Do you ever find yourself struggling with how to use Adobe After Effects? Whether you're a newbie or a seasoned veteran, plugins can bring value. This list showcases some of the best plugins for Adobe After Effects—they will help boost your productivity, streamline your workflows, open up creative options, and force you to have a little fun. All of the plugins on the list are compatible with Adobe After Effects CC 2019, and at the time of publishing, they range in price from $10 - $60. I'm actually giving a lot of these plugins away for free, so be sure to enter for your chance to win a few of them here.
*How do I install an After Effects plugin?
First, it's important to understand that when I use the word plugin I'm actually referencing a wide variety of possible tools, including scripts and extensions. Be aware that not all of the product types have the same installation instructions. But don't worry, as each developer will have a document included, showing you how to install and use the plugin. The aescripts and aeplugins website allows you to download trial versions of all plugins, and they even have an installer to help get you up and running. Now let's have a look at the list.
from Plugin Everything
Deep Glow from Plugin Everything gives users a great looking glow straight out of the box, even when working in a non-linear color space. With physically accurate inverse square-based falloff, Deep Glow packs a "glowier" punch than the default Glow effect inside of After Effects. Deep Glow is GPU accelerated for speed and works in 8, 16, and 32-bit color space environments. With intuitive compositing controls, you can stylize your glow with Chromatic Aberration and Aspect Ratio settings. Built-in gamma correction means your gamma is perfect regardless of the colorspace you're working in. Deep Glow is perfect for HUDs, infographics, text, and telemetry.
from Plugin Play
While you won’t be using this plugin every day, it’s nice to have around when you want to introduce a little chaos and upset the established order. This tool allows you to create video glitches by intentionally corrupting data. More specifically, the plugin allows you to delete I-Frames and/or duplicate Delta Frames for some trippy (to say the least) results. As the description reads on aescripts.com, “Feed our plugin your composition and we’ll rip it to shreds by dropping just the right frames to get that sweet, juicy, moshy mosh.” Get up and moshing quickly with several fun presets.
If you dislike the graph editor as much as I do then you’ll definitely want to pick up this plugin. Flow brings an easy interface to After Effects for customizing animation curves, without needing to venture into the graph editor. Gone are the days of slow, heavy expressions, or fighting with speed and influence (what do those even mean?) - just make a curve, hit apply and you're good to go. Flow comes with 25 pre-defined, commonly-used motion curves. Build up your own library and share it with the world, or import custom presets from other animators with the single click of a button.
from Mamoworld Tools
Pins & Boxes is a plugin that allows you to sidestep writing complex expressions. Quickly and easily create dynamic layouts in After Effects that automatically adjust when you edit text or resize other graphic elements. If you spend any time creating motion graphics templates, this plugin is a necessity. The beauty of this tool is the simplicity at which you can create complex, custom designs.
from Mamoworld Tools
MochaImport+ simplifies your workflow between After Effects and Mocha, the award-winning planar tracking software that comes bundled with After Effects. This plugin allows you to create stabilized precomps, move masks, effect points and layers, and distort them in perspective. Improve your tracks with expression-driven tracking data. And don’t worry, all the features of MochaImport+ work with any version of Mocha (both plugin and standalone versions). This naturally includes the free Mocha plugin that comes bundled with After Effects.
from Mike Overbeck
Parrot allows you to dynamically connect layers to a master layer and quickly create and offset “parrot” animations. Animate motion, effects, masks, shapes, and layer styles on the master layer. The keyframed animation that you create can then be passed on to other layers and triggered by layer markers. Name markers to assign multiple actions. This way you can quickly set up "parrots" and finesse your motion later by just revising your master layer. As you can imagine, this can significantly speed up workflows.
from Edgar Huanca
This tool is pretty much exactly what it sounds like. Quick Menu is a launcher that appears over your UI when invoked by a user-definable shortcut. It is smart and intuitive and lets you quickly launch effects, plugins, presets, scripts, expressions, extensions, and most menu commands in After Effects. This lets you stay focused on creating and not interrupting your workflow hunting through menus.
from Cihan Balunak
Creating an infographic from scratch in After Effects can take a lot of time and knowledge. Not only do you have to figure out all the technical aspects such as custom shape layers and expressions, but then you have to focus on the design. AEInfoGraphics is an After Effects extension that quickly converts your data into amazing and beautiful chart animations. Import CSV files directly to After Effects or create your own tables in using AE InfoGraphics's easy to use interface. Select from twelve beautiful chart templates to generate your chart composition.
from Plugin Everything
Digit Fiddler is your complete solution for counting anything in After Effects. All you need to add is a single slider and you’re ready to go. Whether it’s currency, percentages, or time (minutes, seconds, etc), Fiddler’s got you covered. Create custom symbols, and add as many decimal places as you’d like. Good luck recreating all of this via expressions. And don’t worry, this plugin is backwards compatible, all the way to AE CS3. If you’re still using CS3, however, then I doubt you’re investing in plugins...
from Mamoworld Tools
GridGuide gives After Effects users automatic layouts, snappable guide grids, and modifiable shape layer guides. GridGuide grids are based on shape layers, which means that you can move, rotate, scale, parent, and keyframe them just as any other layer. Don't limit yourself to static designs – let your guides follow your motion. Automatic layouts help users with no design background to get layers exactly where they should be. There are many ways to create grids in After Effects, but GridGuide is the only automated solution to create truly snappable guides!
So what are your favorites? Did we leave anything out? Let us know in the comment section! And again, be sure to enter for your chance to win a few of these plugins for FREE!