Adobe After Effects is a powerful editing and visual effects software for creating stunning videos.
Thanks to its feature-packed array of tools for animation, cinematic effects, and motion picture compositing, After Effects has been used to create visual effects for high-profile projects like “Iron Man,” “The Walking Dead,” and “Star Trek. ”
But the steep learning curve, high cost ($239.88 per year or $31.49 per month), complex interface, and harsh hardware demands (especially on RAM and disk space) mean the iconic software isn’t ideal for everyone.
That’s why we’ve listed the best After Effects alternatives in this post.
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The Top 10 Adobe After Effects Alternatives
1. HitFilm Pro
HitFilm Pro is an all-in-one video editing, visual effects, and 3D compositing software for filmmakers and motion artists. It’s a great After Effects alternative if you need detailed graphics and eye-catching special effects.
- Supports lights, shadows, and environment maps that create realistic objects and effects.
- Over 870 ready-to-use visual effects and presets, available for any layer or clip.
- Importable 3D models and access to tracking functions.
- Audio visualization features.
Potential drawbacks: The powerful but granular features are hard to use if you’re not a trained visual effects designer.
Cost: One-time purchase price is $349. A free trial gives access to all the tools in HitFilm Pro, but you’ll have to buy the software to export projects.
Best for: Experienced video editors who need to create stunning special effects and graphics.
Fusion 16 specializes in visual effects, Virtual Reality, motion graphics, and 3D solutions. While it’s often used to create visual effects and digital compositing for HD footage and commercials, the software has also been used post-production on movies like “Thor,” “Lost,” and “Avatar.”
- GPU acceleration and a 360º panoramic workspace enable real-time editing of VR scenes.
- Node-based interfaces create fluid, streamlined editing workflows.
- AI-assisted VFX production speeds up compositing.
- Annotate different clips, versions, and projects.
Potential drawbacks: Limited training resources and tutorials when compared to other visual effects software.
Cost: One-time purchase price is $299. You can get a free version with basic features through the Davinci Resolve Studio 16.
Best for: Large teams that need to collaborate on video projects and have a high creative output.
Natron is a free, open-source After Effects alternative for those seeking greater control and flexibility over the functions and interfaces they use.
- Interface and functionality are the same across Mac, Linux, and Windows devices.
- Node-based engine for a more organized editing process.
- Over 250 community-written plugins.
- Flexible Roto and Rotapaint toolset that can generate unlimited layers of masks, mattes, and shapes.
Potential drawbacks: No support for 3D effects.
Cost: Natron is free to download and use.
Best for: Beginner visual effects designers and editors looking to add a professional finish to simple projects.
Wondershare FilmoraPro is an advanced nonlinear editor that allows for extra polish in every project. It’s known for strong compositing, motion graphics, special effects, color correction, and audio adjustment tools.
- User-friendly interface and navigation that provide useful prompts.
- Supports a range of frame rates and resolutions, including 4K UHD at 100 frames a second.
- Customizable layouts for editing, trimming, effects, and color correction.
- Supports motion graphics, animations, and unlimited video tracks.
Potential drawbacks: Audio effects are basic — no parametric EQ or side-chain control — when compared to other visual effects software.
Cost: Annual plan price is $89.99. One-time purchase price is $149.99.
Best for: Low-budget teams that need to polish and refine small projects to perfection.
Unlike Filmora Pro, Filmora X targets a broader user base than most visual effects software. It’s simple enough to satisfy beginners but powerful enough to meet the needs of advanced users.
- Beginner-friendly interface that makes editing less intimidating.
- Drag and drop creative assets into your timeline.
- Use the touch bar to preview your timeline (Mac only).
- Royalty-free music and sound effects.
- Supports titles, filters, overlays, transitions, and motion graphics.
Potential drawbacks: Limited options for customizing the interface.
Cost: Annual plan price is $39.99 for Windows and $44.99 for Mac. Lifetime plan price is $69.99 for both operating systems.
Best for: YouTubers or short-film producers.
Blender is a free and open-source 3D creation suite for modeling, rigging, animation, compositing, and game creation.
- Combine 2D and 3D images.
- Animation support with onion skinning.
- Ultra-realistic and premium-quality rendering.
- Python scripting for custom tools and add-ons.
Potential drawbacks: Difficult to learn and master.
Cost: Free to download and use.
Best for: Animators and game designers.
7. Apple Motion
Motion is a compositing and motion graphics application by Apple that lets you create sparkling animations in a 2D or 3D space. You can also customize stylish titles, transitions, and effects for Final Cut Pro, Apple’s video editing program.
- Export standard or 360° projects to Apple devices and upload them directly to YouTube and Vimeo.
- Toggle between 2D/3D titles with advanced tools or templates.
- Save any title, effect, or transition for later use in Final Cut Pro.
- Access more than 230 behaviors for natural animation.
Potential drawbacks: Creating animated graphics is complicated.
Cost: One-time purchase price is $49.99. Final Cut Pro is required, at $299 one-time purchase.
Best for: For those creating low- to mid-range projects and who already use Final Cut Pro.
Nuke is a powerful compositing and visual effects program. It has a flexible, efficient, and feature-packed toolset designed for collaborative, commercial, and multichannel use.
- GPU acceleration and fluid workflows for seamless collaboration.
- Compatible with Windows and Mac, with low hardware demands.
- Works with images that contain multiple opacity and color layers.
- Handles lens distortion.
Potential drawbacks: Commercial plans are extremely expensive when compared to other After Effects alternatives. Other basic options at a lower price point are available, and there is 90% off the commercial price for students.
Cost: Quarterly plan price is $1,729. One-time purchase price is $4,988.
Best for: Large studios and professional film producers.
Autodesk Smoke is a Mac-exclusive video effects software that combines editing workflows with node-based compositing tools. Its core features help you create dazzling 3D graphics and motion effects.
- Import 3D geometry and create dynamic 3D titles.
- Customize 3D text/titles with animation.
- A track-based, nonlinear-editor workflow.
- Compatible with Final Cut Pro X.
Potential drawbacks: Uses a lot of RAM and has incomplete rendering functions.
Cost: $1620 annually or $205 per month.
Best for: Big-budget and post-production specialists.
Corel VideoStudio offers a well-balanced consumer video editing and effects software for 360-degree videos. You get access to 4K resolution editing, advanced color grading, multipoint motion tracking, video text masking, transitions, and more.
- Tiny planet and rabbit hole effects for detailed 360-degree video editing.
- Handles complex rendering tasks without exhausting hardware.
- Beginner-friendly support and tutorials.
- Convert 360 footage to standard video.
Potential drawbacks: Users report frequent glitches or crashes.
Cost: Pro one-time purchase price is $79.99. Ultimate version one-time purchase price is $99.99 (includes more templates and filters).
Best for: Beginners who want to create promotional videos, case studies, and training videos.
Choose Your Adobe After Effects Alternative Wisely
Whether you’re an up-and-coming YouTuber, an animator, or work at a growing studio, this list will have an After Effects alternative that meets your needs. But where should you start?
Considering the high price tag attached to some of these alternatives, it’s best to start with free trials and low-budget options before you move on to more expensive visual effects software.