Best After Effects® Alternatives

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Edited by Ben Jacklin
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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. 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 programs like After Effects® will bring you the most opportunity with your editing. So, if you’re wondering how to get Adobe® After Effects® for free, check out some of the best alternatives reviewed in this article. 

An app with built-in tutorials for beginners: HitFilm Free

A cross-platform app with a rotoscoping tool: Natron

Living by the motto: Make videos. Create. Inspire – Movavi Video Editor 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 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 $79.95.

Pros:

  • Simple interface

  • Advanced editing features

  • Numerous video effects

  • Built-in media

Cons:

  • The free trial version is available for 7 days only

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Software

Pros

Cons

All-inclusive in features, comparison to similar software

Only the trial version is free

Surplus of video tutorials

Green screen is not available

Multi-layer rotoscoping

Difficulty editing large files

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 Free

HitFilm Free is an After Effects® alternative  crafted specifically for filmmakers. It is an all-in-one video-editing app[1]. Bringing professional-grade VFX tools, you can utilize full 2D and 3D compositing for all of your upcoming projects.

Download HitFilm Free

Pros:

  • Free video tutorials 

  • Over 410 presets and effects 

  • A built-in voice recorder 

Cons:

  • Lacks advanced editing features

  • Exports up to HD only

Natron

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.

Download Natron

Pros:

  • 2D tracking tools

  • RotoPaint designs for multi-layer rotoscoping

  • Fluid curve & dope sheet editing

Cons:

  • Can be laggy when working with large files

Blender

Custom architecture has made Blender a different kind of after effects app. This free Adobe® After Effects® alternative unites flexibility with high-end tools that allow you to directly integrate with other production tools[2]. You can utilize this free after effects software for rigging, compositing, game creation, modeling, and more.

Download Blender

Pros:

  • Simple rendering

  • Customizable simulations

  • Beautiful scripting opportunities

Cons:

  • A steep learning curve

  • The interface might seem confusing for beginners

Top alternatives to Adobe® After Effects®

For creating and editing 3D scenes

Blender

For simple and fast VFX creation

Movavi Video Editor

For professional compositing

Fusion Studio

Wax

Wax is one more app like Adobe® After Effects® with a free download. It is a versatile yet lightweight free editing program, which allows you to customize your videos with a multitude of tools and add special effects.

Download Wax

Pros:

  • Graphics acceleration option for powerful devices

  • Fully functional 3D composition

  • Unlimited video and audio tracks

Cons:

  • Can be difficult to use for a beginner

  • The interface is outdated

ButtleOFX

The final app on our list of free alternatives to Adobe®  After Effects®  is ButtleOFX. It’s an open-source editor with a simple interface. You can use it not just for videos but for photos as well.

Download ButtleOFX

Pros:

  • Parameters editor to customize your special effects

  • Three different workspace layouts 

  • Multitude of downloadable plug-ins

Cons:

  • Available only for Linux

  • No updates since 2015

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.

Download Fusion Studio

Pros:

  • Sophisticated effects 

  • Compositions can be saved as a template

  • Option to import 3D scenes and models from other applications

Cons:

  • Rendering multiple comps at one time isn't possible

  • Lack of tutorials

Motion by Apple

If you’re looking for an app like Adobe® After Effects® to download on your Mac, try Motion by Apple. The app lets you create 3D projects from scratch.

Download Motion by Apple

Pros:

  • 360° titles 

  • Direct upload to your platform of choice

  • Motion templates with custom controlled parameters

  • Professional masking tools

Cons:

  • You cannot import 3D objects

  • Creating animations can be difficult for beginners

Nuke

Compared to other After Effects® downloads, Nuke is on the pricier end of the spectrum. But you can 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.

Download Nuke

Pros:

  • Realistic 3D viewing experiences

  • You can pull 3D motion tracks without leaving AE

Cons:

  • The standard plan vs. the pro version offer few functional differences

  • More expensive compared to other compositing tools

Pros:

  • Beginner-friendly tutorials 

  • Convert 360° edits to standard, downloadable projects

  • Burn video projects to DVD with ease

  • Enhanced 4k display

Cons:

  • Users report delays in transitions, light glitching

  • The software is heavy on space

Conclusion

Now you know about After Effects® free alternatives and paid options. We hope this article has been helpful in your choice of a video editor.

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*The free version of Movavi Video Editor may have the following restrictions depending on the build: watermark on exported clips, 60-second video or 1/2 audio length limit, and/or some advanced features unavailable when exporting videos.

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