7 Adobe After Effects tools that don't suck

Adobe After Effects is an incredibly versatile program used in almost every facet of the film and video industry. Whether you are an independent freelancer or a professional compositor for a large post house, After Effects is definitely a staple of the editing world. One of my favorite things about AE is that whether you’re compositing, rotoscoping, animating, or scripting, there’s always something new to learn. Here are some After Effects resources that don’t suck.

Video Copilot screenshot

Video Copilot

Andrew Kramer has pretty much become a household name in the After Effects community. His site videocopilot.net is full of super-useful tutorials, plugins, and inspiration for beginner and advanced editors alike; and the videos he makes are full of detailed information and are fun to watch. Besides having excellent tutorials, Kramer and his team are constantly developing plugins, fx packages, and other resources for editors, along with great tutorials on how to best use them.

aescripts + aeplugins

Scripts are a handy tool that sometimes go under-utilized, especially when you are new to AE. They can be intimidating, almost like coding javascript as a new web designer. Fortunately, there are awesome resources like aescripts + aeplugins for just about anything you can imagine. One of my favorite scripts that I use on a daily basis is Ease and Wizz.

Lynda screenshot

Lynda

In the editing world, time is money. The more familiar you are with your tools, the less time you’ll spend stuck figuring out how to set a keyframe, and the faster you can meet your deadlines. Spending 30 minutes on educational sites like Lynda.com can save you hours in your post workflow.

Tool Farm

Plugins are an essential part of AE that can make life easier and help create a specific look or effect. Toolfarm has a huge list of top industry plugins for post-production software, including After Effects. They have a cool blog, are up to date with all the new plugins, and have plenty of resources for getting started.

Video Hive

When your budget won’t cover complicated vfx, Video Hive comes to the rescue, with affordable options for single elements and full-scale After Effects project templates that you can customize to your liking.

AE Tuts screenshot

Tuts+

You can never have too many good tutorial sites – continued education is essential to keeping up with the current trends in the post/vfx world. Whether you want something new to learn, or a fresh twist on an old technique, Envato Tuts+ have a variety of free tutorials for differing skill levels, as well as a paid option for more intricate tutorials.

Greyscale Gorilla screenshot

Greyscale Gorilla

I’m a big fan of industry professionals who post tutorials. Since 3D is used in almost every form of visual media these days it’s pretty likely that, sooner or later, you’ll run across a project that will include a 3D title, object, or model. With a lot more than just AE tutorials, Greyscale Gorilla is a valuable asset, especially for 3D integration. There are a lot of 3D specific tutorials for programs like Cinema 4D, as well as on how to integrate both programs together.

Chris Vanderschaaf is an award-winning editor, animator, and filmmaker based out of northern California. Chris works too many hours of the day both on set and remotely on commercials, feature films, micro-budget web videos, and short films.