After Effects is a powerful video editing and motion graphics software from Adobe. The imagination is the limit when it comes to creating one-of-a-kind videos in After Effects.
Using third-party plugins for adding text, transitions, color grading, and animations can help professional video editors take AE projects to even higher levels of creativity. In this blog post, we share the top 10 plugins for After Effects in 2022.
Presets and plugins are not just for beginners. Hollywood video editors and motion graphics designers also use plugins to create complicated visual effects more efficiently. Having a few essential After Effect plugins available can help video professionals to create polished, stunning final videos with every edit.
Here are the top 10 After Effects plugin suggestions from professional video editors. We have included the essential plugins, you can find both free and paid ones here!
1. Boris FX Sapphire 🔗
Professional video editors swear by Boris FX Sapphire as an essential After Effects plugin because of its range of effects and speed at which they can be applied. Boris FX creates incredibly comprehensive effects packages that deliver Hollywood-quality results.
Boris FX Sapphire is a great value if you are looking for an industry-standard effects plugin with hundreds of assorted presets. With the Boris FX Sapphire plugin, video editors can apply a wide range of effects and functions without making additional downloads.
The Boris FX Sapphire, Mocha Pro, Optics, and Continuum effects packages are some of the best After Effects plugins for professional video editors.
2. Saber Plugin 🔗
This free After Effects plugin is a must-have for any video editor who wants to add explosive energy to their projects with realistic light beams. Action, science fiction, and commercial video projects can be enhanced with these high-voltage light beam effects.
The Saber plugin comes with 50 presets including masking and text presets for creating video intros. The glow falloff from the light beams is incredibly realistic, making this AE plugin perfect for adding special effects in post-production.
3. Animation Composer 3 🔗
Animation Composer by Mister Horse is another popular AE plugin for professional video editors.
Animation Composer 3 presets can be used to create custom animations in After Effects for intro titles, transitions, and special effects. There are also sound effects included in the bundle.
There is a free version and a paid professional version of Animation Composer. This is one of the best After Effects plugin suggestions for creating high-quality social media content.
4. Datamosh 2 🔗
No list of the best After Effects plugins would be complete without including at least one glitch effect. Datamosh 2 is a collection of mind-blowing glitch presets for After Effects. This plugin distorts the video compression of motion visuals to create unique, customizable glitches.
The precision and functionality of this glitch plugin for After Effects are perfect for creating impressive visual effects for edgy, stylish videos.
5. Red Giant Magic Bullet Suite 🔗
Red Giant Magic Bullet Suite is an industry-standard After Effects plugin for creating Hollywood-worthy moments in post-production.
Professional video editors can rely on Red Giant Magic Bullet Suite for most of their After Effects preset needs because it includes an array of comprehensive editing tools. Red Giant Magic Bullet Suite includes 300 presets for cinematic color correction, cosmetic touch-ups, and film grain.
6. Nodes 3 🔗
Some video professionals say that Nodes 3 by FXfactory is “the best plugin ever written”. There is a free trial available for video editors to experiment with this Hollywood-standard After Effects plugin before they purchase it.
This After Effects plugin composites images, motion graphics, and text into polished 3D animations. Nodes 3 is one of the best plugins for After Effects for creating 3D titles and special effects.
The Nodes 3 plugin has been used in Hollywood productions such as Ender’s Game, Rise of Planet of the Apes, Captain America, Transformers, and The Avengers.
7. DUIK BASSEL.2 🔗
Duik Bassel.2 by RxLaboratory is one of the best animation rigging plugins for After Effects. Rigging animations in After Effects can be time-consuming for even the most experienced video creators, which is why animation plugins like Duik are used by professionals for streamlining the animating process.
Video creators can rig complicated 2D and 3D animated characters in After Effects with ease using the Duik plugin. When it comes to character rigging, Duik is one of the best plugins for After Effects that editors can download. The automated functions make rigging polished final animations in After Effects more efficient.
8. VashiMorphic40 🔗
VashiMorphic40 is a free anamorphic After Effects plugin by VashiVisuals. Anamorphic camera lenses are used in filmmaking to create a cinematic, almost 3D effect in the final film. Examples of famous movies filmed with anamorphic lenses are Pulp Fiction and La La Land.
The VashiMorphic40 preset adds a realistic anamorphic look to any video for a cinematic look. It uses a 40mm curve, vignette, and blur preset to create the look of an anamorphic lens.
9. Orb Plugin 🔗
Do you want to render otherworldly planets and 3D spheres with incredible realism in After Effects? The Orb plugin is one of the most popular After Effects plugins for intermediate and professional video creators and it is completely free to download!
It is a 100% free After Effects preset for creating realistic 3D spheres and orbs. With the Orb plugin, you can render detailed environments on the surface of 3D spheres to create one-of-a-kind planets. It has excellent luminance and shadow presets for creating realistic alien worlds.
10. Shadow Studio 🔗
Shadow Studio is an affordable After Effects plugin with three realistic shadow presets to play with including hard shadows, soft shadows, and long shadows. The quality of these shadow presets is comparable to Hollywood raytracing SFX but at a fraction of the cost and rendering time.
Thanks for checking out our list of After Effects plugin suggestions for video professionals! After Effects comes equipped with the professional tools needed for creating out-of-the-box video effects, but plugins are an additional resource that editors can use to optimize their workflow and make better videos, faster.