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How to Choose the Best After Effects Alternative – 5 Free Products to Use in 2020

  1. It is possible to find a good After Effects alternative?
  2. How to start searching for the perfect After Effects alternative for you?
  3. Do you really need an After Effects alternative?

After Effects Alternative. Video editing can be quite interesting and exciting. It’s a great way to unleash your creativity and make something amazing. However, you need software that can help you create exactly what you want. After Effects (AE) is a great option – it has numerous features, options, and plugins that allow you to create almost anything you want. Nevertheless, it may cost you some money, and if you don’t want to spend anything on software (or spend very little) then you need to find a good After Effects alternative, that has all the necessary features.

There are two factors to keep in mind:

  • Adobe works with experienced programmers who know all the nuances of applications development. That’s why their products are fast and stable (of course they crash once in a while, but let’s be honest, their software is quite reliable). Moreover, the number of people who use Adobe’s products is very high, so they can get feedback from their customers and fix any errors or consider adding new features.
  • When you search for an Adobe After Effects alternative, you need to be ready to find software written by smaller teams or communities. It doesn’t mean that their software is bad, but you need to be aware that it may take time to find a solution that will satisfy all your demands. However, a free After Effects alternative may not have all the features, but you may not need all of them.

Is it possible to find a good After Effects alternative?

It’s great that many projects are written by communities, small teams, or individual developers – it helps to keep the project alive. Users can still ask developers to add new features and fix bugs. At the same time, some projects may be abandoned, or developers may not release new versions regularly. Again, you shouldn’t expect much from software, especially if the community is very small. However, some open source projects are quite powerful and they can actually compete well with the Adobe products.

Therefore, the answer is “Yes, you can get an alternative to Adobe After effects” but again – only if you spend enough time researching.

You should also keep in mind that many companies use Adobe products, so if you want to become a part of a professional team, then it may be better to get AE and learn it. Nevertheless, many solutions are great for personal projects. They are also great if you want to be an independent artist.


How to start searching for the perfect After Effects alternative

This may be obvious, but you need to decide what exactly you need. Adobe software is very powerful and it includes numerous features. Of course, when you search for an alternative to After Effects, you expect to get a powerful solution that can edit video. Sometimes, a simple solution can do the work for you.

Here are some of the solutions that can be great Adobe After Effects alternatives:

Natron

Natron - free After Effects alternative.

Here’s a completely free After Effects alternative that supports various platforms, so you shouldn’t have major compatibility problems. Its main advantage is its node-based engine, which makes your workflow non-destructible. You can easily remove some nodes if you aren’t satisfied. The project is active and developers are still adding new features and polishing it, so it’s already a good option when it comes to video editing. It also has powerful tools for keying, curve, dope-sheet editors, and more. It supports such popular formats as EXR, TIFF, PSD, RAW, JPG, PNG, etc. so you shouldn’t have major issues making it a part of your workflow. The official website has a forum where you can find some useful material or get your questions answered.


Shotcut

Shotcut - free After Effects alternative.

Here’s another After Effects alternative that will cost you nothing! It’s a multiplatform solution that will work correctly with various operating systems. It has a nice interface so you can get used to it quickly. It has powerful and flexible video editing tools and numerous video filters, like chroma key, color grading, levels, etc. Shotcut features powerful audio-editing tools as well. It supports multiple widely-used formats. This application is active and developers still work on it. Shotcut has numerous features and developers work on making it even faster and more stable. The official website includes some useful data. You can get an application or check their forum. It has a special tutorial section where you can learn more about the application and how to use its various features. Overall, it’s a very powerful solution. It’s recommended to get this one and give it a try.


Kdenlive

Kdenlive - free After Effects alternative.

When you search for an alternative to After Effects, it’s impossible to miss this one. Kdenlive is a powerful editing program with dozens of useful tools and features that can help you create stunning videos. It includes many popular technologies and solutions, like Qt, KDE, FFmpeg, etc. that will provide you with the best user experience. The FFmpeg libraries allow you to use almost any kinds of audio and video files. The layout is user-friendly – you can easily find what you need. Moreover, the UI is configurable. You can change the layout to make it easy to work with. It includes numerous effects and transitions so you can get the look you want and make your videos dynamic or calm. It has audio and video scopes to show you what happens with your audio and video. The great thing about Kdenlive is that it has an auto-save feature. Therefore, you won’t lose all your work. You can install various profiles and templates directly from the application – no need to open a browser, download a file, extract, etc. It saves some time.


Hitfilm Express

Hitfilm Express - free After Effects alternative.

This alternative to Adobe After Effects is quite powerful and flexible. You can get it by paying as much as you want (you can also enter 0 and get it for free). It has a nice UI so you can access all the necessary tools and features easily. Moreover, you can easily modify the layout to make it even more comfortable. Developers pay special attention to performance – this software works quite fast. It works with numerous formats perfectly. It includes many non-linear tools so you can do anything you want. You can easily create new masks on a timeline. It also has a powerful kit of composition tools. If you want to create stunning effects, then you need to get a particle add-on. You can add some amazing effects using it. Hitfilm has some powerful color grading solutions. Moreover, it has a precise and fast-tracking solution. A special add-on allows you to add 3D models. Overall, it’s very powerful and shouldn’t be missed.


OpenShot Video Editor

OpenShot Video Editor is free After Effects alternative.

This is another free After Effects alternative that you should consider using. This is a modern multi-platform solution that has everything an artist needs. It uses a reliable and flexible curve-based keyframe animation system. It allows you to add as many tracks and layers as you need. OpenShot is a high-performance application with a real-time preview. You can easily edit video – crop, scale, trim, rotate, etc. It has many composing options as well. OpenShot comes with numerous effects (including 3D ones). Developers still work on this application to add even more features and make it even faster and more reliable. New versions are released regularly, so it’s an active project.

There are many other solutions as well. Moreover, it may happen that new applications will appear soon. However, when you search for an alternative to After Effects, you need to pay attention to several factors:

  • Check the project website you are going to use. It’s the perfect source of information.
  • Pay attention to how popular the software is. However, you shouldn’t think that if the community is small then the application is bad. It may be a new application and it doesn’t have a big community yet. The larger the community is the more information (and tutorials made by users) you can find. However, if the application was released years ago and the community is still small – be careful.
  • Check how often new versions are released and check the lists of changes. An application has to be updated regularly to be compatible with codecs, use modern technologies, etc.
  • Check documentation – you may need to use it often especially when you start learning an application. It has to be clear and understandable.
  • Make sure that the application supports the features you need (it should work with modern file formats and use all hardware advantages).

Do you really need an After Effects alternative?

AE is not super expensive. Of course, a free alternative may be a preferable option for you, but if you still use the Adobe product, then you may need a good source of additional resources. If you want to make your videos more interesting and eye-catching, then you need a nice intro. You can get one impressive here.

Here are some of the products you can get:

Name Short description Price (standard license)
Managed Infographic If you need to create impressive infographics then this is just what you need. You can easily change colors. Line and circle diagrams are available. Moreover, you can customize various parameters to get the necessary look. Overall, it’s super flexible. $86
Business & Services This is a dynamic product that will make your video stand out. It’s made by professionals so all the included elements look perfect. $85
Web Design It would be a perfect option if you create a video to promote design services. The style of this intro perfectly matches the IT technologies. It includes various small components that are combined together to create a nice intro. $85
Colorful Opener Do you need something colorful, positive, and dynamic? – If you do, then this is exactly what you need. It’s a dynamic intro that doesn’t include any complex elements, but it still looks amazing and modern. $83
Dynamic Website Presentation Present your website using this amazing intro. It looks super dynamic and clean. All the elements look great. The animation is smooth. It’s a perfect option when you don’t want to make your video look too complex. $75

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Stacy

An experienced marketing specialist, traveler, and lifestyle blogger. In the rapidly changing and constantly growing digital world, it's important to keep an eye on innovations in the field. Follow me on Quora and Facebook for the latest updates.

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