After Effects Alternative

After Effects Alternative

10 Best After Effects Alternatives

Looking for free or cheaper After Effects alternatives? What if I tell you that there are 10 motion graphics softwares that are as good as this Adobe program, which can let you create professional visual effects?

I have selected 10 programs which can become a good alternative to After Effects in terms of functionality and visual effects.

Regardless of the price, you can test each software included on the list for free without any functional limitations. In addition, you will come across some good options for Linux, which is rare when it comes to good After Effects alternatives.

1. Blackmagic Design Fusion

Many visual effects
  • Many visual effects
  • Some limitations in the free version
  • Compatible with Windows, Mac & Linux
  • Poor handling of multichannel EXRs

Verdict: Blackmagic Fusion is a professional software for adding visual effects, graphics and 3D animation. It is usually used to make visual effects and digital compositing for films, TV shows, and commercials.

This Adobe After Effects alternative uses a node-based interface, complicated processes of which are made by the connection of flow-chart or chart of multiple nodes. Note that each of them presupposes simpler processes such as blur or color correction.

Blackmagic Fusion also provides 3D and virtual reality support, as well as unlimited network rendering and GPU boosted performance.

  • blackmagic design fusion interface

    2. Fxhome Hitfilm Pro

    Professional visual effects
    • Can be used for free
    • Import and animation of complicated 3D models
    • Many effects
    • Rather high requirements for work with special effects

    Verdict: HitFilm Pro is a unique combination of video editing, visual effects and 3D compositing for filmmakers and professional artists. The thing that really makes this program like After Effects stand out is its visual effects.

    You get access to masks, blue/green keyboard, spill simulation, distortions, hefty color correction tools, etc. On the whole, the list of options is impressive.

    In case you work in 3D, you can import 3D models into your scene and get access to tracking functions. There is even a special 360-degree viewer for those, who have suitable recording equipment.

    • fxhome hitfilm pro interface

      3. Natron

      Open source
      • Open source
      • Supports plug-ins
      • Not a very convenient interface

      Verdict: Natron is an open-source video editor. Though the program is relatively new, users can edit video files on a rather professional level. This application can be used as After Effects alternative especially when you need professional tools for video editing.

      This program also allows you to use different filters and special effects when working with video content. Another advantage of this software is that it allows you to work with HD, 2K and 4K videos.

      Natron supports various types of files and formats. If necessary, the functional of this video editor can be easily extended by OpenFX plug-ins, though its standard set of functions should be sufficient to handle many tasks.

      • natron interface

        4. Blender

        Non-linear editing
        • Free
        • Open source
        • Wide range of functions
        • No official tutorials

        Verdict: Blender is probably the only free 3D package, which is almost as rich in functions as paid apps are. This open source After Effects alternative is often used for modeling, mapping, screening, animation, particle rendering, and other simulations.

        It also provides non-linear editing, layout, and creation of interactive 3D apps, dynamics of rigid and soft bodies, liquid and fabric. Users choose Blender as a basic working tool for important projects, which is not surprising.

        Indeed, this app is just as good at the number of options and functions as more advanced 3D graphics software. And it’s all free.

        • blender interface

          5. NUKE

          Non-linear editing
          • High tools performance rate
          • High preview and rendering speeds
          • High speeds during work with HD formats (4K, 10K)
          • Automatically saves your project every 5 seconds
          • Working with different channels is easy and convenient
          • Sudden lags
          • Some third-party plug-ins work slowly
          • Expensive

          Verdict: Nuke is a worldwide standard in video compositing and post-editing. What is more, it is one of the key tools for making most Hollywood movies. Avatar, Tron: Legacy, Transformers, Watchmen, The Lord of the Rings, and many other Hollywood blockbusters were made in Nuke.

          This After Effects alternative is dedicated namely to compositing and not to editing. It is designed to work with plans/shots separately: each shot means a separate script.

          Still, in comparison with After Effects, Nuke timeline ideology is rather poor and putting two shots together is not an easy task which can be completed in two clicks.

          • nuke interface

            6. Apple Motion

            Non-linear editing
            • Awesome, easy chroma key
            • Enjoyable real-time visual tweaking
            • New, quicker, advanced architecture
            • Surprisingly cheap
            • Final Cut Pro X integration is limited to exporting templates
            • Lacks native EPS import
            • No stereoscopic 3D support

            Verdict: Apple Motion is a program for creating animated graphics, titles, particles, and visual effects. It was used to create 95% of all effects, transitions, generators and titles for Final Cut Pro X.

            You can use this alternative to After Effects for video editing, creating animated titles, broadcast graphics (TV show editing) as well as separate animated trailers of widespread use – from commercials to education.

            Apple Motion supports real-time graphics editing. Its built-in particle tools, replicators, shapes, filters, and behaviors, as well as a great library of preset content with prepared animation elements, allow you to create animated graphics of high quality very fast.

            • apple motion interface

              7. Autodesk Smoke

              Timeline editing
              • Convenient import
              • Work without switching between apps
              • Built-in options of stereo 3D content editing and compositing
              • Rather difficult to work with transitions
              • Work with effects presupposes the use of web-based approaches

              Verdict: In my opinion, the key feature of Smoke is its built-in set of tools. It includes a powerful timeline editing, functional graphical module, stabilization, and tracking functions as well as keying and many other options for effective video post-production.

              The built-in set of tools allows you to work without switching between the apps that can cause serious problems in color control. This Adobe After Effects alternative also includes surroundings for 3D compositing called Action, which was borrowed from the related system – Autodesk Flame.

              • autodesk smoke interface

                8. ButtleOFX

                Simple control
                • Simple control over special-effects
                • Minimal system requirements
                • Open source
                • Rather unpopular
                • No tutorials

                Verdict: ButtleOFX is an open-source compositing software which is rather simple and convenient to use. It is based on TuttleOFX, open-source architecture with the modular and sustainable architecture of image processing.

                The main advantage this After Effects alternative is its automatic support of OFX plug-ins. For example, my testing of Sapphire plug-ins performance in ButtleOFX was successful.

                • buttleofx interface

                  9. Particle Illusion

                  Fast render
                  • Simple control
                  • Minimal system requirements
                  • Fast render
                  • Outdated design
                  • Can’t be used as a basic program

                  Verdict: ParticleIllusion is one of those utilities, which should always be close at hand, especially if you want to create special effects fast. It has a rather simple interface but, at the same time, offers great opportunities.

                  In particular, it is very convenient to use this program combining it with the standard video editors as After Effects. You can use it to visualize effects at any resolution (up to 8192x8192) as well as perform package rendering.

                  This After Effects alternative can be also used to calculate several effects simultaneously. All you need to do for this is to indicate the location of the projects files. Besides, Particle Illusion Render doesn’t display the preview window when rendering, so during calculations, you can work with the other programs which use OpenGL.

                  • particle illusion interface

                    10. Wax

                    Many video effects
                    • Supports 3D files
                    • Many video effects
                    • Supports import into other formats
                    • Outdated design
                    • Doesn’t support import of flash files

                    Verdict: This program is designed for video editing and color grading. When developing this application, its creators have integrated various special effects into it. The app comes with 2D and 3D plug-ins. There is also an option of editing 3D objects, light, shadow and texture.

                    In addition, this alternative to After Effects allows you to apply the effects of explosion, fire, smoke, etc. Besides, you can add 3D text to video as well as 3D models created in the other utilities.

                    The only thing which may seem to be repulsive is a boring and poor look of the program with an outdated design.

                    wax interface


                    As well as most of its alternatives, After Effects supports LUTs for fast color correction.

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