Do you ever feel overwhelmed with the amount of After Effects plugins out there? Do you ever feel like you could do with a list of the best After Effects plugins all in one place?

Well, I have just the thing you for!

I’ve been working on a list of what I consider the top AE plugins out there.

Whether you’re an indie filmmaker, a video production company owner, or any other kind of freelancer, this is the list you want!

(You’re going to want to print this out, bookmark it, share it with your friends, etc).

The world of After Effects plugins is an ever-evolving space with new plugins coming out all the time. So what I hope to have assembled here is a real knowledge base of AE plugins.

I’ve included both:

  • Paid After Effects plugins, and
  • Free After Effects plugins.

So, without further ado, let’s get into the list of the top After Effects plugins you can get your hands on for any project you can imagine.

After Effects Plugins

Let’s jump in and look at the best After Effects plugins out there!

Boris FX Sapphire

“Sapphire plug-ins let you create stunning organic looks unmatched by any host native effect tools. Key features include over 270 effects and 3000+ presets, a powerful Effect and Transition Builder, and integrated tracking and masking with the Academy Award-winning Mocha.

Sapphire’s superior image quality, control, and render speed offers massive time-savings — allowing creatives to focus on what matters most, delivering an impact that keeps audiences coming back.”

Flicker Freak

“Ya know, you just can’t be a good serial killer if the lights are always on. You practically have to be an electrician these days to go on a good killing spree. Luckily for you, there’s Flicker Freak.

Flicker Freak allows you to add horror-like flicker to your video. Doing the exact opposite of our blockbuster plugin, Flicker Free (which removes flicker), Flicker Freak creates a strobe light-like effect causing the video to flash on and off. This creates an effect similar to a malfunctioning light bulb that you frequently see adding drama to horror movie scenes!”

Stomp Opener

“Stomp Opener is an action packed After Effects template that’s well timed and energetically animated with creative text animations and dynamic transitioning effects.

It’s so easy to use, simply change the text, drag and drop in your new media and hit render. Style it to match your own brand with the full color controller.

The perfect intro to your presentations, slideshows, TV shows, commercials or use your travelling, vacations, sports, fashion, products, friends and family photos.

Download this awesome AE template for free today and make your own fast and dynamically animated openers. Available in HD.”

Video Copilot – Twitch

“Twitch is a Plug-in for After Effects that synchronizes random operators to create stylistic video effects for motion graphics and visual effects.”

Saber

“After a slight delay to schedule, the newest free plugin by Video Copilot has finally surfaced. Take a look at the fancy trailer for SABER, then download and follow along with the tutorial in the second video.”

Video Copilot MotionPulse

“At Video Copilot, we know that Sound Design is critical when it comes to motion graphics and today we are excited to announce our new product MotionPulse!

MotionPulse features over 2000 compound sound FX across 35 categories.  No filler sound FX, just INSANE multi-layered sound FX for Movie Trailers, Motion Design, Special Effects and anytime you need to grab someones attention and shake people up!

This is not generic sound FX collection, like footsteps and bad guys screaming, this collection was generated specifically for motion designers that need to add hard-hitting sound FX to things that do not exist. Bring your motion graphics to life with MotionPulse!”

Lenscare

“Lenscare moves depth of field and out of focus generation to post production. If you need high quality camera blurs with the flexibility of 2d post processing, Lenscare is a great choice.

The plugin can get you rid of long extra 3d rendering times. The key aspect during the development of these filters was to match the real thing as good as possible.

Lenscare is available as plugins for Adobe After Effects and Photoshop compatible programs.”

Ugly Box

“Beauty Box has been out for almost four years and does an amazing job of reducing blemishes and wrinkles in feature films, TV, and elsewhere.

But we often get asked how to make people look worse, instead of better. Well, Ugly Box does just that.

Using our algorithm for selecting skin areas, instead of smoothing the skin texture, we enhance it to bring out all the variations, wrinkles and blemishes.

It’s perfect if you’re trying to make someone look older, evil, or just kind of ugly.”

Mocha Pro

“Mocha is the world’s most recognized and powerful planar tracking tool for VFX and post-production. Mocha Pro features GPU-accelerated tracking and object removal, advanced masking with edge-snapping, stabilization, lens calibration, 3D camera solver, stereo 360/VR support, and more.

Now available on macOS, Windows, and Linux, and as a plug-in for Adobe Premiere Pro & After Effects, Avid Media Composer & OFX hosts such as Flame, Nuke, Fusion, HitFilm, and VEGAS Pro.”

AE Flame

Fractal Flames are always beautiful and AEFlame is a great plugin created by Andrew Davidson, which helps AE users explore the depth of Mathematical space right in After Effects. Interestingly, this plugin existed since AE 4.0, but the author didn’t port it to the recent versions of After Effects. Luckily, he was generous enough to release the source of the plugin so this is the CS4/CS5 port.”

Mister Horse Animation Composer

“Animation Composer contains motion presets, precomps and sounds that you can use in your projects. Everything is super-easy to use and to adjust.”

Typominal

“Typominal is a free text preset for After Effects.

It contains two .ffx file which two end text cursor look. Just drag and drop the preset to your text layer, and then adjust settings.”

Shadow Studio

“Shadow Studio is a native plugin that simulates a variety of shadow styles.

Key features: Soft Shadows Radial Shadows Inner Shadows Long Shadows Multithreaded native plugin for maximum speed.

Soft shadows are traditionally expensive to compute using methods such as raytracing. Shadow Studio simulates these expensive effects in a fraction of the time so you can spend more time designing and less time waiting for the buffer to update!

With a radial shadow mode you can simulate hard or soft shadows coming from a point light source. Parenting this to a light or lens flare is a great way to create a dynamic light and shadow rig that updates whenever you animate the light’s position.

The inner shadow mode bypasses a lot of matting/precomp nonsense to allow you to create intricate inner shadows in a single click.

Includes 3 presets to create popular styles, such as the “long shadow” look.

A video tutorial is also included. Preview video music is “Jazz Dance” by PonyMusic.

Compatible with AE CS6 and up, PC & Mac.”

Video Copilot Optical Flares

“Optical Flares is a plug-in for designing and animating realistic lens flares in After Effects.”

Plexus

“Plexus is a plug-in designed to bring generative art closer to a non-linear program like After Effects. It lets you create, manipulate and visualize data in a procedural manner.

Not only you can render the particles, but also create all sorts of interesting relationships between them based on various parameters using lines and triangles.

The workflow for Plexus is very modular allowing you to create truly infinite set of configurations and parameters.”

Coremelt Free

“CoreMelt visual effects tools for editors and motion graphics artists, creators of the best stabilizing and tracking solutions.”

VideoCopilot Presets

“High quality After Effects Video Tutorials for motion graphics and visual effects presented by Andrew Kramer.”

Datamosh

“Break your videos and find the pixel wonderland 😉 The only way to true Datamosh inside of After Effects.”

Particle Builder  Elemental Pack

“We created these tools for essential needs of motion designers and VFX professionals. It’s a particle generator and you create fire, dust, magic, smoke, sparkle, flames or glass particles in fastest and easiest way.

You can give life to your still images with brush tool and create different broadcast packages, title sequences, logo reveals or photo slideshows. Works on pictures, texts, video and etc. Also authors can create templates with these different particles.”

Stardust

“Stardust’s already extensive toolset has been boosted with a new major addition – the Volume workflow. Integrating the world renowned openVDB technology seamlessly into Stardust, Volume objects can now easily be created.

Convert entire particle systems and models to volumes, and manipulate the result with various tools such as booleans, filters, noise and more.

Other additions to Stardust’s toolset include the ability to create stunning 3D wireframes to achieve captivating and stylish outlining of objects, “Extrude Edges” to create elaborate 3D objects from the edges of masks and text with a few clicks, along with various other tools and improvements.

Stardust is an innovative Adobe After Effects plug-in for the creation of stunning particle and object based motion graphics and effects.

It’s groundbreaking interface allows for combining 3D models, particles, effects and more, all existing and interacting in one shared space, enabling unparalleled integration between powerful tools delivering creative expression never before possible in After Effects.

Make your vision come to life using 3D physics, Replica animation engine, 3D Model Library and hundreds of other features. Easily create complex effects using any of the hundreds of shipped presets, or build setups ground up using the modular workflow.”

PQ FUI Toys 2

“Pre-animated, sometimes looping, customizable Fake User Interface assets, as editable After Effects comps. Just browse and generate editable AE comps using the Script UI panel, then customize parameters via expression controllers to make it your own.

The pack contains zero assets, and only uses shape layers, masks and native AE plugins, so you can customize pretty much anything you like.”

Vashimorphic 40 – Anamorphic Lens Emulation Plugin

“Films shot in the Anamorphic format are instantly recognizable. They have a quality and resonance that other lenses can’t capture. Anamorphic films seem to capture an almost 3D quality onto film’s 2D medium. The process makes creative use of aberrations such as long horizontal lens flares, oval bokeh and highly curved corners that all add a sense of heightened reality.

Films are real but not necessarily reality…and the subconscious effect of Anamorphic lenses delivers an exaggerated look that is hard to replicate. This process is much more than just a wide aspect ratio..as demonstrated in The Ultimate Aspect Ratio Guide.

The VashiMorphic40 After Effects template was designed so that every filmmaker, on any budget, can capture the aesthetics and visual style of the Anamorphic lens.

The plugins used in this project are included in After Effects or are free to download. I focused on matching the curvature and look of the 40mm Panavision Primo Anamorphic lens.

It is often said that a 50mm (spherical) lens is the closest field of view (FOV) to human vision…but I don’t necessarily agree. If you look through a 50mm, the peripheral view is nowhere near as wide as what the eye sees.

I feel we view the world with more of an Anamorphic field of view. The 40mm Panavision Anamorphic has a 40mm vertical FOV but a 20mm horizontal FOV.

This wider view approximates what to me feels more like the “real world.””

RainBox – DUIK

“Duik is a comprehensive animation and rigging toolset for Adobe After Effects.

It provides the main rigging tools, found in any 3D software, like IK, controllers, and bones, but adapts them to 2D animation in After Effects.

With Duik you can rig complex characters and use advanced animation techniques usually used in 3D softwares.

If you do not know what rigging means, it may be because it is a bit too soon for you to use those tools. Please refer to the section entitled Should I use Duik?

Duik has plenty of animation tools too – managing keyframes and interpolations, traditional animation, animation exposure, etc. – and automations too, like wiggle, spring, swing, wheel, etc. which allow you to animate more quickly and easily.

Duik also has some other useful tools, such as camera controls, that are not solely tied to animation but can be really useful for both animators and riggers.

Duik’s comprehensiveness and ease of use have made it a script used in numerous movies across the world.”

Magic Bullet Colorista

“Magic Bullet Colorista IV is a plugin that puts streamlined professional color correction tools directly on your editing timeline. No need to leave your host app to grade your footage.”

Andy Mee’s Swish Pan

“Start with your basic Pan Direction choice: Pan Left, Pan Right, Pan Up and Pan Down.

Next, set your emulated pan speed … I call this one the “Whip Factor“, and it controls the amount of directional blur applied to the push.

And finally, choose your preferred Transition Timing behaviour … this allows you to decide how you want the timing of the pan to proceed.”

Duik

“Duik is a comprehensive animation and rigging toolset for Adobe After Effects.

It provides the main rigging tools, found in any 3D software, like IK, controllers, and bones, but adapts them to 2D animation in After Effects. With Duik you can rig complex characters and use advanced animation techniques usually used in 3D softwares.

If you do not know what rigging means, it may be because it is a bit too soon for you to use those tools. Please refer to the section entitled Should I use Duik?

Duik has plenty of animation tools too – managing keyframes and interpolations, traditional animation, animation exposure, etc. – and automations too, like wiggle, spring, swing, wheel, etc. which allow you to animate more quickly and easily.

Duik also has some other useful tools, such as camera controls, that are not solely tied to animation but can be really useful for both animators and riggers.

Duik’s comprehensiveness and ease of use have made it a script used in numerous movies across the world.”

Nodes 3

“Generative Motion Graphics Plugin. Nodes 3 adds a new 3D effect to replicate connected graphics and animate scenes onto other geometries.”

Red Giant Trapcode Particular

“Trapcode Particular is a plugin for After Effects that lets you add particles to your compositions to bring your motion graphics work to life. Use 3D objects for even more beauty and complexity.”

Red Giant – Trapcode Form

“Form particles live forever, giving you precise control over their behavior. Combine multiple forms into one unified 3D space for visually stunning results.”

Orb

“ORB is a Powerful New After Effects Plug-in to Create Detailed 3D Spheres and Planets, but be sure to check out our other amazing free Plug-Ins, too!”

Free Light Leaks

“Need some quick and easy light leaks for your projects? Here’s 15 light leaks I’m giving away for free in my latest Light Leaks Pack!

It’s the least I could do to give back to the awesome supportive community I have here at the Dojo. The pack contains 15, full 1080p HD clips of real light leaks.”

Motion Boutique – Newton3

“Newton 3 brings realistic physics to After Effects, making your 2D composition layers act like solid objects that interact with each other – just like in the real world.”

Motion Boutique – Pastiche

“An After Effects plug-in to produce creative layer collages.

PASTICHE needs two things to do its magic:

A source layer to define the shape of the collage and a bunch of layers to be placed inside that shape.”

AfterCodecs

“AfterCodecs is regularly updated with new codecs, features or speed improvements, see our Changelog. Our latest feature are MultiRender Markers to batch export in Premiere Pro and displaying a progressbar in your taskbar icon in After Effects when rendering !”

Cineblur Instagram

“Everyone loves the Instagram app for their phones. It’s a cool way to create vintage/retro photos with a tap of the finger. Seriously, people go nuts over these type of filters.

A while back, Daniel Box, created Photoshop actions of these filters. They’re awesome. Just a click of the mouse, and you’ve “Instagrammed” your photo in Photoshop.

I wanted a way to use these in applications like After Effects or Final Cut Pro. An easy way to achieve a simple color change is by using Look-Up-Tables (LUTs).

I’m not gonna dive too deep into what exactly a LUT is, but basically, it communicates color changes from different applications. Aharon Rabinowitz posted a tutorial video about using Red Giant Software’s LUT Buddy, a free application by RGS to create and apply LUTs. It’s pretty helpful in introducing someone to what a LUT is, and how they work.

I took Daniel Box’s Instagram Photoshop actions, and made them into LUTs and presets to use with video. They work wonderfully. Keep in mind. LUTs are a bit limited in their functionality; they cannot apply things that use masks or generators, such as vignettes, diffusion, blurs, etc.

But they are still awesome. If you are looking for more vintage presets for After Effects with more features and control, check out my Vintage FX presets.”

After Effects Plugins – Wrapping Up

I hope you’ve found this list of my favourite After Effects plugins useful. What are your favorite FCP plugins? What have I missed out? Let us know in the comments below!

Also, this is a super-helpful list of resources for other filmmakers and videographers that you know. Make sure you share it with your social media audiences using the share buttons below. Let’s get the word out there!

We really hope this list of After Effects plugins has been useful to you. We’ve given you a range of different plugins here. As ever, it really depends on what you’re looking to create, what your goals are, as well as the kind of project you’re working on.

So whether you’re a filmmaker, videographer, or any other creative, these AE plugins will help you out.