Edited by Ben Jacklin

February 18, 2021

Best After Effects Alternatives

Adobe After Effects is incredible editing software that can bring your visual effects to the next level, but it can become an expensive and complex subscription whether you're using it short term or long term. When it comes to picking out the best software for video editing with the latest and most rewarding effects, your options are seemingly limitless. Finding the choices that bring you Adobe After Effects free can be challenging but worth the time when you sort through the top alternatives. Comparing different options and utilizing trial periods can assist in picking out which alternatives will bring you the most opportunity with your editing.

Special Pick: Movavi Video Editor Plus

Living by the motto: Make videos. Create. Inspire - Movavi Video Editor Plus is designed to help you craft seamless cinematography masterpieces. Main features include Chroma Key, which helps you change the background of your clips to anything you desire, stabilization features take away that shaky effect from physically holding your camera, and voiceover action assist with adding commentary and helping you vocally tell your story.

Movavi Video Editor Plus is a great After Effects alternative that’s free to download. To get rid of the trial version limitations, you can pay a one-time fee of $74.95 .

Top Alternatives to Adobe After Effects for Free

Looking for free software like after effects can take a little trial and error. Some programs will offer better resolutions and be similar to Adobe AE, providing you with specific open-source alternatives to after-effects, while others may replace the standard Adobe After Effects CS6 download. When you're looking at how to get after-effects for free, these are the top alternatives for Adobe After Effects.

HitFilm Express

Crafted specifically for filmmakers, HitFilm Express is an all-in-one video editing software. Bringing professional-grade VFX tools, you can utilize full 2D and 3D compositing for all of your upcoming projects.

Key features include:

  • Scroll through free video tutorials to expand on your projects.
  • Choose between over 410 presets and effects to help with transitions.
  • Personally record necessary audio with the built-in voice recorder for customization.

Potential disadvantages:

  • Although HitFilm Express is an After Effects alternative, green screen editing is not available, which can be a drawback if you're looking to change the background with clips.


NATRON is another alternative for After Effects that's free to download. For your composition software, NATRON brings you a cross-platform for visual effects and motion graphics. This digital compositor utilizes interface functionality that operates the same across all platforms, including macOS, Windows, and Linux.

Key features include:

  • 2D tracking tools.
  • RotoPaint designs for multi-layer rotoscoping.
  • Fluid curve & dope sheet editing.
  • GPU & network rendering programming to make production capabilities a faster and smoother process.

Potential disadvantages:

  • When working with large or heavy files, the program may lag and experience a delay in cache previews.


Custom architecture has made Blender a different kind of after effects app. This free alternative unites flexibility with high-end tools that allow you to directly integrate with other production tools. You can utilize this free after effects software for rigging, compositing, game creation, modeling, and more.

Key features include:

  • Using cycles and relying on a production path tracer, rendering is made simple.
  • Merge 2D and 3D concepts through Blender's viewport.
  • Bullet and MantaFlow libraries are built in to allow customizable simulations.
  • Python API creates beautiful scripting opportunities.

Potential disadvantages:

  • Users will experience a steep learning curve due to the 100% customizable interface, making it difficult for users that edit lightly.

Best Paid Adobe After Effects Alternatives

Fusion Studio

Operating as a motion graphics solution for video editors, Fusion is an After Effects substitute that gives you visual effects, 3D, and VR graphics solutions.

Key features include:

  • Node-based interfaces create sophisticated effects by fusing imaging processing tools together conveniently.
  • Compositions can be saved as a template to help streamline editing workflow.
  • 27 GPU accelerated Resolve FX helps reduce noise and sharpen audio.
  • Import features allow easy access to 3D scenes and models to be pulled from other applications.

Potential disadvantages:

  • Rendering multiple comps at one time isn't possible, making it difficult to work on multiple edits at one time.

Motion by Apple

Create 3D projects from scratch with the Motion by Apple After Effects app.

Key features include:

  • Create custom 3D media while designing 360° titles and directly upload your video projects to your platform of choice, e.g. YouTube, Vimeo, and more.
  • Create motion templates with custom controlled parameters, then upload them for editing to Final Cut Pro.
  • Professional masking tools create adjustable control points with rotoscoping.
  • Import any USDZ objects into the motion library to adjust quality and output.

Potential disadvantages:

  • While you can design 3D titles, you cannot import 3D objects.


Test out Nuke's free trial before putting up the $5k+ to buy the standard Adobe Effects alternative. With industry-standard compositing, you can utilize over 200 creative nodes for all of your performance editing needs.

Key features include:

  • Workflow plug-ins such as Ocula create realistic 3D viewing experiences.
  • Combine Cara VR with 360° compositing for live-action virtual reality content.
  • Pull 3D motion tracks without leaving AE.
  • Deep image compositing increases the workflow and productivity for rendering images with multiple opacity, camera relative depth samples, and more.

Potential disadvantages:

  • Compared to other After Effects downloads, Nuke is on the pricier end of the spectrum. The standard plan vs. the pro version offer few functional differences.

Autodesk Smoke

Combine editing workflows with node-based compositing tools via Autodesk Smoke's timeline-centered editing. Autodesk uses geometric imports to improve animated controls. Monthly subscriptions run at $205 per month while annual subscriptions drop to $135 per month with an upfront payment of $1,620.

Key features include:

  • Adjust timing with dynamic trimming.
  • ConnectFX allows you to input custom effects without leaving or altering the timeline.
  • Export production to continue editing in Final Cut Pro X.
  • In action compositing assists in adjusting lights and shadows, green screen footage, and 3D formats.

Potential disadvantages:

  • Autodesk requires a lot of storage and is exclusive to Mac operators.

Corel Video Studio Pro

Created with all-inclusive video editing in mind, Video Studio Pro is designed for all skill levels.

Key features include:

  • Beginner-friendly tutorials provide user-friendly software for a simple learning curve.
  • Convert 360° edits to standard, downloadable projects, and burn video projects to DVD with ease.
  • Enhanced 4k display helps streamline edits with software-friendly shortcuts.
  • Boost workflow with customized effects, brush strokes, and more.

Potential disadvantages:

  • Users report delays in transitions, light glitching, and the software is heavy on space.

Eyeon Fusion Basics

Made for beginner video edits, Eyeon Fusion Basics is a full feature compositing software. The cost of this editing software is a one-time fee of $29.95 and provides you with full access to all features within the program.

Key features include:

  • Merge operations to manipulate individual areas of images using roto shape matte.
  • Spline views make setting keyframes to create animations simplistically.
  • Basic text tools provide editing such as drop text, underlay shadow, moveable text, and more.
  • Versatile creator nodes help composite edits with preset effects.

Potential disadvantages:

  • This software is not designed for customizing lengthy or incredibly detailed projects. Pre-sets are limited.

Comparing Programs Like After Effects

Comparing all 10 of the above Adobe After Effects alternatives, the pros and cons are easily recognizable.

Movavi Video Editor PlusAll-inclusive in features, comparison to similar softwareOnly the trial version is free
HitFilm ExpressSurplus of video tutorialsGreen screen is not available
NATRONMulti-layer rotoscopingDifficulty editing large files
BlenderCombining 2D and 3D edits are easyThere is a steep learning curve
Fusion StudioCreate and save custom composition templatesYou can't render multiple comps at once
Motion by ApplePairs well with Final Cut ProYou can't import 3D templates
NukeCustomize realistic 3D compositesNon-commercial and commercial versions offer few upgrades
Autodesk SmokeInput custom effects without altering the timelineNot compatible with Windows
Corel Video Studio ProBeginner-friendly for learning video editorsNoted glitches in operations
Eyeon Fusion BasicsPinpoint areas of imaging through rotoshapeCan't handle large projects

Movavi Video Editor Plus

Your next step in video-making

  • Edit video clips, images, and audio on a timeline
  • Add transitions, filters, titles, and stickers
  • Animate objects using keyframes, use more built-in media
  • Export videos in any popular format

* The free version of Movavi Video Editor Plus has the following restrictions: 7-day trial period, watermark on the output videos, and, if you’re saving a project as an audio file, an ability to save only half the audio length. Learn more