Over 270 hand-drawn retro elements in vector format
  • Comes in both .ai and .eps file formats for easy editing
  • Includes a range of elements, such as patterns, objects, shapes, and frames
  • Fully customizable, allowing you to change the color, size, and shape to suit your needs
  • Perfect for creating retro-themed designs for posters, flyers, and other promotional materials
  • Royalty-free, meaning you can use the elements in both personal and commercial projects without any additional fees

15. Cyberpunk Transitions & Elements!

cyberpunk transitions after effects
DOWNLOAD CYBERPUNK TRANSITIONS
DOWNLOAD CYBERPUNK HUD

Search 'cyberpunk' for more related bundles.

The Cyberpunk bundle is a must-have for anyone who wants to add professional-looking cyberpunk elements and color grading to their projects. AE Juice created a series of Cyberpunk themed plugins for transitions, titles and other visual elements. The Cyberpunk packs are some of their most downloaded plugins and it's popular for a good reason. First of all, the effects included in these bundles are extremely difficult to replicate, and with these packs by AE Juice, you can create the same effects for your videos in just one click (or two)!

Features:

  • Includes 100 unique transitions with a cyberpunk design
  • Easy to use drag and drop function
  • Fully customizable with adjustable colors and effects
  • High-resolution video files with alpha channel
  • Compatible with Adobe Premiere, Final Cut, and other video editing software
  • 4K resolution support
  • With Cyberpunk Transitions, video editors can easily add a futuristic and high-tech touch to their videos. The wide variety of customizable options and high-quality video files make it a versatile and valuable tool for any video editing project.

16. Mister Horse Animation Composer

Mister Horse Animation Composer screenshots

Animation Composer, a plug-in for Adobe After Effects, is a real game-changer for motion graphics creators, especially those just beginning in the field. Imagine it as a toolkit that streamlines your workflow dramatically. When you launch After Effects, you'll find Animation Composer nestled under the 'Window' tab, easily accessible. Once opened, it unveils a treasure trove of motion presets – think of these as ready-to-use animation templates for text, shapes, and even your imported graphics. They are meticulously categorized, allowing for intuitive selection. Whether you need a subtle bounce or a dramatic entrance for your text, these presets can be applied with a mere drag-and-drop action, directly onto your composition layers.

17. Optical Flares 3D Lens Flare Creation Studio

Optical Flares 3D Lens Flare Creation Studio in action

Optical Flares is a sophisticated plugin for Adobe After Effects, transforming the way you create and integrate lens flares into your projects. The 3D Lens Flare feature, compatible with AE Lights, adds an unparalleled depth and realism to your visuals. This is particularly noticeable when you're simulating concert or stadium lighting, where the interaction between light and 3D space is crucial. You access this feature through the Effects panel, and once applied, it integrates seamlessly with your 3D environment, responding dynamically to light positions and camera movements. For a beginner, it's important to experiment with different light settings to understand how the flare behaves in various scenarios, especially in 3D animations or when adding realism to virtual sets.

The interface of Optical Flares is a testament to user-centric design. The main panel, easily dockable within After Effects, offers a Live Visual Preset Library. This is where you'll find 60 built-in presets, each with its unique characteristics and inspired by real lens flares. These presets are more than just a starting point; they're a learning tool. By dissecting their composition, you can understand how different elements like shimmer animation or edge flare-ups contribute to the overall effect. For custom creations, the plugin boasts 12 unique Lens Objects and an additional 50 custom ones, all accessible within the interface. The interface allows for intricate customizations – from renaming and rearranging objects to previewing changes in a large pop-out window. This level of control is especially useful when you're aiming to draw focus to a product or accentuate highlights in commercial or music video projects. Remember, the key here is to start with a preset and then gradually add or modify elements, observing how each change affects the flare's appearance and feel. It's a process of continuous learning and adjustment, leading to the creation of unique and compelling visual effects that elevate your motion graphics or compositing work.

18. Newton3 - The 2D physics engine for Adobe After Effects

The 2D physics engine for Adobe After Effects thumbnail

Navigating through Newton 3's interface, which bears a striking resemblance to After Effects yet operates with its unique flair, is a journey of discovery. The plugin window, accessible via a distinct tab in After Effects, opens up a realm where each element on your canvas becomes a potential dynamic actor. Here, you meticulously adjust properties such as Density to control mass distribution, Friction for surface interactions, and Velocity for movement dynamics, ensuring each object behaves just as you envision. The Bounciness setting is particularly intriguing, letting you dictate how much an object rebounds after impact—a feature that can inject a lively or subdued character into animations.

The brilliance of Newton 3 lies in its specialty systems. Customizable joints provide the framework for complex mechanical interactions, acting as the bones and sinews of your animated structures. The Waterlike buoyancy feature is a gem, allowing objects to float or sink with a realism that's mesmerizing. For those seeking a touch of the fantastical, the Teleportation system and Triggermatic interactions open doors to animations bounded only by imagination. And should you find a specific property missing, the software's versatility shines, offering ways to emulate it through a blend of available features.

The software doesn't just handle the macro aspects well; its attention to minute detail is commendable. For instance, adjusting the Density slider doesn't just affect the weight of an object, but subtly influences how it interacts with others— a heavier object might push a lighter one with more force, adding a layer of realism to your animation.

Features List:

  • Dynamic Physics Simulation: Transforms 2D layers into solid objects with realistic physics.
  • Customizable Joints: Create complex mechanical animations with interconnected parts.
  • Waterlike Buoyancy: Simulate floating or sinking objects in a fluid environment.
  • Triggermatic Interactions: Set up actions that trigger under specific conditions for interactive animations.
  • Teleportation System: Move objects instantaneously within the scene for creative effects.
  • Adjustable Physical Properties: Fine-tune properties like Density, Friction, Velocity, and Bounciness for precise control over animations.
  • Interface Similarity to After Effects: Familiar layout but with specialized functionality for physics simulations.
  • Emulation of Missing Properties: Flexibility to mimic non-inherent physical properties through existing features.

19. RED GIANT Trapcode Particular

RED GIANT Trapcode Particular purchased

Trapcode Particular 2024.1 represents a monumental shift in the After Effects landscape, particularly for those of us deeply entrenched in motion graphics and visual effects. The crux of its evolution lies in its enhanced multithreaded, multi-frame rendering capabilities. This technical jargon translates to a significant boost in rendering speeds, especially noticeable when working with complex particle systems. For a user, this means a reduction in rendering times by as much as 50-60% for heavy compositions, which is a godsend in deadline-driven environments. The integration with Maxon Cloud Capsule Service, accessible via the new asset browser within the plugin interface, further streamlines the workflow. It’s a treasure trove of assets - from ethereal sprites to intricate 3D models, all a click away in the cloud. This feature alone has the potential to cut down your asset search time by half, especially compared to manual searches.

Features

Enhanced Physics Engine:

  • Introduces new behaviors and forces, adding realism to animations.
  • Includes features like flocking/swarming and predator/prey behaviors for dynamic particle movement.
  • Fluid simulations for creating realistic liquid and gas effects.

Parent/Child Particle Systems:

  • Allows a primary emitter to spawn secondary emitters, creating complex, multi-layered effects.
  • Facilitates the creation of cascading particle effects, enhancing the visual complexity of projects.

Efficiency in Creating Complex Effects:

  • Significantly reduces the time and effort required to create intricate visual narratives.
  • Enables solo artists to achieve effects that previously required a team.

User-Friendly Designer Interface:

  • Intuitive and visually driven, making the process of creating particle effects more accessible and enjoyable.
  • Streamlines the workflow for both novice and experienced users in motion graphics.

20. Rowbyte Plexus for Adobe After Effects

Creating a 3D hand in after effects with Plexus

Plexus is like a magic wand for After Effects, turning a flat canvas into a playground of particles, lines, and shapes that dance to any tune you hum. Imagine having the power to not just sprinkle stars into your digital sky but connect them with constellations of your own making. That's Plexus for you, and here's how I've woven its magic into my projects, step by step.

Getting Started with Plexus

  • Finding Plexus: First things first, Plexus isn't playing hide and seek. You'll find it snug under the Effects menu. A quick search in the Effects & Presets panel, and bam, there it is.
  • The Canvas: Once you drag Plexus onto your layer, the viewport might seem like a stargazer’s empty night. Fear not; this is where the fun begins.

Building Your Universe

  • Particles Galore: My first stop is always the Add Geometry section. Think of this as choosing your stars. Whether I need a sprinkle or a galaxy, I adjust the number of particles right here.
  • Connecting the Dots: The real magic happens when you start drawing lines between these particles. The Lines section is like your personal constellation drafter. I adjust the maximum distance to control which particles become best friends. Too far, and your sky becomes a spider web. Too close, and it's a lonely night for your particles.
  • Forming Shapes: Triangles are where things get spicy. Imagine turning your constellations into 3D models. This section lets me decide which particles join forces to form triangles. It's like watching a 3D object emerge from a sea of stars. The trick is to not overdo it; too many triangles and your beautiful sky might just look like a geometry textbook exploded.

Fine-Tuning Your Creation

  • Color and Light: Color mapping is where I play with hues like a DJ with beats. I decide what color each particle and line wears to the party. Sometimes, I sync it with the background music, making the colors dance to the rhythm.
  • Movement and Flow: The physics settings are a playground. Want your particles to swirl like a galaxy? Or maybe flow like a river? This is where I tweak the settings to make the particles move in harmony with my project's mood.

Why I Swear By Plexus

  • Versatility: I've used it for everything, from creating abstract backgrounds for music videos to simulating star fields in sci-fi shorts. It's like a Swiss Army knife for visual effects.
  • The Modular System: The sheer number of configurations is mind-boggling. Every project feels like a new discovery. And believe me, after countless hours tinkering, I've barely scratched the surface.
  • Performance: Let's talk efficiency. Plexus handles a ton of particles without making my computer throw a tantrum. Of course, moderation is key. I've pushed it to the limits, and while it's robust, every software has its breaking point.

21. VideoCopilot - Saber (FREE)

Smoky light beam effects made using Saber

Saber has been my go-to for that "wow" factor in After Effects, especially for sci-fi and fantasy projects. Let's break down why it's such a game-changer, piece by piece, from installation to execution.

Installation and Setup

  • Downloading Saber: It's as simple as visiting the plugin provider's website. A quick download and installation later, and I'm ready to roll. I always make sure After Effects is closed during installation to avoid any hiccups.
  • Finding Saber in After Effects: Once installed, Saber appears under the Effects menu. I just type "Saber" in the Effects & Presets search bar, and there it is.

Creating Your First Light Saber Effect

  • Starting Point: I begin with a solid layer because Saber needs a playground to unleash its magic. This is easily done by right-clicking in the timeline, selecting New, and then Solid.
  • Applying Saber: With the solid layer selected, I head over to the Effects & Presets panel, drag Saber onto my layer, and the fun begins.

Tweaking Settings for the Perfect Sci-Fi Look

  • Choosing a Preset: Saber comes packed with presets that serve as excellent starting points. I often flick through them to find one that matches the vibe I'm aiming for. Whether it's a fiery comet tail or a neon glow, the presets are my first stop.
  • Adjusting Glow: The intensity, color, and size of the glow are crucial for setting the mood. I find myself tweaking these settings to match the project's color scheme or to make the effect stand out against the background.
  • Customizing the Core: The core of the effect is where Saber really shines. Adjusting its settings allows me to create everything from ethereal ghost lights to hard-edged laser beams. This is where I spend most of my time experimenting.

Applying Saber to Text and Masks

  • Layer Masks: When I use Saber on a layer mask, I'm essentially directing the light source along a path I define. This can create some incredibly dynamic visuals, especially when animated.
  • Text Layers: Applying Saber to text transforms static titles into something extraordinary. Suddenly, my titles are not just seen; they're felt. I always make sure to play with the mask settings here to get the light to interact with the text just right.

Why Saber Stands Out

  • Ease of Use: Despite its complexity, Saber is surprisingly user-friendly. I've spent hours diving into its settings, yet I still find new ways to tweak and adjust the effects to get just the right look.
  • The Price Tag: It's free. This fact alone makes Saber an invaluable tool in my VFX arsenal. The quality of effects it offers without any cost is simply unmatched.
  • Creativity Unleashed: Every project I've used Saber on has benefited from its ability to elevate the visuals. Whether it's adding an extra layer of polish to a title sequence or creating an otherworldly backdrop, Saber has yet to let me down.

22. Boris FX

Realistic color effects made using BorisFX on After Effects

Boris FX Suite: A Deep Dive

I've spent countless hours tinkering with the Boris FX plugin suite in After Effects, pushing its limits to see what it can really do for my projects. Let's dive into the gritty details, shall we?

Continuum 2024: Precision Meets Creativity

  • Over 300 Effects & 40+ Transitions: Whenever I jump into Continuum, the sheer volume of options is staggering. You'll find these under the Effects Panel in After Effects. Just scroll or search for "BCC" (Boris Continuum Complete), and bam, a universe of presets awaits.
  • Mocha Planar Tracking & Masking: Here's the kicker—embedded within is Mocha. For those tricky tracking shots, I go to the Effect Controls panel, click on the Mocha logo, and I'm in. The precision I get saves hours, especially when applying effects to moving subjects.
  • AI-Enhanced Particles & UpRes ML: The latest additions have been game-changers for me. The AI particles create mesmerizing visuals with a few clicks. Meanwhile, UpRes ML in the Continuum effects panel has made my old footage look new again, all without leaving After Effects.

Sapphire: Unleash Your Creative Vision

  • 270+ Effects & 3000 Presets: Sapphire's effects library is a goldmine. Accessing them is straightforward—just look for "Sapphire" in your effects list. The Lens Flare and Glow effects alone can transform a bland shot into something cinematic.
  • OpenColorIO Integration: This is a big win for color consistency. You'll find this under the Project Settings in After Effects, ensuring that what you see in Sapphire matches across other applications.
  • Preset Browser: A lifesaver for browsing through the vast array of options. Located right within the Sapphire effect controls, it's intuitive to navigate and preview effects before committing.

Versatility Across Hosts

  • Multiple Host Support: The real beauty of Boris FX Suite is its versatility. Whether I'm in Premiere Pro, After Effects, or even Avid, these plugins integrate seamlessly. Switching between software without losing access to my favorite tools is a breeze.

Getting Started: Free Trial Exploration

  • Diving In: For those on the fence, the free trial is a no-brainer. It gives you full access to the suite, and I found it under the "Help" menu in After Effects. Downloading and installing was straightforward, and it allowed me to test the waters before committing to a purchase.

Personal Insights & Tips

  • Frequent Use Cases: I find myself constantly going back to Continuum for its particle systems and Sapphire for those eye-popping lens flares. The AI-driven enhancements in Continuum 2024 have made a noticeable difference in my workflow, particularly in noise reduction and footage upscaling.
  • Performance Metrics: In terms of efficiency, these plugins have been incredibly optimized. I've noticed minimal lag on my mid-tier setup, even with complex effects from Sapphire or tracking tasks in Mocha.
  • Precautions: While the suite is powerful, it's easy to get carried away. My advice? Start with a clear vision of what you want to achieve. The preset libraries are vast but navigating with intent ensures you're not overwhelmed.

FAQ

Why Are After Effects Plugins So Expensive?

Well, not all of them are, take AEJuice for example; they have an entire free plugin collection. But for the plugins that cost $200 and beyond, they're at that price range for a good reason. The pricing of these high-end plugins is determined by market demand and the need to maximize profits for the developer. Good quality plugins take time for developers to create, and they provide plenty of functionality for the user, so the price of a plugin reflects the value it provides and the willingness of customers to pay for it. If a lower price point would result in increased sales and a higher profit margin, the developer would adjust their pricing accordingly.

How Can Plugins Help Improve the Workflow in After Effects?

Like we mentioned a number of times above, adding plugins to After Effects enhances the software's capabilities and customizability, leading to an improved workflow. These plugins provide additional components that allow for greater efficiency and simplicity in the execution of complex tasks. By utilizing plugins, editors can streamline their processes and bring their creative visions to life with ease.

How To Install Plugins For Adobe After Effects?

Wondering how to install after effects plugins? It's simple. Once you download the plugin, simply extract it from it's folder and double click it to install. The installer will run through a few steps which will explain where the plugin will be installed. Just click next unless you want to make any changes. Once fully installed, the plugin will be ready to use once opened inside of After Effects.

What Are Some Of The Popular After Effects Plugins From Previous Years?

This list featured some of the newer plugins which were created in 2022 - 2024. While these plugins are great for improving your editing skills, they aren't the best of all time. Here are some of the most famous plugins for After Effects over the years:

  • Boris FX Sapphire
  • Flicker Freak
  • Video Copilot – Twitch
  • Ugly Box
  • Boris FX Mocha Pro
  • Pixel Sorter (which is apparently free now)
  • Mister Horse Animation Composer (FREE)

For more great plugins from previous years, check out this list made by a Reddit user:

Final Thoughts On These Paid & Free After Effects Plugins

These plugins can give you an extra boost in your projects. By comparing some of the top ones out there, it's clear that each one has its own strengths and can add a unique twist to your work.

The great thing about these plugins is that they can streamline your workflow and make your life a whole lot easier. Plus, there are tons of options available, so you're bound to find one that suits your specific needs. And let's not forget, many of these plugins are budget-friendly and accessible to all levels of users. So, you don't have to break the bank to level up your after effects game.