I have been creating visual effects with Adobe After Effects for a while now and over the years have gathered a number of plugins that I love to use. This is my personal favourites list and you should keep that in mind when looking at these plugins and evaluate whether they would be useful to your own film projects and visual effects.
I love to create particle effects in Adobe After Effects. I use them for explosions, dissolves, laser beams, destruction and all sorts of other detailed effects. While After Effects comes with the built in CC Particle World effect, I did find it limiting at times.
Trapcode Particular offers manyadvanced particle controls like detailed particle property animations, physics an auxiliary system to spawn child particles and advanced shading.
It is very easy to use and I recently made a tutorial for it showing youhow to create cool Fireworks effects using Trapcode Particular.
Almost without exception, all videos I have upload to YouTube have been colour corrected and colour graded to some extent. While Adobe Premiere and After Effects contain a lot of built in tools to help you take charge of the colour of your footage, one plugin collection I have learnt to love is the Red Giant Magic Bullet Suite. The Magic Bullet Suite has recently been split up into a few separate suites and the one that I would choose is the Color Suite.
This suite includes agreat set of tools for correcting any colour issues with your footage and achieving a cinematic look. Out of the Suite, the one plugin I've been using the most is Magic Bullet Looks.
Magic Bullet Looks is the simplest tool I have ever seen toachieve cinematic looks with a few simple clicks. You simply apply the plugin to your clip and then you can select from a large set of existing colouring options and tweak them or built your own colour effect using a myriad of inbuilt processing steps.
Besides creatingamazing After Effects tutorials, Video Copilot also has a large number of high quality plugins available for Adobe After Effects that I enjoy using.
I have a full tutorial on how toeasily create great looking 3D Integration VFX using the Video Copilot Element 3D plugin.
Element 3D is a plugin thatallows you to add 3D elements into your scene directly inside of After Effects. This used to be a bigger deal before After Effects CC added Cinema 4D Lite and the Cineware plugin, but it's still a great tool to easily get some 3D elements into your scene and animate them.
ELement 3D is actually a Particle Replicator and so it allows quick and easy setup and distribution of a large number of 3D 'particles' in your scene as well as animating them. It is not a 'particle system' and so can't use it to spawn any new particles, but with some clever tricks you can use it for all sorts of cool visual effects!
Another great plugin from Video Copilot that I enjoy using is Optical Flares. Optical Flares is a plugin that allows you tocreate great looking lens flare effects and comes with a large amount of presets that you can simply add to your scene and animate to your liking. As an example, I have used them for Walter's laser vision effect in my YouTube trailer video.
I've been using it a fair bit and I find it very useful to add intensity to all sorts of lighting, laser, fire or explosion effects. I have seen it being used a lot in commercial work and for the price I think it's definitely worth it
This is my list of favourite plugins for Adobe After Effects. Which plugins do you enjoy using the most and why?