I have a confession to make: I'm averse to using plugins in After Effects. The reason is that, in my experience, most plugins just don't work very well. They're unstable, they crash your computer, and they don't offer nearly the same level of control as native functions do (not to mention that many are buggy). But there are exceptions! Here are five plugins I recommend for video editors who want more control over their projects:
1. Saber by Video Copilot
Saber is a very cool plugin that lets you create animated light sabers, shapes, and text. It’s easy to learn and use and can be used to add some fun effects to your videos, like the ones in the video above. And best of all, it’s free!
2. Twixtor by RE:Vision
Twixtor is a plugin that allows you to slow down or speed up your footage. It’s an essential tool for video editors, especially those who want to create slow motion effects. Twixtor is available for both Adobe Premiere Pro and Adobe After Effects!
It uses frame interpolation technology—which means it creates frames between the existing ones—to generate higher frame rates than what your camera can record natively without blurring the image. This gives you more control over how a scene plays out in real time and when it is later played back in slow motion.
3. Knoll Light Factory by RedGiant
Knoll Light Factory is a plugin that allows you to create realistic lighting effects and flares. Knoll Light Factory can simulate light sources and shadows as well as glows on any object or scene.
The plugin comes with over 100 presets which makes it easy to use right out of the box. By experimenting with different presets, you can create an endless variety of looks for your project.
4. Flicker Free 2.0 by Digital Anarchy
Sometimes, flickering and jittering can occur in footage that you import into an After Effects project. This can be a tedious process to clean up manually, but thankfully there are plugins that can help with this!
Flicker Free is one of these plugins and it does exactly what it sounds like it does: removes flicker from your footage. Whether the problem is caused by poor lighting and/or exposure settings or camera shake, Flicker Free can fix all of those issues automatically so that they don’t need any extra work on your part. It also reduces noise, reduces motion blur, and fixes rolling shutter artifacts - another common issue with DSLRs where vertical lines look wobbly due to rolling shutter effects.
5. Element 3D V2 by VideoCopilot
Element 3D is a versatile tool that allows you to create realistic 3D objects and scenes in After Effects. This plugin can be used to create product shots, text, and more.
Element 3D has been updated several times since it was released in 2015 by Video Copilot founder Andrew Kramer. It has evolved over time into one of the most popular ways for creating professional-looking visual effects in After Effects without needing much technical knowledge about modeling software like Cinema4D or Maya (although those programs are useful if you want more advanced features).
Don't overlook these essential plugins for After Effects.
You should not be intimidated by the price of plugins. In fact, after looking at some of the premium options out there, you may find yourself wondering how you ever got by without all these new features. Some After Effects plugins are worth considering because:
These plugins have been around for a long time and have proven their utility in countless projects. In fact, many high-end professionals continue to use them even though they could afford any number of newer options.
These plugins are highly rated and reviewed on sites like Adobe Exchange or Creative Cow. The popularity of these tools has given users detailed instructions on how to use them best.